Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Best Film Criticism in 2018

I have to say that some of the best film criticism you can find is at Cineticle (alas, in Russian only) but since I'm on the editing team there it's not going to be represented in this review. The list is extremely partial, incomplete and may be expanded later on. Also, the pieces here are mentioned for various reasons: some may be excellent criticism, others might offer illuminating research, or present a summary that I found useful for one reason or another. Some of the good stuff I've also translated into Russian, it's not included here as these texts are partly my work now, too.

Written or published in 2018
  • Three articles on Jonas Mekas and the problem of his obscure past.
I Was There (by Michael Casper)
On Jonas Mekas: An Exchange (by Barry Schwabsky and Michael Casper)
Why I cannot review Jonas Mekas’s Conversations with Film-Makers (by J. Hoberman)
  • A brief but succinct piece on how influence can be based on misunderstanding but remain fruitful as well. And if you aren't sure Robert Bresson is surely one of the most misunderstood film directors, just recall Paul Schrader's recent First Reformed.
(Mis)Understanding One of the Greatest French Filmmakers of All Time
  • Soon to be translated into Russian but not yet so here it is.
  • On film critics and the public, the low- and the high-brow.
  • Cuaron's film might not be as great a cinematic achievment as one might think seeing it all over last year's best lists but it's definitely a good case for discussion.
    Introduction to the special dossier on Roma
    • An inventive filmmaker versus my my favorite poet ever, comparative studies at their best.
    Make It Old: Hollis Frampton contra Ezra Pound (by George Derk)
    • I still havent seen the series but these articles have been fun.
    Peak Peaks. Sarah Nicole Prickett on Twin Peaks: The Return — The Complete Recaps
    • Pop culture and music videos aren't studied enough and when they are, it's usually done badly. Not here, though. 
    Moving: On the Cinema of Kate Bush (by Willow Maclay)
    • A great analysis of what is arguably this year's best  music video.
    Steven Shaviro, Out of Whack: The Aberrant Identity of Tierra Whack
    • One more article by Steven Shaviro.
    “You Never Heard of Code-Switching, Motherfucker?”: Joseph Kahn’s Bodied
    • An amusing story I was grateful to learn about.
    The Final Flight of Albert Lamorisse (by Liam Callanan)
    • The title alone would have been enough. 
    The Memeification of Agnes Varda (by Caspar Salmon)
    • This is probably my favorite #metoo article.
    What About “The Breakfast Club”? Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo. (by Molly Ringwald)
    • Two feminist articles that stayed with me throughout the year.
    Radical Banality: On Chantal Akerman, Labour In Cinema, And The Legacy Of May ‘68 (by Adina Glickstein)

    What the Movies Taught Me About Being a Woman (by Manohla Dargis)
    • Probably my favorite at La Furia Umana this year.
    The Lived Cinema of Robert Kramer: Politics and Subjectivity (by Raquel Schefer)
    • The most useful interviews.
    Interview with Kevin Brownlow (by Michael Sragov)

    Interview with Paul Clipson (by Joel Schlemowitz)
    • Journal of Embodied Research and their ambitious project.
    • The Ruiz Diaries is hardly as innovative but it was definetely endearing and vital to my surviving the year.
    • I haven't watched as many video essays as I'd like to and I'm defnitely going to catch up as much as I can but here's one I couldn't resist watching.

    I have been too often dissapointed by film criticism in Russian and Belarusian, and even when I wasn't I saved the articles in some place I can't locate now. I hope I'll recover those bookmarks and this section will be updated.
    Browsing the archives
    • Annete Michelson passed away this year. Here are three of her many important articles.
    Toward Snow

    Yvonne Rainer, Part One: The Dancer and the Dance 

    Yvonne Rainer, Part Two: The Dancer and the Dance 

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