Archive for October, 2009

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/31

October 31, 2009

Reminder: Today is Halloween.



From Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943).

Madison Weekend Cinema Round-Up, 10/30 + 10/31

October 30, 2009

I tend to doubt that many of you are going to be in any condition to go out and see some free movies this weekend, it being All Hallow’s Eve in Madison and whatnot; but should you decide to, your options are far from shabby.

The Cinematheque will screen Chantal Akerman’s De l’autre cô (2002) at 7:30PM. Yes, you read that correctly (or at least those of you who actually care did): the Cinematheque will be screening a Chantal Akerman movie tonight. This, ladies and germs, is worth going out of your way to see. And remember to leave your Jeanne Dielmann-inspired expectations at the door, for I scarcely think that this documentary about immigration politics on the Mexico/Arizona border will feature many if any scenes of potato-peeling.

On Saturday night the ‘theque will be screening Roland West’s The Bat Whispers (1930). I, for one, would be much more inclined to see this than, say, Saw 7, Halloween CO2, Nightmare on N. Brooks St. or The Texas Letter-Opener Massacre—or Zombieland, for that matter. But between game 3 of the World Series (Death to the Yanks) and the promise of nocturnal festivities, I could understand why you might not be able or willing to attend this one.

If you do find yourself with a horror movie itch, be sure to check out Four Star Video Heaven’s showcase shelf (near the front entrance), which is devoted to unconventionally scary flicks, including Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique, Claire Denis’s Trouble Every Day along with some other films commonly associated with the so-called “New French Extremity,” and many intriguing others (and I say that as someone who has next-to-no interest in the horror genre). I can’t conceive of a stranger way to observe the holidays than to shack up with a Bruno Dumont DVD and then head out for a few too many cocktails and handfuls of candy corn.

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/29

October 29, 2009

The most recent film by the brothers Dardenne, Lorna’s Silence (2008), will make its Madison debut this Friday, beginning a six-day run at Sundance. Word on the street—which happens to be where the Dardennes’ kino-eye spends most of its time—is that the film quite a good one. The Dardennes have yet to knock me out (the same goes for most Zola-influenced schools of so-called “realism”), but then again I’ve only seen La promesse and L’enfant, so we shall see. My review will appear in the Daily Cardinal early next week; to whet your (visual) appetite:


From La promesse (1996).

Von Trier on the merits of looking backwards and nowhere else

October 28, 2009

Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is currently playing in small towns like New York City, and as I’ve stated many times, I’m really hoping that it reaches Madison in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, you may to check out the interview that von Trier gave to the A.V. Club’s Scott Tobias in this week’s issue of The Onion. Of particular interest is the following question-and-answer:

Tobias: Do you keep up very well with movies that are being made now?

Von Trier: No. No. […] normally, no, I don’t see newer films. I have this idea that it would be interesting to have somebody who does not look at all the new stuff. Because when you look at the new stuff, then you are kind of influenced in a bad way. You get excited by something, and then you move in that direction, and you get excited by another thing, then you move in that direction. Even when this is crumbling for me, I still have a feeling that I go more or less in the same direction without distractions.

A number of legendary directors have prided themselves on not being cinephiles (like Bresson and Kiarostami, to name a couple), but it’s rare to come across one who doesn’t reject cinephilia per se but who instead chooses to remain ignorant of contemporary cinema for creative reasons.

Given how influential von Trier has been since his initial rise to international infamy in the mid-1990s, one wonders whether all those who have aped elements of von Trier’s style have perhaps been looking for inspiration in the wrong place; in almost every recent interview von Trier has gone out of his way to mention how personally important the work of Andrei Tarkovsky (and, though not explicitly stated this go-round, of Carl Th. Dreyer) has been for him—indeed, he had the cast and crew of Antichrist watch Tarkovsky’s The Mirror prior to shooting. Though many critics have dismissed the possibility that Antichrist actually contains Tarkovskyian traces, I nevertheless think it’s something to look out for when Antichrist eventually makes it to the Badger state—if it makes it to the Badger state. (Sundance, I’m looking at you.)

Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/27

October 27, 2009

For whatever reason, it just feels right to post some Rilke today (glorious sunshine notwithstanding). Thus, I give you, dear reader, a trio of fragmentary sentences from the Duino Elegies:


Strange to see things that seemed to belong together floating in every direction.


We don’t know the contour of feeling, we only know what molds it from without.


That’s what fate means: to be facing each other and nothing but each other and to be doing it forever.

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/27

October 27, 2009

Alright alright, I realize I’m running the risk of becoming a one-trick pony. My professors have conspired to channel almost all my creativity into some obviously bogus papers, all of which are due in the next few weeks. Bear with me.


From Rivette’s Duelle (1976).

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/26

October 26, 2009


From Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954).

Hot off the presses

October 26, 2009

In today’s edition of the Daily Cardinal: my review of the Coen Brothers’ latest, A Serious Man, a film that has already received a great deal of coverage everywhere but Madison, largely because it’s already come out everywhere but Madison. Anyway, I thought the movie was just barely silly enough and clever enough to avoid keeling over and dying of a chicken liver-induced heart attack—if that makes any sense. (Personification, etc.) But don’t take my word for it: A Serious Man is currently playing at Sundance (which isn’t a total rip-off to patronize if you go to a matinee).

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/23

October 23, 2009

Poetic weight for a dreary day, courtesy of Chris, Serge and Rainer Maria.


From Chris Marker’s Sans soleil (1983).

Unidentified images are printed on the retina; unknown events happen fatally; spoken words become the secret code of an impossible self-knowledge. These private moments are the primitive scene of the cinephile, the scene in which he wasn’t present although it was exclusively about him. In the way Paulhan speaks about literature as an experience of the world ‘when we are not there’ and Lacan speaks about ‘what is missing from its place’. The cinephile is the one who keeps his eyes wide open in vain but will not tell anybody that he could not see a thing. He is the one preparing for a life as a professional ‘watcher’, as a way to make up for being late, as slowly as possible. (Serge Daney, “The Tracking Shot in Kapo’’)

And we: spectators, always everywhere, looking at all of that, never beyond! It fills us too full. We set it right. It disintegrates. We set it right again and we disintegrate too. (Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies)

Yeah, seriously: Boycott the Nitty Gritty

October 23, 2009

CineMadison is, for the most part, an apolitical blog. However, this right here’s a cause worth getting behind: Both the Daily Cardinal and the Badger Herald are calling for a student boycott of loathsome Johnson St. bar the Nitty Gritty because the Nitty’s owner, Marsh Shapiro, who sits on the Madison Alcohol License Review Committee as a nonvoting advisor and as a representative of the Madison-Dane Country Tavern League, opposes District 8 Ald. Bryon Eagon’s super-reasonable proposal that the ALRC take on a voting student member. So boycott the Nitty 1) because it’s a remarkably shitty bar, and 2) because of this political nonsense. For an explanation as to why the ALRC ought to have a voting student member, read the DC and BH editorials I linked to and also keep an eye on the Sconz, who I’m sure will have a thing or two to say about the boycott over the next few days.