Posts Tagged ‘moi/je’

A year and two days ago…

August 3, 2010

… CineMadison was born. Where does the time go? Nowhere, I don’t think. Anyhow, the self-imposed summer hiatus has been a bit of a boon for my intellect; most of my time away from this blog has been spent with my gaze buried in one book or another, and I’ve worked back up to a respectable daily film-viewing clip. This all leads me to believe that when I return to writing regularly this fall (watch for a new incarnation of this blog sometime around then), I’ll have no shortage of interesting ideas to kick around and interesting films to talk about.

In recognition of your patience and perseverance, dear reader (gosh, haven’t typed that phrase in a great many moons), I offer you these two beautiful little sentence-fragments.

From Maurice Blanchot’s The Writing of the Disaster:

When all is obscured, there reigns the clarity without light which certain utterances foretell.

From Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, chapitre 2b: Fatale beauté:

Cinema must exist for words stuck in the throat and for the truth to be unearthed.

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The bad, the bad and the bad

July 17, 2010

So the Found Footage Festival screened a film entitled “Computer Beach Party” (1987) at the Orpheum’s Stage Door Theater last night. Yes, I was there. Yes, I wrote about it for Isthmus. Yes, the article can be found here. Yes, “Computer Beach Party” lived up to almost all of my expectations, though as far as bad movies go, it was definitely hurt by its utter lack of aluminum foil UFOs, flashlight laser beams and recycled footage of Bela Lugosi. But seriously, it was incomprehensibly bad.

The screen on the stage

June 21, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I caught a matinee of the Broom Street Theater’s current production, “Television (The Play),” written and directed by Amanda Jones. I had a seriously enjoyable time spectating and briefly participating in the farcical proceedings; the intimate scale of the Broom Street Theater combined with the play’s unusual staging (featuring an all-over style of blocking, video projections and four different entrances/exits onto the stage) to yield a consistently interesting work of experimental comedy. “Television (The Play)” is largely reliant upon audience participation, making use of contingency in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen in theater. (Then again, I’m no expert.)

If “Television (The Play)” occasionally erred on the side of crude immaturity, well… the title ought to tell you why that is. Head on over to the Daily Page to read my full review.

Impermanent vacation

June 15, 2010

I suppose I ought to go ahead and make it official: Due to the general sluggishness presently afflicting Madison’s cinema scene (with the exception of the MMoCA’s Rooftop Cinema series, which I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to go experience firsthand) and the fact that I really, really ought to be devoting much more mental energy toward figuring out what I’m going to be doing for the next couple years, CineMadison is going on indefinite hiatus. This bums me out but I think it’s the best—or at least the most honest—course of action for me to take.

If anything especially noteworthy happens during this vacation, rest assured that I’ll pay it the attention it deserves; however, as I don’t anticipate any such noteworthy thing happening anytime soon (or at least until the Cinematheque unveils its summer schedule), I’ve decided to focus instead on some more immediate, personal matters (including a screenplay pet project that I’m not yet sick of working on, believe it or not).

Y’all have been great and I hope to see y’all again once things heat up on the film front here in Madtown. Until then…

A cross between a chamber drama and a screwball comedy

May 17, 2010

If you’ve got 30 seconds of free time, head over to Isthmus’s website and read my first crack at theater criticism, a review of Edward J. Moore’s “The Sea Horse,” which is being put on by the Madison Theatre Guild at the Bartell Theatre (on E. Mifflin St., just around the corner from the Old-Fashioned) through May 29th.

In a nutshell, I thought that the scale of “The Sea Horse” was admirable, its action more or less compelling and its acting consistently engaging; but I think that the play would’ve benefited greatly if its material had been a whole lot cruder. Theatrically-inclined Madisonians are advised to head over to the Bartell and check it out.

Almost there

May 10, 2010

Hey CineMadisonians,

As you might have noticed, it has been pretty quiet on the film front out here recently. Some of this is a function of the fact that I haven’t been able to devote much energy to covering the film scene as of late because I’m on the verge of becoming a college graduate. With that said, it looks like this will be a particularly stagnant week on CineMadison, so don’t expect much in the way of new content for at least a few days (my final academic obligation as an undergrad is on Thursday night). In the meantime I’ll continue to give y’all heads-ups if anything especially noteworthy is playing on TCM, and whatever other junk I can manage to scrounge up while focusing most of my efforts on explaining how one of world history’s greatest civilizations emerged in the Arid Zone. Wait/pray for me!

The last column

May 6, 2010

Today’s edition of the Daily Cardinal also happens to be the last of the semester. In it, amongst other readable things, you’ll find my final column as the paper’s film columnist, a piece that’s every bit as column-y as the fourteen columns that preceded it.

The subject: my ten favorite movies that came to Madison over the past school year (my senior year, don’tcha know); I explain the rules of the list in the article, so check it out. If you’ve kept up with this blog at all, my picks won’t even come close to being a surprise.

I suppose I ought to sign off in a relatively classy way, so: many thanks to the entire DC crew for putting up with me these past two semesters; for letting me write about whatever the hell I wanted every week; for never pissing me off with overzealous edits; and for letting me come to your parties. Au revoir, Dirty Bird.

Film theory as a form of procrastination

May 2, 2010

I’m presently chilling in one of my favorite State St. coffeehouses, “working” on a take-home final exam—I use scare-quotes on “working” because right now my mind is, as always, elsewhere. Earlier today I read these two extremely worthwhile posts by bloggin’ philosopher extraordinaire Levi Bryant, and I encourage y’all to do the same. If I think these posts are especially worth sharing with you, dear reader, it’s because they’re salient examples of Object-Oriented Ontology, a philosophical movement that’s working itself out in the totally open space of the blogosphere.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I think the recent work of Bryant and Graham Harman contains the seeds for a conceptual framework capable of engaging with the non-human aspects of cinema, something that I think film theory will have to address sooner rather than later. So check the posts out (Bryant is an excellent and very lucid writer, so they’re hardly tough-sledding); they inspired me to scribble the following in my notebook after a brief bout of meditation on my fire escape:

“All of the elements of a shot’s mise en scène, all of the non-relational objects within the film frame, are figures of a sort. The figure is the likeness of a material object, whether that likeness is by-design or purely accidental. A shot is a cluster of cinematic figures, an entanglement. Actors and props are by no means the only kinds of cinematic figures—the space that they occupy and navigate is itself a figure. The cinematic figure isn’t just an image of the human body, a translation of the body’s form from spatio-temporal materiality to the ambiguous cinematic mode of being: the cinematic figure is, in Bryant’s terms, a local manifestation of an object situated among other local manifestations of other objects within the film frame. The relations between the figures situated in the frame are also objects in their own right, but these objects aren’t themselves figures. The figure—cinematic or otherwise—is nothing uniquely human; a breast framed in close-up is no less figurative than a cherry red Alfa Romeo Spider framed in long shot. Furthermore, no representation is necessary for figuration—a process that always precedes the presentation of a shot—to take place.”

As you can probably tell, I’ve got a lot of work to do before I can present this very rough complex of ideas with a straight face. In the meantime, it’s worth pointing out how cool it is that theorizing/philosophizing may now be conducted in such an accessible and public space.

“It leaves a hole.”

April 30, 2010

My second article for Isthmus, on the implications of WUD Film’s decision to dissolve its various series, can now be accessed on the paper’s website; in it I grapple with a few of the issues I probed in yesterday’s DC column, though in a much more journalistic style than I’m used to. All tips on reporting are more than welcome. Nothing better than learning on the job, eh? And goddamn Reo, what a suit!

Lobbying for the avant-garde

April 29, 2010

This week’s DC column is the first article I’ve written for the Dirty Bird that I’d consider a genuine advocacy piece: Following the death of Starlight Cinema, let’s make sure that avant-garde/experimental cinema continues to have a student-accessible presence in Madison, eh? Check the column out for a taste of why I feel so strongly about this matter.

It’s also worth mentioning that this marks my second-to-last DC column ever (as in, for all eternity), so please forgive me if I get real sentimental these next couple weeks. As they say, all good things…