371 Pages
English
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Action!

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371 Pages
English

Description

Draws on the very best published and unpublished interviews of the ‘Bright Lights Film Journal’.


‘Action!’ presents nineteen outstanding interviews with directors past and present, from around the world, working in a variety of genres, budgets and production environments from major studios to indie and DIY. The result is a vibrant group portrait of the filmmaking art, a kind of festival in words that explores everything from the enormous creative and personal satisfactions to the challenges and frustrations of the process.


Foreword, by Jonathan Rosenbaum; Editor’s Preface, by Gary Morris; Introduction: The Art and Craft of Interviewing, by Bert Cardullo; I. Going Hollywood: Masters of Studio Style; II. Tickets to the Dark Side: Festival Favorites; III. Blows Against the Empire: Indie Godfathers; IV. Edgeplay: Avant-Garde Auteurs; V. Women in Revolt: Artist-Activists; VI. The Canon: Brilliance without Borders

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Published by
Published 01 July 2009
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EAN13 9780857286789
Language English
Document size 6 MB

Legal information: rental price per page 0.0056€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Exrait

A C T I O N !
ACTION! Interviews with Directors from Classical Hollywood to Contemporary Iran
Edited by Gary Morris
Foreword by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2009 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave. #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
© 2009 Gary Morris editorial matter and selection; individual chapters © individual contributors.
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested.
ISBN13: 978 1 84331 329 8 (Pbk) ISBN10: 1 84331 329 4 (Pbk)
ISBN13: 978 1 84331 331 1 (Ebk) ISBN10: 1 84331 331 6 (Ebk)
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Foreword, by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Editor’s Preface, by Gary Morris
Acknowledgements
Introduction: The Art and Craft of Interviewing, by Bert Cardullo
Contents
I. Going Hollywood: Masters of Studio Style 1. Angel in Exile: Allan Dwan, by Howard Mandelbaum and Gary Morris
2.
3.
4.
5.
“An Unhappy Happy End”: Douglas Sirk, by Michael Stern
Somebody Up There Likes Me: Robert Wise, by C. Jerry Kutner
“The Greatest Movie the World Has Never Seen”: Peter Bogdanovich and Joseph McBride on Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind,by Damien Love
“Plant Your Feet and Tell the Truth”: Clint Eastwood, by Tony Macklin
II. Tickets to the Dark Side: Festival Favorites 6.Manderlay:Lars von Trier, by Karin Luisa Badt
7.
20 Angosht (20 Fingers):Mania Akbari, by Dorna Khazeni
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xvii
01
03
17
39
65
89
103 105
113
vi
8.
9.
CONTENTS
I Am a Sex Addict:Caveh Zahedi, by Peter Rinaldi
Caché (Hidden):Michael Haneke, by Karin Luisa Badt
III. Blows Against the Empire: Indie Godfathers 10. Sweet Soul Music: Melvin and Mario Van Peebles, by Damon Smith
11.
Nearer My Corman to Thee: Roger Corman, Bruce Dern and David Carradine, by Damien Love
IV. Edgeplay: AvantGarde Auteurs 12. An Actionist Begins to Sing: Otto Muehl, by Andrew Grossman, Trans. by Robert Mark Grossman
13.
“They’re Panicking, Look at Them!” The Brothers Quay, by Damon Smith
V. Women in Revolt: ArtistActivists 14.Dialogues with Madwomen:Allie Light, by Gary Morris
15.
Shut Up & Sing:Barbara Kopple, by Damon Smith
VI. The Canon: Brilliance without Borders 16. “For a Kind of Pleasure”: Federico Fellini, by Toni Maraini, Trans. by A. K. Bierman
17.
18.
19.
Transcendental Style, Poetic Precision: Robert Bresson, by Bert Cardullo
“The Fruitful Tree Bends”: Abbas Kiarostami, by Bert Cardullo
Alter Ego, Autobiography and Auteurism: François Truffant, by Bert Cardullo
Contributor Biographies
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131
139
141
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225 227
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347
Foreword
It’s often overlooked that the revolution in film taste promulgated in the ’50s and ’60s byCahiers du Cinéma(and, to a lesser extent, by Positif) was at least as much a matter of interviews as it was a matter of reviews and essays. Admittedly, the most consequential broadside by the most prominentCahierscriticturnedfilmmaker was François Truffaut’s, “Une Certaine Tendance du cinéma français” (“A Certain Tendency in the French Cinema”), which first appeared in the 31st issue (January 1954). But if that opening salvo established an important polemical position, it must be conceded that Truffaut’s clinching victory came a dozen years later withLe Cinéma selon Hitchcock(1966), his booklength interview with his avowed master, published in English the following year with the simpler title Hitchcock. “Une Certain Tendance” was at most a warning shot–a contentious article that created waves in the Parisian film world, but still a local event, appearing in an oddball monthly with a then modest circulation.Hitchcock, on the other hand, marked an international paradigmatic shift from the position that commercial cinema was basically a form of light entertainment to the more controversial notion that Alfred Hitchcock, the most recognizable director of light entertainment in Hollywood, was also one of the medium’s most serious, accomplished, and even experimental and thoughtful artists. Truffaut set out to prove this premise by engaging Hitchcock himself in the discussion–an undertaking requiring the services of an expert translator, Helen G. Scott, because neither speaker was fluent in the other’s language. And the discussion finally had more to do with persuasion and illustration than with assertion or argument.
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FOREWORD
Hitchcock knew how to entertain while clarifying various points about his practice, and was far less prone to put on airs about artistic designs than any of his scrappy French defenders. In this respect, he was a better spokesperson forla politique des auteurs(or “the auteur theory,” as Andrew Sarris Americanized the concept) than Truffaut himself, at least within AngloAmerican film culture–so much so that his own status as a serious artist went from being an outrageous postulate to a commonplace assumption within a relatively short period of time. One obvious reason why interviews with directors have generally been regarded as an adjunct to film criticism rather than an integral part of it is the exclusion of these interviews from most critical collections, including Englishlanguage volumes devoted toCahiers du Cinéma. This exclusion has come about partly because of the problem of translating Englishspeaking directors from French back into English, which inevitably mangles their discourse, and partly because interviews, even though they represent an important part of theCahiersrevolution, are commonly regarded as secondclass citizens among critical texts. But as the book you’re now holding shows, the insights to be gleaned from conscientious interviews with articulate filmmakers are worth a lot more than this patronizing treatment. Indeed, to cite one outstanding example, I think a deeper understanding of Robert Bresson’s films can be gleaned from Bert Cardullo’s 1983 interview with Bresson than from most critical essays. And going all the way from Allan Dwan to Truffaut himself in these pages, I think one winds up with a pretty allencompassing definition of cinema itself. So assembling 19 interviews here, asBright Lightseditor Gary Morris has done, is above all a critical enterprise. Aptly describing itself as, “a popularacademic hybrid of movie analysis, history, and commentary, looking at classic and commercial, independent, exploitation, and international film from a wide range of vantage points from the aesthetic to the political,” Bright Lightsis a magazine that was launched in print in 1974, continued that way until 1980, and then was revived from 1993 to 1995 before migrating to the web in 1996–making it the most striking example of a film journal that has survived and even flourished in online form. (As I write, its 60th issue has just appeared.) And as one can readily see from this collection, interviews are as natural a part of its territory as critical articles.
FOREWORD
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The range of material to be found here is unusually broad–so much so that the six section headings should be regarded quite loosely. It’s one of the Catch22s of film criticism that the most singular films and filmmakers tend to elude whatever categories we might think up for them. So in “Going Hollywood: Masters of Studio Style,” for instance, we not only go all the way from an important, but neglected and early pioneer (Dwan) to the most prestigious Hollywood auteur currently at work (Clint Eastwood), encountering along the way such disparate figures as Douglas Sirk and Robert Wise. We also take in the most celebrated of the unfinished and unseen features of Orson Welles, thanks to the testimonies of two of his most resourceful chroniclers, Peter Bogdanovich and Joseph McBride, both of whom acted in the film. But I hasten to add that even though Hollywood as an institution, business and state of mind is central toThe Other Side of the Wind, and a major studio’s backlot even figures (surreptitiously) as one of the locations, this is the most independent of all of Welles’s films made in the U.S. So if this chapter had appeared in Section III, “Blows Against the Empire: Indie Godfathers,” it wouldn’t be out of place rubbing shoulders with Melvin and Mario Van Peebles, Roger Corman, Bruce Dern and David Carradine. By the same token, some of the more provocative interviews found here, such as Andrew Grossman’s exchanges with Otto Muehl and Bert Cardullo’s encounter with Abbas Kiarostami, periodically threaten to escape even the category of film to settle on society and life itself. And when filmmakers Federico Fellini or Allie Light talk about their work, they invariably wind up discussing much more. This is the enduring legacy of the best film criticism–to take on the world at the same time that it tangles with such important parts of that world as art and politics.
Jonathan Rosenbaum