Chilean filmmaker Raoul Ruiz is the author of some 100 feature-length films, along with numerous plays and multi-media installations. In Poetics of Cinema, Ruiz takes a fresh approach to the major themes haunting our audio-visual civilization: the filmic unconscious, questions of utopia, the inter-contamination of images, the art of the copy, the relations between artistic practices and institutions. Based on a series of lectures given recently at Duke University in North Carolina, Poetics of Cinema develops an acerbically witty critique of the reigning codes of cinematographic narration, principally derived from the dramatic theories set forth by Aristotle's Poetics and characterized by Ruiz as the “central-conflict theory.” Ruiz's impressive knowledge of theology, philosophy, literature and the visual arts never outstrips his powerful imagination. Poetics of Cinema not only offers a singularly pertinent analysis of the seventh art, but also shows us an entirely new way of writing and thinking about images.
Filmmaker, photographer, writer and traveler Chris Marker has never respected the boundaries between genres. His landmark 1962 film La Jetée is made up almost entirely of stills, its one moving image as thrilling as the Lumières’ films must have been for their original audiences. Since then, Marker’s films (including the features Sans Soleil, and most recently Level Five) have continued to stretch the definition of the art, merging at times with the essay, political manifesto, personal letter, art installation, even the computer game. In Immemory, Chris Marker has used the format of the CD-Rom to create a multi-layered, multimedia memoir. The reader investigates “zones” of travel, war, cinema and poetry, navigating through photographs, film clips, music and text, as if physically exploring Marker’s memory itself. The result is a veritable twenty-first-century Remembrance of Things Past, an exploration of the state of memory in our digital era. With it, Marker has both invented a literary form and perfected it. System Requirements: For Macintosh computers running System 7.5 through Mac OS 9 (including the “Classic environment” of Mac OS X)
Published by Peter Blum Edition, New York. Foreword by Peter Blum. Text by Chris Marker.
“Tabloids love to catch people unaware,” writes the legendary film auteur Chris Marker (born 1921) in his introduction to this beautiful volume of new photographs. “My aim… is exactly—small wonder—the opposite of tabloids. I try to give them their best moment, often imperceptible in the stream of time, sometimes 1/50 of a second that makes them truer to their inner selves.” Passengers accordingly portrays the private reveries and absent-minded gestures that can be seen every day on the Paris Métro (and by implication any other subway): mothers cradling their children, couples whispering intimately, women wistfully staring out the window or into the middle distance, engrossed in thought. Made between 2008 and 2010, this series of 200 photographs—Marker’s first in color—marvelously captures the dislocated mental spaces we occupy on the subway, and the ways in which we devise strategies for escapism, sending out invisible boundaries to endure the constant tiny encroachments of modern urban life. Marker enhances his photographs to draw out both the blotchy pixilation of the lo-fi digital technology used and to add painterly coloration, endowing them with otherworldly presence. A separate color poster by Marker titled “A Subway Quartet” is inserted beneath the printed glassine wrappers of each copy.
Wim Wenders (born 1945) started taking photographs at the age of 7. By the age of 12 he had equipped himself with his own darkroom, and by 17 he had acquired his first Leica. A few years later he was to emerge as a leading light in the New German Cinema movement of the late 1960s, making his feature-length directorial debut with Summer in the City (1970). Throughout his subsequent global acclaim as a director, Wenders has doggedly maintained his life as a photographer. In fact, the two careers have served each other well, as many of his photographs are created while location-scouting for films. His image repertoire of neglected industrial buildings, vacant lots, cemeteries, dilapidated urban niches and courtyards express a mixture of bemusement, melancholy and dislocation. “When you travel a lot, and when you love to just wander around and get lost, you can end up in the strangest spots,” Wenders says. “It must be some sort of built-in radar that often directs me to places that are strangely quiet, or quietly strange.” These strange and quiet color photographs are accompanied by poetical captions, some of which elucidate what is depicted, others of which lightly supplement with an anecdote (one characteristically deadpan caption accompanies an image of a cowboy clown standing at a rodeo: “It is amazing how many different ideas of 'fun' co-exist in this world” ). Places, Strange and Quiet gathers photographs from 1983 to 2011 in a full panorama of Wenders' photography to date.
Published by Dis Voir. Screenplay by Wong Kar Wai.
With films such as As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express and Ashes of Time, Kar-Wai has been at the forefront of Hong Kong cinema. On the surface, Kar-Wai follows the rules, presenting the usual fare of car chases, explosions and sex, but in fact his films are much deeper. His characters live and die on the fringe of acceptance and existence, in a nebulous grey area between good and almost evil. Wong-Kai has managed to invent an art that refuses the affluence of the West: by sticking his guns (and knives, fists and chains), this film director has created a bridge between Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
Published by Kaya Press. Essay by Casio Abe. Foreword by Daisuke Miyao. Introduction by Lawrence Chua. Afterword by William Gardner.
Called “the world's most original action auteur” by the Village Voice, Takeshi Kitano is already legendary in Japan, where he is known both for his inventive films and for his legendarily caustic alter ego, comedian Beat Takeshi. In the United States, his stylishly noir aesthetic has both influenced and been admired by such directors as Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino. His emotionally intense yet lyrical films have won him worldwide acclaim and honors, including the Grand Prix for Hanabi [Fireworks] at the Venice Film Festival. Now, the long-awaited Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano offers a collection of essays on the internationally acclaimed film director by Casio Abe. Despite his impact on contemporary cinema, very little critical work on Kitano's films exists in the United States. Abe's book, originally published in Japan, combines a detailed look at Kitano's filmography with an incisive critique of the consumerist culture which Kitano's films play against. It is also purportedly Kitano's favorite book on his own work. This translation of Abe's writings on Kitano has been updated with articles that discuss Kitano's most recent releases, up to and including Dolls (2002), as well as extensive appendices and footnotes. Abe is one of Japan's preeminent cultural critics, and his book gives a rare and insightful look into the workings of one of the largest media cultures in the world. This will be the first book devoted exclusively to Kitano's work to be published in the United States. Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano is the first volume in Kaya's Wicked Radiance series, which examines the work of a new wave of Asian filmmakers who are reshaping contemporary cinema.
Published by Moderne Kunst Nürnberg. Edited by Brigade Commerz, Robert Eikmeyer, Thomas Knoefel.
In October 2010, David Lynch received the Kaiserring award, presented annually to visual artists by the city of Goslar, Germany. Following the awards ceremony, Lynch gave a press conference and took questions from a number of local schoolchildren about his work. This 45-minute audio CD is edited from both occasions to produce an audio portrait of Lynch's thought and life. Here, Lynch recalls his childhood and his early love of painting, and discusses such topics as daydreaming, dream logic, meditation, his favorite kinds of shots (such as "people coming out of darkness"), the studio system, painting and film, and the titular relationship between image and sound. The disc closes with a short discussion by Marilyn Manson, who recounts his first encounter with Lynch and the filming of Lost Highway.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited by Joshua Siegel, Marie-Christine de Navacelle. Text by Andrew Delbanco, David Denby, Pierre Legendre, Errol Morris, Jay Neugeboren, Marie-Christine de Navacelle, Geoffrey O'Brien, Christopher Ricks, Catherine Samie, Joshua Siegel, William T. Vollmann, Frederick Wiseman.
For over four decades, from his landmark Titicut Follies (1967) to his recent La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (2009) and forthcoming Boxing Gym (2010), Frederick Wiseman (born 1930) has used a lightweight 16mm camera and portable sound equipment to study human behavior in all its unpredictable manifestations, particularly as it responds to institutional or regimented settings or to democracy at work. Combining epic narrative with intimate portraiture, Wiseman's films constitute a grand panorama of modern life, a kind of modern-day comédie humaine. While he manages to intrude only minimally on the lives of his subjects, his sensitive eye, lawyerly skepticism and storytelling impulses produce imaginative truth. Wiseman has also worked in the theater, directing acclaimed adaptations of Beckett and Pirandello. His stage and film productions La Dernière Lettre (The Last Letter), based on Vassily Grossman's epic novel Life and Fate, starred Catherine Samie, doyenne of the Comédie-Française and a contributor to this book. Frederick Wiseman, the first publication in English to provide a comprehensive overview of Wiseman's career to date, includes essays by eminent observers on both sides of the Atlantic, including writers, critics, filmmakers, actors and Wiseman himself. Illustrated with stills from his films, this volume offers a compelling portrait of Frederick Wiseman as one of the world's most innovative, fearless and influential filmmakers, as well as an accomplished theater director. Frederick Wiseman has made 38 films that stand as a monumental chronicle of late-twentieth-century institutional and cultural life. His controversial 1967 debut feature Titicut Follies, a look at conditions inside the Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, remains the only American film ever censored for reasons other than national security or obscenity. His 2009 film La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet has been a tremendous critical and popular success both in the United States and abroad. Wiseman's latest documentary, about an amateur boxing gym in Austin, Texas, had its premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and he is currently editing a film about the Crazy Horse Saloon, the legendary cabaret in Paris.
Published by Free News Projects. Edited by Sara Maysles, Rebekah Maysles. Introduction by Albert Maysles. Illustrations by Rebekah Maysles, Dan Murphy.
One of the strangest and subtlest films ever made, the Maysles Brothers' 1975 documentary Grey Gardens today boasts as devoted a following as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Harold and Maude. Shot at Grey Gardens, the dilapidated East Hamptons mansion of "Big Edie" and "Little Edie" Beale, aunt and cousin to Jackie Onassis, this classic of cinema vérité tracks the Beales' eccentric and sequestered lives--which consist mostly of doing nothing, but with a mesmerizing zest and volubility. Little Edie's magical aphorisms ("Raccoons and cats become a little bit boring," she sighs towards the end of the film, "I mean for too long a time…") are gems of unwitting camp, and between her observations, her costumes, the incredibly bizarre mother daughter tensions, the cats, raccoons and the beautiful ruins of Grey Gardens itself, "doing nothing" amounts to everything; indeed, it amounts to a tragicomedy of enormous emotional punch. This eclectic volume offers a myriad of collaged illustrations, photographs, film stills, production notes and other archival materials alongside transcripts of the Beales' own stories and conversations edited from unreleased Grey Gardens sound recordings. Structured to mirror the Maysles' own approach to the world of the Beales, it closely resembles the enchanting clutter of the mansion, a self-contained world littered with mementos and telling ephemera. It also reproduces unpublished photographs by both Albert and David Maysles. With an introduction by Albert Maysles, drawings and illustrations by Albert's daughter, Rebekah Maysles and an appendix with the full transcript of Grey Gardens, as well as an audio CD of sound recordings capturing the Beales at their best, this book is the essential companion to the film and a beautiful testimony to its legacy. The 60-minute CD that comes with the book contains conversations with the Beales and their friends, songs and poetry recited by the two Edies and audio of the Beales during and after watching the film for the first time.
Published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers. Text by Jean Douchet.
The last word on the French New Wave as viewed by one of its most influential commentators, this glorious book examines the golden days of that era, year by year, from 1955 to 1964, through beautifully-reproduced stills, movie posters and contemporary reviews from numerous sources. Jean Douchet, a staff writer on Cahiers du Cinéma during the New Wave's heyday, has written introductions that trace emergent themes in the films of Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Marker, Chabrol, Malle, Resnais, Rivette, Varda, Eustache, Astruc and Demy. French New Wave is unsurpassed as a history of the most influential movement in cinema history. "Here is a lavish history of the film movement that spawned the careers of Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and a number of other important contemporary filmmakers. Douchet... considers his subject from almost every possible angle."--Library Journal. "A landmark in film scholarship."--Cineaste