Tag Archives: American culture

RIP Agnès Varda (1928 – 2019)

Agnès Varda was a Belgian-born French film director.

Her films were popular among critics and directors, giving her the status of a cult director.

This is perhaps not the best of times to rid the world of a minor misconception regarding the work of Varda, but it is what I must do after researching her oeuvre following her death.

Agnès Varda made one film about the Black Panther Party, just one. That film was Black Panthers (1968), a color film which can be viewed in its entirety at Archive.org[1].

Another film from that same year is called Huey! and is directed by a certain Sally Pugh. It can be seen in full on YouTube [below] and has nothing to do with Varda, although the general subject matter as well as some scenes overlap.

RIP Adam Parfrey (1958 – 2018)

Adam Parfrey was an American writer, editor, and publisher whose work centered on unusual, extreme, or “forbidden” areas of knowledge. He is perhaps best known for Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989), which he co-edited with Bob Black.

Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989)

Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989)

Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989, above) is an anthology of 56 pieces of invective in the style of An Anthology of Invective and Abuse (1929) by Hugh Kingsmill.

Thanks to the death of Adam, I watched The Hate That Hate Produced (1955, above)

By the way, can anyone illuminate me on the cover photo of Rants?

Drawing the contours of the ‘American fantastique’

The Eye of the Beholder” (1960) is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. Its theme is aesthetic relativism.

It is a prime example of the American fantastique, the fantastique being a sensibility which is a sibling of horror, fantasy and SF, and child of speculative fiction.

You can watch the full episode (only about twenty minutes) here[1].

I previously mentioned this episode here[2].

10/10

American grotesque

American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen (2014)
[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

I discovered the work of American photographer William Mortensen in May 2005 via the photo Human Relations. It is the photo of the face of a man whose eyes are gouged out by the pointing fingers of one hand.

Coming November Feral House is to publish American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen.

A fitting title.

Although it could also have been named American Surrealism …

When I think about the American grotesque, I think of Poe and Bierce, of Weegee and Arbus, of Ren and Stimpy.

And perhaps now of William Mortensen.

PS. On the cover is L’Amour, an offshoot of the dark fin de siècle fascination with human female/ape contact.