Monthly Archives: August 2006

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) – Richard Brooks


Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) – Richard Brooks

Looking for Mr. Goodbar is a 1975 novel by Judith Rossner, and a 1977 film by Richard Brooks starring Diane Keaton and Richard Gere, based on the true story of a woman who has an affair with her sadistic and misogynistic professor as the beginning of a long downward spiral that culminates in her brutal murder.

In recent years the film has been compared to Jane Campion’s 2003 In the Cut. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post called the latter an erotic thriller that amounts to an implausible update on Looking for Mr. Goodbar.”


  • Looking for Mr. Goodbar foreshadows the end of the sexual revolution.
  • Looking for Mr. Goodbar wasn’t the first foray of Richard Brooks into true crime, there had been a film adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood in 1967.

Zazie dans le métro (1960) – Louis Malle

Zazie dans le métro (1960) – Louis Malle

I viewed the French film Zazie dans le métro (1960, an adaptation of the Raymond Queneau novel) by Louis Malle yesterday, and once again I enjoyed the DVD extras (can DVD extras be considered as secondary sources or paratexts?) more than the film itself. The film is a typical nouvelle vague product (Philippe Noiret self-referentially explaining in the scene where the taxi meter spins fast forward: “Qu’est ce que tu veux, c’est la Nouvelle Vague” (eng: “What do you know, this is the Nouvelle Vague)).

Visual experience: a pop art styled colorful bonanza of surreal visual gags. Noiret’s wife Albertine is played by the beautiful Carla Marlier and one of the protagonists is Paris (the Eiffel tower scenes!) itself.

The DVD extras feature an interview with Philippe Collin, first assistant director, in which he explains the influence of Tex Avery (he did his thesis on Avery) and the influence of American photographer William Klein (Mr. Freedom, see picture below) and his focus on graphic design, advertising neon, etc…

Publicity shot for Mr. Freedom (1970) – William Klein, reproduced on the cover of Midi/minuit fantastique nr. 20 (clicking on the picture brings you to the Midi/minuit fantastique page, where all the covers are reproduced)

Final assessment: Psychological realism 2/10, Oddity value: 7/10, feelgood factor: 7/10 (I did get bored a bit.)


Woebot, whose knowledge of music is phenomenal, brings us up to date on the new releases of 2006 here.

We’ve had notable long-playing wax from Ghostface Killah, Matmos, Hot Chip, Scritti, Scott, Various, Johnny Dark, Villalobos, Luciano, Burial, Lily Allen, Devandra Banhart and The Arctic Monkeys, but they’ve all been distinguished by their distance from each-other, working apart in different scenes. It’s been a year for the Neo-Rockist Pop picker.

It’s been a good year for re-issues as well. Floating my boat have been the two exquisitely packaged Music Box records, fully-endorsed and taken directly from Ron Hardy’s stash of reel-to-reels, great stuff on the Trunk label, the second No-Wave Sampler on Soul Jazz (hold tight for Argabright’s Vol.3), the Broadcast collection of rarities and Martin’s “Roots of Dubstep” compilation.

And in a 2004 post speaks about MP3 blogs and download ethics.

It may have escaped your attention that the “hot boys” of the internet right now are none other than Fluxblog, Popnose [defunct], and Said the Gramophone. They represent a new hybrid of the FTP collective and the blog. They’re calling themselves mp3 blogs.

Political cinema and social realism

Inspired by an article at Wikipedia called political cinema, some research I did on social realism, some films by Godard and a search at Google consisting of “social realism” “political cinema” , I found this article by Mark Cousins (The Story of Film (2004) []) with the title Cinema Gets Real which was published in in June 2006. It deals with the concept of realism in film.

Some quotes:

… The remarkable success of Brokeback Mountain showed that leftfield American filmmaking can do well at the box office and begin to form its own liberal mainstream. Brokeback missed out on the best picture Oscar, … the point remains that Brokeback Mountain is a new high-water mark of success in political cinema.

… Mention of Michael Winterbottom brings up another, unrelated area in which recent cinema has become, in a sense, more real. Despite showing genital close-ups, erections and ejaculation, his film 9 Songs was passed for an 18 certificate in Britain. When Patrice Chéreau’s British film Intimacy, which also featured explicit sex, was given a similar rating, it felt as if the new millennium had ushered in a more tolerant attitude to explicit consensual sexual activity on screen, and so it had. Encouraged by French films like Baise-Moi and Anatomy of Hell, both made by women, the taboo on showing erections in mainstream cinema just seemed to fade away.

… Life did feel like a disaster movie in the days after 9/11, prompting Belgian ultra-realist directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who have won the Cannes Palme d’Or twice, to observe: “Today’s paradox is that the aestheticisation of reality requires the de-aestheticisation of art.” And it is not only realist directors who feel this. Michael Haneke, who had a recent art-house hit with Hidden, explains the intensity of his work by saying that reality is losing its realness.

… the very thing that the earliest filmmakers fell in love with—a camera’s ability to hoover up reality and re-project it in motion and detail on a big screen—is not quite as valuable as it once was. The best European filmmakers today—Haneke, Lars von Trier, Bruno Dumont, Claire [Claire Denis?] —are equally sceptical about film as a medium of social realism.


Things: A Story of the Sixties (1965) – Georges Perec

Things: A Story of the Sixties (1965) – Georges Perec [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Perec’s Things reflects Roland Barthes’s 1957 Mythologies, in which Barthes used semiological concepts in the analysis of myths and signs in contemporary culture. [Aug 2006]

I’ve been told that Myths & Memories is Gilbert Adair’s homage to both Roland Barthes’s Mythologies and to Georges Perec’s Je me souviens.

Henri Barbusse (1873 – 1935)

Henri Barbusse (1873 – 1935)

I was thirty years old. I had lost my father and mother eighteen or twenty years before, so long ago that the event was now insignificant. I was unmarried. I had no children and shall have none. There are moments when this troubles me, when I reflect that with me a line will end which has lasted since the beginning of humanity. —Hell (1908)

This Is Stranger Than Love

Via dadanoias:

Yann Tiersen – Comptine d’un Autre Ete.mp3

So beautifully mellow and sad, why did Amélie made me feel depressed? That faux happiness? Even this piece has its schmaltz and look how many people recorded themselves playing it at Youtube. There is – and this one has the highest level of kitsch, but it works – a version accompanied by an animation film (Aidan Gibbons – The Piano) of an old man reminiscing about his past life .

Eric Satie – Gymnopedie.mp3

(check the 1987 version This Is Stranger Than Love by the British dub and industrial musician Mark Stewart And The Maffia. It has added vocals and sparse electronic beats, and is co-produced by Adrian Sherwood.)

Digression 1:

The Gymnopédies are three piano compositions by Erik Satie, which were published in Paris starting in 1888.

This article, besides describing the compositions and their orchestration by Claude Debussy, also discusses why Satie and his friend, the poet Contamine de Latour, chose to use the word gymnopédie, which refers to an Ancient Greek dance, the gymnopaedia.

Because the original gymnopaedia was danced in Sparta by naked boys, some see this as a not-so-subtle allusion to Satie’s supposed homosexuality. This article also addresses that question.

Digression 2: I was lead to believe that Satie’s condition was asexuality rather than homosexuality.