Monthly Archives: October 2008

Day of the Dead

Calavera de la Catrina (before 1913) by Posada

Andrew Sarris @80

The American Cinema Directors and Directions 1929-1968 by you.

The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968 (1968)Andrew Sarris

Andrew Sarris, born on October 31, 1928 in New York, is a U.S. film critic and a leading proponent of the auteur theory of criticism. He is generally credited with popularising this theory in the United States and coining the half-English, half-French term, “auteur theory,” in his essay, “Notes on the Auteur Theory,” which was inspired by critics writing in the French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma.

He wrote book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968, published in 1968, an opinionated assessment of films of the sound era, organized by director. The book helped raise an awareness of the role of the film director among the general public.

He is often seen as a rival to Pauline Kael, who had originally attacked the auteur theory in her essay, “Circles and Squares“.

The gullibility of American audiences


October 30, 1938 radio broadcast

Orson Welles first gained wide American notoriety 70 years ago today for his October 30, 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. WellsThe War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a large number of listeners to panic, now commonly and somewhat euphemistically referred to as mass hysteria. Welles and his biographers subsequently claimed he was exposing the gullibility or naïveté of American audiences in the tense preamble to the Second World War.

Placeholder for Icon of erotic art #34


La Fleuve (1913) – Leon Spilliaert

Ghent today, lovely work by Leon Spilliaert, very sensual, very erotic though not in a stroky way.

Unfortunately permission was not granted to photograph this work.

The work depicts a seated female, seen from behind left from a birdseye perpective. This point of view accentuates here pear-like voluptuousness. The tone is dark, reminiscent of Gauguin’s Tahitian ladies.

The woman is seated on a rock overlooking the sea. Just as the Danish Mermaid [1] protects the city of Copenhagen, this siren has been protecting the imaginary coast of the Belgian seaside since 1913.


Click for credits

One day I will find a decent online copy of this painting and point you to it. For now, please accept the substitute.

In the meantime, let me show you these:


World Cinema Classic #70

In search of nonspace and unthought thoughts.

Sans Soleil

Sans Soleil

In search of nonspace and unthought thoughts.

I’ve been mulling over French director Chris Marker‘s Sans Soleil for four days now. The key scene for me was the shooting of the giraffe, which gave its origins away as far as genre-theoretics are concerned.

The key phrase was perhaps the “salute to all unposted letters,” but is safe to say that the film is brilliantly written throughout.

I saw the film at MuHKA on last Saturday, introduced by a Belgian scholar (who?). He stated that the film was unclassifiable, because the “film essay is not a genre but a small category”. However, in my opinion, the film fits the mondo film category, and functions as a highbrow counterpart to Mondo Cane. The film also begs a viewing of the masterwork Blood of the Beasts. But Sans Soleil is a different film altogether. It is a philosophical film that raises questions of medium specificity, multimedia, memory and authenticity.

I have a feeling that Sans Soleil can be invoked to clarify Gilles Deleuze‘s any-space-whatever (see B. C. Holmes – “The Deleuzian Memory of Sans Soleil” [1]), but to prove that would need some more studying of Gilles Deleuze on film.

RIP Gerard Damiano (1928 – 2008)

Still from Deep Throat featuring Linda Lovelace

Gerard Damiano (August 4, 1928October 27, 2008) was an American director of pornographic films. He made the infamous film Deep Throat in 1972 starring Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, cited in the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat as the most profitable film ever made. Other notable films made by Damiano include The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) and the sadomasochistic classic The Story of Joanna (1975).

A History of Derision, wikified

A History of Derision

A History of Derision

A History of Derision by way of Illusory Confections who wrote on its subject[1]:

“Be still my beating heart, this is practically everything I adore in one tidy 240 page bundle! But it isn’t referenced anywhere online and I couldn’t even find mention of it on the Atlas Press site. So I zipped an email to Atlas inquiring about it, and, sadly, its nonexistence was confirmed. Apparently it was a planned project that fell to the sidelines and “[1]

the website is the accurate source of what is available, the catalogue part bibliography and part fiction, if you like…

Here it is again in a wikified version,

A History of Derision is an aborted project by Arkhive, an Atlas Press imprint.

It builds on André Breton’s Anthology of Black Humour, but is more a history of French avant-garde.

French Romantics: Sade, Lassailly, Rabbe, Forneret, Nodier, Fourier

Bouzingos: Borel and O’Neddy

Hydropathes: Goudeau, Cros, Haraucourt, Lafargue, Richepin, Tailhade, Rollinat, Monselet, Sapeck, Allais.

Hirsutes and the Chat Noir: Salis, Moréas, Lorrain, Verlaine, Sarcey, Haraucourt.

Arts Incohérents: : Lévy, Rivière, Allais.

Zutistes: Allais, Cros, Nouveau, Rimbaud, Ajalbert, Haraucourt, Verlaine.

La Nouvelle Rive Gauche : Trézenick, D’Aurevilly, Verlaine.

Lutèce: Rall, Rimbaud, Corbière, Caze, Rachilde, Floupette (Vicaire and Beauclair).

Symbolists : de Gourmont, Jarry, Tailhade, Huysmans, Pawlowski.

Ecole de Paris : Apollinaire, Jacob, Salmon, Albert-Birot, Cami.

Dada : Aragon, Picabia, Ribemont-Dessaignes, Satie, Arp, Rigaut.

Surrealism : Desnos, Prévert, Péret, Topor, Magritte, Scutenaire, Daumal, Gilbert-Lecomte.

Situationists : Arnaud and Jorn, Dotremont, Mariën.

Daily Bul & Co: Bury, Béalu, Colinet.

Encyclopédie des FARCES et ATTRAPES et des  MYSTIFICATIONS

Farcistes: Encyclopédie des farces et attrapes et des mystifications, François Caradec, Noël Arnaud.[2]


anyspacewhatever, or, in search of philosophical poetry and poetic philosophy

in search of philosophical poetry and poetic philosophy


Time-image is a concept of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze which argues that because of film’s inherent ambiguity (it must be “read” as much as it is “seen” and “heard”); it produces what Deleuze calls “any-space-whatever.” The theory was first brought up in his books on film in relation to such directors as Yasujiro Ozu. He borrowed the term from Pascal Augé (although some scholars erringly reference Marc Augé).

Now Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector appropriates (borrows) French philosopher Deleuze’s concept as  theanyspacewhatever, an exhibition which brings together new installations by 10 artists including Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Jorge Pardo and Carsten Höller. Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho will be shown backwards in 24-hour sequences during which the museum will remain open.

Any computer-dating questionnaire will try to match intellectual like with like

300px-Madame_X_by_SargeantDying Adonis by Goltzius

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“Physically, men and women are generally attracted to each other because of their differences. Ask any group of men from any culture to assess the attractiveness of a female, and they will tend to opt for the figure which curves where they are flat, is soft where they are strong and — though this may be a matter for aesthetic as much as scientific debate — swells where they are narrow. The same, in reverse, is true of women, who will tend to express a preference for men with broad shoulders tapering to narrow hips. … Yet in every other respect, we expect the sexes to be attracted to each other because of their similarities. Any computer-dating questionnaire will try to match intellectual like with like.Brain Sex