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On Film / The Daily — Sep 27, 2019
Nathaniel Dorsky’s A Fall Trip Home (1964)

It’s been a week of open tabs and live streams competing for attention as millions around the world march for climate awareness, the House launches an impeachment inquiry, and British parliamentarians clamor back onto those green benches. If you’ve got a moment, it’s been quite a week for cinema, too.

  • When New York’s Museum of Modern Art reopens on October 21, cinephiles will want to be sure to catch Private Lives Public Spaces, an exhibition devoted to “artist’s cinema, amateur movies, and family filmmaking as alternatives to commercial film production.” Right at the entrance to this 100-screen installation will be a presentation of Nathaniel Dorsky’s 17 Reasons Why (1987), shot on 16 mm and meant to be projected at sixteen frames per second. In a post at his site, Dorsky explains why he’s allowing one of his works to be presented digitally for the first time. On a related note, Canyon Cinema has posted Brett Kashmere’s essay on Dorsky’s A Fall Trip Home (1964), a subjective blend of autumnal foliage and football games. “Few have lensed this symbolic ritual and pageantry of masculinity as sensuously,” writes Kashmere. “Even more remarkable, Dorsky’s delicate handling of the game and its defining season was made at the tender age of twenty-one.”
  • Jump Cut, the highly influential journal of film and media studies founded in 1974 by John Hess, Chuck Kleinhans, and Julia Lesage, has had an online archive for a good number of years, but now all fifty-eight issues are safely and securely preserved—and available for download—in a searchable database at the Internet Archive. In other movie journal news, as I keep mentioning in other contexts, the new, eightieth issue of Cinema Scope is out. And Tim Lucas, editor of the late and lamented Video Watchdog, has reconvened a famed panel for a roundtable discussion of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.
  • From Girish Shambu comes word that Irene Lusztig, a filmmaker and professor of film and digital media at UC Santa Cruz, has made her syllabus Feminist Filmmaking freely available for downloading. Essays, manifestos, lists, project ideas, and links to further reading are collected across more than a hundred pages.
  • The Austin Film Society has posted video of all of Richard Linklater’s introductions to and discussions of the films he programmed this summer in his Jewels in the Wasteland series. The gist here is that the 1980s is an unfairly maligned decade in cinema history, falling as it does between the New Hollywood of the 1970s and the heyday of American independent film in the 1990s. Watch Linklater talk about Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero (1983), Agnès Varda’s Vagabond (1985), Albert Brook’s Lost in America (1985), Wayne Wang’s Chan Is Missing (1982), John Sayles’s Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), and Alan Rudolph’s Choose Me (1984).
  • Let’s wrap with tales of two cities. Ray Pride has put together Newcity Film’s annual survey of the fifty top movers and shakers in Chicago’s bustling film scene, an impressive roster of filmmakers, programmers, educators, producers, and preservationists. And A. O. Scott has written an ode to his city to accompany a splendid collection of photos from the New York Times archive, behind-the-scenes shots of casts and crews that, over the past half-century, have made New York, as Scott puts it, a “movie star.”

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