A Year in Close-Up: Still Dots and the Blue Velvet Project
Matt Levine & Jeremy Meckler
November 29 was a momentous day: After one year and 102 blog posts, Still Dots was complete. Since December 13, 2011, we’d been pulling one frame for every 62 seconds of screen time in Carol Reed’s The Third Man and writing a biweekly analysis of it. With more than 125,000 words behind us, we reflect on what this micro-analysis taught us—and how it might suggest a new kind of film criticism.
Films the Color of Blood: On The Renegades
“The official cinema all over the world is running out of breath. It is morally corrupt, esthetically obsolete, thematically superficial, temperamentally boring.” So declared the New American Cinema Group in a manifesto sent out in 1962. Fifty years later, Genevieve Yue looks back on a notoriously turbulent decade through the work of underground filmmakers of the day.
Filming at the Site of Urgency
The opening of Jem Cohen’s Occupy Wall Street newsreels—shot through the window of a Brooklyn subway car—uncannily echo a series of videos from two years earlier. Cell phone footage of an Oakland train platform documents the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant III by transit police. For Ben Stork, this citizen videography captures the spirit of works in the Walker’s Cinema of Urgency series.
A Bulwark Against Erasure: Jem Cohen’s Occupy Wall Street Newsreels
Dean Otto & Paul Schmelzer
On September 17, 2011—the day the Occupy movement was born—Jem Cohen was there filming what would become his Gravity Hill Newsreels: Occupy Wall Street, which screened at New York’s IFC Center. A day after the movement’s one-year anniversary, Cohen discussed the project and how these “newsreals” served as a “bulwark against … erasure” by mainstream news outlets intent on declaring Occupy dead.
Surreally Yours: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cinematic Journey
As a student in Chicago, Apichatpong Weerasethakul saw some of the Surrealists’ Exquisite Corpse drawings and, upon returning home to Thailand, used them as an inspiration for his first film, Mysterious Object at Noon (2000). Since then, his career has traversed dreamlike and surreal terrain, from Blissfully Yours (2002) to his Palme d’Or–winning Uncle Boonmee (2010).
Natalia Almada’s Borderlands: Life, Death, and Mexico’s Drug War
Fifty thousand people or more have been killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006. But in her new documentary, El Velador, Natalia Almada addresses the death without depicting it: focusing on the quiet work of a night watchman in the cemetery where some of the Sinaloa drug cartel’s most notorious members are laid to rest, the violence has already happened, or it’s about to.
The Story of Film: Mark Cousins’ Cinematic Odyssey Around the World (Twice)
Peter Schilling Jr.
As subtitles go, filmmaker and critic Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film, an expansive yet intimate 15-hour documentary about the history of movies, gets it right: An Odyssey. Created over the course of more than a decade, his filmic journey took him around the world, twice, as he set out to interview leading personalities and capture footage from global cinema’s vibrant past and present.
A Ribbon of Dreams: Dreams and Cinema
The experience of watching films, wrote critic Jules Romains in 1912, is a “group dream.” Inspired by the theme of the 2012 edition of Summer Music and Movies, In Dreams, Walker Film/Video intern Matt Levine examines the dreamlike nature of film and the notion of dreams in cinematic history, from the Lumière Brothers and Méliès through film noir to Stalker, The Matrix and Inception.
Time Immemorial: A Tribute to Chris Marker (1921-2012)
Chris Marker has always had perfect timing: Born on July 29, 1921, he passed away on July 29, 2012, exactly 91 years later. Dubbed “the prototype of the twenty-first-century man” by Alain Resnais, he seemed to be everywhere at the right time, hitting every political hot spot of the later 20th century and creating innovative films wherever he went.