Hiroshima footage

I listened to an interview with Hiroshima in America co-author Greg Mitchell last weekend on FAIR’s radio program, Counterspin. Mitchell talked about how documentary footage taken by both Japanese and American film crews in the days and weeks following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been suppressed by US authorities for decades. When the Pentagon released the footage simultaneously to the National Archives and the Japanese government in 1968, film scholar Erik Barnouw (1908-2001) assembled a portion of it into a 16-minute film entitled Hiroshima-Nagasaki August, 1945 (1970). He then screened the film at MoMA (which will …

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Avant-garde cinema

I’ve been going through the excellent new 2-DVD release from Kino this week, Avant-garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s and 30s (which I’ll review shortly), but I’m also reminded of Image Entertainment’s much larger 7-DVD box set, Unseen Cinema: Early Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941, to be released in October.

Before collapsing in a mass of consumerist tension, however, I should point out that the two sets are fairly distinct. Some of the films on the two sets overlap, like Man Ray’s Le Retour ‡ la raison (1923), Fernand LÈger’s Ballet mÈcanique (1924), Slavko Vorkapich’s The Life and Death of 9413,

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Response to a Meme

Darren Hughes has issued a blog meme, so here is my response:

1. Total number of films I own on DVD and video.

I’d estimate around 250, which I consider somewhat spartan compared to a lot of DVD aficionados I know. (By contrast, I own less than a dozen VHS tapes.) Most of these titles are imports or films I wouldn’t otherwise easily rent, although I realize online DVD providers are making such a criterion obsolete these days. Fortunately I have the luxury of living in a city with several independent, well-stocked video stores, and pretty much only purchase …

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Citing sources

Although I’ve seen Robert Bresson’s films numerous times over, I never miss the opportunity to attend the rare local screening or event that pertains to his work, partly to find material for the Masters of Cinema site I co-admin with Trond Trondsen, www.robert-bresson.com, and partly out of personal interest. (Okay, fanaticism.)

Last night, I attended a lecture at a California university that was both an accredited class for students as well as a public event. It was to include a screening of Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest (1951). As I arrived, I grabbed a copy of the professor’s …

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Best of 2004

Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow

I’ve been traveling a bit during the holidays, and combined with the devastating news of world disaster, it has been difficult to blog about movies the past couple of weeks. Now that the new year has begun, however, and Los Angeles seems especially prepped for good screenings the next few weeks (including the Palm Springs IFF and retrospectives of Graham Greene, Maurice Pialat, Guy Maddin, Von Stroheim, Von Sternberg/Dietrich), I will be posting regularly again.

First up is my top ten lists for 2004, and I should note that these are all films …

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Election review

Given the result of the election this week, I’ve been feeling sporadically nauseous, hopeless, and angry. (I concur with Filmjourney discussion participant Michael Kerpan, who writes, “not even an Ozu film could possibly cheer me up.” But in a twist of irony, the Ozu retrospective in Los Angeles began this week.) The idea of four more years of neoconservative extremism both here and abroad fills me with despair, yet the most aggravating aspect of the election has undoubtedly been the mainstream media response to it–a desperate effort to squelch the last four years of dissent and deny that the country …

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