I enjoyed that it immersed me in reading the language while at the same time, it taught me about French culture all over the world. The cd was a great...moreI enjoyed that it immersed me in reading the language while at the same time, it taught me about French culture all over the world. The cd was a great bonus.(less)
" The meaning of "Maya Deren" shifts according to who speaks her name. In the discourse of film, "Maya Deren" occupies two places: one of them apoliti...more" The meaning of "Maya Deren" shifts according to who speaks her name. In the discourse of film, "Maya Deren" occupies two places: one of them apolitical and aestheticizing, the other political and feminist. In the former, Maya Deren is an artist and the origin of an American (mainly male) avant-garde film practice. In the latter, Maya Deren is part of a feminist film canon but before its time. Here Maya Deren is an icon, a model, an inspiration. She is in the canon of "women artists" but not of feminism, because she predates as a political project and she does not do what feminist filmmaking does, that is, draw attention to the problematics of gendered identity.
I became a fan of Deren's work almost by accident. Although I took a few film studies courses in university, most of the experimental directors I was subjected to were male. On my own I'd go to the library to look up anything like Chris Marker or Resnais' work and stumbled upon Deren.
I found her works more visually poetic than the filmmakers I've cited above. Her movements expositionary: she used the relationship between the camera and the body (usually her own), to expose the deepest parts of the subconscious (exposing truths in the simple framing of a scene). Aesthetically, she was one of the first to acknowledge the symbiotic affair between structure and style in filmmaking.
In "Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde," Bill Nichols has edited an exploration not just of Deren as the filmmaker, but as Deren the innovator. There's analysis in the book that I hadn't considered before (most notably in Deren's words herself):
"In an anagram all the elements exist in a simultaneous relationship. Consequently, within it, nothing is first and nothing is last; nothing is future and nothing is past; nothing is old and nothing is new… Each element of an anagram is so related to the whole that no one of them may be changed without affecting its series and so affecting the whole. And conversely the whole is so related to every part that whether one reads horizontally, vertically, diagonally or even in reverse, the logic of the whole is not disrupted, but remains intact." (from Anagram - a Deren essay included at the end of the book)
Maureen Turim points to Deren's "image riddles" in her essay which can be seen in the iconic "Meshes of the Afternoon," one of my favorite of Deren's. A woman loops through time, trying to decipher dreams or visions of a mysterious figure(s) in a captured moment in time. The parapraxis in the narrative is stringed together with her other works, exposing Deren as a genius when it came to form before a camera. Ute Holl touches upon Deren's work as a dancer and how that translated poetically into cinema.
The kick for me was the first essay by Annette Michelson "Poetics and Savage Thought" showing Deren not just as a philosopher, but as a fierce defender of experimental works. It's amusing to read of the Cinema 16 Symposium with Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Willard Maas, Parker Tyler, Amos Vogel, and Maya Deren. Deren, among these male writers and thinkers (Thomas dismisses her, Miller genuinely probes her ideas), stands up and defends the poetics of cinema and it makes for a great read.
Jane Brakhage Wodening (former wife and assistant to Stan Brakhage), writes an insightful and personal piece in here that is sure to be a treat for Deren and Brakhage fans.
I'm a big lover of cinema as poetry, having written some analysis of modern day film that utilizes poetics as a way to advance an exposition. Modern day art pieces are influenced greatly by Maya Deren (sometimes unknowingly or rather, they're infected through other influenced works), and if you are fans of the innovations in independent film, you should get to know Deren by starting with this book.(less)
Seeing as I write journal/blog style most of the time, I hadn't considered it for my comic writing, but...moreI picked this (and issue 3) at TCAF this year.
Seeing as I write journal/blog style most of the time, I hadn't considered it for my comic writing, but it seems now like something I might consider. Harbin says that Kate Beaton had suggested diary writing to him. From what I gather it looks like a great way to practise developing a story, storyboard, and fleshing out humor from your every day.
I thoroughly enjoy Harbin's pencilling and his insight into depression from a working creative person's point of view (as opposed to just being creative). There are deadlines (mine are self-imposed, luckily, but I stick by them as best I can), and there are the things you do each day to cope (in Harbin's case, Kung Fu), but they don't "cure" the beast. I especially enjoyed his drawings on his relationships. It's a genuine perspective of "I'm a bit goofy, but hey, whatcha gonna do?" His adventures through NYC are congruent to the creative/working chaos in his head.
I have to see about ordering the rest of the set. TCAF really inspired me to push on with my comic and I look forward to reading more Dustin Harbin comics.(less)
If you're looking for insight into Kubrick's mind, I doubt you'll find anything that will give you an accurate assessment on that. Nelson lays out an...moreIf you're looking for insight into Kubrick's mind, I doubt you'll find anything that will give you an accurate assessment on that. Nelson lays out an ingenuous analysis of Kubrick's body of work giving erudite insights using Kubrick's noted influences and techniques.
I picked this up on the way to see The Shining at the TIFF lightbox in Toronto. I flipped over to the chapter on The Shining, titled "A Remembrance Of Things Forgotten" which is an interesting play of words from Chris Marker's visual essay on photographer Denise Bellon (which I saw that same week). It seems it was the right place to start the book from for me since that's where the Kubrick maze is fully exposed, literally and figuratively. There are a few things in here I hadn't picked up on and Nelson makes note of Kubrick's intrinsic knowledge of cinema's origins and how he builds upon it. Circumventing any of the familiar conspiracy theories by keeping morphology in literature and film grounds, Nelson dives in frame by frame, transposing philosophical ideals that were used to create some of the most iconic moments in film. I especially liked reading things that I had not paid attention to, and have now become crucial to my re-watching of said films.
Formula, formula, formula Bunuel! I'm a stickler for film devices and Kubrick soared above the established ones. (less)
I knew very little of Chris Marker's personal life, but I do know how much he influenced film as a story telling device. His visuals are an aesthetic...moreI knew very little of Chris Marker's personal life, but I do know how much he influenced film as a story telling device. His visuals are an aesthetic that is used in most all documentary films these days. My love for his work started with a little film I saw long ago about one of his cats, a Guilliame.
If you're looking for an inspirational fragment or centre of modern avant garde, I highly recommend reading anything or seeing anything on Chris Marker. If you're into essays, poetic forms, and the aesthetic of documenting events on film, do that as well.
I really enjoyed Nora M. Ater's three staged analysis on Marker. It gave me a thorough insight into his motivations in the film essay medium: taking visuals, all shocking and mundane alike, and recreating a giant memory snapshot on film.
It lays bare a study of this most enigmatic filmmaker and visionary.
I'm also enjoying a few of these University of Illinois Press books on Film Studies.(less)
"I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighb...more"I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up."
In the 1840s, Thoreau went to jail for not paying his taxes. He refused to. Friends paid his tax bill and during this time he wrote "Civil Disobedience." Walden struggled with trying to be an individual in society and from that he experienced and created Walden.
His dry wit and cynicism is at its best at the beginning of the book where he basically lays out his manifesto:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”"
He didn't believe people (and by people, he says "men"), had to work for a living. They should own land, cultivate it, and live each for their own world, to truly discover what was good within themselves.
Thoreau lived for years by Walden pond. Yet he did all this: the seeding, the cultivating, the work on his house...all with the help of the outside world which included his mother and Ralph Waldo Emerson who lived nearby.
I picked up Walden after watching Upstream Color, which features the novel as an ephemeral skeleton. As a fan of Nietzsche's Uberman concept, the idea of transcendentalism is appealing. However, knowing several survival and hermiting stories, I've yet to read someone or know of someone that came out of the woods completely attuned to nature and to the world around them. Sooner or later, something clicks or isn't quite right. Are we meant to be "not right"? Perhaps in my old age when no one depends on me I might challenge myself to it. It's nice to think about, and overwhelming to even start.
It's best to understand that as I read it, I rode the subways, paid for my meals via debit, listened to my tv play on the demand shows, and spent time on my big couch with all of the cares in my little world in swimming in my head. There's something to be said about living apart from everything and it's romantic to think of it. I just don't know how long I'd survive being actually alone even though I know in some corporeal sense that I will always be so. Relationships matter, yo.
I loved his style though and would like to work with Walden at some point in my scribing career.