A Critical Cinema 5: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers

A Critical Cinema 5: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers

A Critical Cinema 5: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers

A Critical Cinema 5: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers

Synopsis

It is widely understood that writing can discuss writing, but we rarely consider that film can be used as a means of analyzing conventions of the commercial film industry, or of theorizing about cinema in general. Over the past few decades, however, independent cinema has produced a body of fascinating films that provide intensive critiques of nearly every element of the cinematic apparatus. The experience of these films simultaneously depends on and redefines our relationship to the movies.

Critical Cinema provides a collection of in-depth interviews with some of the most accomplished "critical" filmmakers. These interviews demonstrate the sophistication of their thinking about film (and a wide range of other concerns) and serve as an accessible introduction to this important area of independent cinema. Each interview is preceded by a general introduction to the filmmaker's work; detailed filmographies and bibliographies are included. Critical Cinema will be a valuable resource for all those involved in the formal study of film, and will be essential reading for film lovers interested in keeping abreast of recent developments in North American cinema.

INTERVIEWEES: Hollis Frampton, Larry Gottheim, Robert Huot, Taka Iimura, Carolee Schneeman, Tom Chomont, J.J. Murphy, Beth B and Scott B, John Waters, Vivienne Dick, Bruce Conner, Robert Nelson, Babette Mangolte, George Kuchar, Diana Barrie, Manuel DeLanda, Morgan Fisher.

Excerpt

In the introductions to earlier volumes of the Critical Cinema project, I have focused on the “critical” function of the films that instigate my interviewing: their creation of an evolving critique of conventional media and the audience that has developed for it, their potentially “critical” educational function in expanding the awareness of teachers and students about the pedagogical opportunities of cinema. And I have discussed the extensive, varied history of critical cinema as a valuable aesthetic tradition in its own right, now endangered by modern technological developments (see especially the introduction to A Critical Cinema 4 [2004]). In none of the previous general introductions, however, do I focus on what I have come to believe is a crucial element in virtually all the films and videos I discuss with filmmakers: their attempt to mechanically/chemically/electronically incarnate the spiritual. Indeed, in the general theoretical and critical literature about cinema there is remarkably little attention to the spiritual (I use “spiritual” here in the most conventional sense, to refer to that mysterious dimension of experience beyond the material, or incarnated within the material, that is exhausted by neither the senses nor the intellect and is generally perceived as the foundation for moral reflection and action). This paucity of comment seems increasingly strange to me, since I have come to think of the modern history of cinema, and the considerable history of critical cinema in particular, as an echo of, or at least a parallel to, the way in which the spiritual has been historically understood and how it has evolved within human culture.

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