1. “The Invisible Woman.” Pitchfork’s Jessica Hopper converses with Björk.
“I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I’m saying to you now helps women, I’m up for saying it. For example, I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him. It really is strange.”
2. “Lights, Camera, Taking Action.” Manohla Dargis on how women are fighting for better opportunity in Hollywood.
“Solidarity is a seductive word, but it can also obscure the differences between sexism and racism. With rare exceptions, women of all colors were shut out of directing during the old Hollywood studio era, for instance. But some white women did work in executive suites and on sets, while many more worked as actresses, even as black and Asian women were relegated to invisibility or maid uniforms. Female filmgoers helped popularize movies and build a star system that, in turn, produced indelible images of women—along with stereotyped roles, the casting couch and the occasional suicide. There are still female stars, and most, alas, are still white, but actresses now often compensate for a lack of roles by playing the star on the red carpet and in the entertainment media.”
3. ”American Sniper Is Not Your Culture-War Talking Point.” Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey lays down the law.
“But lost in all of this flag-planting and finger-pointing and posturing is the fact that there’s a movie there—and, inconveniently for the players involved, one that’s nuanced and complex enough to resist pigeonholing by either camp. Contrary to what either [Ryan] Adams or ’@harshnewyorker’ might tell you, American Sniper is not some jingoistic, flag-waving celebration of killing brown people (for that, I’d direct you to Lone Survivor, another movie that opened around this time last year). Indeed, the first time an onlooker celebrates one of Kyle’s kills, he snaps, ’Get the fuck out of here,’ and Eastwood holds on that difficult moment. The movie, over and over, is about that moment, and the director revisits it, in various forms, throughout the film’s two-plus hours. As several others have noted, the film is all of a piece with the central theme of Eastwood’s masterpiece, Unforgiven (’It’s a helluva thing, killin’ a man’), and in line with the thoughtful reflection of his WWII film, Flags of Our Fathers—a film that inspired him to immediately make a (better) follow-up picture, Letters from Iwo Jima, that considered that conflict from the other side. This is not a filmmaker who takes war lightly, and neither does his film. “
4. “Interview: Shlomi Elkabetz.” Nicolas Rapold interviews Shlomi Elkabetz, co-director of Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.
“I went to a divorce ceremony. I was still really afraid because I didn’t have the image—I needed the image, I’m a film director. I just need one picture and from there I can fly. There are open-door trials, but you cannot go into the marital court. It’s a secret. And I went to the court somehow. I said, I am writing an article about marriage and divorce, I’ve never seen a gett. There was a really nice rabbi there who told me, come, stand on the side, if the couple agrees, you can see the gett. I go to court, I wait, the couple comes, and the lawyer says ’No problem.’ In the court they were afraid the husband was going to say no [to the divorce]. The husband got a little crazy over the years, he was not 100 percent well, but still he has to say yes—you cannot force him to say yes. And at a certain point, she closed her eyes and waited, and the room was still. When she got the divorce… I don’t know if any of us can imagine what it means to do anything for so many years for something everybody knows you deserve—your freedom.”
5. “The Quiet Horrors of House Arrest, Electronic Monitoring, and Other Alternative Forms of Incarceration.” How imprisonment extends beyond the jailhouse into every arena of American life.
“Yet when right-wing advocates against mass incarceration opt for a new approach, they tend to support approaches that lead to identifying certain areas (homes, blocks, schools, neighborhoods) as ’crime hotspots,’ and cramming them with law enforcement and surveillance. Right on Crime, a Texas-based ’prison reform’ group which Newt Gingrich, Jeb Bush, and many other conservative luminaries promote, calls for using money saved from reducing prison populations to expand ’data-driven policing’ and, in the process, increase the use of electronic monitoring and private security firms. Case in point: a method called ’predictive policing’ is increasingly gaining favor with right-wing ’reformers.’ Appropriately enough, as reporter Aaron Cantú documents, the very concept was birthed by a private company called PredPol. As the ACLU of Massachusetts notes, this technique ’essentially applies the Total Information Awareness approach to policing.’ That means drawing upon large pools of surveillance, arrest, and other data to develop ’algorithms’ to determine when and where a crime might happen in the future. The use of historical arrest data ensures, of course, that police presences will intensify in places that are already most heavily patrolled and where the most arrests occur: poor neighborhoods of color.”
Video of the Day: Jia Zhang-ke’s Smog Journeys short for Greenpeace:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.