1. “Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ’irreversible collapse’?” Natural and social scientists develop new model of how ’perfect storm’ of crises could unravel global system.
“A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of ’collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that ’the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.’ Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to ’precipitous collapse—often lasting centuries—have been quite common.’”
2. “Cinematographer Oswald Morris dies aged 98.” Oscar-winning British cinematographer Oswald Morris, who worked with directors including John Huston and Stanley Kubrick, has died aged 98.
“In 1949, he gained his first screen credit as Director of Photography on the thriller Golden Salamander. Three years later, he began what would be a long-standing collaborative relationship with maverick US director John Huston on his project Moulin Rouge. Huston asked the cinematographer to make the film look ’as if Toulouse-Lautrec had directed it’. Morris’ colour techniques brought them into dispute with the Technicolor film lab, who said their material was ’faulty’. Huston, who was thrilled with the results, was reportedly characteristically blunt in his response to the Technicolor management. The pair also worked on films including Moby Dick and The Man Who Would Be King.”
3. “The Omnivore.” Calum Marsh on sex in the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini.
“It’s tempting to overstate the importance of sex in the films of Pasolini—a consequence, I suppose, of his legacy having been defined long ago by the controversy his work once provoked. It isn’t difficult to understand why. Certainly the degradations boasted by Salo prove no less an endurance test to watch today than they doubtless were in 1975, and much of what Pasolini accomplished with that film and others would qualify as transgressive even by contemporary standards. The castration of Aziz in Arabian Nights is disturbing at least in part for how realistically it’s been depicted: we’re shown in candid detail the genitals tied and bound by string, and when they’re yanked down we see just enough of it to wince. In other words Pasolini’s uncompromising approach to naturalism extends to the one thing we don’t expect to see so naturalistically. Elsewhere in the film nonviolent sex still surprises both for how frankly it’s shown (the camera shies from nothing) and, perhaps more significantly, how openly it’s engaged in. In the world of Arabian Nights sex is conducted without bias or inhibition: strangers delight in one another’s bodies spontaneously, old men enjoy the pleasures afforded by nubile boys, and in general it seems pansexuality reigns.”
4. ”Nymphomaniac Isn’t Pornography.” Unless You’re Into Some Pretty Weird Stuff.
“Leaving aside the fact that ’work of pornography’ and ’a pornographic work’ are not exactly the same thing, [David] Denby’s determination flies in the face of the word’s meaning, which in both in linguistic and legal terms refers to an artwork whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal; the Oxford Dictionary adds that it’s ’intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.’ The U.S. legal system further requires that the work have no artistic merit; Denby self-evidently disagrees with that part.”
5. “New Orleans by Streetlight” A girl broke Frank Relle’s heart, but a city captured it.
“He started the project almost by accident in 2004, when he was showing someone how to do a long-exposure at night. He liked what he saw and started to pursue it, going around in his grandmother’s Lincoln Town Car, at first using available street light, or plugging his lighting rig into an outlet while the home’s owner was asleep. He has since gotten a lot more technical, with a lighting truck that he uses, as well as getting permission from the homeowners and the help of the police to close down streets.”
Video of the Day: Kevin B. Lee holds a candle up to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia:
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