1. “A Girl, A Show, A Prince.” Linda Holmes on the endlessly evolving Cinderella.
“The idea that animates the classic Cinderella is that the prince would not be free to consider Cinderella a desirable mate if he first saw her as she is, but he can meet her under false pretenses and fall in love with her. And, most importantly, once achieved, that love will be durable enough to survive her reversion to her real identity. Getting him to literally recognize her—getting him to look at a woman in rags and realize she’s the woman he wants to marry—seems to function as sort of a stand-in for him proving that he can overlook her low status and choose her as a partner. Whether that’s more a fantasy of romantic love or a fantasy of economic security, power and rescue from a lifetime of washing floors may depend on who’s telling it and who’s hearing it and when.”
2. “Early Exposure.” Jordon Cronk on the first films of Andy Warhol.
“It’s interesting to consider these 15 films alongside Warhol’s better known work from the same period. There’s certainly a stylistic similarity between these shorts and other films such as Kiss, a succession of three-and-a-half minute shots of a random assortment of kissing couples, and Blow Job, comprised of a single, slowed-down shot of the face of actor DeVeren Bookwalter presumably being serviced from off-screen. But durational provocations such as Sleep and Empire, each made in the intervening years, seem to operate on another plane of cinematic purity entirely. ’Warhol’s idea of cinematic mise-en-scène consisted of turning on the camera, pointing it in the general direction of the performers, and just letting it run until the entire roll of film had been exposed,’ writes Hoberman in Midnight Movies. Whether his subjects were human or inanimate, this indeed seems to be the general conceit of Warhol’s formal methodology. Within these coordinates, however, he’s able to construct and prompt intriguing questions regarding the nature of performance, the role of the filmmaker, and the transformative properties of space and time.”
3. “Frame Game.” Jeff Reichert on Michael Snow’s Wavelength.
“In cinema, the frame is always there. It directs our attention to the center of action and then allows the auteur to take over the handling of our gaze. It’s also our life preserver, demarcating areas of vision that are safe havens should we need to look away. Its power over us is massive, but we often don’t think of or notice the frame at all—perhaps we’re made aware of it in the theater prior to a movie’s beginning by the sound of a mechanical motor bringing the masking scrim in tighter or moving it wider, or, in the right repertory circumstance, by the din of patrons hollering that this reframing has been handled improperly. When a movie is incorrectly framed, we notice. When viewing conditions are correct, we don’t: the frame evaporates from our consciousness. But in those rare works when the framed image barely changes, suddenly the frame itself is thrown into relief.”
4. “Things to Come.” Michał Oleszczyk on Piotr Szulkin’s homespun apocalypse.
“Szulkin’s two masterpieces came next, their respective titles mixing baby talk and grand statements in true Dadaist fashion: O-bi, O-ba: The End of Civilization (1984) and Ga, Ga: Hail to the Heroes (1985) owe their puzzling opening syllables to Szulkin’s baby daughter Marta (currently an accomplished evolutionary zoologist at Oxford University). As if to counterbalance this pre-lingual playfulness, the films are uniformly catastrophic in their outlook: both depict a post-nuclear wasteland, reigned by political terror and existential loneliness, indicated by the presence of Camus-like protagonists clinging to remnants of human decency. In O-bi, O-ba, the clueless masses await a mythical Ark in a vast bunker, and in Ga, Ga (inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s allegorical 1962 short La ricotta) a planet by the name of Australia-458 organizes sacrificial killings that seem to combine Logan’s Run theatrics with mock-New Testament setting and Super Bowl-like cheer.”
5. “Kendrick Lamar Interview.” For Interview magazine, Erykah Badu interviews Lamar.
“I always thought money was something just to make me happy. But I’ve learned that I feel better being able to help my folks, ’cause we never had nothing. So just to see them excited about my career is more of a blessing than me actually having it for myself. My folks ain’t graduated from high school or nothing like that, so we always had to struggle in the family—and I come from a big family. But as far as me handling this, it’s a weird feeling because it’s like a blur right now. I think my worst problem is actually living in the moment and understanding everything that’s going on. I feel like I’m in my own bubble. People tell me all the time, ’You’re crazy, going there by yourself,’ because it wouldn’t have soaked in yet that I’m supposed to be quote ’Kendrick Lamar’—whoever this guy’s supposed to be. I still feel like me. So it’s really about me trying to adapt—that’s like the toughest thing for me right now. I feel like I’m in my own world.”
Video of the Day: Björk’s music video for “family”:
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