Gary Indiana

  • SUSAN SONTAG’S UNGUIDED TOUR

    VENICE WITHDREW FROM THE GRISLY business of making history after losing Crete in 1669; the city has been a museum ever since, sinking languorously under the combined weight of its past and armies of despoiling tourists. It is the ideal resort town of the homeless modern mind, a nobler Disneyland for the meditative. To love Venice properly is to find one’s own mutability mirrored in its scaling frescoes and chipped mosaics: Palladian churches, love affairs, Tiepolos, opinions, palazzi, arcades, botanical gardens, tastes. The inventory is inexhaustible, the effort of holding it all in one’s head

  • GETTING READY FOR THE GOLDEN EIGHTIES: A CONVERSATION WITH CHANTAL AKERMAN

    IT WAS AN EARLY AND widespread recognition that Chantal Akerman’s work is indisputably brilliant, and that it would perhaps place her, one day, in the same master class occupied by Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson, and Michelangelo Antonioni. Because Akerman analyzes the properties of constructed space and light independent of the human content that passes through it, her films have often been used for the theoretical arguments of structuralist film; similarly the films have been used to illustrate feminist critiques. The confluence of these mutually accommodating but by no means identical

  • A PENNY FOR THE PEEP SHOW

    The worst films I’ve ever seen, the ones that send me to sleep, contain ten or fifteen marvellous minutes. The best films I’ve ever seen only contain ten or fifteen valid minutes.

    —Man Ray, 1951

    Who has failed to detect the note of avuncular senility in the writings of our most powerful film critics, as they wax on about the Important Films in their lives? As they recall the “quintessential and atypical,” the “good but not great,” the “stylish but not powerful,” the “powerful but not stylish”? To paraphrase the Surrealist obsequies for Anatole France: once these stiffs are finally dead I

  • SCATTERED PICTURES: THE MOVIES OF WERNER SCHROETER

    Life is very precious, even right now.

    —Werner Schroeter, Eika Katappa

    THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE LAST two decades, vanguard cinema was generally regarded as an amalgam of styles and procedures derived from the “French New Wave,” “New American Cinema,” and from numerous nonaligned filmmakers who emerged in the ’60s both inside and outside the commercial mainstream. The influence of Jean-Luc Godard was felt everywhere from Andy Warhol to Pier Paolo Pasolini. Godard had begun with narrative films that incorporated broad references to film history and drew conspicuous attention to the act of watching

  • Indiana in Berlin: At the FilmFestspiele '81

    JIBING ODDLY WITH ITS plethoric aspirations in years past, the 31st Internationale FilmFestspiele Berlin, or the “Berlinale,” invited the usual guests but saved its charm for the ones with money. The welcome extended to difficult, eccentric, unpopular, artistically significant and usually undistributable films was hardly open-armed. Indeed, films bearing any taint of originality were routinely exhibited as far from the main festival events as the geography of central Berlin permitted. Noncompeting films were scattered categorically into a constellation of little cinemas, which, if not precisely