J. Hoberman

  • The 18th New York Film Festival

    THE BIASES OF THE New York Film Festival are too well known to need belaboring: an allegiance to key names, a creeping nostalgia for the French cinema of the ’30s coupled with a mounting aversion to the “difficult” films of the Duras-Straub-Jancso nexus, an intermittent interest in Eastern Europe, a nod toward the Third World and social documentary, a nose for rediscovery but none for the more interesting shorts of the international avant-garde, and one off-beat Hollywood entry.

    Jean-Luc Godard’s “comeback” aside, the best films of the 18th edition (Handicapped Love, a Swiss documentary on the

  • Jack Smith

    The inclusion of Jack Smith in the Times Square Show may be a tribute to his capacity for inspiring successive waves of New York artists, but the three performances he gave were proof of his ability to alienate even sympathetic audiences. From the underground filmmakers of the early ’60s through Warhol to the Playhouse of the Ridiculous and beyond into performance and punk, Smith has been a tangible influence. As a subterranean artistic force and an eccentric personality he is the closest thing we have to an American Alfred Jarry. Smith makes no distinction between his life and his art and his

  • Alfred Hitchcock

    The comically brief 3-D or stereo movie cycle was launched in late 1952 and peaked that summer. The craze was long over by the time Alfred Hitchcock finished his stereoscopic opus, Dial M For Murder, 1954, and the film was released flat. Belatedly, the original version has premiered at a lower Manhattan revival theater as part of a pre-holographic, film-as-installation 3D retrospective.

    Taken from a hit Broadway play, Dial M is a genteel thriller. Ex-Wimbledon champion Ray Milland decides to do away with Grace Kelly, his wealthy, unfaithful wife, and blackmails an old schoolmate, Anthony Dawson,

  • Ken Jacobs

    Ken Jacobs has worked in 3-D in one form or another (film, slide projection, shadow play) for over a decade. His current project, The Impossible, involves the stereo transformation of a 1905 chase film, Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son (the source for his 1969 “structural” feature as well). The Impossible’s first two chapters used phased double projections and polaroid glasses to simulate volume and depth; the two new chapters employ a technique derived from the Swiss “binocular” artist Alphons Schilling that induces a glasses-free 3-D through the rapid oscillation of two slightly differing images.