Kent Jones

  • Manny Farber

    Manny Farber, the best writer on film in America or anywhere else, once listed his critical precepts, some of which were: “playing around with words and grammar to get layers and continuation”; “film-centered rather than self-centered criticism”; “giving the audience some uplift.” Substitute a word here and there and he could have easily been discussing his glorious yet unheralded career as a painter.

    Manny Farber, the best writer on film in America or anywhere else, once listed his critical precepts, some of which were: “playing around with words and grammar to get layers and continuation”; “film-centered rather than self-centered criticism”; “giving the audience some uplift.” Substitute a word here and there and he could have easily been discussing his glorious yet unheralded career as a painter. Organized by MCASD assistant curator Stephanie Hanor, “Manny Farber: About Face” spans forty years and seventy paintings on paper and wood, running the gamut from the luminous single-color paper

  • PAINTER OF PICTURES: MANNY FARBER, A ROUNDTABLE

    GREIL MARCUS

    IN HIS 1957 ESSAY “Hard-Sell Cinema,” Manny Farber talks about “the business-man-artist”: someone who “has the drive, patience, conceit, and daring to become a successful non-conforming artist without having the talent or idealism for rebellious creation.” Farber names Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz in jazz, Larry Rivers and Franz Kline in painting, Salinger, Bellow, and Cheever in the novel, Paddy Chayefsky, Delbert Mann, and Elia Kazan in movies. It's one of many pieces in Negative Space where you get the idea Farber was in a bad mood pretty much from the beginning of the '50s to the

  • Kent Jones

    KENT JONES

    1. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson) Some saw repetition and inflation, but I found Anderson’s comic epic about a family of eccentric genuises, set in a romantically reconfigured Manhattan, every bit as surprising and inventive as Bottle Rocket and Rushmore.

    2. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch) Probably the best movie ever made about Hollywood.

    3. Waking Life (Richard Linklater) A dizzying, oddly moving metaphysical inquiry, a sort of oneiric first cousin to Slacker.

    4. Loin (André Téchiné) A gorgeous tapestry of emotional, sexual, and cultural crosscurrents in modern Tangier.

    5. Jung (

  • Richard Linklater

    NOT UNLIKE ONE OF HIS INTELLIGENT, loquacious characters, Richard Linklater wears his artistry lightly. So lightly, in fact, that he's often confused with the slackers who lent his first film its name. But Waking Life—his latest feature, which opens in October—proves he is something more: a supremely attentive craftsman with a feel for the endless searching that lies at the heart of every well-examined life.

    Like a lot of other filmmakers, Linklater has recently gone digital, with not one but two new projects. Tape (opening in November) is a nervy little chamber piece made on a shoestring

  • Mulholland Drive

    THAT DAVID LYNCH IS A GENUINE VISIONARY may be indisputable, but he has often seemed like an artist with a set of primal obsessions in lieu of a subject. Compelled to plunge headlong into his darkest fears, Lynch has conjured up some of the most mesmerizing passages in American cinema. But the imbalance between the hallucinatory and the desultory has been a constant in Lynch’s work—and a nagging source of frustration. It’s easy to understand his artistic dilemma, though: Creating sequences of such uncanny power necessarily upsets the very idea of narrative or thematic resolution; those spellbinding

  • Kent Jones

    KENT JONES

    1. The House of Mirth (Terence Davies) Davies’s mesmerizing Wharton adaptation is as physically and emotionally precise a film as I’ve seen in years.

    2. Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr) Passionate, mournful, gorgeous, and genuinely visionary.

    3. Les Destinées sentimentales (Olivier Assayas) Another literary adaptation (from Jacques Chardonne), and one of the director’s most personal films: a devastating meditation on time and identity, made with the lightest touch.

    4. L’origine du XXlème siècle ( Jean-Luc Godard) Godard’s first completed work of the new century wonders where the old

  • Edward Yang’sYi Yi

    DESPITE SOME RECENT, heartening developments—stateside distribution for two Tsai Ming-liang movies (Vive l'amour [1994] and The Hole [1998]) and Winstar's acquisition of an assortment of Hou Hsiao-hsiens (including The Puppetmaster [1993] and Flowers of Shanghai [1998])—Taiwanese cinema is still an unknown quantity in America. It takes time for horizons of cinematic “difficulty” to broaden. Unfortunately, that's the kind of time that few distributors or exhibitors can afford, especially now that the once-flourishing network of independent art houses, the kind that gave an Antonioni semipopular

  • the Whitney Biennial film/video program

    By and large, the Whitney Biennial’s cinematic program, a Whitman’s Sampler of film and video work, represents all that is or has been fashionable within the last three years; quality runs a distant second. The curators have gathered up an impressive bouquet of almost-clichés from the fertile no-man’s-land between the art world, the commercial fringe of Indiedom, and the avant-garde: the enshrinement of the outsider (Harmony Korine, Gummo, 1998; Errol Morris, Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, 1997; Yvonne Welbon, Living with Pride, 1999), the inherent abnormality of the supposedly normal (Rolf