PRINT December 2007


Chrissie Iles


1 Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud) This brave black-and-white animated narrative feature adapts Satrapi’s graphic novels about her life as a rebellious young woman in revolutionary Iran and as an expat in Vienna.

2 Prater (Ulrike Ottinger) The story of the Prater, the oldest amusement park in the world, known as the “desire machine,” told in a dreamlike sequence of surreal illusions, through the eyes of, among others, Josef von Sternberg.

3 Tigertail (Dara Friedman) A poetic short film with the texture of a home movie: children, a garden, fragments of tribal music recorded by Brian Jones in Morocco.

4 Control (Anton Corbijn) The short life of Joy Division’s lead singer, Ian Curtis, as he descends into despair. Corbijn’s stark black-and-white cinematography renders Macclesfield, UK, as grim as Warsaw, while the legendary young singer disintegrates under the pressure of success and the twinned afflictions of epilepsy and depression.

5 Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov) A Russian woman travels to Chechnya to see her grandson, a soldier in the Russian army. Sokurov wrote the role for eightyone-year-old opera diva and actress Galina Vishnevskaya, who experienced the Leningrad blockade and communicates the universal trauma of war.

6 Frownland (Ronald Bronstein) A searing portrait of a dysfunctional young man desperately attempting to negotiate life in the city—and failing.

7 Observando el Cielo (Jeanne Liotta) An exquisite study of the starry sky at night. Velvety in texture, existential in the distance of the stars from Earth.

8 Quartet (Nicky Hamlyn) A room is filmed in twenty still shots, each containing elements of the points of view in the previous and following shots. The first part of the film is in color and strictly ordered; the second is black and white, and a more open interpretation of the schema of the first. A pure, structuralist analysis of space.

9 Moviola with “3 Minutes of Painting on 6 Minutes of Film” (Karin Schneider and Amy Granat) In this conceptual collaboration, a 16-mm film made by Granat of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye was drawn on and handpainted by Schneider and Granat, then projected from a transparent wall onto a painting by Schneider of a Moviola film-editing machine. A new negative was struck from the print to include the scratches made on it by the projector during the film’s screenings on opening night. Schneider and Granat’s breakdown of authorship creates a visceral osmosis—between the artists, and between film and painting.

10 The Man from London (Béla Tarr) An adaptation of a Georges Simenon novel by the acclaimed Hungarian director. The film noir cinematography by Fred Kelemen and the slow pace with which this unresolved tale of murder unfolds situate it somewhere between The Third Man and Andy Warhol’s Empire.

Chrissie Iles is Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz curator of contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.