Sunday, December 13, 2015

Episode #72 - David Bordwell (Daisy Kenyon)

"How much can we squeeze out if we treat films very simple? Sometimes going simple, even with complicated filmmakers, yields things that are often taken for granted."

Truffaut remarked there was cinema before Godard and cinema after Godard. The academic discipline of Film Studies could be said to have its own Godard in David Bordwell, the author of some of the most influential books in understanding the history of film style. In this sprawling conversation, David discusses his upbringing that led him to movies and his first steps in helping spearhead the neo-formalist movement of film criticism. He looks back at the formation of poetics, his role in thinking about the conventions that tell us a film story, the role of auteurism as problem-solvers, and how popular film criticism has influenced in his more recent work. They swing through conversations on art history, Jean-Luc Godard, new media, Hong Kong filmmaking, and Robin Wood. Finally, David and Peter discuss Daisy Kenyon, a 1947 Joan Crawford-Dana Andrews-Henry Fonda melodrama from Otto Preminger with so many radical choices in its delivery of narrative one might mistake it for being a subversive text, even if it's all convention.

0:00-2:40 Opening
3:27-10:22  Establishing Shots - Texture and Claire Denis
11:07-1:27:05 Deep Focus - David Bordwell
1:28:10-1:30:37 Mubi Sponsorship
1:32:20-1:52:00 Double Exposure - Daisy Kenyon (Otto Preminger)
1:52:02-1:56:23 Close
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Notes and Links from the Conversation
—More on Claire Denis: Melissa Anderson on Chocolat; Ben Sachs discusses Nenette et Boni with Christy LeMaster; Darren Hughes and Michael Cleary on a career-spanning overview.
—Arthur Knight's The Liveliest Art
—Iris Barry's history with the MoMA can be found in Robert Stam's biography
—David's Citizen Kane piece from Film Comment can be found in Bill Nichols' anthology
—Rare copies of the Spring 1963 Film Culture issue edited by Andrew Sarris can be purchased via Amazon. Here's the cover.
Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism
—John Caughie covers some of Movie's history in his book, Theories of Authorship
—Iowa's Film Studies Program
—David's dissertation on French cinema was published but is out of print. Curious library seekers may be able to track it down.
—Same with David's Passion of Joan of Arc monograph. However, he has written many times about Dreyer on the blog.
—Michael Baxandall's Painting and Experience in 15th Century Italy introduces certain concepts of "group style" (which has been covered by William Seitz's critical biography of Monet in 1960). His 1989 book Patterns of Intention makes a case for the "Problem-Solver" methodology of artistic criticism. 
—David's own contribution to the 1979 issue of Film Criticism was his infamous "Art Cinema As A Mode Of Practice." It is available to those with access via EBSCO.
Dudley Andrew
—Stephen Heath's "Narrative Space" and Touch of Evil analysis
Jump Cut
—Dudley Andrew's What Cinema Is! and Andre Bazin
Tino Bailo and United Artists: The Company Built By The Stars
Douglas GomreyThe Coming of SoundFilm History: Theory and Practice
—A manifesto on "Revisionist Film History"
—David's posts on Hong Sang-Soo and his recent lecture on Hou Hsiao-Hsien
—David and Kristin recently collected their posts on Christopher Nolan into an e-book.
—David's explanation of rational agents from On the History of Film Style: "I assume that filmmakers make choices, are responsible for them, but may see those choices eventuate in unforeseen consequences. Academics certainly claim agency for themselves in exactly these dimensions; why should we deny them to filmmakers?"
—David's post on Godard and Goodbye to Language
—Much of David's writing on Hong Kong cinema is in his book, but he has posts about ShawScope, Wong Kar-Wai, Johnnie To, and John Woo.
My post on Unfriended, which David references.
—Bordwell on Roger Ebert (and his forward to one of Roger's Great Movies collections) and Robin Wood
—Bordwell's new book, The Rhapsodies, on the work of 1940s film critics
—Some previous posts by David on the 1940s: On Suspense films, on replays, on continuity, on flashabacks.
—David on the Two Shot in contemporary cinema
—David makes references to Erving Goffman's Impression Management

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