Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Episode #111 - Michael Sicinski (Sink or Swim)

"What is this thing in front of us?...Why would somebody paint on film?...How successful is this 45 minute zoom?"

Given the ever growing plethora of criticism, it makes it more and more difficult to find critics whose every word feels inspired, and more than that, fewer critics who are even given spaces to write on films that create impassioned, reflective, and incisive prose and arguments. Houston-based writer Michael Sicinski is one of the rarities left today. His criticism makes experimental films that might alienate audiences feel accessible and who takes the liberal Hollywood schmaltz and demonstrates how alienating it can be. In this broad ranging interview, Michael takes Peter through his move from art history to cinema, the academic sphere to the internet, and from writing to teaching. The two then dive into Su Friedrich's haunting memory film Sink or Swim, and look at how a work that demonstrates formal rigor at every moment is also imbued with emotion that any audience can feel as well. Plus, Peter checks back in with former guest Eric Allen Hatch and his new non-profit video store in Baltimore, looking at how a seemingly "outdated" model of cinephilia might just save its future.

0:00-3:33  Opening
4:25-15:42 Establishing Shots — Beyond Video with Eric Allen Hatch
16:28-1:24:12 Deep Focus — Michael Sicinski
1:25:25-1:29:50  Sponsorship Section
1:31:05-1:52:43 Double Exposure — Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich)
1:52:48-2:00:37 Close / Outtake

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Notes and Links to the Conversation
—Subscribe to Michael Sicinski's Patreon, check out his website, and follow him on Twitter
—Read his criticism on Cinema Scope, Cargo, MUBI Notebook, and Cineaste
—Follow Eric Allen Hatch and follow his writing here. Listen to his original Cinephiliacs episode here.
—learn about Beyond Video and how to donate your discs
—Watch the original 1972 version of The Lorax
—Scott MacDonald's Avant-Garde Film Books (there are numerous but I recommend Avant-Garde Film, the Critical Cinema series, and Canyon Cinema)
—Steve Erickson covers the history of the UseNet Forums here
—Watch The Invisible Circus
—Some of the history of tape trading, bootlegs, and cinephilia is covered here and here
—Some people mentioned: Steve Erickson, Mike D'Angelo, Theo Panyadies
—Michael remembers Haroun Farocki
Kaja Silverman
—Films shown in the Farocki / Silverman Class: (nostalgia) (Hollis Frampton), Diary of Yunbogi (Oshima Nagasi), Ulysse (Agnes Varda), Les Années déclic (Raymond Depardon). Michael's suggested addition: Once in Montreal (Michael Snow)
—I was unable to figure out which seminar it was but you can listen to entire Flaherty Seminars now online via the NYU Library
—Michael on Crash, Hidden Figures, and American Sniper
—Explanation of grades for experimental film
—Michael's latest roundup from the Toronto Film Festival's Wavelengths
—Michael on Wavelength
—Michael on Twin Peaks: The Return (here and here)
—Michael Robinson's Light is Waiting
—Violet Lucca on the nature of Vine
—Watch Su Friedrich's Sink or Swim Kanopy
—Pasolini on "Cinema of Poetry"
—Michael on one of Friedrich's latest films
—Watch a set of Su Friedrich films on Vimeo
—Three more Friedrich films on Kanopy: Ties That BindCool Hands No Heart and Scar Tissue
—A review of Friedrich's Gut Renovation
Scott MacDonald on Su Friedrich

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