Philippe Grandrieux – White Epilepsy (2012)

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Where do images come from? This disturbing and essential question is posed by Philippe Grandrieux, and he already imposed it on himself the start, via Sombre (1999) up to the portrait recently devoted to Masao Adachi (FID 2011). From where, then? Maybe from the depths behind our eyes, ungraspable visions, night in suspension, promise of the end of an eclipse, between dream and nightmare. This is the start (and in truth the programme) of White Epilepsy. In a darkness barely broken by light, a mass advances: a nude back, in a long shot entirely centred on the shoulders. Continue reading

François Caillat – Foucault Against Himself [Subbing Copy] (2014)

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“Don’t ask me who I am, and don’t tell me to remain the same.” —Michel Foucault

From the history of madness, to sexuality and pleasure in classical antiquity, to the law and penal institutions, the breadth of Michel Foucault’s thought was astonishing.

One of the leading intellectuals of the 20th century, Foucault bridged the roles of intellectual and activist, attaining the highest honours of the French academy while using his position to attack the very institutional power that gave him a platform.

Divided into four chapters, FOUCAULT AGAINST HIMSELF focuses on Foucault’s critique of psychiatry, his work on the history of sexuality, the growth of his radicalism arising from his research into the French penal system, the nature of knowledge and underlying structures of human behavior, and his immersion in American counter-cultural movements—in particular the resistance to current social structures that he found among sexual minority communities in San Francisco. Continue reading

Thom Andersen – The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015)

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An opening title card from director Thom Andesen’s new feature film, The Thoughts That Once We Had, directly identifies the cinematic writings of philosopher Gilles Deleuze as the project’s primary subject and inspiration. Deleuze’s two volumes on film, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (1983) and Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1985), are today synonymous with a certain modernist school of thought that, while integrated in academia to such a degree as to be all but understood, remains quite radical. Unquestionably dense and provocatively pedantic, the French empiricist’s filmic texts integrate an array of theories and conceptualizations into a fairly delineated taxonomy, and are therefore fairly conducive to Andersen’s established approach to essay filmmaking—and particularly to the director’s latest, which finds him deliberating on Deleuzian dogma while charting an alternate, personal path through film history. Continue reading

Chris Marker – Le Fond De L’air Est Rouge aka A Grin Without A Cat [2008 edit] (1977)

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“extremely profound & sophisticated anthology of the 60s events conducted by one of the most unique masters of cinema. All the events are well known to us, fundamentally studied & analyzed by each of us, so Marker has to be totally frank, & he is by that matter; he never imposes his points literally, never judges nor justifies, what he does is that he constructs the sequence of the events in such manner that the facts talk for themselves & there’s no place left for accusing Marker in subjectivity. Continue reading

Chuck Workman – What Is Cinema? (2013)

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chuck Workman’s documentary What Is Cinema? tackles the question of its title through over 100 clips and new interviews with Mike Leigh, Jonas Mekas, Yvonne Rainer, David Lynch, video artist Bill Viola, Robert Altman, Kelly Reichardt, Costa-Gavras, Ken Jacobs, Michael Moore, critic J. Hoberman, and others, and with archival interviews from Robert Bresson, Alfred Hitchcock, Chantal Akerman, Akira Kurosawa, Abbas Kiarostami, and more. The film also includes commissioned sequences from experimental artists Lewis Klahr and Phil Solomon. What Is Cinema? not only asks a poignant question, but chronicles the best of filmmaking today and proposes where cinema will go, and should go, in the future. Continue reading

André Heinrich & Alain Resnais – Le Mystère de l’atelier quinze (1957)

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The role of the doctor in a factory. The investigations he makes to discover the origin of ailments which attack the workers in a large chemical factory.

Commande de l’Institut National de la Recherche sur la Sécurité sur la prévention des maladies professionnelles. Tourné en 1957 dans l’usine Francolor d’Oissel, ce documentaire prend des airs d’enquête scientifique pour découvrir le mal mystérieux dont souffre un ouvrier. Le Mystère de l’atelier quinze est un film atypique sur le monde du travail. Il se présente en effet comme un “polar”, avec un “crime” à élucider sous forme d’enquête.
Dans une lettre à L’Avant-scène cinéma, André Heirich décrit la réalisation du film : Continue reading