John Gianvito – Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (2007)

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from Cinemascope
Reigniting the Flame:
John Gianvito’s Profit motive and the whispering wind
By Michael Sicinski

At the 2001 Vancouver International Film Festival I had the good fortune to catch a screening of The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein, a three-hour independent feature by film scholar and curator John Gianvito. I had not heard very much about the film itself, but I had heard Gianvito’s name; a friend of mine interned with him at the Harvard Film Archive around this time. (He held this post for five years, and is now an Assistant Professor at Emerson College in Boston.) Mad Songs is a political film that encompasses multiple stories, but does so following a film historical road less travelled—beginning with D.W. Griffith’s A Corner in Wheat (1909) and leading most recently to Fast Food Nation (2006). Continue reading

John Gianvito – Vapor Trail (Clark) (2010)


Keith Ulich:

John Gianvito’s new documentary, the first of two films focusing on decommissioned, and hazardous, U.S. military bases—one named Clark, the other Subic—in Pampanga province, Philippines, takes its title (minus parenthetical) from the contrails left behind by airplanes at high altitude. A pre-credits sequence shows several such images, in addition to a rolling stream at sunrise; the driver’s-eye interior view of a car, signal clicking, as it prepares to turn (which way unspecified); and faded photographs that depict, we will come to learn, incidents and asides from the Philippine-American War (1899-1913). What connects these disparate objects/mo(ve)ments is a shared sense of impermanence—the feeling that everything we’re viewing is fleeting and, likely, soon forgotten. Continue reading