Mark Rappaport

Mark Rappaport – Sergei / Sir Gay (2016)

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Sergei Eisenstein, one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time, was also a brilliant plastic artist. His thousands and thousands of drawings are superb–as are the hundreds of homoerotic drawings he made for his own amusement, never meant for publication. In this video, the homoerotic references in Eisenstein’s films are examined and explored in ways that they never had been before. Read More »

Mark Rappaport – Mozart in Love (1975)

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Mark Rappaport’s second feature film (amongst a remarkable string of off-beat, experimental narratives that runs from CASUAL RELATIONS to CHAIN LETTERS) takes off from the deliberate anachronism of using modern props, performance styles and attitudes to evoke the romantic entanglements of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Rich La Bonte) with three sisters: Constanza (Margot Breier), Sophie (Sasha Nanus) and Louisa (Sissy Smith). This melodramatic plot of rejection, pining and sacrifice may have its basis in reality, but everything else is strictly stylized: back-projected settings, mix-and-match historical costumes, primary-colored walls, actors striking poses and the miming to records of Mozart arias, frequently interrupted by the raw audio track of real, untrained singing. Read More »

Mark Rappaport – Impostors (1979)

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Brecht said drama should always be performed with the house lights up so that that the spectator never forgot he was watching a play. Rappaport wants to remind us how artificial realism is, and how unreal our lives are. In this house of mirrors of one-size-fits-all, wash-and-wear identities, where is “reality”? In this echo-chamber of recycled one-liners, where is truth? What would it mean to escape from these permanent-press, ready-to-wear straight jackets? What would be left of language, thought, and emotion if we freed ourselves from the systems that we claim limit us? Life may be an elaborately coded charade, but what would expression be without the codes? We’d be invisible men if we took off our imaginative leisure suits. Rappaport takes his place alongside Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville, as an all-American explorer of the unreality of reality. It’s fitting that avant-garde theater pioneer Charles Ludlum is featured in one of the leads. —people.bu.edu/rcarney Read More »

Mark Rappaport – Our Stars (2015)

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Stars of the 1940s and 1950s, were they cast for their mutual affinities or for their commercial appeal? If and when they were re-starred years later, did the magic still work? Did sparks still fly? The movie business, a machine that manufactured romance and desire at the same time that it documented the process of aging. A meditation on youth and beauty, aging and box office. Read More »

Mark Rappaport – The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk (2015)

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A video essay exploring the frequency and meaning of that particular prop in a wide variety of Sirk movies. Is it a device that traps and keeps women in an artificial world with a limited point of view? Or is it a gateway to the past and the future, and a distorted but nevertheless real vision of the roles that woman are forced to play in society? It’s an exploration of the texts and subtexts of commercial films and the subterranean and complicated ways that they affect us and can be read. Read More »

Mark Rappaport – John Garfield (2002)

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Synopsis:
Documentary essay about actor John Garfield. A rebel, but also sexy and Jewish. Discusses his work in film and theater, as well as his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Read More »

Mark Rappaport – From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995)

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As in his Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, Mark Rappaport offers a trenchant piece of film criticism, revisionist history, and social commentary in the form of a movie star’s fictionalized autobiography–specifically Jean Seberg (Mary Beth Hurt) speaking from beyond the grave about her life and career, as well as the careers of Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, who, like Seberg, have also been associated with radical politics. Rappaport is a highly entertaining raconteur as he speaks through his title character, always justifying his many digressions on such subjects as movies about Joan of Arc, close-ups, expressionless actors, film directors who depict their actress-wives as whores, the Vietnam war, the FBI, and the Black Panthers; he also has a rather chilling story to tell–not only about Seberg but also about what her audience did and didn’t see in her films from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse, Breathless, Lilith, and Paint Your Wagon. Essential viewing.

Jonathan Rosenbaum Read More »