Decisions, Dreams: Giotto, Fra Angelico, and John Ford

The Vision of Pope Innocent III; Saints Peter and Paul Appearing to Saint Dominic

The pictorial strategies developed in the Trecento are most generally appreciated for their innovations in the representation of geometric space. Unlike flat byzantine mosaics, Trecento pictures started to become a plane, space began to recede outwards. Paintings were becoming something like a window through which the beholder witnessed the depth of his world expanding out, drawing him in. Panofsky writes that this was “an objectification of the subjective [experience].” And yet, at the time Cimabue, Giotto, and Gaddi were experimenting, the emphasis of a painting wasn’t on the representation of a frozen moment in time. This pictorial demand came later. In the Trecento pictures worked in the service of narrative, what Alberti called the Istoria. And for this reason they’re very economical; everything has to move quickly, to imply the before and after. They use quotations and summarize as much as possible. It strikes us how multiple events can happen simultaneously in these panels. People can appear twice, performing different acts in different places, and this isn’t a contradiction.

Festina Lente: A Conversation about Lav Diaz

Over the last ten years Michael Guarneri has had a series of talks with Lav Diaz, gathering thoughts about the Filipino filmmaker’s craft, philosophy and politics. The result of these conversations has been published in Conversations with Lav Diaz (ISBN 9788864761022), available worldwide in January/February 2021. To celebrate Diaz’s birthday, to renew our pleasure in discussing cinema or just to make sure I receive a copy of this valuable book, Michael and I discussed some aspects of Diaz’s work via e-mail.

Die Fliege auf dem Rezensenten

Es kommt selten vor, dass sogenannten Rezensenten etwas peinlich ist. Gewisse Strömungen innerhalb ihrer Branche brüsten sich gar damit, dass ihnen gar nichts peinlich ist, ihre Texte sprechen da für sich. Dabei gäbe es viel, was den Rezensenten peinlich sein könnte. Zum Beispiel könnten sie zu spät zu einer Pressevorführung im Kino kommen oder in einem Anflug von Leichtsinn das falsche Buch gelesen haben. Sie könnten einen unvorteilhaft gekleideten Zuschauer im Theater für einen Teil des Szenenbilds halten, während des Konzertes einnicken oder aufgrund intimster Assoziationen eine falsche Interpretation an den Tag legen, etwa dass es in Hemmingways Hills Like White Elephants um eine Brustvergrößerung geht und nicht um eine Abtreibung. Er hätte ja auch einfach schreiben können, um was es geht, sagen dann die überraschten Rezensenten.

Notes on a shot from La folie Almayer by Chantal Akerman

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“Through this taxonomic organization, Baillie suggests that cinema evolved out of consciousness and over time assumed forms increasingly distant from the deep self. In presenting these cinematic modes in reverse chronology, Baillie suggests that the cinema’s original and true nature is as a document of consciousness. – R. Bruce Elder on Bruce Baillie’s Quick Billy

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