Project Status Report: Reaching the Second Stage
I have now reached the second stage of the research project. At this time, Kostis and I have just about completely finalized the film list, and I am now digging into reading material. This means that I have returned to my research nest in the Rock(efeller Library) and am running trips down to B Level where the film materials live in PN 1993 - 1997.
Not that this means I am done watching films. To the contrary, starting with “This Sporting Life” I am now focusing on building a broader base of ‘contextual films,’ which are essentially films that fill out an understanding of what other political cinemas were being attempted in Europe concurrent to the class’ material.
Tonight, these contextual screenings will reach a new level of difficulty as I will attempt to watch Pasolini’s “Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom.” Notorious for its graphic depiction of the sadistic, “Salo” is a notorious film, revered among film buffs and critics for its cinematic potency. I am both terrified and enchanted by its power. Like a sacred book, “Salo” seems to illicit a visceral response in its reader/spectator. To this end, I cannot help by feel it is an essential watch despite its inevitable disgusting footage.
Some of the other films I would like to watch over the rest of the summer are:
- The Firemen’s Ball
- Closely Watched Trains
- The Lost Honour of Katrina Bloom
- The Baader Meinhof Complext
With certainly more to come.
I also look forward to catching Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” which will surely invite a fascinating read from a political cinema perspective. Like “In The Loop” which I saw earlier this summer at the Newport Film Festival, “Inglorious Basterds” will consider political cinema from an underrepresented vantage point- the comedic.
Returning to the reading research, I plan to go through the syllabus chronologically as I search for material. This means starting with Eisenstein and Vertov (both of whom I know there is ample material to consider) and then moving onto Leni Refenstahl and so on. I may also jump forward, to consider the newer additions to the syllabus (like Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion) before it is completely necessary.