Thursday, May 8, 2008

J. Hoberman

I admit that I have not read as much of J. Hoberman's writings as I would have liked to (I try to get caught up in the Voice at least once a month, though most discussion of the Village Voice over the past several months has centered on Nathan Lee and his recent firing and what it means in terms of the future of film criticism), but I have always left appreciative for the new perspective, his keen eye, eclectic tastes and sheer passion for things that I might otherwise not have noticed. I have only truly read one of his anthologies, though I have picked others over with great fulfillment. True, his tastes are often more 'crass' (whatever that more might truly mean) than my own (he has written extensively on the achievement of Cronenberg's Crash and listed Borat among his top ten for last year), but no one among American film critics has encouraged interest in Bill Viola's work or Eastern European cinema (an obvious taste we share, though I am less and less tolerant of Wajda's work) than Hoberman. But it is his eclecticism and listmaking I wished to mention in brief here.

I include links on the side bar here more for my own use than anyone else's, but I wanted to encourage the perusal of these mini canons for the use of Latter Day Saints interested or devoted to Film as a medium. I wish only to list here his list from 1985:

01. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann)
02. Standard Gauge (Morgan Fisher)
03. Allonsanfan (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani)
04. The Ballad of Social Dependency (Nan Goldin)
05. Himatsuri (Mitsuo Yanagimachi)
06. After Hours (Martin Scorsese)
07. Patakin (Manuel Octavio Gomez)
08. Tosca's Kiss (Daniel Schmid)
09. Chambre 666 (Wim Wenders)
10. Lost in America (Albert Brooks)

First I will admit that I have only seen three of these and heard of four of them. But I was impressed by the extreme diversity of film embraced here: any list which simultaneously contains both Claude Lanzmann's 550 minute magnum opus on the Holocaust and American stand-up-turned-filmmaker Albert Brooks' first feature is something to be mentioned.

I simply wanted to call attention to these lists and what we might learn from them.

If nothing else, I might hope that our trips to the theater or Amazon or netflix or local film library might be more thoughtful and informed.

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