The Ghost Said (Donal Foreman, 2012)
When cinephilia started to creep into my system in my early adolescence, I listed and graded everything I saw obsessively. But over time I’ve felt more and more uncomfortable with critical taxonomies and hierarchies, and more and more mindful of the situated-ness of everything I see: the spaces it inhabits or creates, the strategies or philosophies of curation that frame it—and the ways in which it’s coloured by my own thoughts, feelings and pre-occupations. So here is a personal, incomplete recollection of the strongest situations in and around cinema that I encountered this year, with an unavoidable emphasis on an autumn spent in New York City—.
• Shooting six hours of footage for my new film, The Ghost Said, in Dublin in the spring, and avoiding looking at the footage for the rest of the year—yet still composing and decomposing the images in my mind on a daily basis (the actual editing has now finally begun).
• New American independent cinema at Brooklyn’s ReRun Theatre, particularly Dustin Guy Defa’s Bad Fever and Joe Swanberg’s Art History.
• The Essential Pre-Code series at Film Forum, presenting fifty pre-1934 Hollywood films in double bill screenings over a single month.
• The retrospective of Adolfo Arrieta at Anthology Film Archives, and Arrieta’s presentation of his carte blanch screening at Microscope Gallery.
• Aldo Tambellini’s re-creation of his late ‘60s Black Zero performance at the Chelsea Art Museum.
• Seeing Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in Austin, Texas and going for a swim in one of its locations the following day.
• Seeing three four-hour plus masterpieces at the Lincoln Centre (films so long they become their own situation): Bela Tarr’s Sátántangó, Edward Yang’s Brighter Summer Day and Raul Ruiz’s Mistérios de Lisboa.
• Keeping track of, and continuing to be inspired and flabbergasted by, the tremendous productivity of Irish-based Iranian filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi.
• Discovering this wonderful three hour interview with Serge Daney, viewable in its entirety on Vimeo.
• An afternoon spent interviewing Abel Ferrara.
• The 49th New York Film Festival and its strange coincidence with the birth of Occupy Wall Street.
• Wondering how to make images out of Occupy, without making photo ops or clichés; then filming anyway, and still wondering…
• The 24-7 Death to Capitalism cinema established as part of the week-long occupation of a New School university building in late November, now continuing to programme events at the indispensable Spectacle Theater and elsewhere.