Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Buttocks of Solitude

Hi, readers. I wish to share with you the following articles, in order of awesomeness.

1. Jonathan Lethem's essay "The Beard" in the Feb. 28, 2005 New Yorker is one of best pieces of writing I've read in a while, as good an essay on coinnoisseurship as you'll find. In it's fragmentary, diary-like quality that revolves around an absent mother, it's exactly what Tarnation wanted to be. Not online, but I urge you to search it out.

2. Lethem also has a piece in Nerve's film issue, "Donald Sutherland's Buttocks", which is a call for more surprising sex in movies. That's not a bad article, but I found more interesting this write-up of five scandalous films famous for breaking sexual taboos.

3. The last two weeks, I've gone to bed with David Thomson on most nights. Or at least with my copy of his eccentric tome A New Biographical Dictionary of Film, a highly opinionated, beautifully-written guide to major figures in cinema. As frustrating as Thomson can be (dissing Bogey! Is nothing sacrosanct?), his peerless prose style is a weapon you want by your side, not against you. It's gratifying, then, to find Thomson coming to the defense of Million Dollar Baby, eloquently discussing the movie's rather radical acceptance of failure, a nice reprieve from the ongoing M$B backlash. (I'll never get over how many of these guys who slam the caricatures and cliches in the Eastwood picture also praise to high heaven, of all movies, Dogville! Oh but wait, because Lars meant for his characters to have the complexity of Sonic the Hedgehog, it's all okay! I get it now.)

4. Also, from across the Atlantic: a lengthy (and I really mean lengthy) consideration of one of cinema's supreme actresses, Isabelle Huppert, by Jonathan Romney.