:: Essays

Der Amerikanische Freund: Petit/Wenders/Jarmusch published 18/03/2017

It wouldn’t be bad to ban the American cinema for a while. Three-quarters of the planet considers cinema from the angle and according to the criteria of American cinema… People must become aware that there are other ways to make films than the American way. Moreover this would force filmmakers in the United States to revise their conceptions. It would be a good thing.
– Jean-Luc Godard

Louis Armand on avoiding American cinema.

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Sheena is a Trump Rocker published 17/03/2017

All of a sudden, however, everyone’s a fucking expert on fucking everything. Twenty year old kids coming across like they’ve been up against the political rockface all their lives, loving the sound of their own voices on YouTube, as they put the world to rights, eulogising away in their irritating, squeaky, upspeak manner, telling us what ‘the thing’ is, and letting us know how messed up the rest of us really are. This supposedly well meaning movement, peopled almost exclusively by the pampered middle classes of all ages, and their whiny offspring, are bound together in their utter hatred of Brexit and Donald Trump.

By Andy Blade.

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Excerpt: In Echoed Steps: The Jam and a Vision of Albion published 13/03/2017

The first Riot Stories publication to host Weller’s poetry would be the first issue of December’s Child. Weller had already utilised the back pages of the songbook for All Mod Cons to host some of his poetry, and with the burgeoning market for poetry fanzines in an ascendancy, he’d already contributed a few poems to several publications. While adept in imbuing his songs with his poetic words, it was clear that a lot of his verse would benefit from a far wider canvas.

Simon Wells on the literary influences of Paul Weller and The Jam.

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Dancin’ With Manson published 06/03/2017

Trained up by years spent in Army Intelligence, Tate calmly picked out daughter Sharon and her friends from the graphic crime-scene photos taken on the morning after the murders. Tate’s appearance as first witness was a skilled piece of scheduling by the prosecution team, focusing the jury on the personal loss suffered by the victims’ families.

Excerpt from Simon Wells‘ recently republished book on the Manson ‘Family’ trials, Coming Down Fast.

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Cities in Cinema 2: Gomorrah published

Yet Napoli is more than a neutral stage. The people we encounter are the essential products of the city’s toxic soil, corrupt institutions, dysfunctional housing estates and decaying public spaces. Don Ciro, Pasquale, little Totò; they all issued from the cankered kennel of the city’s womb, and are every bit as poisoned as the peaches thrown into the gutter by Franco.

John P. Houghton‘s latest column for 3:AM.

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(Identity) Politics & Prose published 04/03/2017

Let’s put one thing up front: using one’s genitals or epidermis as a way to gain political legitimacy is corrupt; to think with them is intellectually shallow; to adhere one’s aesthetic to them when making art is absurd. I’m not concerned here with a case for or against any one political movement that also has literary and theoretical roots, like Feminism, but rather how this awareness enters into literature, where it appears and how it shapes the writer’s sense of duty––meaning that how we choose to think about aesthetic value in art can become dependent on our non-literary allegiances.

Jared Marcel Pollen on identity politics and literature.

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‘Broken’ Matt published 01/03/2017

‘Broken’ Matt is the nearest wrestling gets to poststructuralist philosophy because there’s no essence underneath—just more and more stuff: another story, feud, or challenge; another broken chapter in a larger broken drama; like a kaleidoscope on repeat. This stuff keeps us watching and our psychic investment in ‘Broken’ Matt accrues value—social media magnifying the stories, feuds, and catchphrases—a psychic investment allowing tributaries of profit to flow at ever-increasing volumes. Wrestling needs stories for this reason. Wrestling is a technology to guide the flow of story—and the flow of money.

Paul Walsh on ‘Broken’ Matt and the politics of wrestling.

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Paradoxical Progress – The Art and Politics of Gilbert and George published 28/02/2017

Gilbert and George are realist artists. They are also right-wing artists. An avalanche of embarrassed apologia from admirers has sought to bury this inconvenient truth. Surely this most playful pair are merely having us on with their conservative bon mots?

Ben Granger on the paradox known as Gilbert and George.

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Emancipative Disillusionment. Subversion/ Agitation/ Transgression/ Critique published 25/02/2017

They pose – like Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will – the question of cinema itself: fascism was the only major ideology to be born of a cinematic consciousness – it was (and is) cinematic to its core. Its subtle expansion into all aspects of daily life, via the evolution of TV and new media, the pervasive seductions of advertising and the omnipresence of computing algorithms designed to reinforce our collective narcissism, represent an almost insurmountable dilemma.

Louis Armand on subversive cinema.

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Cities in Cinema 1: Le grande bellezza published 23/02/2017

Can the soul of the man and of the city be saved? That is the question at the heart of Paolo Sorrentino’s 2013 Academy Award winner for best foreign language feature. We follow Jep on an epic emotional journey as he is forced to acknowledge the spiritual vacuum that has left him feeling ultimately dissatisfied, despite his wealth and fame. What elevates Le grande bellezza beyond the familiar cinematic trope of ‘middle-aged man seeks meaning in life’ is the fundamental connection that director Paolo Sorrentino forges between the man and the city.

A new 3:AM column by John P. Houghton.

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