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Preview: Kirk Smith: Books/Movies/Music

Kirk Smith: Books/Movies/Music

Book, music, movie reviews and recommendations.

Last Build Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 08:14:07 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003 Kirk Smith

Passion Without Words: The Cinema of Claire Denis

Thu, 10 Jul 2003 08:14:05 GMT

09 Jun 03 Issue

After spending much of her childhood in Africa, Paris-born film-maker Claire Denis assisted such giants of the international art cinema world as Dušan Makavejev, Costa-Gavras, Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch before directing her feature debut, Chocolat (1988), at the age of 40.

Since then, she has fashioned a remarkable body of work. Her powerfully emotional films are filled with literary references and the sorts of marginalised characters usually absent from mainstream cinema. In this special issue of Kinoeye, five Denis scholars examine a quartet of the writer-director's most evocative and controversial films, revealing the auteurist vision underlying the apparent diversity. [Kinoeye]

The Last Bolshevik

Mon, 07 Jul 2003 06:21:18 GMT

by Chris Marker

06 Jul 03

Le Tombeau d'Alexandre, 1993
[Alexander's Tomb/The Last Bolshevik]

The Last Bolshevik opens to an insightful and relevant excerpted passage from author and critical thinker George Steiner's book, In Bluebeard's Castle: Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture: 'It is not the literal past that rules us [save, possibly, in a biological sense]. It is images of the past.' Composed in the structure of montage (an homage to the characteristic editing and filmic language of pioneering Russian filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Alexander Dovzhenko, and Vsevolod Pudovkin), the film is a series of posthumous video letters (narrated by Michael Pennington) to film essayist Chris Marker's personal friend, mentor, and fellow filmmaker Alexander Ivanovich Medvedkin, examines the trajectory of Medvedkin's life and career from within the context of the evolution of the Soviet Union in the 20th century, and in the process, provides a broader, incisive meditation on the nature of reality, fiction, art, ideology, and history. [Strictly Film School]

One Nation Under a Groove

Sat, 05 Jul 2003 20:26:07 GMT

by Luc Sante

17 Jul 03 Issue

Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music
by Arthur Kempton
Pantheon, 498 pp., $27.50

The boogaloo is, or was, one of the thousand dances the land was full of in the 1960s, enumerated in inventory songs such as James Brown's 'There Was a Time' and the Isley Brothers' 'Nobody But Me': the skate, the swim, the pony, the monkey, the camelwalk, the shing-a-ling. Arthur Kempton notes that it made its debut as the title of a million-selling but faintly remembered 1965 release by the Chicago duo Tom and Jerrio, a song that launched two major catch phrases of the era, 'sock it to me' and 'let it all hang out.' The boogaloo outlasted many of its competitor dances, or at least its name did, even making the transition into Spanglish as bugalú.

Somewhere along the line, perhaps around the time most people forgot its steps, the name metamorphosed into a sweeping term that could encompass almost all of African-American popular music, or at least everything that has arisen since World War II. The names of styles, which embody novelty, date more quickly than the substance they describe. 'Soul' now sounds antique; 'R&B' can be applied to the works of Wynonie Harris in the late 1940s, or to those of Mary J. Blige fifty years later, but not much in between. But because 'boogaloo' is a term transmitted more often orally than in writing, it has enjoyed an immunity to the flux of fashion. [The New York Review of Books]

Hacker How-To Good Summer Reading

Fri, 04 Jul 2003 07:22:31 GMT

by Michelle Delio

27 Jun 03

Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box
by Ryan Russell
Syngress, 330 pp., $49.95

Stealing The Network: How to Own the Box, a compendium of tales written by well-known hackers, is a perfect summer read. The stories are fictional. The technology and techniques described are very real.

A warning: Those who believe in the theory of 'security through obscurity' -- keeping information on hacking techniques under wraps so that fewer people might exploit them -- probably will be infuriated by this book.

Each chapter details not only the methods used to hack and counterattack, but also explains the thought processes hackers use to carry out assaults on computer systems and people.

The result is a fascinating look at the tedious and occasionally brilliant mental discipline of hacking. But it is a book that wanders close to what some might consider the ethical edge. [Wired News]