Scorpio Rising

Description: Kenneth Anger captures the ambiguity that lies at the heart of cinema. We sit before a screen as zealots kneeling before an altar. The image is presented as something worthy of consideration, contemplation, even idolatry. Cinema has, in other words, supplanted religion by inciting renewed interest in the occult. It’s no coincidence that James […]

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The American Dreamer

Description: Last February, this rarely screened documentary was featured in Block Cinema‘s series “I’m Almost Not Crazy: Outsider Cinema by Hollywood Insiders.” It was presented as the second half of a double-bill with the film that gave the series its title: a fly-on-the-wall look at John Cassavetes’s directing methods on the set of 1984’s Love […]

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Film

Description: “To be is to be perceived,” wrote the 18th-century Irish philosopher George Berkeley. Some years later, modernist playwright/poet/novelist Samuel Beckett adapted this idea into a six-page script for a film entitled, of all things, Film. Perceiver and perceived are represented by two “characters,” the object (O) and the eye (E). Buster Keaton stars as […]

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Ballad of the Skeletons

Description: Gus Van Sant gears up for the success of Good Will Hunting by directing this oddball music video for Buzz Bin newcomer Allen Ginsberg. “Ballad of the Skeletons” (aka “A Ballad of American Skeletons” or “American Ballad of Skeletons”) is a poem that Ginsberg wrote during the weeks leading up to the 1996 presidential […]

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The Shock Doctrine

Description: “Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change.” Such is the central philosophy of what Naomi Klein refers to as “disaster capitalism,” the subject of her international bestseller The Shock Doctrine. Klein uses the ideas of economist Milton Friedman as a jumping-off point for discussing how unpopular free market policies have been sneakily […]

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