From Sara Barnes (Beautiful Decay):
Photograph: David Lynch
Photograph: David Lynch

If you’re familiar with the films of David Lynch, then you know the subtle uneasiness that he makes you feel. It doesn’t just stop with movies, as Lynch is also a photographer. Between 1980 and 2000, he shot monochromatic images of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, New Jersey, and England. The result is a book of photographs titled The Factory Photographs […]. (more…)

Calling for Submissions to a conference at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies in Berlin
the-road-cormac-mccarthy-movie
Promotion still for The Road (dir. John Hillcoat, 2009), based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
Throughout his rich literary career, Cormac McCarthy has consistently explored the intersections of different modes of thinking and creative practices. Reflecting his stated view that the novel can “encompass all the various disciplines and interests of humanity” (Woodward 1992), McCarthy’s work navigates between artistic and scientific discourses as readily as it interweaves various fields of knowledge and genres from chaos theory and legal history to English poetry and the Western. His fiction mediates between different worlds insofar as the stylistic and thematic trajectories of his fiction can be considered a narrative negotiation of opposed discourses and perspectives on the world, such as cognitive science and religious experience, realism and romanticism, or ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. While much has been said about spatial border crossings in McCarthy’s work, this conference invites readers and scholars to consider McCarthy’s other crossings, from the intersections of literature and science to his stylistic and generic crossovers.

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In his critical introduction to the Gothic, Fred Botting explores how Ridley Scott’s films engage with its major themes and motifs…
Sigourney Weaver and Ridley Scott on the set of Alien (1979)
Sigourney Weaver and Ridley Scott on the set of Alien (1979)

In Alien (1979) other Gothic associations are brought to the fore. The wrecked alien spaceship and the bleak planet suggest the gloom, ruin and awful desolation of Gothic architecture and landscape. The coded message the spaceship transmits is not a distress signal, but a warning which goes unheeded by the human cargo ship that attends the call. Unaware of the dangers that their employers, another sinister and powerful corporation, have put them in, the crew are unwitting victims of their attempt to secure the power and profit of possessing such an efficient and utterly inhuman killing machine. The horror of the alien lies not only in its lethal power: its parasitical mode of procreation, using human bodies as hosts, means that it is a threat that emerges from within. (more…)

Yvonne Baby spoke to the American filmmaker in Paris on 17 May 1979. While Malick has often shunned the media spotlight, he spoke candidly about the process of making his 1978 film, Days of Heaven

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Edward Hibbert, known for his performance as Gil Chesterton on NBC’s sitcom Frasier, was instrumental in bringing Fight Club to the big screen. Hibbert acted as a literary agent to the American writer Chuck Palahniuk during a crucial period of his career. [Source]

David Sexton explores the lineage of one of modern literature and film’s most chilling villains in his critical study, The Strange World Of Thomas Harris
Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs
One of Lecter’s most obvious fictional precursors is Sherlock Holmes and before him, therefore, Poe’s Dupin. Many of Lecter’s observations are pure Holmes in style, if not content. As he tells Clarice: “‘You use Evyan skin cream, and sometimes you wear L’Air du Temps, but not today.'” On their next meeting, he detects a Band-Aid under her clothes.

Compare Holmes on his first meeting with Watson in A Study In Scarlet: “‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.’ ‘How on earth did you know that?’ I asked in astonishment.’ ” When, at their next meeting, Holmes explains his deductions, the amazed Watson says, rightly enough, “You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.”
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David Lynch
David Lynch
Tim Walker (The Independent) asks David Lynch his opinions on television, film, art and his recent music projects

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Brooks Barnes (The New York Times) reports that the British writer is to work with French filmmaker Claire Denis
Zadie Smith. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images.
Zadie Smith. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images.

Amid the superheroes, dinosaurs, cyborg assassins and male strippers of the summer movie season comes a drop of sustenance for the cinematic intelligentsia: the French director Claire Denis will make her first English-language film, and she is collaborating on its screenplay with the British novelist Zadie Smith.

Ms. Denis, perhaps best known for “Beau Travail,” a 1999 drama based loosely on a Herman Melville story, does not yet have a title for her new project. But the film will be set in space, according to Screen International, and Ms. Smith, the author of the acclaimed novel “White Teeth,” will help write the screenplay – her first such effort. [Read More]

The British Association for Modernist Studies invites submissions for its annual essay prize for early career scholars. The winning essay will be published in Modernist Cultures, and the winner will also receive £250 of books

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Some exciting news from Megan Milks over at Weird Sister
d4f1d-djuna-barnes
Djuna Barnes

[Djuna] Barnes’s Ladies Almanack, first published in 1928 (full title: Ladies Almanack: showing their Signs and their Tides; their Moons and their Changes; the Seasons as it is with them; their Eclipses and Equinoxes; as well as a full Record of diurnal and nocturnal Distempers, written & illustrated by a lady of fashion), is a sly roman à clef chronicling Barnes’s (mostly lesbian) circle of friends and lovers, and their HQ in Natalie Clifford Barney’s long-running Parisian salon. In reinventing it as a film, [Daviel] Shy is creating a hybrid Chicago-Paris setting and what she calls a “triple time” zone where three distinct periods collide. The film follows characters based not only on Barney (played by Brie Roland) and other thinly veiled figures in the book, including Mina Loy (Brenna Kail) and Radclyffe Hall (Deborah Bright), anchored by narration from French feminists of a later time: Luce Irigaray (Elesa Rosasco), Monique Wittig (Eileen Myles), and Hélène Cixous (as herself). All of these characters blur into the present as they find form in the bodies of contemporary artists and writers. I spoke with Shy about the genesis of the project, her relationship to the book and the community to which it pays homage, and what it was like to work with the great Cixous. [Read the full interview with Daviel Shy]

Through exclusive interviews and previously unseen photographs, a new documentary offers an intimate portrait of the relationship between translator Barbara Bray and Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett

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Marguerite Duras
Marguerite Duras
Victoria Best (Open Letters Monthly) recounts the relationship between French writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras and Yann, a devoted follower of her work

In 1979, aged 65, the iconic French writer Marguerite Duras was exhausted, creatively emptied out and drinking herself to death. For many months, the only thing that had sustained her was writing fragments of letters to an imagined addressee, perhaps as notes to be turned into an epistolary novel but mostly because she needed a confidante and would have to create one if he didn’t exist. The notes were full of exclamations like ‘I must stop drinking at night, I must go to bed early so that I can write you long letters and not die.’ These were perilous times for Duras who, despite a hectic life in the thick of political and artistic movements, was lonely, in a way that not only ate at her soul, but undermined her creative vitality. She had always needed to give voice to her inner violence, either in difficult love affairs or in her difficult texts and films, but here she was, old and ugly and all washed up. What would become of her now? [Read More]

27 – 30 April 2016, University of Antwerp

About the Conference

Beckett and Modernism
The Second Annual Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society

Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Haynes
Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Haynes

The year 2016 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Journal of Beckett Studies (JOBS), founded in 1976 by James Knowlson and John Pilling. To celebrate this occasion, we are proud to announce both of them as keynote speakers at the second conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, dedicated to Beckett and Modernism. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Last Modernist’, Beckett has also been situated within the postmodern canon. After a long critical debate, the term ‘modernism’ has recently been reframed by a vibrant field of what is sometimes called the ‘new modernist studies’, and the term ‘Late Modernism’ seems to be gaining currency in Beckett studies. (more…)

Richard B. Woodward (The Paris Review) pays tribute to the Oscar-winning sound designer who helped create the otherworldly environments of David Lynch’s Eraserhead and Blue Velvet
Alan Splet
Alan Splet
“It’s too bad Ronnie Rocket never got made,” says Alan R. Splet about one of several David Lynch scripts still tied to Dino De Laurentiis’s bankruptcy. “There was lots of heavy electricity, amplified power in the script. It went back more toward the Eraserhead side of things. Maybe David feels he’s moved beyond that.”

Splet starts to laugh nervously, almost maniacally, as he recites all the kinds of electricity he could produce if called upon by Lynch. “There’s snapping, humming, buzzing, banging, like lightning, shrieking, squealing …”

As the sound engineer who has worked with Lynch since The Grandmother, their AFI student film completed in 1969, Splet saves up noises that he thinks his friend will like and sends them along on cassettes for Lynch to use or enjoy. (more…)

David Lean on location for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
David Lean on location for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Criterion Collection profiles the many sides of the epic filmmaker
For many cinephiles, the name David Lean signifies grand moviemaking—sweeping epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. But the long and eclectic career of this legendary British director encompasses arresting intimacy as well, as evidenced by the films of his in the Criterion Collection. Among those are pictures that he was responsible for editing, early on in his work in film: some of his national cinema’s greatest hits, including Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard’s Pygmalion, Gabriel Pascal’s Major Barbara, and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 49th Parallel. In the forties and early fifties, having moved to directing, he made several luminous films, including adaptations of such classic and important contemporary works from the stage and page as Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice, Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Still Life (Brief Encounter, in the film version), and Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. All are graced by evocative, shadowy black-and-white cinematography and elegantly restrained compositions. Summertime, his gorgeous 1955 Technicolor trip to Venice with Katharine Hepburn, marked a turning point in his career: the sun-dappled location shoot was galvanizing for Lean, and the remainder of his films, from The Bridge on the River Kwai to A Passage to India, could be considered outdoor spectacles. Yet Lean’s deep interest in complex characters, his brilliant way with actors, and his classic sense of storytelling were never trumped by scale. [More at The Criterion Collection]