Criterion’s latest release of another collection culled from the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has Martin Scorsese’s name and stamp of approval on the box cover art, but some hefty names on the liner notes doing the actual introductions. This round features Phillip Lopate pondering the Fassbinderian elements of Brocka’s Insiang (“It is hard to say what part of this is crude filmmaking and what part a conscious stylistic device, meant to draw us further into an oneiric, meditative space”); Dennis Lim celebrates the narrative delirium of Weerasethakul’s debut Mysterious Objects at Noon (“As with the work of many of today’s most adventurous filmmakers… Apichatpong’s films rewire the relationship between fiction and documentary. More precisely, they perform a kind of alchemy by which contact with reality turns their narratives that much richer and stranger.”); Fábio Andrade is as compelling on the mythology that accrued around Peixoto’s long-unseen Limite as he is on the film itself (“When the magazine Filme cultura conducted a poll in 1968 on the best Brazilian films of all time, Limite ranked tenth, even though the film had been out of circulation for over thirty-five years and completely inaccessible for almost a decade”); Andrew Chan imagines the shock to the system Yang provided audiences with Taipei Story (“[the film] regards globalized architecture, in all its pervasiveness, not as a portal to the outside world but as an enclosure, something to be thrashed against”); Kent Jones does the magisterial job you’d expect using his brief space to tie Shinarbaev’s Revenge into the larger Kazakh New Wave (“The word Kazakh means “the people who wandered away from the center,” and the nomadic spirit is present in all of these films, whether they are set in the Altai Mountains or in downtown Almaty or Astana”); and Bilge Ebiri makes note of Law of the Border, the momentous collaboration between writer/actor Y?lmaz Güney and director Lütfi Ö. Akad that “[in] many ways… is the fulcrum on which much of modern Turkish cinema turns.”
“This is where the act of creation meets the act of viewing and engaging, where the common life of the filmmaker and the viewer exists, in those intervals of time between the filmed images that last a fraction of a fraction of a second but that can be vast and endless. This is where a good film comes alive as something more than a succession of beautifully composed renderings of a script. This is film-making.” Scorsese, meanwhile, is over at the Times Literary Supplement offering up a defense of cinema as an artform as interactive, as dependent upon the viewer’s imaginative participation, as any novel.