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Off-Beat

Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... Uninvited by Bill Clinton to join other high-achieving Italian-Americans, such as Nicolas Cage, Martin Scorsese and ex-baseball player Joe Garagiola, at the bean-feast held in honour of President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Corso is typecast as an involuntary amnesia case, a sleeve-tugger of enormous charm. A street poet in an age that has no use for poets ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... scrambling movie decade that gave us Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, there was nary a murmur from her (just imagine what she might have made of Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky). We know from Nunez and others that Sontag boogied in Studio 54, and yet where was her disco inferno deep-think? Disco as ...

In the Opposite Direction

David Blackbourn: Enzensberger, 25 March 2010

The Silences of Hammerstein 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated by Martin Chalmers.
Seagull, 465 pp., £20, 1 906497 22 2
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... with his interlocutor’s recording machine. Here the ‘posthumous conversations’, as Martin Chalmers has it, raise other questions. In one Hammerstein says: ‘If it had been up to me, I would already have fired on the Nazis in August 1932.’ What he actually said was: ‘If the National Socialists come to power legally, that is acceptable to ...

No flourish was too much

Bridget Alsdorf: Out-Tissoted, 13 August 2020

James Tissot 
by Melissa Buron et al.
Prestel, 354 pp., £55, October 2019, 978 3 7913 5919 9
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... In Martin Scorsese​ ’s film adaptation of The Age of Innocence, facsimiles of James Tissot’s paintings hang on the walls of the Beauforts’ Gilded Age mansion, the setting for the annual Opera Ball, where New York plutocrats dance with women in Tissot-inspired dresses. An oversized replica of Too Early (1873) shows the sniggering that meets a group of early arrivals at a ball ...

Cheerfully Chopping up the World

Michael Wood: Film theory, 2 July 1998

The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium 
by Gilberto Perez.
Johns Hopkins, 466 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 8018 5673 6
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On the History of Film Style 
by David Bordwell.
Harvard, 322 pp., £39.95, February 1998, 0 674 63428 4
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Gilles Deleuze's Time Machine 
by D.N. Rodowick.
Duke, 260 pp., £46.95, October 1997, 0 8223 1962 4
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The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema 
by Jean Mitry, translated by Christopher King.
Athlone, 405 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 485 30084 2
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Signs and Meaning in the Cinema 
by Peter Wollen.
BFI, 188 pp., £40, May 1998, 0 85170 646 0
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... the vocalist makes his entry. It’s Tony Bennett singing ‘From Rags to Riches’. The film is Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990). All kinds of things are going on here, artful, intelligent, violent and ironic. The broadest effect is that of the song, with its implication of a sarcasm as old as gangster movies themselves. Organised crime is a ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths, 28 January 2010

... booth glows faintly behind Anna, in the depth of the shot, as she paces restlessly up and down. In Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1982), fantasist Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro), on a first date with barmaid Rita (Diahnne Abbott), hopes to impress her by leafing through his autograph album. It’s not long before our attention drifts away from ...

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