Paradise is Here: The aesthetic world of Imad and Swel Noury

Imad and Swel Noury are conduits of a sort of cinematic bricollage. They are young – at the time of writing, Imad is 29 and Swel is 33. Born in Casablanca to a well-known Moroccan father – television and film director, Hakim Noury, and a Spanish film producer mother, Pilar Cazorla – both of whom function as frequent collaborators with the duo. Living and producing work in both Morocco and Spain, the film-makers’ work samples a cross-section of disparate cultural forms. Inspired as much by European New Wave cinema, as they are Moroccan desert landscapes, and the gloss of high fashion, the brothers’ collaborative process sees them melding these disparate elements into a heroic bilingual, sometimes trilingual cinema – their films utilize French, Arabic and English in their vernacular.

Omar El-Khairy and Omar Kholeif introduce the Noury Brothers’ unique brand of cinema.

Woman Run Amok: Two Films by Lars von Trier

It has taken me some time to come to terms with the films of Lars von Trier. His work has struck me as uneven (both within each film and in the progression of his career), and his public persona too much that of a provocateur (his ‘I am a Nazi’ remark at Cannes 2011 only the most recent example). I admire provocation, if it has some purpose. Von Trier’s actions seemed adolescent, publicity-seeking, or flatly reactionary, but I may have been as gullible and as easily dismayed as the nitwit media, the subject of his actions. Today, I look back on his provocations in the context of his work and find them wholly admirable; he is among the few people capable of upsetting bourgeois reviewers and their readers (I am one of course), and it seems to me that the upset he causes is intimately connected to his art […].

Christopher Sharrett on Lars von Trier’s ‘unrelentingly negative critique of patriarchal capitalist society’.

No Start, No End: Auteurism and the Auteur Theory

In tandem with its signature theory, auteurism has made many things ‘go’, but this functionality has come at a steep cost. Auteurism has turned attention away from the political, economic, collaborative, and biological contexts of the film industry, its romantic stress on the individual artist obscuring many realities. But as I have implied, academics should recognize that this meme will not be gotten rid of simply by critiquing its epistemological defects. Auteurism accesses something too basic in human nature for this to be possible. It simplifies in a way that is too convenient, too malleable. And it is currently the basis of too much infrastructure. As scholars, we should face these facts head on. We should be aware of auteurism’s shortcomings as well as its stability. This dual awareness will help us recognize its best academic uses, which are in my view rarely evaluative and never celebratory.

David Andrews revisits auteurism, thinking about its influence, its shortcomings, and its persistence.

Nollywood Style: Nigerian movies and ‘shifting perceptions of worth’

Whatever international prestige lies around the corner, the modes of film-making that established Nollywood – the cheap and rapidly produced videos of the 1990s and 2000s – will probably always be maligned as ‘illegitimate’ cinema. Yet this earlier work continues to resonate, finding new audiences via the Internet and other venues, and might be seen as the quintessence of Nollywood style. It was during the 1990s when I first encountered Nollywood – and in particular the films of Chico Ejiro, addressed in more detail below – at public screenings in Brixton and on the Stockwell Park Estate in south London. These boisterous events, primarily aimed at British-Nigerian filmgoers, suggested that far from suffering from a lack or aspiring towards some unattainable norm, the films had already developed techniques of production, distribution, and consumption that were gesturing to the future of film-making.

Jeffrey Geiger battles the widespread and misguided resistance to serious examination of Nollywood movies.

Happenstance and Construction: An exploration into the work of artist film-maker Ben Rivers

‘I’m just back from Bulgaria, where I’ve been filming for a longer collaborative project with another film-maker, Ben Russell, which will be in three acts, on the theme of utopias. I’m fascinated with utopias. I believe we all share some visions of kinds of utopias…’

James Murray-White interviews British Indy film-maker Ben Rivers.

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