Robin Wood, one of the most respected English writers on film for many years (his book-length studies of Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock were required reading at my university) publishes one of the best film magazines widely available in the US (it’s sold at Borders, at least), CineAction, a thrice-annual publication by Wood’s nonprofit collective “for the advancement of film studies.”
This is simply a plug for the latest issue of CineAction (number 62), which is chock full of the sort of lengthy and thoughtful articles Film Comment, in its ongoing quest to be hip with a broad appeal, forgot how to publish years ago: “Vision and Experience in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, “The Purpose of Plot and the Place of Joan Bennett in Fritz Lang’s The Woman in the Window,” “Music and Modernity in A Brighter Summer Day,” a fascinating in-depth look at Michael Haneke’s Code Inconnu written by Wood himself (developed from a course he taught at York University), and much more.
Wood throws down the gauntlet in his editorial remarks on page one:
“Over the last few decades we have witnessed, in the university, theory and scholarship usurping the place of criticism: a major setback for the development of our culture. Aside from the loss within academia, the result has been the degrading of criticism to the level of ‘reviewing’. This is not of course to denigrate the importance of scholarship and theory, upon which criticism depends. The three should form a triangle of which criticism is the apex.
Theory supplies the critic with maps, scholarship with facts; the critic needs both, as reference points when relevant to his/her needs. But it is the critic who is primarily concerned with questions of value: the value of the individual work of art, its potential value within a (so-called) civilization that at present appears bent on self-destruction. The question of value has never been so urgent.”
If you’re not near a Borders store, you can purchase a subscription to CineAction from Amazon.com, or send $21/year, $36/bi-annually to:
40 Alexander Street, #705
Canada, M4Y 1B5
I’ll be offline for a few days…I wish everyone a joyous and relaxing Christmas season!