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Thread: LUCRECIA MARTEL-Film Criticism

  1. #1
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    LUCRECIA MARTEL-Film Criticism

    I would like to announce that my book "The Films of Lucrecia Martel: The Salta Trilogy" is now available for purchase at Amazon:
    "THE FILMS OF LUCRECIA MARTEL: The Salta Trilogy" by Oscar Jubis

    The book will be available at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores very soon. The thinking process that culminated in the writing of this book began with the first viewing of The Swamp (La Cienaga) in 2001. It certainly was not love at first sight. Many critics opined the film was a masterpiece. One of the regular contributors to this journal, Howard Schumann, listed The Swamp as the second best film of 2001.I thought the film was extremely interesting and intriguing but I was not convinced it was great. I was rather reluctant, and needed several viewings to truly appreciate it. I went through the same process with the four masterpieces directed by Hou Hsiao Hsien in the 1990s. So Martel is in good company.

    I have done extensive bibliographic research and I am convinced that "The Films of Lucrecia Martel" is the most thorough and detailed analysis of the films of one of the best filmmakers in the world today. Of course, it is not for me to say to what extent the analysis is fruitful and insightful. I would like to encourage everyone to see the trilogy (available on Region 1 DVD) and post any impressions, comments, questions, etc.

  2. #2
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    Wow! Quite an achievement Oscar!
    I will look into the films and I'll of course buy the book.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Congratulations!

    You kept this pretty quiet. Of course I'd like to have a copy and go back over Martel's films in the light of it, but the German-published edition price is pretty stiff -- $51.55 for a 112-page book!

    P.s. Wonder if you have seen the three Latin American films I reviewed from SFIFF53, ALAMAR, LINHA DE PASSE, and YOU THINK YOU'RE THE PRETTIEST (BUT YOU'RE THE SLUTTIEST), and let me know if you have commented on them before.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-08-2010 at 07:06 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Johann and Chris.

    I agree with you Chris when you say that the price is pretty stiff. I had no say in setting the price. It was a publisher's decision. Then again, everyday I see people wasting more than 51 bucks on all kinds of things that are truly worthless. I certainly don't expect the book to "fly off the shelves". The potential audience for a Film Studies book is narrow, not something that would have mass appeal. My hope is that the book will come to the attention of libraries and film schools around the world. And that those in charge of purchasing at those institutions will decide they cannot do without what I unabashedly characterize as the most thorough and detailed analysis of the work of one of the most important contemporary filmmakers. The book has four chapters. The first one is an introduction which provides biographic information about Martel, briefly discusses her film career prior to her first feature, places her within the context of New Argentine Cinema, characterizes my approach as auteurist criticism and provides a rationale for it, and provides a summary of findings or "coming attractions". Each of the three subsequent chapters consists of close readings of the three films illustrated by numerous "screen captures". I was faithful to the narrative chronology of each film so that even someone who has not seen them can make perfect sense of my observations and arguments.

    I have read your reviews of the three films you mention, Chris, but the only one I have seen is ALAMAR. It is one of those experiential, immersive films that are easy for me to appreciate. I would like to add to your review that Film Movement is making it available on DVD simultaneous with its commercial run at NYC's Film Forum in July.

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    The price of your book is a library price. Many scholarly books have high prices like that. Libraries will buy it, I imagine.

    I hope you will add that comment on the SFIFF 2010 comments thread about ALAMAR. I can add the information to the Festival Coverage review. It's a a very well-appreciated film and not surprising that it would be picked up for a US DVD release. People should see it.

    I was a bit disappointed by the Salles-Thomas collaboration LINHA DE PASSE (the projection was part of the problem), but I loved Josť Manuel "Che" Sandoval's YOU THINK YOU'RE THE PRETTIEST (BUT YOU'RE THE SLUTTIEST) -- he's another new Latin American writer-director to watch, but that film may not be so easy to get a look at.

    Also by Walter Salles and shown at his tribute, which I missed, was IN SEARCH OF ON THE ROAD (A WORK IN PROGRESS), a film about his effort to make a film based on Jack Keroac's novel On the Road.

    I forgot another new (to me) Latin American director, whose film I saw and reviewed at SFIFF, Esmir Filha's THE FAMOUS AND THE DEAD (Brazil). It didn't quite all hang together for me, but he's still another one to watch.

    At SFIFF 53 there were at least were more from Latin America, which I didn't see: from Argentina THE PEDDLER ( El ambulante, Lucas Marcheggiano, Eduardo de la Serna, Adriana Yurcovich 2009), a documentary about a roving DIY style filmmaker, and from Colombia a feature with documentary elements abut a musical journey, THE WIND JOURNEYS (Los viajes del viento, Ciro Guerra, 2009). From Brazil SIMONAL: NO ONE KNOWS HOW HARD IT IS (Micael Langer, Calvito Leal, Claudio Manoel 2009), a documentary about a popular singer whose reputation went south.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-09-2010 at 11:26 AM.

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    The TIFF box office has a gorgeous black and red framed poster of a Lucretia Martel film in the lobby. (sorry- I didn't catch the title)

    I have not seen one single film by her, so this book is my primer Oscar. I'll let you know when I've got it.
    This summer the TIFF cinematheque has a Catherine Breillat retrospective and complete retrospectives of Pasolini & Akira Kurosawa.
    I'd go to every single screening if I could. And they are moving soon over to the brand-new Bell Lightbox facility that will *hopefully* be ready for the
    35th TIFF in the fall.
    Julien Schnabel is also being honored this year in Toronto- I hope to be there to see him in person.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Wow! I did not expect anyone to buy the book. Thanks Johann! I actually have not seen the book. My print copy is being mailed to me. It would be funny if you get yours before I get mine...The poster you describe is for THE HEADLESS WOMAN...

    Those retrospectives sound just great...They really help to give one a sense of a director's artistic trajectory, so to speak.

    Chris, I really liked THE WIND JOURNEYS a lot. I'll post something about the forthcoming ALAMAR DVD on the SFF thread.

    If anyone catches a Martel film and has an opinion of any sort, please post. Bear in mind that Martel hates post-screening Q&As because most of us need to think them through, to process them over a period of time to truly appreciate them. Based on my experience, Martel's films reward repeat viewings like no other contempo filmmaker's films except for Hou's.

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    I feel shamed not to have ordered a copy, now. Too bad with such a price they don't send you lots of complimentary copies and you could send us ones. The cover is pretty.

    THE WIND JOURNEY'S was of course part of the SFIFF this year but not one I saw.

  9. #9
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    No shame.

    From what my professors tell me, "lots of complimentary copies" just doesn't happen in academic publishing.

    Glad you like the cover. I designed it. However, my first choice of photo was a still from one of the films. It did not meet the resolution standards of the folks in charge of printing at the publisher's. So I went with a second choice which is evocative of the films but not derived from any of them.

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    Took a look at your book. Very pricy. Is that a paperback? Who is your publisher? I could not find out at amazon. As you know, I publish fiction. I published my third novel last month. It isn't easy to a) publicize your work b)find an audience large than "friend/family." While iUniverse is helpful, I must pay for my publicity. I met an author recent whose publisher handles her publicity. My last novel, at 496 pages, was listed at $26.95, my most expensive novel to date. Libraries will only purchase novels when you buy into the national library circuit (which will either cost you or your publisher money). They won't automatically buy every book that is published every month (about 14,000). Good luck, Oscar. I'm happy you completed your work. At least now you can look back and say, "I am an author. Here is my book." Some wish they could. It is an arduous undertaking. Welcome to the club. Let me know when you get your first residual check.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  11. #11
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    Took a look at your book. Very pricy. Is that a paperback? Who is your publisher? I could not find out at amazon.
    Pricy? you bet. Like I stated earlier it is what is usually referred as "institutional price". Academic books in general are priced higher than fiction. You should see how much my daughter spends on college texts! :(
    It is a paperback. Amazon product page clearly identifies publisher: Verlag Dr. Muller or VDM.

    As you know, I publish fiction. I published my third novel last month. It isn't easy to a) publicize your work b)find an audience large than "friend/family." While iUniverse is helpful, I must pay for my publicity.
    You also have to pay for the printing itself at iUniverse, right? It sound ironic perhaps, but I am trying to dissuade friends and family from buying the book. My approach to film criticism has been characterized as philosophical because I search for meanings in the films that would apply to, or address, the human condition in general. So, among other things, my book aims to prove that what these films have to say is important to everyone.However, the book is intended for people who take a special interest in film-as-art and film-as-cultural object. That would include peers and colleagues (including contributors to this forum) but few friends or relatives.

    Good luck, Oscar. I'm happy you completed your work. At least now you can look back and say, "I am an author. Here is my book." Some wish they could. It is an arduous undertaking. Welcome to the club. Let me know when you get your first residual check.
    Thanks, cinemabon. Let's just say that no one doing research/criticism on Martel from now on can ignore what I have to say about her and her films. And that my chances of being invited to present or publish papers have improved despite the fact that I won't have a doctorate until 2013. These are the things I care about.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 05-15-2010 at 04:09 PM.

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