Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why ...

... is there no book devoted to Dušan Makavejev? (At least not in English. There's one book that treats him with four other Eastern European filmmakers.) Not even a Senses of Cinema Great Director entry?

Here's Andrew Horton on the DM chapter in the aforementioned Eastern European director book:

"Daniel Goulding tackles that most carnivalesque of all world filmmakers, Dusan Makavejev, and traces this master of cinematic collage from his early experimental documentaries in Belgrade through his remarkable Yugoslav features culminating in WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971) and on to Makavejev's European and American projects down to Manifesto (1988). It is not clear whether Goulding meant to end his book on a cautionary note or not, but placing Makavejev last has that effect. Unlike Forman, Polanski and Szabo, Makavejev, despite capturing some critical attention with Sweet Movie (1974) and Montenegro (1981), has not been able to find a satisfying outlet for his considerable talent in American and European projects. Employing a plot summary approach to film studies, Goulding also relates Makavejev's works to a broader Yugoslav context."

Maybe I'll forget about it in a day or two, but this dearth of material might just be ... could it be? ... a calling ...

Speaking of dearth, I'm sorry about the lack of any content lately ... things should pick up next week some time.

10 comments:

Noel Vera said...

You don't want me started on what directors Senses of Cinema left out of its great filmmakers' list...

Tuwa said...

Funny you post this now; I think I only just heard about him yesterday when I was looking through the Criterion collection.

Alex said...

You don't want to get me started on the numerous directors who deserve dozens of books (in English) but instead we get more books on the same hackneyed list of canonical Golden/Silver age American directors.

Hell, except for screenplays and promotional materials, I believe there is no book-length study of Richard Linklater - 17 years after he became well-know with Slacker. There are no books on Mark Rappaport, Robert Kramer, Elaine May and many more. There is a single out-of-print text on Naruse, for instance.

Zach Campbell said...

Tuwa, Makavejev is excellent. (Or rather, Makavejev from the mid-60s to the mid-70s is excellent. I've not seen any of his early short films, nor do I yet know his "exile" films, some of which--like Montenegro--have good reputations, some of which--like The Coca-Cola Kid--don't.) I'll be writing more on him in the future.

I think that for a time, he was as important to certain segments of film culture as Godard, and for many of the same reasons. He really is an important, exhilirating, fascinating filmmaker! (Maybe the Criterion discs will hip more people to this fact? I hope so.)

Noel and Alex, cine-comrades, we may have to take things into our own hands! Alex: no book on Linklater? That surprises me. I would have thought he'd be swept up like so many other people of his, roughly, "generation" in American indie film. I'm saddened but not surprised to hear confirmations that there are no books on Rappaport, Kramer, and May.

Noel Vera said...

What d'ye have in mind, handtakingwise?

Chuckie K said...

I got to see Makavejev screen several of his films live. I was giddy for days.
I suspect his political themes fall completely outside the limits of American academic film criticism. Much like the reviews of Pynchon's latest seem to have missed altogether that it was about politics.

Zach Campbell said...

Noel, I've got nothing in mind, 'cept that we've got to do some writing!

Chuckie K, what a cool thing to see Makavejev talk about his films. I wonder what he would make of Sweet Movie before an audience, and in the wake of (I assume) a bit of disgusted disapproval from a segment of that audience ... was that one of the films he showed, perchance?

Chuckie K said...

Yes, Sweet Movie was one of the films, although he was not there the night it was shown.

walden said...

zach,
while Makavejev certainly deserves all the attention he can get, one shouldn't forget that there were numerous great filmmakers — more or less riding the same "black waves" and various undercurrents of yugoslav cinema of the 60/70: zivojin pavlovic, goran paskaljevic, lordan zafranovic, karpo godina, bata cengic, bostjan hladnik ... and, of course, the unruly genius zelimir zilnik ...

A few of them are - somewhat amazingly considering the dissolution of their shared cultural spaces - still making movies ...

great posts here, btw

Zach Campbell said...

Walden, thanks a lot--I hadn't even heard of a couple of those names, so I'm putting them on my unofficial list of "subjects for further investigation."