Slow Writing is a collection of articles by Thom Andersen that reflect on the avant-garde, Hollywood feature films, and contemporary cinema. His critiques of artists and filmmakers as diverse as Yasujirō Ozu, Nicholas Ray, Andy Warhol, and Christian Marclay locate their work within the broader spheres of popular culture, politics, history, architecture, and the urban landscape. The city of Los Angeles and its relationship to film is a recurrent theme. These writings, which span a period of five decades, demonstrate Andersen’s social consciousness, humour and his genuine appreciation of cinema in its many forms.
Thom Andersen’s films include the celebrated documentary essays Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975), Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), and The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015). Together with Noël Burch, he produced primary studies of the Hollywood Blacklist in the form of the book Les communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs (1994) and film Red Hollywood (1996).
Contents: Introduction Why I Did Not Become a Film Critic, 2017 Essays: Sex in Limbo, 1966 (on exploitation films) Camp, Andy Warhol, 1966 Two Films by Andrew Meyer, 1966 Eadweard Muybridge, 1966 De Mille’s Ded Zeppelin, 1978 (on Madam Satan) What is Wrong with this Picture? Almost Everything, 1978 (on The Desert People) JB, 1978 (on James Benning) Twelve Films by Five American Filmmakers, 1979 (on Conner, Sharits, Gehr, Brakhage & Fisher) From the Cloud to the Resistance (Dalla Nube alla Resistenza) by Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, from two texts by Cesare Pavese, 1981 Reagan at the Movies, 1986 (on Ronald Reagan) “The Time of the Toad”, 1992 (on the Hollywood Blacklist) The Misogyny Game, 1993 (on The Crying Game) Looking Over an Underground, 1994 (on the Los Angeles underground) The Whole Equation, 2005 (on David Thomson’s The Whole Equation) The Political Documentary in America Today, 2005 The Sixties Without Compromise: Watching Warhol’s Films, 2005 Painting in the Shadows, 2007 (on Pedro Costa) Passing Through Twilight, 2007 (on Night on Earth) Los Angeles: A City on Film, 2008 This Property is Condemned, 2008 (on The Exiles) Pebbles Left on the Beach: The Films of Morgan Fisher, 2009 Against the Grain, 2009 (on Lorna’s Silence) A Band of Outsiders, 2010 (on In Vanda’s Room) Happy Daze, 2010 (on Dusty and Sweets McGee) The Decade in Review: Sketches of History 2000-2009, 2010 Unchained Melodies: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector and It Felt Like a Kiss, 2010 Get Out of the Car: A Commentary, 2011 Random Notes on a Projection of The Clock by Christian Marclay at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 4:32 p.m., July 28, 2011 – 5:02 p.m., July 29, 2011, 2011 Barbarians at the Gate, 2012 (on Los Angeles film culture) Yasujirō Ozu: The Master of Time, 2012 Too Late to Stop Now, 2013 (on Jean-Marie Straub) Fire in Every Shot: Wang Bing’s Three Sisters, 2013 The Allure of Failure, 2014 (on Francesco Vezzoli) 500 Words (as told to Travis Diehl), 2016 Images: 16 pages of colour and black & white images including film stills and photographs Thom Andersen Filmography Thom Andersen Bibliography
About the Author: Thom Andersen has lived in Los Angeles for most of his life. His knowledge of and enthusiasm for the city has deeply informed his work, not least his widely praised study of its representation in movies, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), which was voted one of the 50 Best Documentaries of All Time in a Sight & Sound critics’ poll. Andersen made his first short films and entered into the city’s film scene as a student of USC and UCLA in the 1960s. His hour-long documentary Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1974) was realised under an AFI scholarship and has lately been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. His research into the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist, done in collaboration with film theorist Noël Burch, produced the video essay Red Hollywood (1996) and book Les Communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs (1994). Andersen’s recent films include Reconversão (2012) on the work of Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, and The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015), a personal history of cinema loosely inspired by Gilles Deleuze. A published writer since 1966, Andersen has contributed to journals such as Film Comment, Artforum, Sight & Sound and Cinema Scope. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987, and was previously on faculty at SUNY Buffalo and Ohio State University. Also distinguished for his skills as a film curator, he has acted as programmer for Los Angeles Filmforum and curated thematic retrospectives for the Viennale. Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema is the first collection of his essays.
About the Editor: Mark Webber is a film curator based in London, who has been responsible for major screening events or touring programmes hosted by institutions such as Tate Modern, LUX and ICA (London), Whitney Museum (New York), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, IFFR Rotterdam and international festivals, museums and art centres. He was a programmer for the BFI London Film Festival from 2000-12, and is also the editor of Two Films by Owen Land, Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos, Shoot Shoot Shoot: The First Decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative 1966-76 and co-editor of Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016.