Sunday Links

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading or watching over my second cup of coffee this morning.  I’d like to write longer blog entries about several of them, but that’s probably not going to happen:

  • Even though it’s pretty much a promo piece for Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, I enjoyed Dennis Lim’s New York Times article on VHS nostalgia.  I have an essay, currently in circulation, on VHS nostalgia in the American adaptation of The Ring, and Lim’s article touches on some of the key points, particularly the ways in which VHS becomes identified with concepts of authenticity, especially in the age of the DVD.  Lim cites Barbara Klinger, author of Beyond the Multiplex, on these issues, but I think one of the more interesting aspects of the article is the discussion of how we interact differently with the “mechanical” VCR than with the “computerized” DVD player, an issue raised by Andy Hain, the coordinator of the incredibly useful website, Total Rewind, which provides a history of the VCR.
  • Michael Wesch has posted a thoughtful response to Mark Marino’s mashup of his “A Vision of Students Today” video, which I discussed a few days ago. Not much to add here, but I think that Marino’s video has provoked an interesting conversation.
  • I haven’t had time to comment on (or even process) the Oscar nominees this year, but I think it will be an interesting race this time around.  But Anne Thompson has the text of an open letter sent out by Michael Moore that seeks to place this year’s nominees in a historical and political context.  Moore also explains some of the rather confusing rules that govern the nominating and voting process, especially in the documentary category.
  • One of the nominated films I’m most excited to see is the animated feature, Persepolis, an adaptation of the autobiography in comic book form by Marjane Satrapi about her experiences growing up in revolutionary Iran during the 1970s and early ’80s (I’ll respect Satrapi’s wishes and not describe it as a “graphic novel,” even if I don’t think the term has the high-cultural baggage she attributes to it).  During some of my elusive spare time, I’ve been reading the Persepolis comic book, and I’m finding it pretty compelling.  This interview with Satrapi in the Boston Globe provides a nice overview of the book.


  1. Parth Said,

    January 27, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

    I saw Persepolis last week in New York. It’s a really good film. The story, from her comic book, is certainly compelling but even the animation and the overall production of the film is excellent. It’s one of the best animated films, and I am tempted to say one of the best films, I have seen in quite a while.

    A thing that I found amusing was the TV shows that were shown in the movie : Derrick ( I think) with the detective and Oshin (about the Japanese hair dresser). I remember both those shows as they were on the Indian TV when I was growing up.

    I enjoy reading your blog. Cheers.

  2. Chuck Said,

    January 27, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

    I’ve seen the trailer and it is quite stunning. And like you, I’m enjoying the ’80s pop culture references. In the comic book, she mentions listening to Michael Jackson, Kim Wilde, among others, setting up a couple of nice jokes.

    Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

  3. Shaun Huston Said,

    January 29, 2008 @ 12:36 am

    I saw Persepolis at its North American premiere in Toronto with Marjane Satrapi, co-director Vincent Parronaud, and Chiara Mastrioanni in attendance. We were just a few rows back from the filmmakers, all of which just added to the pleasure and excitement of the evening. I was a fan of the books before we secured tickets to this screening, and was pleased to see how much thought was given to adapting the original texts to a moving image format. There’s a depth and dynamism to the film that is distinctly different from the spare simplicity of the artwork in the books. At the same time, the spirit of the comics is retained by continuing to work in black-and-white, or grey scale, and keeping the images relatively simple. I was also reminded of how, for most of the world, the two books were actually one, as the adaptation is clearly based on the idea that this is one story, and not two.

  4. Chuck Said,

    January 29, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

    Interesting points. I’ll admit that I read the texts together in the volume, The Complete Persepolis, so I understood the two stories as one, and it appears that the adaptation will only reinforce that. I like the simplicity of Satrapi’s images–I think they work quite well for the story that she is telling in the books–and am very much looking forward to seeing their big-screen translation.

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