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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Permanent Flashbacks

Some days are like a glitch in the Matrix, to use sci-fi speak: the uncanny feeling I'd been here already. Late last night I read the reports of Celtic's 5-0 drubbing in Slovakia. Perhaps the Hoops thought they were playing out a friendly with Leicester City. Meanwhile, over at the Walkers Stadium, a once-promising player limps out of club after a long-term series of injuries. Foxes fans will know this scenario only too well. For every Pontus K and Robert Ullathorne who beat these problems - only to succumb to similar situations later on - there's players who never come back. Peter Canero can now link up with Matt Jones and Darren Eadie as part of a medical case studies eleven; how long before Lee Morris joins them?

Meanwhile today's Times T2 also invites a trip down memory lane. In an article by Kevin Maher ('Oeuvre the top', Times T2, 28 July 2005, p.20.), there is an extended complaint about the kind of misanthropic arthouse cinema that usually culminates in violent scenes. I'm broadly sympathetic to Maher's argument, although he muffs the description of a key scene in Gaspar Noe's Seul Contre Tous. The main problem is not that the censors are too lenient with such movies, it's that the acts of carnage bear very little relationship to the rest of the narrative. They are there for 'affect', as my film studies colleagues might say. Noe is a fantastic filmmaker, although doing a costume drama would prevent him from getting pigeon-holed, whereas many of his lesser contemporaries demonstrate the problems of treating 'extreme cinema' as a genre in its own right. That's what horror films are for.

Why was this article like having a flashback? Because I more or less wrote the same piece in 2003. Like a grindhouse cinema, the wheels of repetition keep on turning.

One year and one week ago, this blog trumpeted my
review of the anthology Unmasking L.A.: Third Worlds And The City (to buy the book click here). As the postman brought the latest print edition of American Studies Today, I was surprised to see that it contained my review of Unmasking L.A.: Third Worlds And The City. I hadn't changed my mind about the book: it was a (presumably accidental) reprint of my same ambivalent piece from last year. And they say there's too many repeats on television...

Full reference: Graham Barnfield, review of Unmasking L.A.: Third Worlds And The City by Deepak Narang Sawhney (Editor) in American Studies Today, Issue 14, September 2005, pp.35-36.


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