Only Lovers Left Alive


I finally saw Only Lovers Left Alive this weekend (it can’t come as any surprise that I don’t get out much!), and I just came across this recent interview with director Jim Jarmusch about the film on IndieWire:

I’ve probably stolen from all kinds of places, but not really consciously. There’s nothing in this film that I can consciously say that I was making a direct reference to a film, but just the things they mention and talk about in the film as inspirations for the characters are then inspirations for the film itself… The beauty of ideas is that they are like waves in the ocean and they connect with things that came before them, and I think it is very important to embrace things that interest you and influence you, and incorporate them into what you do, as all artists have always done. The ones that say they don’t, are lying. Or are afraid that their work won’t be seen as being original, somehow.

The film, which is very much about art and authorship, does feel pasted together with bits of Jarmusch’s influences and interests. I’m sure many people will find Only Lovers Left Alive frustrating (its snub of Chechov’s gun in particular), but it is beautiful to just watch it slowly unfold.

(And, if you are curious, the font used in the posters picture above is apparently FF Brokenscript designed by Just van Rossum)

It Kills Everything It Touches


At the LA Review of Books, Daniel Mark Janes discusses last month’s curious conference at Birkbeck College (University of London) about the author Geoff Dyer:

Anyone who has written about Geoff Dyer will have been tempted to emulate his style, particularly his tendency to digress: “I planned to write about Geoff Dyer but instead I got distracted/stoned/fell asleep.” (Of those who resist this urge, most feel obliged to describe this temptation.) However, the point of works like ‘Out of Sheer Rage’ and ‘Zona’ is not just that Dyer chronicles his experiences; it is that, for all of the tangents, we still at the end find ourselves closer to Lawrence, closer to Tarkovsky. Personal reminiscence alone did not necessarily make us closer to Dyer — but it was still welcome in shaping the tone. Amid the ’ism’s and ’otic’s of traditional academic papers, humanity can often be lacking — yet Dyer’s work is all flesh and bone, united by a persona that is profoundly, playfully human.

And on a related note, Philip Maughan also spoke to Dyer about the conference for the New Statesman:

“I’m one of the people who seem to have licensed the ‘I’m meant to write about this book but I’m just going to write how I got stoned instead’ essay – but it only works for certain subjects. It has to lead you into a deeper appreciation of the subject than could have been attained in a more direct way. It’s like those legal highs,” he said. “Some of them can get you pretty messed up. Really they ought to be proscribed.”

Peter Mendelsund on WNYC

Author and book cover designer Peter Mendelsund talks about his new books, What We See When We Read and Cover, on today’s Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC:

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