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Max Goldberg

MAX GOLDBERG is a writer and archivist based in Oakland, California. His work has appeared in Cinema Scope and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, among other publications.

THE PASSENGER:
J.P. Sniadecki’s The Iron Ministry

The filmmakers of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab often cite as inspiration James Agee’s description of documentary work as “the effort to perceive simply the cruel radiance of what is.” Of course there’s nothing simple about it: at their best, the SEL films (Sweetgrass, Foreign Parts, People’s Park, Leviathan, Manakamana) remind us that reality, when fully perceived, is always too much—too much to see, too much to hear, too much to bear.

ONCE MORE TO THE LAKE
Jerome Hiler’s New Shores

Watching Jerome Hiler’s recent works In the Stone House and New Shores, I am struck by the fact that films so intimately attuned to the here and now of emulsion passing before the projector’s bulb should also, essentially, be of the past.

The Sacred Wood: Nathaniel Dorsky's Arboretum Cycle

Strange as it sounds, I sometimes think that Nathaniel Dorsky’s films are never clearer than when they slide out of focus. Dorsky often remarks that his films work best when the viewer isn’t trying to understand them, but these shots make sure of that.

THEME AND VARIATIONS
The Royal Road, Phoenix, and The Dragon is the Frame

D.A. Miller begins his 2008 Film Quarterly essay on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) by confessing that his initial experience of the film was not a happy one.

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The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2019

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