David Lynch on creativity and Ed’s Co-ed from The Bioscope

I just had a transcendentally enjoyable afternoon watching two videos: the first one I’ll discuss (actually the one I viewed second) was an (at times) insightful, and always highly engaging, free online recording of David Lynch‘s beatific guest lecture at the University of Oregon on November 8th, 2005, which I can thoroughly recommend to Film Studies For Free‘s (small but growing) ‘bliss-seeking’ readership. The link is HERE; there are various viewing options but I found the RealPlayer one to be the most straightforward on this occasion (and it also allows you to record the video, if you want). There’s also a podcast version HERE.

Following a lovely introduction by Associate Professor Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, the video shows Lynch amiably and very capably addressing a large gathering of fans and sceptics on the subject of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” with shorter speaking turns taken for part of the (nearly) two-hour long session by his fellow promoters of Transcendental Meditation, Drs. John Hagelin and Fred Travis.

Much of what Lynch has to say, of course, treats the topic of TM. Lynch is also widely-known now (as well as for his films) for his eponymous Foundation which promotes this practice in the declared interests of ‘world peace’. But there is plenty in the Lecture about his films and filmmaking practice more generally, too, thankfully, hence FSFF‘s recommendation. If you want to skip the ‘science’, Lynch answers great questions from the audience for the first fifty minutes and then returns for some more questions one hour and thirty-two minutes in.

A particular highlight for me was Lynch’s response to a question (about 28 minutes in) about Mulholland Dr. (USA, 2001): ‘What the hell is the box and the key?’. Lynch continues with an anecdote about the turning of the TV pilot version of his script into the full-length movie version. This, in turn, is immediately followed by a nice story I hadn’t heard before about Lynch meeting Federico Fellini just before the latter’s death in 1993.

It turns out, though, that Lynch has done this same gig numerous times, including at other universities. So, if you are a true believer, or you just really want an overload of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” or if, like me, (for a [meagre] living) you study what directors repeatedly say about their work, you could try out the Google Video of the talk as given on the day after the UOregon lecture at UC Berkeley, click HERE. Or, there’s a Google search page HERE giving a list of all the other, online and free video versions of this talk out there in cyberspace.

I came across the Lynch video at the University of Oregon Scholars’ Bank link because of a recommendation to check out another film stored in that online archive by Luke McKernan over at The Bioscope (see my earlier post about this fabulous blog HERE). The Bioscope is currently posting reports from the 27th Annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival/Giornate del Cinema Muto. In the report from Day 4, McKernan discussed, inter alia, a silent film made at the University of Oregon in 1929: Ed’s Co-ed. He warmly recommends it thus:

There is not a trace of amateurism about Ed’s Co-ed. The story is that of every college movie you ever saw – country boy Ed comes to college, is picked on by other students, he falls for the girl but is rejected by all after he admits to a crime to cover up for someone else who actually committed it, his talents are recognised (he plays the violin, he’s top in all his grades), he wins through at last. It’s so like every college film made that you could be fooled by its ordinariness, but this is a college film that actually came from a college, and it is a treasure trove of period attitudes, codes, fashions and language.

McKernan gives the great link to the streamed and downloadable versions of the film in the UOregon website. I thoroughly enjoyed this film (before Film Studies For Free‘s Lynch marathon) though would have loved to have seen it at Pordenone with the live accompaniment from Neil Brand (piano) and Günter Buchwald (violin).

Raúl Ruiz, and other directors, in webcast conversations via University of Aberdeen

The Directors Cut – Raúl Ruiz in conversation with Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli from 3sixty-tv/vimeo

The very enterprising and generous Department of Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen began its ‘Director’s Cut’ series of public interviews last year, and is now set to launch this year’s series, including conversations with Hans Petter Moland, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Jane Treays (also see HERE). The informative press release for this year’s series is HERE; please visit the series’ website for other details.

All of last year’s interviews have been made available online in wonderfully long webcasts. These are very substantial free resources, indeed. Alongside Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli‘s great conversation with Raúl Ruiz (HERE), there are interviews with Allan Shiach (HERE), John Akomfrah (HERE), and the fabulous Nicolas Roeg (HERE). There’s an interview with David Attenborough archived on a different page (but that one took a long time to load, so I haven’t fully checked it out).

The Director’s Cut series of interviews was the highly laudable initiative of Alan Marcus, Reader in Film and Visual Culture at Aberdeen, and a filmmaker himself. Film Studies For Free takes its deeply grateful blogger’s hat off to Dr Marcus, and to Film at Aberdeen, for enabling these conversations, as well as for ensuring their online availability to a much, much wider (indeed, global) audience.

More Film Studies videos online: Haynes, Minghella, Ahtila, Varda, and Mulvey

Eija-Liisa Ahtila, from ‘The House’ (2002)

Here below are some more links to great online webcasts of very worthwhile, film and film-studies events, as stored in the Tate Galleries online archive (see previous posts on this topic HERE, HERE, and HERE):

There is also a webcast of an interview, in the ‘Moving Images’ series, with Laura Mulvey (7 March 2002) at the Tate Modern, but the link is reported as faulty by the Tate website at present. They say they will fix it, so wait a while, and then try HERE. While on the subject of Mulvey, HERE‘s a link to an online version of her classic essay, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’.

And, to conclude, HERE‘s a link to an already pretty widely-known, online ‘access point’ for Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (Todd Haynes, 1987 – also added to Film Studies For Free’s regular listing of ‘Film Practice As Research Links’).

Free podcasts (and video podcasts/webcasts) of film-scholarly note

Film Studies For Free now has a listing of links to free podcasts (and video podcasts/webcasts) of film-scholarly note. It is currently headed by a link to the podcast page of the website feminism 3.0 (also accessible via the blog New Research in Feminist Media Art/Theory/History) run by my friend Vicki Callahan of the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). The podcast currently posted is of an interview with the media artist Cecelia Condit in which she discusses her work. Some of Condit’s video work is posted to her website. A nice Afterimage article about Condit’s work, by Kelly Mink (Jan-Feb., 1998), is available HERE.

I’ve also posted a link to the hugely rich Tate Galleries listing of podcasts. Film-scholarly related highlights on this enormous listing include a podcast of the Tate Modern event 25-11-2007 Film Synergies which discussed the practice of Latin-American film co-production with Europe, which became widespread in the 1990s. The event included the screening of the 46-minute documentary Latin America in Co-production (Libia Villazana, UK/Peru 2007), which explores the mechanisms of this practice.

There’s a podcast of the Tate Modern event 22-07-2007 Patrick Keiller in which Keiller presents and discusses material from Londres, Bombay (2006), his multi-screen video reconstruction of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) in Mumbai.

There’s a podcast of the Tate Modern event 16-06-2007 Surrealism and Film: Study Day, held on the occasion of that gallery’s major exhibition ‘Dalí & Film’, which explored the work of Salvador Dalí in relation to the wider links between surrealism and film.

There’s a podcast of the Tate Modern event 24-02-2007 Robert Beavers, about the season dedicated to this American film artist’s work.

And there’s a whole host of great podcasts on animation (beginning with this one) drawing on the three-day international conference at the Tate Modern 02-03-2007 Pervasive Animation which united speakers from a wide range of research agendas and creative practices, and thus facilitated ‘much-needed dialogue centred on the ubiquitous and interdisciplinary nature of animation, its potentially radical future development, and its ethical responsibilities for spatial politics in moving image culture.’

Any suggestions of further links to good film-related podcasts (and video podcasts/webcasts) from FSFF‘s readers would be most welcome.