Rubio spokesperson Alex Conant tweeted that the senator dominated the debate by other measures, including as the most-searched candidate online while on stage. His campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, tweeted that Rubio raised three times as much money during this debate as he did during any other.
“What Gov. Christie was trying to do was to knock Marco out, to kill him dead,” Rubio strategist Todd Harris told reporters in the spin room following the debate. “He took his best shot, and he failed.”
But Christie’s campaign operatives pushed an alternate interpretation: that the debate altered the course of the race in New Hampshire. “The rush to coronate Marco Rubio as the nominee is off,” Senior Strategist Mike DuHaime told reporters afterward. “I think people are hitting pause on that and are taking a second look at Christie, especially, and will probably take a second look at the whole field.”
Whether Rubio will be able to maintain his strong standing in New Hampshire is an existential question for Christie, Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all of whom are betting their candidacies on placing in the first-in-the-nation primary.
Meanwhile, the current New Hampshire frontrunner escaped the harsh scrutiny Saturday faced by Rubio. Donald Trump has held a commanding lead in the polls for months here. And although Rubio’s stumbles could help the cause of the three governors running against him, each hoping to untangle himself from the others and emerge as a clear choice in the so-called establishment lane, they did little to blunt Trump’s standing.
Where the hell was that Marco Rubio during the last debate before the New Hampshire primary?
Rubio had a terrible, terrible night. Chris Christie, of all people, managed to land an attack on him — that he simply robotically repeats his talking points — that has the potential to haunt his campaign, or at least focus the attacks against him. And Rubio's response was...to robotically repeat his talking points.
This is a bad time for Rubio to stumble. He's a few days out from an Iowa caucus where he and his campaign managed to spin a third-place finish as a win because they outperformed expectations. He's a few days ahead of a New Hampshire primary where he and his campaign have set the expectation that they're going to come in second (which is consistent with the polls). And he's only a few weeks away from a South Carolina primary where his campaign needs to come in first.
Do voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina care about Rubio's terrible debate performance? Who knows. But the political establishment and media do. And those are constituencies Rubio can't afford to lose.
The American Slave Coast is a big book, both physically (over 700 pages including citations) and conceptually. From the colonial period to the postbellum, the authors Ned and Constance Sublette cast slavery, and the slave-breeding industry, as the center of American history. It’s a provocative and nightmarish thesis, so distant from conventional ideas about America’s history that it feels like a dispatch from an entirely different time and place. If America had lost the Cold War, maybe this is how kids would be learning the nation’s story.
There’s an important fundamental difference between the history of slavery in the United States and a “history of the slave-breeding industry,” as The American Coast is subtitled. Slavery, in simplest terms, was unpaid labor. Slaves were shipped from Africa to the American South, where they cultivated tobacco and picked cotton and served owners but didn’t get paid and couldn’t leave. Slowly, reformers and abolitionists chipped away at the institution, first banning the Transatlantic trade, then fighting a civil war to eliminate human bondage. Freeing the slaves destroyed the South’s pseudo-feudal economy, ending the region’s economic dominance. That’s the story.
But to think about American slaves merely as coerced and unpaid laborers is to misunderstand the institution. Slaves weren’t just workers, the Sublettes remind the reader—they were human capital. The very idea that people could be property is so offensive that we tend retroactively to elide the designation, projecting onto history the less-noxious idea of the enslaved worker, rather than the slave as commodity. Mapping 20th-century labor models onto slavery spares us from reckoning with the full consequences of organized dehumanization, which lets us off too easy: To turn people into products means more than not paying them for their work.
One of the central misconceptions the Sublettes seek to debunk is the subordination of American slavery to the transatlantic trade. Conceptually locating the center of the slave trade offshore is good for America’s self-image, and it’s an old line. The Sublettes quote Southern slavers who blamed English firms for forcing the barbaric mode of transportation on America. In schools, the 1808 ban on capturing and shipping slaves is taught as part of the end of slavery, but the Sublettes re-frame it as simple protectionism: Domestic producers wanted to lock out foreign competition.
review: What do you make of the increasingly scientistic understanding of the self, in that it is reduced to just one object (neuroscientific or otherwise) among others?
Taylor: The scientistic understanding – promoted by the likes of Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker and so on – where we’re conceived as thinking beings, with brains that can be understood like a computer, as the hardware (although they’re soft). Now the concepts of computer programmes and complex algorithms don’t engage at all with the concepts I find myself using as I try to work out my identity, its relation to you and your gaze on me, issues of the good, of the less good – a language that’s highly dependent on being the right interpretation of what I’m feeling, and what I’m experiencing. There’s a total gap between these two languages, and nobody has any clue how you can move from one to the other.
The relationship here is like the relationship between our ordinary talk about temperature – this is warm, this is hot – and talk about the kinetic energy of molecules. That’s the classic example of a reductive explanation. No one has the foggiest idea as to how to bridge the gap between the scientific conceptualisation of the brain and our ordinary sense of selfhood. They pretend to, of course, because they have a picture of a brain that makes it look like a computer. But what in that neuroscientific interpretation relates to my account that, say, this is a horrible way to be, or that I’m deeply alienated, or this is really fulfilling, or this is really admirable? There’s just no connection there. Now I’m not saying it could never happen or that it’s untrue, but the challenge is to produce this kind of ‘bridge’ language, but we don’t even have an idea as to what that would look like. That’s a big promissory note.
Besides, one can’t imagine doing without the language of self-explanation, self-understanding and self-searching, because that’s the language we use for the activity of seeing who we are, what we want and what’s really important. We will never be able to get rid of that language, just like we can’t get away from the language of hot and cold. Perhaps by the 25th century, we will view ourselves entirely in terms of brain science. But it seems to me wildly implausible. You can’t say ‘it will never fly, Orville’, because you have to give science a chance. But it does seem highly unlikely.
review: And, finally, the idea of self-determination – which underpins the development of modern democracy – is increasingly called into question today. One thinks, for example, of the popularity of behavioural economics (so-called nudge theory), and the ‘soft despotism’ and paternalism of Western governments. What do you make of this development?
Taylor: There’s something in the nature of modern democracy which always makes it problematic. If you go back to the ancient idea of democracy, it has a slightly different meaning. It meant rule by the demos. But if you think of modern democracy, you think of rule by everyone, the whole people, right? But the word ‘people’ is ambiguous today. Sometimes, it means the non-elite people, as opposed to the guys on top, hence formulations like ‘they’re not listening to the people’. And then, in another sense of the word, we say democracy is rule by the people, and by that we mean everyone. The Ancient Greeks didn’t have this idea of rule by everybody, because the idea of who was ruling was very clear through face-to-face contact. It was either the whole assembly deciding on a matter, or a much narrower group mainly emanating from the aristocracy and the rich, and there was no problem as to who was calling the shots. Modern democracy is very complex because it refers to very large societies and makes massive use of various forms of representation and representative institutions, because otherwise you couldn’t even begin to imagine what ‘the people call the shots’ would mean. So it’s always open to the questions: aren’t these complex institutions meant to represent the will of the people, and is anything like that happening? Are they being captured at various points by bureaucrats, by lobbyists, by the rich? Modern democracy always potentially invites deep suspicion.
What makes a difference, I think, is that people have the sense that, yes, there is something like democracy going on when, in some way, the distance between whoever the directly ruling people are – ministers, lobbyists, paymasters – and the mass of people is somehow lessened, because somehow money is not running the whole show, we have real popular movements that are having an impact, and so on. And in modern Western democracy, I think you can see a series of epochs when things were moving towards something that looks like the people ruling, and other periods when we’re moving away from this ideal.
So, after the Second World War, with the development of the welfare state and various forms of universal provision, and the existence of powerful trade unions who could fight against employers etc, there was a sense that we’re moving ahead. And that was partly because the great inequalities between rich and poor had gotten less, and much less in the US. Between, say, 1900 and 1950, there had been a real compression of what in the robber-baron days were just astronomical inequalities. After about 1975, in the US and the West in general, it moves the other way. And one of the measures of this is the spectacular growth in inequality. Correspondingly, money seems to talk a lot more loudly. So there’s a sense in which the suspicion that these institutions don’t represent the rule of the people grows. And consequently, more and more people don’t vote, which means that it is increasingly true that these institutions really don’t represent the people. So you get a spiralling towards what could be a believable democracy between 1945 and 1975 and a spiralling away ever since. I think that if we ever reverse the growing inequality, we’ll get a sense that we’re on the road back again.
But I think the thing about modern democracy is that at best you are only on the road to, rather than at, the point at which the people really rules.
The popularity of behavioural economics among today’s rulers must be understood within the context of the imperfections of modern democracy. And behavioural economics is highly manipulative; Cass Sunstein’s nudge theory is highly manipulative. Of course, you might argue that since we’re never going to have an absolutely perfect expression of the popular will, plus the fact that the popular will is probably shot through with irrationality, let’s try to cope with that by being the smart ones manipulating ‘them’, but manipulating them in a benign way because it’s for their own good. That’s a whole understanding of democracy which I call Schumpeterian, which comes from Joseph Schumpeter, which says democracy just consists in, every four or five years, everyone having a vote and throwing the bastards out if you want to, and then, after the election, we go back to the real situation where there’s one gang up there really running the show and the only power the people wield is that the gang up there is looking over its collective shoulder worrying whether it’s going to get elected in a few years’ time. That’s a conception of democracy that gives up on the strong idea of popular rule.
The first screening took place on May 17th 1931 in the Cinema Capitólio in Rio de Janeiro, a session organized by the Chaplin Club, which announced Limite as the first Brazilian film of pure cinema. It received favorable reviews from the critics who saw the film as an original Brazilian avant-garde production, but never made it into commercial circuits and over the years was screened only sporadically, as in 1942 when a special session was arranged for Orson Welles who was in South America for the shooting of his unfinished It’ s all true and for Maria Falconetti, lead actress of Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). Due to various facts, Limite, sometimes referred to as the “unknown masterpiece” - an expression derived from Georges Sadoul who in 1960 had made an unsuccessful trip to Rio de Janeiro just to see the film - along with Mário Peixoto, became quite legendary subjects.
Soon after the first screening in Rio, Limite was shown on several occasions in Europe, in Paris as well as at the Marble Arch cinema in London where it is said to have attracted Sergei Eisenstein’s interest and an article written by him entitled A movie from South America, supposedly published in 1931 in the The Tatler Magazine. This article has frequently been quoted as proof for the international recognition and reputation of Limite, as in the program of the Berliner Filmfestspiele in 1981 or as recently as in 2004 when At the edge of the earth, the documentary about Mário Peixoto, was presented in several European movie theaters. In the 40s and 50s, Mário himself had often mentioned the Eisenstein text but never came up with the article itself. When trying to get financing for one of his projects – a movie called The soul according to Salustre, in 1964 -, he was told by Plinio Süssekind, a friend, that the article would be very helpful to raise funds. Two weeks later Mário presented a hand written text in Portuguese, which was actually published in 1965 by filmmaker Carlos Diegues in his cinema-column of the Brazilian magazine Arquitectura, vol. 38. Peixoto himself first said he had translated this text from a French version of the original English article and later on claimed that cameraman Edgar Brazil had translated it from German into Portuguese, but, according to Saulo Pereira de Mello, finally admitted to having written it himself. The article was then republished by Mello (2000) as a text written by Mário Peixoto.
A second item to mention is the vanishing of Limite in the 60s and 70s. In 1959, the nitrate film began to deteriorate and Plinio Süssekind and Saulo Pereira de Mello started a frame-by-frame restoration. Without previous technical experience, they used procedures from specialized books. Limite only returned to festivals and screenings in 1978. Even though nobody could see the movie between 1959 and 1978 – as in the case of Georges Sadoul and his unsuccessful trip to Rio de Janeiro in 1960 - it still served as a reference for controversial discussions and statements while others even doubted that the film really existed. Glauber Rocha, leading figure of the new cinema, the cinema novo, classified in 1963 the director as “far from reality and history” (59) and the unseen movie as “unable to comprehend the contradictions of bourgeois society” (66), a “contradiction historically overcome” (67) and confirmed his judgment of Limite as a product of the intellectual decadent bourgeoisie again in 1978 after finally having seen it.
The scenario with its 220 listed shots shows itself to be a very explicit manual with detailed descriptions of camera positions, angles and movements for cameraman Edgar Brazil to use. The final cut of Peixoto’s film sticks very closely to the scenario.
Shot 73 might serve as an example:
fusion close up – hand of the woman who has fish and some vegetables in her basket – camera follows her and, once again, close up showing the basket and all of her purchases – woman keeps on walking – camera moves with her(8)
In comparison with the scenarios of other silent avant-garde movies of the 1920s, for instance Man Ray’s manuscript for L’étoile de mer (1928) (9), or even the script by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz for Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920), it must be said that Peixoto’s text does not tell a story, nor does it give insights into any kind of psychological state of mind among the three main characters. Rather, it “thinks” in pictures, movements and angles, trying to intertwine the diverse visual fields by using certain symbolic themes and variations. From the outset, the filmic style of Limite is part of the scenario and not a result of an interpretation or transformation of the textual outline by subsequent shooting. The metaphor of the “camera brain” – a frequent term used by many avant-garde filmmakers – is also present in Peixoto’s scenario, in which the use of intertitles is avoided, with one short exception, and reliance is placed overall on the camera and its movements. Limite therefore accomplishes what Germaine Dulac had demanded in 1927: the “real” filmmaker should “divest cinema of all elements not particular to it, to seek its true essence in the consciousness of movement and visual rhythms” (10).
Taking in account the scenario as well as the actual movie, Limite must be seen as a film with a clear, elaborated and recognisable concept. This may explain Peixoto’s dislike of surrealistic movies, specifically those of Luis Buñuel, and the rejection of chance as an artistic principle, as found in Man Ray or Dada. Limite starts off with the image of a woman embraced by a man in handcuffs, a prototype image that goes on being modified throughout the film. The opening proto-image, from the photograph he saw in Paris in 1929, introduces the leitmotiv of imprisonment, of being trapped, and gives way to a long, almost hypnotic boat scene that is to transport us into the continuum of time, a rather fluid amorphous state in which the camera then moves into the past, tracing certain memory lines, episodes and associated details, objects, movements and images. These visual flashes of limitations are reflected in other images and thus escape from their fixed, limited and solid status, only to disappear or fade out without further explanation. The wrecking in the storm at the end then leads us back to the original proto-image, the initial theme, now extended and enriched by the visual and rhythmic variations that have been experienced. The scenario and film can therefore best be characterised as a visual cinematic poem that explores the medium for its poetic capacities, instead of using it for transporting non-visual conceptions and narratives.
Peixoto then offered the scenario to his director friends Gonzaga and Mauro. But both of them declined and advised him to make the film himself and to hire the cameraman Edgar Brazil, who would have the necessary experience to ensure completion of the project. Shooting began in mid-1930, using imported panchromatic film material with a high sensitivity for grey scales.
Limite had its première on 17 May 1931, in the Cinema Capitólio in Rio de Janeiro, in a session organised by the Chaplin Club. It received favourable reviews from the critics, who saw the film as an original Brazilian avant-garde production, but it was also rejected by part of the audience and never made it into commercial circuits. Over the years, it was screened only sporadically, as in 1942, when a special session was arranged for Orson Wells, who was in South America for the shooting of his unfinished It’s all True, and for Maria Falconetti, lead actress of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc, 1928).
"The informed filmgoer might not leap to support the contention that Rivette is the most important filmmaker of the last thirty-five years. After all, Rivette has made films blatantly outside the conventional scheme... A time will come when proper retrospective will prove his greatness, but at the cost of so many younger and flashier reputations. No one has done more to experiment with narrative and duration than Rivette." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
The news that Jacques Rivette has died at the age of 87 comes just as his most notorious work, the 13½-hour epic Out 1 (shot in 1970 but not formally completed until 1990), has just become widely available for the first time (it sits in 127th position in Sight & Sound’s Greatest Films poll).
Rivette was, of course, a prime mover among the nouvelle vague group of critics-turned-directors originally hired by Andre Bazin to write for Cahiers du cinéma. His breakthrough film, made under the aegis of Roberto Rossellini, was Paris nous appartient (1964), which concerned a paranoid conspiracy woven around the death of the composer of a score for a student Shakespeare production.
Meditations on what cinema shares and does not with the theatre would become a constant undertow in his subsequent films, not least Out 1 itself, which follows two groups of film and theatre people struggling with the aftermath of the May 68 evenements.
Perhaps his most famous and successful film was his melding of fantasy themes from Cocteau, Lewis Carroll and Proust, Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), which David Thomson described as “the most innovative film since Citizen Kane”. His principal contribution to cinema is to have opened up film form in terms of narrative and duration.
Rivette was born in 1928, in Rouen. In 1950, he became involved with the Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin, and contributed articles to its bulletin, the Gazette du Cinema, edited by Eric Rohmer. During this period, he also directed his first short films, Aux Quatre Coins (1950), Le Quadrille (1950), and Le Divertissement (1952). Rivette’s friendship with Rohmer led him to the new film journal Cahiers du cinéma, edited by Andre Bazin and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze. During the years of 1952 and 1953, the core of the Cahiers group formed, anchored around the quintet of Rivette, Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol. Rivette’s writings at Cahiers primarily concern the American cinema of the 1940s and 1950s, arguing against the staid French “cinema of quality” in favor of the lusty, unbridled American filmmaking he admired. He championed Howard Hawks, John Ford, Nicholas Ray and Fritz Lang, seeing them as representatives of a specifically American vitality. The Cahiers critics were all aspiring filmmakers, and craved to translate their ideas about movies into filmmaking of their own. Rivette had worked as an assistant to Jacques Becker and Jean Renoir, and when Truffaut and Rohmer made their first shorts, he served as their cameraman.
n 1958, Rivette—before Truffaut, Godard or Rohmer and second only to Chabrol—began shooting his first feature-length film. Short on funding, he made Paris nous appartient over the next two years, utilizing borrowed equipment, bits and pieces of film stock, and the spare time of his performers. The story concerns a group of artists rehearsing a performance of Shakespeare’s Pericles, and the film functions simultaneously as a realistic depiction of bohemian Parisian life at the end of the 1950s, and a genuinely frightening, modernist, alienated view of a world where either everything is part of a vast conspiracy, or is utterly unrelated. Paris nous appartient is undecided about which possibility is the more frightening, but its free-floating paranoia looks back to high-modernist antecedents like Kafka and Borges while anticipating the paranoid cinema that has come to dominate the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster.
Many of Rivette’s preoccupations and recurrent themes are prominent in this first feature. Paranoia, plotting, and the essential mystery of the Other are constants in his films, as is the sustained focus on the relationship between theatrical expression and unscripted, everyday life. Rivette’s self-conscious meditations on the nature of cinema, and life, in L’Amour fou (1968), Celine et Julie vont en bateau (1974), La Bande des quatre (1989), Secret défense (1998) and Va savoir, among others, are all tempered through the medium of theater. Rivette, like Shakespeare, sees all the world as a stage, with the constant presence of the theatrical in his work a reminder of the inherent theatricality of human emotion and expression. This theme runs as an undercurrent through all of Rivette’s films, helping to structure and organize the otherwise disparate narratives of his various works. Nonetheless, Rivette returns repeatedly to the group of creative souls, working and experiencing together, driven apart by love, jealousy, or the fear of the world’s conspiratorial powers. His films are always about the relationship between various individuals existing in the complexity and opacity of lived experience. Life outside the social, interpersonal realm is like the actor’s existence offstage—ultimately too wispy and ephemeral to perceive.
From 1963 until 1965 Rivette was editor in chief at Cahiers, having replaced fellow New Waver Eric Rohmer. During his tenure, he guided Cahiers toward a broadened interest in the political implications of contemporary culture. Rivette served as a middle ground between the two phases of Cahiers, from the aggressively depoliticized magazine of the 1950s toward the Marxist orientation it adopted post-May 1968. His September 1963 interview with semiotician Roland Barthes stands as the best articulation of Cahiers‘ new position, defining a political role for the art of film without abandoning its original unstinting love for the cinema.Rivette’s second film, made in 1965, was a surprising departure, adapting Diderot’s famous Enlightenment novel, La Religieuse, for the screen. Rivette cast Godard’s wife and muse, Anna Karina, in the main role of Suzanne Simonin. The film is a faithful adaptation of Diderot’s novel, in which a young woman is cast into a life of torment in a French convent by her father, and battles for her freedom. La Religieuse has its powerful moments, and Karina’s performance is exemplary, but the film suffers from a mannered, studied quality unusual to Rivette’s body of work. In a sense, La Religieuse is a throwback to the “cinema of quality” of the 1940s, wholly stylized and mostly predictable, a crowd-pleasing film with none of the blazing, white-hot ingenuity that marks the best of Rivette’s work. Still the film was a succès de scandale of sorts upon its release, being banned for two years for its unsympathetic portrayal of the tyrannical rule of the Catholic Church (and allegorically, one could say, the Gaullist government, then in power). . .
...The first two films were shot using a written script, and left Rivette disappointed, while L’Amour fou, which was partially scripted, was somewhat more successful. This encouraged Rivette to make Celine et Julie without a script, and to work out the details during shooting with his two lead actresses, Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier. Celine (Berto) and Julie (Labourier) are two women who meet while playing a game of cat and mouse game in summertime Montmartre, quickly becoming inseparable, and stumble into an enchanted house of storytelling, in which the same story plays itself out, day upon day. In the house, two women’s bitter fight over the love of the same man ultimately results in the tragic death of the man’s young daughter. Celine and Julie take turns playing the young girl’s nurse, and at the day’s end, after deliriously stumbling out of the house, return to their apartment with magical candies that, when sucked, can bring back, with total recall, the day’s events. The duo ultimately save the girl from her endlessly looping tragic fate, but Celine et Julie‘s stunning final sequence questions the difference between the reality of the house of storytelling and their own (via the candies). It is upon this rather questionable framework that Rivette builds, in the words of David Thomson, “the most innovative film since Citizen Kane…whereas Kane was the first picture to suggest that the world of the imagination was as powerful as reality, Celine and Julie is the first film in which everything is invented.”
Rivette’s film is multifaceted in its cinematic re-education of its viewers. Celine et Julie presents its viewers with a vision of ‘the possible’, filtered through a study of the rigidity of the forms of the past. This begins with issues of film length and respect of audience. Rivette rejects the notion of “the democratic principle”, whereby filmmakers are encouraged to continue making rehashes of the same ideologically nonsensical fluff due to a history of filmgoers paying their money to see similar films. The tradition of rigid adherence to the 90 minute to 2-hour time frame, enforced by the laws of free market capitalism, is exploded by Rivette. As a filmmaker, Rivette refuses to confine himself to these arbitrary lengths, or to the even more arbitrary, if unspoken, rules about demands on subject matter and mise-en-scène in films of epic length. Instead, Rivette extends the lengths of his films to a point beyond necessity, where it is understood that the film’s length in and of itself is a statement about the system he works in and rebels against. This anti-late capitalist sentiment is directly tied to the feminist ideals, of femininity as a source of creativity expressed in the body of Celine et Julie. Rivette furthers this impression by seemingly wasting the first 20 minutes of the film extending the opening chase beyond any narrative obligation. Rivette has expressed his belief in the ideal cinema being one of ordeal, namely a cinema that challenges its viewers to break through mainstream, middlebrow notions of narrative and cinematic technique, into a wider view of acceptable filmic topics. Celine et Julie vont en bateau works on this premise, challenging its viewers with the relatively sparse narrative in its opening sequences in order to prepare them for the breakthrough of the film’s second half, in which the pleasures of storytelling are superbly—and, at times, whimsically—explored.