5 Feb 2016

Online viewing picks of the week (5 February)

From Widescreen, 1:30 pm on 5 February 2016

The best* online video we’ve been watching over the last seven days.


Mesmerising montage of close-ups from the master, Robert Bresson, edited by @kogonada for Criterion.

(Thanks to Jason Di Rosso from the ABC’s Final Cut programme for the tip.)


The Nerdwriter (Evan Puschak) compares Seinfeld with Flaubert. Yes, Flaubert.

This is actually really interesting and all about “nothing”. (Some slightly yucky aspect ratio choices should not mar your enjoyment.)


Mad Men expert Matt Zoller Seitz has discovered that there is a Russian television equivalent of the show, Ottepel (The Thaw), set in Moscow during the 50s and 60s. He’s produced a typically watchable video essay for Vulture.com on the programme but it isn’t embeddable. Instead, get a taste here before checking it out.

Ottepel (The Thaw) is one of the more fascinating descendants of Weiner’s show. To watch it is to step into a parallel universe where a lot of Mad Men’s themes reappear in a different cultural context, with different characters and stakes. The title refers to the late-1950s and early 1960s period of Soviet history when the country’s then-premier, Nikita Khrushchev, eased back some of the repressions and restrictions imposed by the Cold War and let the nation loosen up a bit, allowing for a more sophisticated modern culture and greater communication with artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers in other countries. The show is not as self-conscious and fanatically detailed about the interplay of personal and national history as Mad Men. For the most part, it’s about the psychology of artists, money people in the film industry, the effect that moviemaking has on the lives of their loved ones, and the sense of movies as a dream factory that simultaneously propagates national mythology and offers people an escape from their humdrum daily lives.


[*May not be the actual best. We haven't watched the entire internet. If there’s anything you know of that we’ve missed, let us know at widescreen@rnz.co.nz]