I read few film books this year, but I’m happy to have spent time with Jack Sargeant’s latest book. Flesh and Excess is an essential and necessary book because it covers a period woefully neglected for a type of film that gets little attention in the first place—the underground film. This book is a gift, for Sargeant covers underwritten films from not just the 1970s and 1980s, but also the 1990s and 2000s, paying special attention to Mark Hejnar’s Affliction (1996), Todd Philips’ Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies (1993), as well as the works of Aryan Kaganof and Usama Alshaibi.
Supporting Characters debuted back in March, and it has quickly become one of my favorite film podcasts, along with Mike White’s Projection Booth, Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This, Peter Labuza’s The Cinephiliacs, and Tom Sutpen’s Illusion Travels By Streetcar. Each hour-to-three-hour podcast highlights a person (mostly people from the United States) who’s doing their part in adding to the film conversation, whether that’s publishing a zine like Jeremy Richey’s Art Decades, programming films like Philip Bresler, writing about cinema (Heather Drain, Samm Deighan, Mark Walkow, Violet Lucca, Travis Crawford, Kier-La Janisse and more), or doing a combination of all these activities and more.
It’s certainly not the most groundbreaking exhibit like Laura Poitras’ Astro Noise at the Whitney or the Bruce Conner show at MoMA, but it was a memorable one for me. February and March were Grandrieux months, for I finally saw Meurtrière (2015) and Malgré la nuit (2015). Soon after, I made the trip to Boston with my friend Jason Evans, proprietor of the swell This Long Century. We then spent a brief spell with Grandrieux himself. If you get the chance, meet your heroes.
Tanner Tafelski is a cinephile and writer based in New York City