This is just really an excuse to post an image from the dazzling new digital restoration of Charles Sheerer and Paul Strand’s pioneering 1921 “Manhatta” that didn’t make it into my story about it (here) in Sunday’s New York Times. This is the first time that cutting edge digital restoration techniques have been used on an avant-garde film, and the results, under the supervision of Bruce Posner (the curator of the invaluable DVD collection, “Unseen Cinema”), are truly revelatory. What was once a jerky, muddy mess now looks as crisp, clear and beautifully textured as a Sheeler painting or a Strand photograph — which begs the question of why the art establishment has so long allowed films to degenerate while spending unlimited funds on preserving the other visual arts. For those in the New York area, “Manhatta” screens at the Museum of Modern Art Friday, Nov. 14 at 6:15 pm and Saturday, Nov. 15 at 2:00 pm. TCM will also broadcast the film in January.
In other happy news (and hasn’t this week been full of that?), Adrian Martin has mustered another stimulating issue of Rouge — on line here. The contributors include several familiar names from this community, including Jean-Pierre Coursodon (on Altman’s “Tanner”), Mark Rappaport (on Mitchell Leisen), Kent Jones (asking the musical question, “Can Movies Think?” ) and Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian lui-meme on Manny Farber — part of a tribute to Farber that includes contributions from Bill Krohn, Donald Phelps, and the team of Patrick Amos and Jean-Pierre Gorin. And it wouldn’t be “Rouge” without a Nicole Brenez article on Abel Ferrara — this time, it’s on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”