Joshua Schulze is the new editor of Alternate Takes. James McDowell one of the original founders of the digital site devoted to film criticism tells me that,
‘The aim of Alternate Takes is to provide analysis of cinema that is informed by academic debates, but also walks a line between the journalistic review and the critical essay. It publishes long-form essays that embody this ethos, but the most obvious way the site has achieved this compromise position between reviewing and scholarly criticism is by writing about new films twice. First there is a short, evaluative piece that ‘spoils’ as little as possible about a film, but still grants a sense of the sorts of experience it offers; the idea is that this is a review to read before you see a film. Then, after you’ve watched it, you can read our Alternate Take – a longer, more in-depth critical piece, which usually digs more deeply into a particular critical issue that the movie raises. While over the years this dual-review format has become less rigidly enforced, the overall approach it fostered has remained the same, and the site has continued to publish film criticism that is in-depth, critical, mindful of social and artistic contexts, but also accessible and enjoyable.’
The impetus for this conversation with Josh Schulze was merely to find out if there was a new direction he, along with co-editors Matt Denny, Patrick Pilkington and Leanne Weston, wanted for the now celebrated digital platform and what that might be.
In the podcast Josh and I discuss Pauline Kael, cinephilia, the pressures of writing quickly and its effects on film reviewing, the nuances of film criticism, how Alternate Takes is devoted at looking at films in depth and with nuance. We also discuss our admiration for the video essays of Adrian Martin, Catherine Grant and Kogonada, and how contributing to Alternate Takes is a great way for early career people and students to explore their ideas and take new approaches to film.
You can find the website here: www.alternatetakes.co.uk/
James McDowell’s thought provoking piece on the raison d’être and purpose of the platform can be found here: www.alternatetakes.co.uk/?2011,3,240