Tomorrow evening at 6 PM, Northwestern University will host the second edition of their “Illuminating the Shadows” conference on film criticism. The focus this year is on the relationship between traditional criticism and academic film writing. The panelists are Elena Gorfinkel (a professor of art history and film studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Girish Shambu (a professor at Canisius College in New York who runs an esteemed film website) and Adrian Martin (former critic for Melbourne’s The Age, current professor, and coeditor, with Reader emeritus Jonathan Rosenbaum, of the excellent collection Movie Mutations). I can’t vouch for Gorfinkel’s writing, though I’m a big admirer of Shambu and Martin, both of whom make the discovery of film history seem surprising and exciting. For a sample of what arises when they put their heads together, check out LOLA, a film studies website that they edit in tandem.
After the panel discussion, Martin will introduce a free screening of James Toback’s 1983 feature Exposed at 8 PM. Though largely forgotten, it sounds odd enough to merit rediscovery, and the scholarly dialogue should provide the proper atmosphere of curiosity.