Daily | Alphaville 5 and the Apocalypse

Dead Man

18 years before ‘The Lone Ranger’: Johnny Depp in Jarmusch’s ‘Dead Man’

Catherine Grant alerts us to the new issue of Alphaville, #5, “Cinema in the Interstices.” To briefly mention just a few of the attractions: Patrick Tarrant on Pedro Costa’s Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (2001), a portrait of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Roy Daly on “the centrality of the interstice to the underlying form of three of Jim Jarmusch’s films, namely, Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Dead Man (1995) and The Limits of Control (2009),” Delphine Letort on “the interstices between fact and fiction” in the first two seasons of Treme (2010/2011), Laura Busetta on a recent exhibition of work by Jonas Mekas, three book reviews, and two conference reports.

Catherine’s particularly appreciated a lecture delivered just over ten years ago by Raymond Bellour “on ‘the increasingly irreversible position of cinema within multiple image and sound dispositifs’ through the prism of art installations by filmmakers and artists, including Marker, Akerman, Mekas, Kiarostami, Egoyan, Farocki, Svankmajer, Rist, Oursler, Beloff, Cardiff, Birnbaum, Viola and Castorf.”

For Time, Lily Rothman interviews the 24-year-old Belarusian video editor named Vadzim Khudabets behind this supercut of the moment, which might be viewed as a sort of audio-visual accompaniment to Not Coming‘s newest feature

More reading. Rumsey Taylor introduces a new feature at Not Coming to a Theater Near You: “For the remainder of this month, we are focusing on the most disastrous of disaster films: apocalypse movies, the more pronounced of which are loud and obvious. Generally they are summer blockbusters with ensemble casts, renowned for their digitally-crafted scenarios of global mayhem, and directed by Roland Emmerich. However, apocalypse movies predate the advent of computer special effects as well as the summer blockbuster, and some of its more conceptually innovative examples are only apocalyptic in a subliminal sense, narrowing their focus on the effect a cataclysm has on a single character, dispensing with tectonic disruption in favor of bleak understatement.”

Writing for the Paris Review, Katie Ryder strings some muscle onto the bleached bones of the Lone Ranger debates: “That the historic cinematic vision of the Indian is delusional is widely accepted and permeates far into pop criticism—though filmic depictions, especially in the silent era, varied more than is broadly thought. That the fraudulent Euro-American creation of the Indian on screen—the Hollywood Indian—is entangled with real Native American identity, and with American identity itself, is less understood.”

“Although [Johnnie] To was recently considering retirement, his current films are part of an ongoing transitional phase,” writes Simon Abrams at Moving Image Source. “While Drug War is markedly more grim than his other recent projects, it is one of a handful of films To has recently made that are all concerned with or are a product of post-financial crisis/post-handover relations between Hong Kong and mainland China.”

For the Verge, Todd Gilchrist talks with Christiane Kubrick about protecting her husband’s legacy.

Gary Kramer interviews Joe Swanberg for Slant, where Jesse Cataldo writes that “Drinking Buddies finds Swanberg upgrading his established system for telling intimate, finely detailed stories, working with a bigger budget and some recognizable faces, but the embellishments don’t necessarily feel beneficial to his aesthetic. It’s therefore not too surprising that the film comes off as a shaky misstep, less precise and cohesive than much of his recent work, as its small, improvisational skeleton struggles to meet the demands of the more ambitious story it’s trying to tell.”

Others may argue “that most of Swanberg’s films prior to Drinking Buddies are merely sketches, but I disagree,” writes J.J. Murphy. In particular, “I find All the Light in the Sky to be a mature and sensitive look at the problems of being a middle-aged actress.”

For more on Drinking Buddies, follow James Kang‘s entry at Critics Round Up. And while you’re there, see, too, the roundups on James Ponsoldt‘s The Spectacular Now (earlier: reviews from Boston), Joachim Lafosse‘s Our Children (earlier: reviews from May), and Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers.

“Perhaps the greatest tribute to [Bruce] Lee’s originality is that he became a star in spite of his movies rather than because of them,” suggests Dave Kehr, reviewing Shout! Factory’s 11-disc Bruce Lee Legacy Collection for the New York Times.

Speaking of DVDs. “The intelligent austerity that marks André Téchiné’s underappreciated fourth film, The Brontë Sisters (1979), is a rarity both for the director, whose work, at least since the mid-1990s, has frequently succumbed to voluble hysterics, and the literary biopic, a genre prone to melodrama,” writes Melissa Anderson for Artforum. “That this is a serious meditation on the creators of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, classic texts whose screen adaptations have too often devolved into clamorous Victorian bodice-rippers, makes its hush all the more admirable.” At Slant, Jordan Cronk agrees that this is “a richly restrained, formalist work ripe for reappraisal.”

With Gorō Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) opening this weekend in the U.K., Robbie Collin makes a pilgrimage to Studio Ghibli. And both the Telegraph and Little White Lies post lists of 20 factoids each about the legendary house of animation.

In the works. “James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have upped the number of Avatar sequels they’ll make from two to three,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr., “and they’ve set three high-level screenwriters (one is a team) to get the movies in shape to be shot simultaneously. That is easily a recipe for the most expensive set of pictures ever made, and an ambitious production plan not seen since New Line and Peter Jackson made three The Lord of the Rings films back to back.”

FX is planning a TV series based on the Coen brothers’ Fargo and Billy Bob Thornton has signed on to take the lead. AJ Marechal reports for Variety.

In other news. Ellen DeGeneres will host the Oscars on March 2, reports Amanda Holpuch in the Guardian.

We usually pass over business items, but George Clooney’s rant, erupting in Mike Fleming Jr.‘s interview for Deadline, regarding Daniel Loeb, the founder of the hedge fund Third Point, is actually pretty great. Otherwise, they discuss The Monuments Men, the film Clooney’s just wrapped, and it sounds like all’s gone well. Featuring Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Jean Dujardin, it’ll open just before Christmas.

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