Brian De Palma and photographer Taryn Simon would seem to make for an odd couple, but as Artforum reminds us, “the pair collaborated in 2007 on De Palma’s film Redacted, producing a photograph that provided the last shot of the film and subsequently took on a life all its own. Invited to reunite here, the artist and the director take us behind the scenes of Simon’s latest project, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII, currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (in a show organized by Roxana Marcoci), and De Palma’s noir-in-progress, Passion, set for release in 2013. Each focuses on the agency of the image: what it can do as composition, as form, and as cause.”
It’s quite a conversation and, in general, cinephiles are going to want to pick up the new summer issue of Artforum—for a couple of pieces that aren’t online, Eric Rentschler on the 50th anniversary of the Oberhausen Manifesto and Melissa Anderson on Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Neighboring Sounds, and for a couple more that are. Dennis Lim suggests that “a case could be made that for today’s preeminent Portuguese filmmakers, no single figure has been more influential than António Reis. A vital link across generations, still largely unknown outside Portugal, Reis got his start working with Oliveira and the Cinema Novo filmmakers of the 1960s, and from 1977 until his death in 1991 he taught at Lisbon’s Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, where his students included Pedro Costa and João Pedro Rodrigues. The handful of films that Reis made in the 1970s and ’80s with his wife, Margarida Cordeiro, are, to use Jean Rouch’s term, ‘disquieting objects,’ works that integrate documentary and fiction, ethnography and poetry, sometimes as compatible bedfellows and sometimes as bluntly opposing forces.”
Amy Taubin reviews Benh Zeitlin’s debut feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Cinematography Award at Sundance and the Camera d’Or and a FIPRESCI Award in Cannes. “Beasts evokes as much rapture as pathos,” she writes. “Indeed, for a film that embraces spontaneity and abandon—the wildness in all things—it is exquisitely balanced in its contradictions and filled with rhyming scenes and images.” Beasts will be opening in the States later this summer.
More reading. The new Summer 2012 issue of Cineaste is out and the site’s featuring a mix of previews of current articles, “Web Exclusive” DVD reviews, and a selection from the archives. Among the highlights are Adrian Martin‘s introduction to the late Robert Sklar’s interview with Monte Hellman and Cynthia Lucia’s interview with Michael Glawogger.
This weekend’s “Summer Reading” issue of the New York Times Book Review features Toni Bentley on Kathleen Riley’s The Astaires: Fred & Adele, Peter Keepnews on Matty Simmons’s Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House, and Andy Webster on Garry Marshall’s memoir, My Happy Days in Hollywood, Mick LaSalle’s The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses, Gerrie Lim’s Searching for Annabel Chong: Demystifying the Legend of Singapore’s Most Famous Pornstar!, and Steven J. Ross’s Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.
Sight & Sound‘s posted a fresh round from their June issue. Philip Kemp: “In the final months of the war [Helmut] Käutner made what’s often considered his finest film, Under the Bridges (Unter den Brücken, 1945). The presiding spirit this time was Jean Vigo, and echoes of L’Atalante abound: once again we’re on a barge with two men on board, their comfortable, borderline-homoerotic relationship disrupted by the arrival of a woman.” Also, Ian Francis talks with artist Yto Barrada about running the Cinémathèque de Tanger, which “presents a large and varied programme of screenings and workshops through the year, as well as accommodating festivals and an archive of North African cinema.” And for the site, Carmen Gray talks with Radu Muntean about Tuesday, After Christmas (2010).
In a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books on Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars by Scotty Bowers, now 88 and a prostitute back in the day, Dave White thinks back to Kenneth Anger’s “mid-60s fire-starter” Hollywood Babylon, which “came at a time when somebody, anybody, had to start kicking at the wall surrounding the entertainment industry’s hypocrisy. In movie after movie they sold fake virtue and strident moralizing, an innocence that never really existed, to a world that was slowly waking up to the lie. Over the ensuing decades, less incendiary, more scholarly books like 2000’s Open Secret by David Ehrenstein and William J. Mann’s 2001 entry, Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Helped Shape Hollywood, 1910-1969, extricated the discussion from the bedroom or gas station. That’s one way to smash the lies into pieces and sweep them away. Do it with intelligence, root out the causes of oppression and ground your discussion in facts and a historical perspective.” You can probably guess that White will argue that Full Service doesn’t quite measure up to that standard.
In the New Inquiry, Elizabeth Greenwood argues that “no other film than Nights of Cabiria captures [Giulietta] Masina’s humorous and dramatic chops, her noodly physical comedy and obstinate resilience, the dogged determination of a character who steadfastly chooses to be an optimist despite all evidence to react otherwise, a comic actress who complicates the genre and the idiotic binary question of Women: Funny or Not?”
The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy introduces an interview to read or listen to: “If you follow the news at all, you’ve probably seen Paul Krugman—Princeton professor, New York Times columnist, and Nobel Prize-winning economist—championing the idea that government spending can lift us out of the economic crisis. What you may not know is that Krugman is also a huge science fiction fan.”
Open Culture revisits Terry Gilliam’s 2001 list of the “10 best animated films of all time.” With clips.
In other news. Michael Mann will be heading the International Jury at the 69th Venice Film Festival, running from August 29 through September 8. The other day, Revolver ran a list of films that might well make the lineup.
Also in New York, besides the opening of the Jean Epstein and Spaghetti Westerns series today, BAMcinématek is presenting Tangerine Dreams through Thursday. Leah Churner for the L: “The German space rock group Tangerine Dream (1967-) was one of the first-ever bands to adopt the synthesizer. Like Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can, they emerged from the same late-60s counterculture as the directors of the New German Cinema…. Throughout the 80s, they composed scores for dozens of American movies, helping to define the sound of the decade.” And she presents “a video mix of some of the best soundtrack moments in the series.” So, too, does Margaret Barton-Fumo for the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
In the works. Vulture‘s Claude Brodesser-Akner is pretty sure he’s got plot details on Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending.
Brad Pitt will produce Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, reports the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth. Also at the Playlist: Jeff Otto talks with Roman Coppola about A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, “which features a stellar ensemble cast including Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Patricia Arquette and, most intriguingly, Charlie Sheen, in the title role.”
“Benedict Cumberbatch is set to join the cast of Steve McQueen’s latest project Twelve Years a Slave, according to Variety.” The Guardian‘s Ben Child: “Cumberbatch will join Chiwetel Ejiofor in the British artist turned filmmaker’s true-life drama about a mixed-race 19th-century New Yorker who spent more than a decade on a Louisiana cotton plantation after being kidnapped by slavers.”