It’s been nearly a week since the last general roundup, so while there’s a lot to catch up with, I’ve tried to keep the entry honed down to just the items that matter most. First up, for the centerpiece of its new issue, Artforum has “invited [Laura] Poitras, whose Citizenfour won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and [Hito] Steyerl, whose solo exhibition at Artists Space in New York is currently on view, to meet and exchange thoughts about filmmaking, perception, disclosure, encryption, and the promise and peril of the image.”
Also in the May 2015 issue: J. Hoberman on Hamlet in the Rented World (A Fragment), “a 27-minute assemblage put together by Jerry Tartaglia on behalf of the Gladstone Gallery in New York from materials discovered in the Jack Smith Archives, including five quarter-inch audio reels and four rolls of 16-mm film (two of them untouched camera originals), all dating from the early 1970s,” and Amy Taubin on The Wolfpack, “a celebration of movies and the cinephiles who live through and by them as if their obsession weren’t going out of style…. Not until the film’s end does one realize what an epic and intimate story has been told by fledgling documentarian Crystal Moselle.”
Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme are currently engaged in a four-part conversation about Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case (1947), both agreeing that, as Farran puts it, “Hitchcock definitely contributed to his film’s low reputation.” So far, the first three parts are up: 1, 2 and 3.
“To what extent does Abbas Kiarostami, Iran’s best known and most celebrated filmmaker, still belong to Iran, and to what extent does he now belong to the world?” asked Jonathan Rosenbaum in 2010, and he’s since slightly tweaked this survey of a remarkable career and the many questions it raises.
In “How Hollywood Keeps Out Women,” Jessica P. Ogilvie points out that the percentage of women in “power jobs” in the industry trails far behind that “of females in executive positions in other heavily male-dominated endeavors, including the military, tech, finance, government, science and engineering.” What’s more: “At top U.S. film schools, women and men are almost equally represented…. Yet between the day these women graduate and the day, a few years later, that their male college peers begin showing up in film credits, most women filmmakers vanish into obscurity…. After competing at Sundance and other big festivals, the men who win awards are often tapped to direct for the Big Six: Disney, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony and 20th Century Fox. But Big Six studio executives seem to ignore the award-winning female filmmakers, rarely inviting them to direct a picture.”
Also in the LA Weekly, Dennis Romero on “How Hollywood Keeps Minorities Out,” laying out the evidence that its “diversity numbers are some of the worst of any industry.”
A second teaser for the Midas Filmes release Paulo Rocha: 50 Anos de Cinema
“If you are attempting to make your living as an arts journalist—and I don’t know why you would ever consider doing such a thing—you are de facto a poptimist and vulgarian now, as dictated by editorial mandate and the need to stay relevant.” Nick Pinkerton elaborates in his latest “Bombast” column for Film Comment.
Writing for Sight & Sound, Robert Greene suggests that “we’ve seemingly entered what could be called a new era of mass narrativization” and that “we’ve become nonfiction characters in a kind of strange, endless live-stream performance documentary.”
For the Washington Post‘s Alyssa Rosenberg, widespread references to The Wire in the wake of the protests that followed the funeral for Freddie Gray serve as “a reminder that art’s power can work both in service of change and against it. Watching a fictional story is not precisely the same thing as bearing witness. And when consuming that story becomes a substitute for action or an argument that action is futile, fiction can paralyze us just as surely as it can inspire us.”
“Each generation assumes that their taste in horror is wider and better than the preceding generation’s taste—and furthermore, that the taste of the subsequent generation of fans has become degenerate and decadent.” Adrian Martin sketches a brief history for De Filmkrant.
“One of the grim proverbs of noir is that you can’t escape yourself,” writes Imogen Smith at the Chiseler. “There are no fresh starts, no second chances. But noir also demonstrates the instability of identity, the way character can be corrupted, and stories about facial transformations harbor a nebulous fear that there is in the end no fixed self. If noir is pessimistic about the possibility of change, it is at the same time haunted by fear of change—fear of looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger.”
“Most historians,” writes David Kalat at Movie Morlocks, “if asked to demonstrate why screen comedy changed so radically in the 1930s, would point to a blackface Al Jolson singing his heart out and say, ‘here, lookit.’ Not me. I’m going to point to the back of Joan Crawford’s head. ‘Here, lookit.'”
For the Financial Times, Tobias Grey talks with Samantha Fuller about her documentary about her father, A Fuller Life, and with Chuck Workman about Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles.
Yonca Talu interviews Bertrand Bonello for Film Comment.
“Terrence Malick is an enigmatic filmmaker,” says composer James Horner. “He’s a brilliant photographer. He’s a brilliant cinematographer. In a way, though, he doesn’t know how to coalesce a story from beginning to end.” For Horner, Malick lost the plot of the film they worked on together, The New World (2005), and tells Sophie Monks Kaufman how in Little White Lies. Via the Playlist.
Mark Schilling in the Japan Times on Takeshi Kitano’s latest: “Based on his own script about a gang of elderly retired yakuza, [Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen] is intended as a laugh riot from beginning to end, with no glum reflections whatsoever on the plight of the aged. And it mostly is, though it helps to be a genre fan to get the inside jokes.”
In his latest “Spotlight on Fandor” at Movie Mezzanine, Jake Cole writes that Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s Millennium Mambo (2001) “is a film of the future, set in a past that is the contemporary viewer’s present, and Mark Lee Ping-bin’s cinematography unfurls in a blur of motion and color that clarifies only ephemeral emotions.”
For Laurie Winer, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, “it’s been interesting to see how Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies have been adapted by TV and stage (both versions run about six hours under the single title Wolf Hall), what gets highlighted and what gets lost, and what the two adaptations tell us about the media doing the adapting.” Also in the LARB: Lennard Davis on Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s The Tribe and Caitlin Woolsey on Olivier Assayas‘s Clouds of Sils Maria.
Lena Dunham‘s appreciation of Caveh Zahedi‘s I Am a Sex Addict (2005) comes with a clip at Indiewire: “My first thought after seeing the film was: ‘holy shit, you’re allowed to do that?’ Caveh’s work opened me up: as a creator, as a viewer, as a recovering moralist.”
Mark Cousins lists his top ten Criterion releases.
Anjelica Huston talks to BlackBook about the “10 Films That Changed Her Life.”
Marvel has “built an anticipation machine. The movies are just cogs in it.” Calum Marsh explains in the National Post.
Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott suggest that “while mainstream cinema continues to revel in juvenilia, something else is also happening: the graying of American movies. Our stars, like the country they hold a mirror up to, are getting older, a fact they, like many of us, at once resist and do their best to exploit.”
Also in the New York Times‘ summer movie special: Cara Buckley talks with George Miller and Tom Hardy about Mad Max: Fury Road, Mekado Murphy looks into the technology behind the dinosaurs in Jurassic World, Melena Ryzik visits the set of Paul Feig’s Spy with Melissa McCarthy, Logan Hill previews some of the summer’s more intriguing performances—Bel Powley in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Shameik Moore in Dope, Thomas Mann in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor in Tangerine—and more.
IN OTHER NEWS
Cannes has announced that, once the awards are presented on May 24, this year’s edition will close with Luc Jacquet’s Ice and the Sky, a documentary about “the scientific discoveries of Claude Lorius who left in 1957 to study the Antarctic ice. In 1965 he was the first to be concerned by global warming and its consequences for the planet.” The full lineup.
The Locarno Film Festival‘s announced that it “will pay tribute to the French actress Bulle Ogier with a Pardo alla carriera,” a career Golden Leopard. The fest, running from August 5 through 15, will screen a selection of her films and host a live conversation with the actress who’s worked with Rivette, Buñuel, Fassbinder, Chabrol, Oliveira, Lelouch and her husband, Barbet Schroeder.
“Roman Polanski has been given one of Poland’s top film festival awards in Krakow, the city he grew up in during the war, where he’ll return on May 22 to deal with a renewed U.S. extradition request on rape charges.” Nick Holdsworth has more in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Ode to My Father, J.K. Youn’s family drama set in the turbulent years of the Korean War and after, won the Audience Award, the top prize at the 17th Udine Far East Film Festival,” reports Mark Schilling for Variety. “Coming in second in the audience vote was South Korean director Lee Won-suk’s period drama The Royal Tailor, while third place honors went to yet another Korean film, EJ Yong’s My Brilliant Life.”
With Martin Scorsese presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema and the 13th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival happening around the UK, Ela Bittencourt talks with cinematographer Jacek Petrycki for Sight & Sound about working with Krzysztof Kieslowski, Agnieszka Holland, Pawel Pawlikowski and more.
IN THE WORKS
When La haine was released in 1995, it was “an immediate and massive hit and galvanized the part of France that knew the banlieues existed but had never seen them up close or dealt with in a sympathetic way,” writes Andrew Hussey in the Guardian. “The director of La haine, Mathieu Kassovitz, was then only 26 years old, but he had somehow managed to rewrite everything that people thought they knew about French cinema…. So far in France, 2015 has proved to be as dark if not darker than 1995. In the wake of the Paris attacks of January, Kassovitz has come out and said that it is now time to make La haine 2. This has been an unusual volte-face, given that Kassovitz has until now described La haine as a ‘curse’ and determinedly rejected suggestions that he should make a follow-up. The consensus back in Paris, however, is that this wouldn’t be a follow-up in the conventional sense but rather a much darker version of what was already a tough film.”
Variety‘s Leo Barraclough and John Hopewell report that Mister Smith Entertainment will be shopping Claude Lelouch’s latest in Cannes: “Now in post-production, Un plus une knits many of Lelouch’s hallmarks since he broke through to fame in 1966, winning a Cannes Palme d’Or and two Oscars for A Man and a Woman: romance, locations—the movie was shot in Mumbai, Benares and New Delhi—and a French star cast. It centers on Antoine [Jean Dujardin], a successful and charming film composer, who travels to India to work on an original Bollywood retelling of Romeo and Juliet who falls for Anna [Elsa Zylberstein], a woman who’s his complete opposite but finds him irresistible.”
“Every now and then, a strange and mystical being wanders through the British theater, and Nigel Terry, who has died of emphysema aged 69, was a prime example,” writes Michael Coveney in the Guardian. “He made a sensational film debut in Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter (1968)” and then “became a hermit to Hollywood until he burst forth again as a rueful, melancholic King Arthur in John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981)… Terry was an ideal actor—along with Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean—for the independent, idiosyncratic film-maker Derek Jarman, notably playing the title role in Caravaggio (1986) as a bisexual voluptuary with a stylish goatee and a gleaming eye; he was good at being lustful, sweaty, intense.”
“Ruth Rendell, one of Britain’s best-loved authors, who delighted fans for decades with her dark, intricately plotted crime novels, has died at the age of 85,” report Alison Flood and Vanessa Thorpe for the Guardian. Among the films based on her novels are Claude Chabrol’s La cérémonie (1995) and The Bridesmaid (2004), Pedro Almodóvar‘s Live Flesh (1997), Claude Miller‘s Alias Betty (2001) and François Ozon’s The New Girlfriend (2014).