Let’s begin by making note of two forthcoming books. Timothy Barnard, proprietor of caboose, for whom he’s translated a selection of essays from André Bazin’s What is Cinema? and Jean-Luc Godard’s Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television, argues in Découpage, a monograph due this fall, that Bazin’s concept has been misunderstood for decades. “Luis Buñuel and Roger Leenhardt wrote about it in the 1920s and 30s respectively, and Eisenstein’s 1930s lectures, handed down to us as the volume Lessons with Eisenstein, are nothing if not the first manual for treating découpage as the cornerstone of film art. Its place in Bazin’s system and its relationship to montage and mise en scène in film practice and the film theory tradition are considered, arguing in favor of reincorporating the concept into film studies today.” You can read the first half of Barnard’s volume now.
Via Criterion Cast comes word that Hayao Miyazaki’s Turning Point: 1997-2008, a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs—and a followup to Starting Point: 1979-1996—will be out in English on April 8. On a related note, as the BFI prepares its retrospective salute to Studio Ghibli, Jasper Sharp spotlights the five must-sees.
With The Unknown Known set for release on April 4, Errol Morris, whom Jonathan Marlow interviewed in December, has begun a four-part series in the New York Times, “The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld”: “Unfortunately, after having spent 33 hours over the course of a year interviewing Mr. Rumsfeld, I fear I know less about the origins of the Iraq war than when I started.”
You’ve read David Bordwell on James Agee (parts 1 and 2). Now, in the Los Angeles Review of Books, read the “Selected Tweets of James Agee” as collected by Ted Scheinman (and introduced by Walker Evans!).
Trailer for Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s Manakamana
For Coke Machine Glow, Jordan Cronk talks with Giorgio Moroder about music, and then, for the Notebook, about his work in the movies, “the collaborative process with directors Alan Parker, Paul Schrader and Brian De Palma, his work with the mainstream pop stars of the era, and his infamous 1984 reimagining of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.”
Film Comment‘s posted Grady Hendrix‘s latest “Kaiju Shakedown” column, addressing all things Asian cinema—particularly, this week, extreme Asian cinema.
Paul Dano‘s Criterion top ten goes to eleven.
IN OTHER NEWS
Big announcement from Critics’ Week today: “The Nespresso Grand Prize of this 53rd edition of the Semaine de la Critique will be presided over by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold.” Meantime, the Variety team is making its predictions for the Cannes 2014 lineup.
“Marco Bellocchio has been appointed president of Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna, the prominent film archives known globally as a prime film preservation entity and also for its annual Il Cinema Ritrovato fest dedicated to revival and retrospective programming.” Nick Vivarelli reports for Variety.
The San Francisco International Film Festival has announced that its 57th edition (April 24 through May 8) will open with Hossein Amini’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces of January, starring Oscar Issac, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst, and close with Chris Messina’s Alex of Venice, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Messina and Don Johnson.
The Tribeca Film Festival (April 16 through 27) has added Alex Gibney’s untitled James Brown documentary and the world premiere of Björk: Biophilia Live, directed by Nick Fenton and Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio) to its lineup. Beth Hanna reports at Thompson on Hollywood.
“The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 21% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.” Andrew Stewart reports for Variety. Adds the Stranger‘s Paul Constant: “The thing that Hollywood executives are shaking their heads over, I’m sure, is that they’ve market-tested all their blockbusters to appeal to exactly that age bracket.” Just last week, Fox announced yet another slew of superhero extravaganzas, “sequels to movies that haven’t started filming yet… Fox could well be betting their entire future on an audience that just won’t exist in four years.”
In the Flesh: Porn Noir is on through the weekend as well, but at the Anthology Film Archives. Simon Abrams in the Voice: “Smutty, hard-boiled curios like Expose Me, Lovely and The Double Exposure of Holly are emblematic of the ‘porno chic’ era (1972–1975) of high-concept porn.”
Recommendations from the L: Justin Stewart on Hitchcock’s The Manxman (1928), tonight at Film Forum; Jordan Cronk in Nagisa Oshima‘s The Ceremony (1971), Saturday at the Japan Society; and Zach Clark on Jerry Lewis’s The Ladies Man (1961), Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image.
Nashville. The Scene‘s Jim Ridley: “It”s brilliant and baffling in almost equal measure, but Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, an associative 1965 jumble of sci-fi, Mickey Spillane, comic books, film noir, German expressionism, and political satire, is tantalizing enough to keep you digging at its many layers.” And plays at the Belcourt tomorrow, Sunday and Wednesday.
IN THE WORKS
Jonathan Demme will direct Meryl Streep in Ricky and the Flash, written by Diablo Cody. Jeff Sneider has details at TheWrap.
Christopher Nolan’s told a CinemaCon audience that he’s “right in the thick of the first cut” of Interstellar—but not much more. “However,” reports Jessica Herndon for the AP, “he did say that the tone of the time travel focused project, of which scientist Kip Thorne is a producer, is very different than any of his previous films.”
Peter Greenaway, who’s currently shooting Eisenstein in Guanajuato, “which tracks the ten-day love affair between the director and his young guide Palomino Canedo,” is planning a second film about the man he deems “the greatest filmmaker of all time,” reports Martin Blaney for Screen Daily. The title: Eisenstein Among Friends.
Kevin Spacey will play Winston Churchill in Captain of the Gate, tracking the prime minister’s “rise to power as he stood against parliament to defend Britain and the world from Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich,” according to Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Despite the critical and commercial failure of her last directorial effort, W.E.,” writes Ben Beaumont-Thomas in the Guardian, “Madonna is to return to film directing with Adé: A Love Story, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Rebecca Walker.”
“Wu Tianming, a movie director and former studio head known as the godfather of contemporary Chinese cinema for the generation of filmmakers—including Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige—he shepherded to international acclaim, died on March 4 in Beijing,” reports Margalit Fox in the New York Times. “He was 74.”