“The books have been piling up again, and so I pass along some recommendations,” begins David Bordwell in his latest entry. Hou Hsiao-hsien, the volume accompanying the traveling retrospective Also Like Life, is “an absolute necessity for every serious cinephile.” The Austrian Film Museum at Fifty is more than a history; it’s “a real contribution to international film culture.” In the collection 75000 Films, the “images are gorgeous and radiate the touch and heft of reel after reel, can upon can, in profusion that evokes Resnais’s Toute la mémoire du monde.”
Bordwell then tells the story of what would have been the “American counterpart of the Cinémathèque Française, and Henri Langlois was to be its director.” It sounds magnificent and, if the sketch by I. M. Pei that he’s posted is anything to go by, it would have been a pretty bombastic presence, too, even in New York City. As for the catalogue for the recent exhibition Le Musée imaginaire d’Henri Langlois, the “menu is familiar. There are informative essays by various hands, interspersed with illustrations and documents. But the execution is extraordinary. Reminiscent of 1920s publications, on rough paper and with decentered blocks of type, this square volume seduces you into sustained browsing.”
In 1952, when the FBI and HUAC had pretty much hounded Charlie Chaplin out of the country, Graham Greene wrote an open letter of support that the New Republic‘s just republished: “Your films have always been compassionate toward the weak and the underprivileged; they have always punctured the bully. To our pain and astonishment you paid the United States the highest compliment in your power by settling within her borders, and now we feel pain but not astonishment at the response—not from the American people in general, one is sure, but from those authorities who seem to take their orders from such men as McCarthy.”
Clip from the Masters of Cinema Edition of Fritz Lang‘s Spies (1928)
In his latest “Kaiju Shakedown” column for Film Comment, Grady Hendrix sings the praises of Anthony Chen’s “quiet domestic drama,” Ilo Ilo (2013). And along the way, he tweaks a few misreadings and skewed factoids that’ve appeared in reviews and stories about the award-winning film.
Design Observer co-founder Rick Poynor considers the eight posters Hans Hillmann designed for films by Jean-Luc Godard.
Penny Lane (Our Nixon and a handful of fun shorts) has a fun piece over at the Talkhouse Film about James Manera’s Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?—and she’s launched a Kickstarter for Nuts!, “the story of John Brinkley, who in 1917 cures impotence via goat testicle transplantation. (Then the story really gets weird.)”
In the Guardian, Pawel Pawlikowski tells Tom Seymour, “My films are always a reflection of where I am in my life.” As for The Woman in the Fifth (2011), “I thought at the time I was a normal director making a normal film. I turned it into a film about a lost guy in a weird city—and I was a lost guy in a weird city.”
It’s Tom Graeff Day at DC’s.
New York. Tomorrow at Microscope Gallery, Jonas Mekas presents 12! BIG NAMES!, a film by Fluxus founding member George Maciunas. Mekas ran the Film Makers Cinematheque in the 80 Wooster Street building where the film, a “critique of his [George’s] colleague artists whom he considered as becoming more interested in building up their names than their art,” was first presented in 1976. “The first projection was silent, except for the exuberant reactions of the audience which were recorded by Larry Miller and run during some of the following projections as a soundtrack.” And who are the 12 Big Names? Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Wolf Vostell, Phil Glass, Michael Snow, Bruce Nauman, Les Levine, Vito Acconci, Piero Manzoni, Klaus Rinke and Allan Kaprow.
Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity: A Look Back from Omer Syed.
Recommendations from the L: Zach Clark on Joseph Sarno’s Sin in the Suburbs (1964), screening tomorrow as part of Anthology’s Sarno series; Justin Stewart on Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch’s Chronicle of a Summer (1960), Saturday at MoMA; Ashley Clark on Michel Gondry’s Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2005), Saturday, as part of BAM’s series The SOURCE360; Aaron Cutler on Pat O’Neill’s Water and Power (1989), Sunday, as part of Anthology’s series Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure and Aesthetics; and Jordan Cronk on Edward Yang’s Taipei Story (1985), Sunday, as part of MoMI’s Hou retrospective.
Hudson, NY. Alex Cox Weekend happens tomorrow and Saturday at Basilica Hudson.
Los Angeles. Curated by Tom Leeser, Future Tense is a collection of video and sonic works” which “epresent our current condition of displacement, complexity and instability.” Sunday at the Egyptian.
UK. Night Will Fall, a documentary by André Singer (executive producer of The Act of Killing) tells the story of the footage that was shot by Allied forces when they liberated the Nazi concentration camps in 1944-45. It opens tomorrow in cities around the UK (don’t know yet whether I need to add “and Scotland”) and, for the BFI, has background, including a few paragraphs on Alfred Hitchcock’s involvement with German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, which’ll be screening at the London Film Festival.
Cebu City, Philippines. Award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and musician John Torres will be presenting a master class on Saturday morning.
IN THE WORKS
For the Franco-German television network Arte, Bruno Dumont is preparing Jeanette, a musical based on the childhood of Joan of Arc. Kevin Jagernauth has a bit more at the Playlist.
Saul Bass’s Why Man Creates (1968) via Sam Smith
For the Independent, Gill Pringle‘s been talking with Liam Neeson, who tells him that Bono is “‘a wonderful man. He’s got an idea for a script which we’ve been working on for the past six years,’ he says, going on to outline the story, which is inspired by the Irish showband phenomenon of the Seventies.”
Listening (25’22”). The Talkhouse Film‘s posted the first part of a two-part conversation between Rian Johnson (Looper) and Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits).
More listening (93’30”). Illusion Travels By Streetcar #30: The First Terence Davies Episode (1976-1992).
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