In the new Brooklyn Rail, Leo Goldsmith talks with Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez about their widely lauded film Manakamana, produced under the auspices of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, and about “structuralism and narrative in documentary, Nepalese improprieties, and the sense of time.”
Also, Goldsmith and Rachael Rakes look back on this year’s Ann Arbor Film Festival (as Genevieve Yue has for Film Comment) and ask “just what is experimental cinema? These days, based on the selections of Ann Arbor and other festivals of its kind (such as Images, Crossroads, Migrating Forms, and Views from the Avant-Garde), it’s a combination of work that resembles ‘classic’ avant-garde film, as in hand-processed, abstract, or structuralist 8 or 16mm film; irony-toned video art; works of editing from archive; or non-narrative nonfiction. Sometimes these types overlap, but they also don’t necessarily hang together in a cohesive way, either.”
Valentina Canavesio talks with Robert Greene about Actress, his documentary about Brandy Burre: “Blending melodrama and cinema vérité to perfection, Greene delivers a film that under all its theater, is just like its actress, raw and intimate.”
“U.S. box office for the top five foreign-language films has declined by 61% in the last seven years.” For Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman talks with distributors about the combination of factors at work here.
Michael Pattison sends a dispatch to the House Next Door from IndieLisboa, which “showcases some of the better independent productions unveiled in Rotterdam, Berlin, and elsewhere while pruning out much of the filler.”
IN OTHER NEWS
In 1973, Jon Jost made Speaking Directly, which he called “a kind of State of the Nation address,” and then followed it up in 1987 with Plain Talk and Common Sense (Uncommon Senses). Now Brian Spellman and Daniel Levine have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help him complete Plain Songs, which “will explore what America has become since 1987; what undercurrents have predominated. In some ways this will be a surveying of the wreckage.”
Three of Charlie Chaplin‘s children—Michael, Eugene and Victoria—and their business partners are spending $57 million to convert Chaplin’s Swiss mansion above the shores of Lake Geneva into a museum. The AP reports.
“There may be no character more abject or more unforgettable in the series than Cebe, played by the fascinatingly feral Linda Manz, in Dennis Hopper’s unsparing family drama Out of the Blue (1980).” And she “has a rallying cry: ‘Disco sucks. Kill all hippies. Subvert normality’—lines made even more indelible by Manz’s distinct New Yorkese (‘Punk is here forevah’).”
Among this week’s recommendations in the L: Jeremy Polacek on Ralph Bakshi’s Heavy Traffic (1973, Friday through Tuesday, BAM), Elina Mishuris on Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Of Good Report (2013, Saturday and Monday, FSLC) and Aaron Cutler on Med Hondo’s Sarraounia (1986, Tuesday, FSLC).
On Friday, the Filmmakers Co-op presents A Tribute to Taylor Mead.
Seattle. “These days, sitting in a packed theater with other living, breathing humans to watch porn is a pretty rare experience,” writes Kelly O in the Stranger, which is presenting the Best of Hump!, “local, homegrown smut—organic, farm-to-table, small-batch porn,” for three days starting tomorrow.
Vienna. The Austrian Film Museum will be screening work by Friedl vom Gröller tonight and tomorrow.
IN THE WORKS
“When director Bill Condon asked Laura Linney to star in his new film A Slight Trick of the Mind—starring Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes—he hadn’t a clue that he was tapping into Linney’s childhood fantasies.” Nicole Sperling for EW: “Linney, 50, who will play Holmes’s housekeeper Mrs. Munro, is no casual devotee of Arthur Conan Doyle’s series of novels about the acerbic detective. Rather, she is a devoted, senior thesis-writing, sweatshirt-wearing Sherlock geek.”
Last fall, Toronto screened Ned Benson’s work-in-progress The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers—two films. Cannes will be screening a single two-hour version, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, and Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. reports that The Weinstein Company will release this version in September, followed by a limited release of the previous two. The Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth notes that “the film is led by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy—with William Hurt, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Jess Weixler, Ciaran Hinds, Isabelle Huppert and Nina Arianda in support—and examines a crumbling relationship told from the perspectives of each person.”