Daily | Brooklyn Rail, Japan, Lonergan

FID Marseille

“A festival of the unknown and the exploratory”

There’s a new Brooklyn Rail out, featuring, as noted yesterday, an excerpt from Michael Koresky’s Terence Davies. Another major piece in the new issue is Xin Zhou‘s on the work of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, and we’ll take a closer look at it when the retrospective Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien opens at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image opens on Friday. The third entry in the Film section is Leo Goldsmith‘s report on this year’s edition of FID Marseille, “a premiere-driven festival of the unknown and the exploratory, with a growing reputation as a place of discovery for daring and expansive non-fiction cinema.”

Mark Schilling has been reviewing Japanese films for 25 years now for the Japan Times and he’s written a brief history of the period, from the boom years to the present. “So, have the events of the past quarter-century proven the Japanese-films-are-dead crowd wrong? Not quite.” Via Movie City News.

You’ll remember that, a couple of weeks ago, David Bordwell once again took on the idea that movies reflect the zeitgeist. “I don’t need to strain myself too much to find a rejoinder to Bordwell,” writes Nick Pinkerton in Film Comment, “because Grantland’s Wesley Morris has already done the work.” In his review of Let’s Be Cops, “Morris is serving us very well indeed as a critic here by dwelling on what Bordwell calls, in passing, the ‘unintended consequences’ of filmmaking.”

“James Woods is more than a terrific, compulsively watchable, always enjoyable actor,” argues Adrian Martin in De Filmkrant. “For a few precious years, he actually helped create an entire style of filmmaking (including film scripting) that was inspired by, and keyed to, what he was capable of doing as a performer.”

Via The Seventh Art, James Benning’s Short #2 from Grand Opera (1978)

At the Dissolve, Nathan Rabin takes a good long look at an emerging career: “Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and [Rian] Johnson’s third film, Looper, are all elaborate puzzles imbued with deceptive pathos, so it’ll be fascinating to see what the director, that profoundly gifted grown-up prodigy, will do with his next film, the eighth installment in the Star Wars franchise.”

Another oeuvre, another evaluation, this one from Grady Hendrix, who writes for Film Comment that “female screenwriters and novelists have had a huge impact on Hong Kong film, and one of the first, and biggest, was Eileen Chang.”

At the Chiseler, Dan Callahan revisits Joan Crawford‘s silent-era performances and Daniel Riccuito writes up an appreciation of Allen Jenkins.

“American mainstream cinema, a timid enterprise dependent on formulas and genres, can be mind-blowingly retrograde when it comes to women and girls,” write the New York TimesManohla Dargis and A.O. Scott atop a survey of the ways that may be changing.

If you’re looking to make it big in Hollywood, Kentucker Audley‘s got advice for you at the Talkhouse Film.

At Ioncinema, Eric Lavallee talks with Craig Johnson (Skeleton Twins), who lists his top ten films of all time.

For the BFI, Thirza Wakefield lists “10 great films set in Berlin.”


FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, is presenting its Grand Prix 2014 to Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood. The poll for “Best Film of the Year gathered votes from 553 members throughout the world.”

Trailer for André Téchiné’s Scene of the Crime (1986), digitally remastered

“Paul Thomas Anderson, Mathieu Amalric, Pedro Costa, Mike Leigh and Bennett Miller will take the spotlight in live conversations during the upcoming New York Film Festival,” announces the Film Society of Lincoln Center. And for the second year, NYFF Opening Acts will present past work by filmmakers with work lined up for NYFF 52.

“I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35mm films. I want it to stand for something.” That’s Quentin Tarantino telling the LA Weekly‘s Chuck Wilson why he’s taking over programming and, having tossed the digital projector, will only be screening 35mm prints.


New York. “Following the short stack of Yum, Yum, Yum! 3 Movies by Les Blank, which played at its Cinema Fest this past June, BAMcinématek is now serving up a 17-movie Blank banquet: a posthumous but never-too-late retrospective of the celebrated yet still spottily known documentary filmmaker who died in 2013.” Jeremy Polacek surveys the series for Hyperallergic.

In the L, Elina Mishuris suggests seeing Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), screening tonight as part of BAMcinématek’s Nonesuch Records on Film series: “[Paul] Schrader calls this his finest achievement—and this is the man who made The Canyons! (Forgive me.)”

Chicago. “Back when David Lynch’s Eraserhead screened only on the midnight movie circuit it was often preceded by Asparagus (1978), a 20-minute experimental animation by painter-turned-filmmaker Suzan Pitt,” writes the Reader‘s Ben Sachs. Painstakingly assembled over a four-year period, Asparagus, like much of Pitt’s work, combines hand-drawn animation, claymation, and even some live-action elements.” Tonight at 7, “Chicago Filmmakers will present a program of Pitt’s work at Gallery 400 on the UIC campus.”

London. Chris Marker: Koreans is an exhibition on view at Peter Blum Gallery through October 18.


Following Margaret (2011), “Matt Damon is set to reteam with writer-director Kenneth Lonergan, this time for a drama titled Manchester-by-the-Sea.” Borys Kit and Tatiana Siegel for the Hollywood Reporter: “Lonergan is directing his own script, which is said to be tonally similar to You Can Count on Me… Damon will play a Boston-living ne’er-do-well plumber who is forced to return home to the titular town after he learns his brother passed away…. There, he finds himself thrust into the care of the man’s 16-year old son but finds himself crumbling due to a secret tragedy in his past.”

What Is Composition from Press Play Video Blog

“Amy Ryan and David Strathairn have joined Jesse Eisenberg, Isabelle Huppert and Gabriel Byrne in family drama Louder than Bombs, the English-language debut from Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary.

“Călin Peter Netzer, winner of the Golden Bear in 2013 with his third feature, Child’s Pose, is in development with Ana, Mon Amour, a film that will explore a dysfunctional relationship between two lovers.” Stefan Dobroiu has details at Cineuropa.

Anne Thompson notes that Jean-Marc Vallée, having just premiered Wild at Telluride, is “already prepping a September 15 start for his next, Demolition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as an investment banker who loses his wife in a car crash and tries to rediscover his emotional mojo. Naomi Watts costars.”

Zac Efron “is in talks to star opposite Robert De Niro in Dirty Grandpa, a film that… derives its comedy from the fact that Robert De Niro is in his 70s but doing nominally young things,” reports Sean O’Neal at the AV Club. Also: “Werner Herzog has revealed he will appear in a brief cameo in the upcoming final season of Parks and Recreation.”

The roster of directors making shorts for the omnibus project Petersburg Carousel is filling out nicely. As Scott Roxborough notes in the Hollywood Reporter, contributors so far include Ralph Fiennes, Timur Bekmambetov and Cedric Klapisch.


Two passings. Neither are “news” any more but they do need to be respectfully noted.

“Donatas Banionis—the Lithuanian actor best known to Western moviegoers as the star of Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi classic Solaris––has died following a stroke,” reports Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at the AV Club. He was 90. “Banionis considered himself a stage actor first and foremost, and came to film relatively late. His movie career only began to take off in the mid-1960s, with a string of small roles in Soviet films like The Red Tent and King Lear. His first film starring role came in Goya, Konrad Wolf’s 1971 East German biopic about the Spanish painter.”

“Joan Rivers hated being labeled a pioneer,” writes Eliana Dockterman for Time: “she thought it made her sound old and irrelevant. ‘It upsets me to say I’m a pioneer because I’m so current now, you know?’ she told PBS in 2012. ‘I don’t like when the ladies come up and say, “Oh, you broke barriers for women.” And I say, “I’m still breaking barriers.”‘ Rivers worked almost up until her death on Thursday at age 81. She took every job she could get so that fans and industry insiders alike knew that she was no starlet of yesteryear; she was still searching for the next frontier.”

Meantime, Thomas Elsaesser has written a remembrance of Harun Farocki for frieze d/e.


Viewing. For Filmmaker, Jamie Stuart‘s reviewed Blackmagic’s Production and Pocket cameras, posting stills from a short he’s made to demonstrate picture quality. Now, Filmmaker‘s posted Learning to Like It “as a stand-alone film in its own right rather than as a technical exercise,” as Vadim Rizov explains. “Stuart’s behind and in front of the camera as a lonely guy hoping for reconciliation with his ex-girlfriend, but his attempts to get back to her lead to a cavalcade of street confrontations and complications in this zippy, wordless five-minute comedy.”

Recently updated entry: Tim Sutton‘s Memphis. And the Film Doctor‘s posted a round of “compound distraction links.”

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