The new February issue of the Brooklyn Rail is such a rich one for cinephiles it calls for a quick entry all its own. And we begin with a collection of tributes: “The legendary avant-garde filmmaker, poet, archivist, and activist extraordinaire Jonas Mekas just turned 90, and his output is as unflagging as ever…. On this occasion, the Rail has asked Jonas’s friends and collaborators to speak to his legacy.” And they are: P. Adams Sitney, Richard Foreman, Gregory Zucker, Ken Jacobs, Pip Chodorov, Vyt Bakaitis, and Penny Arcade.
Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker talks with Ralph Bakshi about his animated classics Heavy Traffic (1973), Coonskin (1975), and Wizards (1977) and about the two projects he’s working on now: “Last Days of Coney Island is about what’s wrong today. The best days of Coney Island were when immigrants poured in. It was the place to go. America was great and there was a future. Wizards II is definitely about Iran building the bomb and the threat of terrorism.”
Leo Goldsmith and Rachael Rakes talk with Cathy Lee Crane about her film Pasolini’s Last Words, “an experimental biography that combines archival material, text from the director’s last writings, and reenactments from his earlier films and his unfinished novel, Petrolio.”
Paul Felten: “Do I have to watch Abbas Kiarostami‘s films all over again? Why, for all his formal wiliness and surreptitious protest against the Iranian government from which he is finally in exile, have I insisted on seeing him as a kind of avuncular elder statesman of international cinema? I have confused him with one of the old men in his films, the soothsayers who appear near the end of Taste of Cherry (1997) and The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) to deliver koans and bromides to distressed younger men. But is that even what they were doing? Why was I so unprepared for the cruelty and fear that permeate Like Someone in Love?”
Plus, Colin Beckett BAMcinématek’s upcoming Richard Pryor series (more on that in a bit), Steve Macfarlane on Miguel Gomes‘s Tabu (“rest assured the filmmaking is so strong that every shot invites repeat visits”), Brandon Harris on Django Unchained (“The gap between its perceived intentions, the ideologies of its various public observers, and what the movie is actually doing couldn’t be wider”), and Robert C. Morgan on Wolf Vostell, TV-Montparnasse: A Possible Survey on Video, “a somewhat modest yet precisely executed exhibition at the Rooster Gallery in the Lower East Side.”