In his latest entry, the Austrian Film Museum’s Christoph Huber considers a couple of unconventional editing techniques born of necessity. Under consideration here are Godard‘s Breathless (1960) and, by way of Raoul Walsh‘s The Roaring Twenties (1939), Robert Rossen’s All the King’s Men (1949).
“An unusual kiss-and-tell style biography of Zhang Yimou portrays the leading Chinese director as stubborn yet credulous and manipulable, lousy at personal communication, and a victim of emotional blackmail,” writes Patrick Frater for Variety. “The book, Fate: Zhang Yimou the Lonely, written by his script consultant of 16 years, Zhou Xiaofeng, makes allegations that are tougher still about Zhang Weiping (no relation), Zhang Yimou’s producer for over a decade.”
Michael Wood’s new book, Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much, “is more of an extended biographical essay, too slight to rival the full-length biographies of Donald Spoto and Patrick McGilligan, but full of fascinating, if underdeveloped, interpretative sallies,” writes Tom Shone for Intelligent Life.
“In British cinema, we have Brief Encounter (1945). American film has Casablanca (1942) and Gone with the Wind (1939). In France, meanwhile, the romantic film par excellence will always be Marcel Carné’s epic Les Enfants du paradis.” The BFI’s Samuel Wigley on the 70th anniversary.
Cecil B. DeMille‘s This Day and Age (1933), Four Frightened People (1934) and Reap the Wild Wind (1942) “are wholly uninterested in the Christian mythology that defines his more canonical work (The Ten Commandments, 1923 and 1956, King of Kings , Sign on the Cross , etc.),” writes Daniel Watkins in the Notebook. “[I]nstead they exploit DeMille’s scale and sense of melodrama in order to attempt the rather lofty task of explaining the role of man in the context of the natural world.”
Pioneers of African-American Cinema: a progress report
Ed Halter in Afterall on James Richards’s two-channel video Not Blacking Out, Just Turning the Lights Off (2011): “Here, as in Richards’s other videos, the images don’t simply cohere into a story or argument, but rather drift against and into one another, like flotsam on the sea’s surface, convening to form some fleeting yet potent design.”
For Art Agenda, Francis McKee reports on a recent exhibition highlighting the theater and performance work of Jack Smith.
Jacques Doillon was in Chicago the other day to present Love Battles and Ray Pride lunched with him and Reader film critic Ben Sachs, snapping photos and nabbing quotes: “Marguerite Duras was unclassifiable, you cannot just describe her as that kind of writer. I am for Stendhal, not the Nouveau Roman. I am a reactionary cineaste! I find no poetry in the abyss.”
For Newcity Film, Ray also talks with Peter Strickland about The Duke of Burgundy: “The sense of claustrophobia, a rich score and the intense sound design are almost as thick as the transformed cinematic influences, including The Servant, Persona, Belle de Jour, Radley Metzger, and Fassbinder, not limited to The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. ‘Yessss,’ he says, leaning forward. ‘The only one that people bring up, I hadn’t seen, Bergman’s Persona, so that didn’t really figure, but I can see why it comes up. Fassbinder, massively, massively. As you say, not just Petra von Kant, but Martha, especially Martha.'”
Jon Ronson introduces a conversation at Vice: “I’ve known Adam Curtis for nearly 20 years. We’re friends. We see movies together, and once even went to Romania on a mini-break to attend an auction of Nicolae Ceausescu’s belongings. But it would be wrong to characterize our friendship as frivolous. Most of the time when we’re together I’m just intensely cross-questioning him about some new book idea I have.”
For Out, Aaron Hicklin gets Chuck Palahniuk talking about his ten favorite movies ever: “I adore films in which the hero finds salvation through self murder. My own novel Fight Club resolves with an apparent-but-not-quite martyrdom.”
David Cronenberg’s The Italian Machine (1976)
Interview has posted Manohla Dargis‘s 1996 conversation with Ben Stiller.
IN OTHER NEWS
The Venice International Film Festival, whose 72nd edition runs from September 2 through 12, has announced that Bertrand Tavernier will be the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Tribeca Film Festival (April 15 through 26) has announced its immersive cinema lineup. Also, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will be on hand for the 40th anniversary screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
New York. Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (2007) “takes the gear-shredding 70s car chase movie as its starting point, but what it really has on its mind is the even less reputable rape-revenge genre,” writes Reverse Shot‘s Michael Koresky. “But what may have seemed on first glance like just a feature-length gimmick is perhaps Tarantino’s purest, even most radical film, made up of a complex interplay of gazes and perspective shifts and whose narrative effectively functions as two mirrored halves gazing at one another.” Friday at the Museum of the Moving Image.
According to James Fotopoulos, “The Given is about ‘acting, performance, and abuse,'” notes Amy Taubin, writing for Artforum. “Fair enough. It is indeed about those things, but in the negative—how not to act, perform, or attempt to deal with abuse, given or received. One wonders if that was Fotopoulos and Traub’s intent. If so, the bad acting, staging, and psychodrama text could have had a bit more satiric bite.” Through Friday at Microscope Gallery.
Los Angeles. Tomorrow evening, the Filmforum presents Cauleen Smith: The Way Out Is the Way Two.
London. The Battle of the Sexes: Sado-Masochism in 1960s-70s Cinema is the title of an evening hosted by Virginie Sélavy for the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. In January, Mat Colegate interviewed Sélavy and two of her fellow instructors, Mark Pilkington and Stephen Thrower, for the Quietus.
Vienna. Jean-Luc Godard: The First Wave opens tomorrow at the Austrian Film Museum and runs through April 9.
IN THE WORKS
“Abderrahmane Sissako is mulling an adaptation of Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf’s Leo the African, a historical novel based on real-life 15th century Muslim diplomat and explorer Hasan al-Wazzan,” reports Screen‘s Melanie Goodfellow. “It is one of two projects being considered by Sissako, whose most recent film Timbuktu was Oscar-nominated and won prizes at Cannes 2014.” The other project would be “about the relationship between China and Africa.”
Linda Yellen has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete The Last Film Festival, “a show-business comedy that casts [Dennis] Hopper in the lead role of a director whose latest flop of a film is accepted into only one festival: The O’Hi Film Festival.” The Dissolve‘s Nathan Rabin: “Jacqueline Bisset, Joseph Cross, JoBeth Williams, Katrina Bowden, Chris Kattan, Leelee Sobieski, and Donnell Rawlings all co-star as some of the characters who move in and out of the character’s life.”
“Tim Burton will direct Disney’s live-action Dumbo.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s Rebecca Ford: “The film will use a mix of CGI and live action to bring the classic elephant story to life and will add a unique family story that parallels Dumbo’s journey.”
Dick Bakalyan, who played Loach, “the partner of Jake Gittes’s former partner” in Chinatown, has died at the age of 84, reports Variety. “In his mid-20s, Bakalyan appeared as an antisocial teen in The Delinquents, The Delicate Delinquent, Juvenile Jungle and Hot Car Girl, among others. By 30, he graduated to gangster parts in six episodes of The Untouchables, and was cast by Aaron Spelling in the Western series Johnny Ringo. He got top billing in 1959’s Paratroop Command and played the villainous Verdigris in the original Batman series. In 1963, Bakalyan was cast in the first of his three Frank Sinatra films, Robin and the Seven Hoods, None But the Brave and Von Ryan’s Express followed, cementing a long friendship with Sinatra and his family…. He worked with the greats in Hollywood: Jack Nicholson, Robert Altman, George Stevens, Faye Dunaway and numerous others, including Jerry Lewis in Lewis’ first solo film after splitting from Dean Martin.”
Director Geoff Murphy and writer/producer Sam Pillsbury are guests in the Projection Booth, discussing their sci-fi classic, The Quiet Earth (1985) (150’34”).