Vera Chytilová‘s Daisies (1966) “can be viewed as a critical conversation about the possibilities of politics, socialism, labour, feminism, love, sex and the relationship between genders within the conditions of socialism,” writes Agata Pyzik for frieze. “What’s more, her work generally can be understood as a precocious critique of both capitalist consumerism and authoritarianism, especially now her little-known and fascinating body of work post-1966 can be properly seen., thanks to the recent retrospective at the BFI in London, and the mainstream DVD release in March of two of her films, namely the psychedelic Fruit of Paradise (1970) and the post-communist black comedy Traps (1998). Both will help to situate the-often confusing curio Daisies in a wider context.”
Writing for Hazlitt, Calum Marsh presents a history of censorship and the movies in Iran after the Islamic Revolution.
Jonathan Rosenbaum’s posted his 2009 piece on Alain Resnais and Chris Marker‘s Statues Also Die (1953), a new essay on Roberto Rossellini‘s Rome Open City (1945) and the first part of a speech by Pere Portabella delivered in 2009.
At Reverse Shot, Matt Connolly writes that “the frame not only shapes the aesthetic possibilities of the film image, but defines the idea of the film itself as a constructed visual object whose very being necessarily depends upon artists and technicians whose decisions beyond the frame determines what goes before it. Andy Warhol’s Vinyl (1965) remains notable for many reasons—its still-striking presentation of gay male S&M practice; its oft-forgotten status as the first cinematic adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, besting Stanley Kubrick’s version by six years—but its unsettling power can be most directly located in how it engages with (and slowly blurs) these two key elements of the cinematic frame.”
“The Sermon on the Mount is thundering agitprop, virtually a Dziga Vertov Group filibuster,” notes Fernando F. Croce in his robust paragraph on Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964).
In the New York Review of Books, Francine Prose cites Paul Éluard’s “Liberty,” quoted by “nearly everyone” in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, and adds: “Offhand I can’t think of another satiric, entertaining, beautifully photographed film about Hollywood, a rapturous fantasy of shelter-magazine real estate, move stars, tropical vegetation, dark secrets, child actors, bogus gurus, and limos—that also makes us aware of how differently a French surrealist poem sounds when recited by different people.”
In the Notebook, Danny King looks back on the career of James B. Harris, who produced three early films by Stanley Kubrick and whose “own directorial career—consisting of five excellent movies made across a four-decade span—remains, despite the valiant effort of a few notable English-language critics (Michael Atkinson, Jonathan Rosenbaum), on the relative sidelines.”
Todd Field talks with Sissy Spacek for Interview.
IN OTHER NEWS
Also in the Hollywood Reporter, Steve Stoliar has a story on a surprise birthday party for producer Jack Rollins, who turned 100 on March 23. Among the attendees were Woody Allen and Dick Cavett.
“Though in just its second year as an independent festival, KINO!—following a 35-year run in collaboration with MoMA—has lost none of its steam in offering New York audiences a rich, of-the-moment medley of German cinema,” writes Danny King in an overview for the Voice. At Twitch, Dustin Chang writes up Christoph Höchhausler’s The Lies of the Victors, Arne Birkenstock’s Beltracchi: Art of Forgery, Philipp Leinemann’s King’s Surrender, Stephan Altricher’s Schmitke and Baran bo Odar’s Who Am I: No System is Safe. KINO! opens tomorrow and runs through April 16.
Berkeley. Tomorrow and Friday evening, Michael Guillén will be talking with Nino Kirtadze following screenings of her work at the Pacific Film Archive. And Kirtadze will be on hand for two more screenings on Saturday.
London. Martin Scorsese presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, the program that’s toured the States, arrives at BFI Southbank in conjunction with the 13th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival, opening today and running through May 29. At Little White Lies, David Jenkins recommends five titles, while the BFI’s Michael Brooke goes for ten.
Paris. La Cinémathèque française has set up a gorgeous site for its Michelangelo Antonioni event, launching today. The retrospective runs through May 31 and the exhibition will be on view through July 19.
Vienna. Tonight and tomorrow at the Austrian Film Museum: Warm Spots: Jonathan Schwartz.
IN THE WORKS
On Monday, we passed along news that Alex Ross Perry would be writing a live action feature for Disney based on Winnie the Pooh. Now Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh reports that Perry has optioned the rights to Don DeLillo’s 1982 novel The Names—and plans to write and direct the adaptation. It’s “set in the summer of 1979 in Athens and throughout the Middle East with a cast of expats who start to investigate a string of murders committed by a cult…. DeLillo has allowed only one of his previous novels to be made into a film,” Cosmopolis, which DeLillo co-wrote with director David Cronenberg.
Juliette Binoche has joined Fabrice Luchini and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in Bruno Dumont‘s Slack Bay, a “dark comedy revolving around an investigation into a series of mysterious disappearances on the beaches of northern France,” reports Screen‘s Melanie Goodfellow.
And here’s another Kickstarter campaign for your consideration, Sick to Death: “While grappling with thyroid disease, filmmaker Maggie Hadleigh-West uncovers a silent epidemic and the systemic issues at its roots.”
“Brie Larson is set to join the ensemble of Ben Wheatley’s next thriller Free Fire,” reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll. “Luke Evans, Armie Hammer and Cillian Murphy also star. Larson is replacing Olivia Wilde, who had to drop out because of her schedule.” Also, Shia LaBeouf is “attached” to star in Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, which’ll be about “a runaway teenager who’s selling magazine subscriptions around the U.S. and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard-partying, law-bending and young love.”
Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Divian Ladwa have joined Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel in Lion, a feature to be directed by Garth Davis, who directed four episodes of Top of the Lake. Variety‘s Leo Barraclough: “Also featuring in the film are several of India’s best-known actors, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Deepti Naval.”
“James Franco has come on board to direct and produce William Gay’s The Long Home, a coming-of-age story set in rural Tennessee in the 1940s,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary, who also reminds us that Franco’s currently directing, producing and starring in an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1936 novel In Dubious Battle. Last August, Franco, writing for Vice, declared, “My new favorite writer is William Gay.”
Netflix “has acquired Special Correspondents, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and starring Eric Bana, for 2016,” reports E. Alex Jung for Vulture. “In a very Gervais-ian role, Bana plays an arrogant radio journalist who fakes front-line war reports from the comfort of his Manhattan apartment.”
“Stan Freberg—a multitalented satirist whose reach extended to advertising, radio skits, TV puppet shows, musical parody records, and classic cartoons—has died at the age of 88.” Sean O’Neal reports for the AV Club. More from Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew.
Geoffrey Lewis, “a prolific character actor who appeared opposite frequent collaborator Clint Eastwood,” has died. Mike Barnes has the story in the Hollywood Reporter. Lewis, father of Juliette Lewis, was 79.
Viewing. From Colin Marshall at Open Culture: “The subfield of Kubrick-themed video essayism recently reached a new high watermark with filmmaker Cameron Beyl’s five-part, three-hour Directors Series study of the man’s life and work.”