“Yes, I thought this was the worst Cannes I have ever been to, I am not alone in thinking this, and these facts do not give me much pleasure.” That’ll be editor Mark Peranson, ushering in the Spotlight on Cannes at the center of the new issue of Cinema Scope. He does ask that “rather than seeing the typically vulgar rant that follows as indicative of an editorial attitude to Cannes, please see it rather as simply initial impressions in a dossier of carefully planned-out, interconnected coverage that places the bad alongside the good alongside the evil.”
It’s the good, for the most part, that’s highlighted in the other articles and features. João Pedro Rodrigues and Alain Guiraudie discuss the latter’s widely admired Stranger by the Lake. Robert Koehler writes that “A Touch of Sin, rather than auguring a new, ‘angrier’ Jia, suggests an adventurous new strategy of melding the Mainland China of the news… to a heightened theatricality veering toward satire.” See, too, Anna Tatarska‘s interview with Jia Zhangke here in Keyframe.
“An angry narrative by any definition, [Lav Diaz‘s Norte, the End of History] portrays a country accursed, whose curse, by extension, spills over onto its people,” writes Boris Nelepo. Christoph Huber notes that “one of this Cannes’ better stretches happened on Sunday, May 19, 2013, known in critics’ shorthand as ‘Genocide Party Day.'” That’s when they took in Adolfo Alix Jr.‘s Death March, Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture, and Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of the Unjust.
Blake Williams on the omnibus film, 3X3D: “Greenaway and Godard have made Greenaway and Godard films with a z-axis dropped in, which makes their contributions feel simultaneously familiar and revitalizing.” Jay Kuehner writes that Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant is “raw enough to wound while its emotional impact could wring tears from metal.” And for Kong Rithdee, “while all the flak that burst immediately after the Cannes screenings at [Nicolas Winding] Refn’s Oedipal gore-fest and high-trash hollowness may not be far off the mark, there’s a certain perverse fascination in the way Winding Refn pushes the catalogue of Orientalist fantasies to its hellish extreme.” The gore-fest is, of course, Only God Forgives. Jason Anderson on Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra: ” if Magic Mike was his Shampoo (1975), this is his Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972).”
Beyond Cannes, there’s Michael Sicinski on a remarkable debut and “why early observers of The Strange Little Cat have been quick to cite Bresson as well as Tati when trying to get a bead on just what [Ramon] Zürcher is up to.” Phil Coldiron considers Paul Schrader’s The Canyons, “a film without psychology, or even interiority, one where an individual is defined exclusively by whom they’ve fucked and whom they’re fucking.” Calum Marsh talks with Matt Johnson about The Dirties. Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s “Global Discoveries on DVD” column is simply massive this time around. Chuck Stephens revisits Hollis Frampton’s Critical Mass, “a lock-groove valentine from a young lovers’ meltdown-already-in-progress.”
First clip from Lars von Trier’s Nymphomanic
Kiva Reardon reviews Destin Cretton’s crowd-pleasing Short Term 12, while Andrew Tracy takes on Jeff Nichols’s Mud. “In a sense Archer is a virtual compendium of the last decade plus of contemporary comedy/cartoon (arrested) development, which has led some to speculate that it might represent the genre’s Great Leap Forward.” But Adam Nayman won’t go quite that far.
More reading. Dave Kehr reminds us that “2013 is turning out to be a watershed moment for [Allan] Dwan studies. After decades of neglect, this amazingly prolific and unshakably personal filmmaker is finally being ushered into the ranks of the foremost American directors.”
In 1995, Jonathan Rosenbaum put forward the idea that Otto Preminger’s “high visibility—like that of Hitchcock and Orson Welles—served more as mask or camouflage than as any genuine indication of what his movies were about.”
“White House Down, the enjoyably terrible Roland Emmerich flick released today, sounds like the title of a Clinton-era porn parody,” begins Isaac Chotiner in the New Republic. “But what it actually resembles is a season of 24 as if re-written and reconceived by Noam Chomsky or Oliver Stone. It was filmed before Edward Snowden and the N.S.A. leaks, but it manages to capture the zeitgeist: the movie is more concerned with civil liberties than foreign threats; the danger is the vaguely Tea Party-esque enemy within our own borders. The film is thus an interesting comment on how the cinema of terror has shifted in the past decade; it is impossible to imagine a $150 million 4th of July blockbuster with these politics being made in the years immediately after September 11.”
In the Atlantic, Noah Gittell suggests that “the body-swap renaissance of the late ’80s” was all about watching grown men acting like children: “Essentially, these characters are yuppie analogues, thrust into positions of power too soon and struggling to hide their inexperience.”
Book. The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody finds My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles to be “a trove of classic-era Hollywood gossip. If it were only that, it would be, at best, candy; instead, it’s a treasure, both as a portrait of the artist and as a copious record of his ideas—it is, in fact, a key source for understanding Welles, the director and the man.”
List. “50 Essential LGBT Films” at the House Next Door is “a singular trove of queer-themed gems and classics, spanning the past eight decades and reflecting artists as diverse as Kenneth Anger, Derek Jarman, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.”
Bellingham, Washington. Our own Jonathan Marlow will introduce a screening of Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) at the Pickford Film Center on Sunday, bringing with him “a short film that you don’t want to miss.”
The trailer for the season
London. Quite an amazing season begins in August: “The BFI will take Britain back to darker times and thrill the nation by uncovering as never before the dark heart of film. With over 150 titles and around 1000 screenings Gothic features spectacularly terrifying special events to thrill every corner of the UK. The project also incorporates the longest BFI Southbank season yet (4 months), UK wide theatrical and DVD releases, an education program, a new BFI Gothic book and a range of exciting partnerships, special guests and commentators.”
Amsterdam. Fellini – The Exhibition opens on Sunday at the EYE Film Institute.
“Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the Craig Zahler novel Mean Business on North Ganson Street and have set Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx to star.” Variety‘s Justin Kroll has details.