Once again, it’s Catherine Grant who alerts us to two new issues. Introducing Alphaville 7, editors Ian Murphy and Gwenda Young look back to 1894, when trapeze artist Luis Martinetti performed for Edison’s Kinetoscope, noting that “a fascination with bodies—both human and nonhuman, at rest, in motion, in pain, near death—has been a preoccupation of filmmakers ever since (think back to the slaughter of an ox in Sergei Eisenstein’s Strike (1924); the slicing of an eye in Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s Un chien andalou (1929); the 1920s films of Lon Chaney; the animation of Chuck Jones). In recent years this interest in the body—as both site of violence and a sight to behold—has intensified and is mirrored by a growth in the scholarly work devoted to all matters corporeal.”
We mentioned the book reviews yesterday, and this new issue also features Katharina Lindner exploring “the troubling, and potentially queer, implications of the female boxer in two contemporary boxing films: Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2004) and Die Boxerin (About a Girl, Catharina Deus, 2004)”; Tarja Laine on Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In (2011); Jill Murphy on Pasolini‘s La ricotta (1963); David Andrews on rape-revenge and postfeminist softcore; Lucy Fife Donaldson on the ways foley artists contribute to our sensory experience of bodies onscreen; and Laura McMahon on Claire Denis‘s Beau Travail (1999) and The Intruder (2004).
“Serious” is the theme of the new issue of World Picture. Referencing Steven Shaviro, Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism and Elena Gorfinkel’s “Weariness, Waiting: Enduration and Art Cinema’s Tired Bodies,” Adam Kildare Cottrel argues that “‘endurance’ is a key theoretical framework to understand the value of art cinema’s renewed interest in modernist style.”
“In cinephile circles, the name ‘Don Weis’ is probably best recalled for the enthusiasm that it sparked in a handful of French film-lovers in the middle years of the 20th century.” A fantastic appreciation from Nick Pinkerton in his latest “Bombast” column for Film Comment.
“The shift to candy-colored musicals led Jean-Luc Godard, originally a proponent of [Jacques] Demy’s filmmaking, to denounce the apolitical, commercial components that he saw as belonging to the ‘quality of tradition,’ something he and several of his Cahiers du Cinéma brethren vehemently rallied against,” writes Clayton Dillard for Slant. “However, Demy’s marriage to Agnès Varda complicates matters, not least because Varda is perhaps the most political of the Left Bank filmmakers, further entwining Demy’s relationship to a kind of political filmmaking that Godard couldn’t locate on screen. Godard likely saw in 1964’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and 1967’s The Young Girls of Rochefort images and sounds that confirmed an allegiance to American sensibilities that he wanted to shun completely in favor of an overtly politicized commitment to addressing contemporary economic matters. Yet Demy’s cinema, even in these extravagantly staged incarnations, acknowledges the zeitgeist of rampant social upheaval, only through more deceptively innocuous means.”
And, writing for Criterion, Jonathan Rosenbaum notes that “the impressions of both artificiality and actuality in Demy’s work can be highly deceptive: the use of ‘natural’ locations that have been freshly repainted (as in both Umbrellas and Young Girls), the supposed simplicities of fairy tales and ‘innocent’ Hollywood genres complicated by such things as wars in Algeria and Vietnam (Umbrellas, 1969’s Model Shop), military service (Umbrellas, Young Girls), a shipyard strike (1982’s Une chambre en ville), the plight of single mothers (Lola, Young Girls), incest (1970’s Donkey Skin, 1988’s Three Seats for the 26th), and even that ax murder in Young Girls.” Earlier: Terrence Rafferty on Bay of Angels (1963).
“To reclaim Chabrol,” argues Jonathan Kirshner in Bright Lights, “is to forgive him his happiness, focus on his best, and embrace the credo that, in the right hands, big questions can be vividly interrogated in the midst of small stories. And to this I would add: discover late Chabrol.”
Abbas Kiarostami on Japan, his working methods and Like Someone in Love
Wong Kar-wai is “a director whose impeccable sense of style extends to every outfit that graces his screen, and consequently his movies offer some of the best-dressed characters in modern cinema history.” An annotated list from Calum Marsh for Esquire.
In his latest blog post, Adam Curtis traces the history of the mechanisms that freeze us, “and those who govern us, into a state of immobility, perpetually repeating the past and terrified of change and the future.”
With Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery, a bulging box set, coming out on Tuesday, Jeremy Kay talks with David Lynch for the Guardian: “It’s been nearly a decade since Inland Empire. He says there are no plans yet for a new movie, though, and he is focused on a new painting instead.”
For the Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs talks with Richard Linklater about something other than Boyhood: repertory film programming. “To help me conduct the interview, I recruited Julian Antos, Rebecca Hall, and Kyle Westphal, the brains behind local programming organization the Northwest Chicago Film Society.” On a related note, Jonathan Rosenbaum on Bernie (2011), “a masterpiece… Like William Faulkner, Richard Linklater somehow remains both a small-town regionalist and a highly sophisticated universal humanist.”
Nitrate Diva has not exactly an interview but rather a report on a recent appearance by Emmanuelle Riva at the Reflet Medicis theater in Paris, where she talked about Alain Resnais and Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and “shared mostly glowing memories of the intense production in Japan and France.”
Marking the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain in Variety, Matthew Chernov argues that it “remains the crowning musical film of our time.” For Biography, Robert Cashill talks with director Albert Magnoli.
What a marvelous piece on Radiohead from David Ehrlich at the Dissolve: “Why isn’t the band’s music used in movies very often, and why is it almost never used well?”
A heads-up from Vadim Rizov at Filmmaker: “Over at the website of the Bob Moog Foundation, electronic music historian Thom Holmes has an interesting post about some lesser-known cinematic uses of the Moog, the pioneering analog synthesizer popularized by Wendy Carlos with 1968’s Switched-On Bach album, which introduced the public at large to the idea of electronic sounds as more than simple novelties. Carlos would go on to the soundtracks for A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Tron, but many other movies in the ’60s and ’70s were quick to latch onto the instrument’s possibilities.”
“Movies brought Charlie Haden and me together.” Eddie Muller‘s got some stories to tell at EatDrinkFilms. Haden, of course, was a major noir fan.
Los Angeles Plays Itself, released in 2003 and refurbished in 2013, is, of course, “CalArts professor Thom Andersen’s dazzling documentary chronicling the way movies have represented (or, more often than not, in Andersen’s view, misrepresented) the City of Angels,” as Glenn Whipp describes it in the Los Angeles Times. For over a decade now, most of us have assumed that it’d be prohibitively expensive to clear the rights for the clips that comprise the nearly three-hour audiovisual essay. So when Cinema Guild announced that it’d be releasing it “across home and digital platforms on Sept. 30, a cry of victory and disbelief went up among movie lovers. How is this possible, people wondered.” Whipp talks with entertainment attorney Michael Donaldson (who’s also worked with Rodney Ascher on Room 237 and other documentary filmmakers) and explains that all those clips had been “covered under the definition of fair use” all along.
“In a year that has seen the American box office go into freefall, down nearly 20 per cent on last year’s, China’s has continued to soar, and is expected to reach $4.8bn by the end of the year,” notes Tom Shone in the Financial Times. “In 2020, the Chinese market is expected to eclipse North America’s altogether…. Those worried about Hollywood’s possible evolution into China’s entertainer-in-chief have missed the boat—it has already evolved into that role.”
At the Talkhouse Film, Kentucker Audley has some advice for budding filmmakers that’ll put a smile on your face: “Since many of you aren’t experts on the ways of the Internet, here are some tips to help you stand out from the crowd and become the next big indie sensation.”
IN OTHER NEWS
New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s not only announced a complete retrospective for September, Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?, but also a tantalizing sidebar, John Waters Presents: “Movies I’m Jealous I Didn’t Make”: “Here they are—eight extreme, astoundingly perverse, darkly funny, and, most importantly, supremely surprising films that turn me green with envy.”
Documentary filmmaker Oriane Brun-Moschetti has launched a crowd-funding campaign for Salut et Fraternité: Images According to René Vautier.
“Alberto Rodriguez’s Marshland, Carlos Vermut’s Magical Girl and Loreak, from Jose Mari Goenaga and Jon Garano, will face off in competition at the 62nd San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world,” reports Variety‘s John Hopewell. The festival‘s also announced that Denzel Washington will be receiving the Donostia lifetime achievement award.
New York. “Austrian filmmaker and architect Gustav Deutsch is one of found footage’s most astute and assiduous artists,” argues Jeremy Polacek at Hyperallergic. Today sees screenings of FILM IST. a girl & a gun (2009) and Shirley: Visions of Reality (2013) at the Museum of the Moving Image.
On Wednesday, White Columns will be screening Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969) and Iván Zulueta’s Arrebato (Rapture, 1980).
More goings on? See yesterday’s roundup.
IN THE WORKS
“Read this book. You will enjoy.” So tweeted Edgar Wright on Friday, the very day Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. reported that, after he completes Baby Driver, Wright will likely direct Scott Rosenberg’s adaptation of Andrew Smith’s YA novel Grasshopper Jungle.
Listening. In the first Talkhouse Film podcast, Hal Hartley and Joe Swanberg discuss “everything from film vs. digital and the changing landscape of the indie scene to the growing prominence of television and the role that technology plays in their lives, for better or worse.” (35’40”).
And here in Keyframe, Adam Schartoff talks with Swanberg about Happy Christmas and a good handful of his other recent films. (39’32”). Two more related items. Esther B. Robinson talks with Swanberg for Filmmaker about making a living as an independent writer/director; and Swanberg‘s piece on Jake Kasdan’s Sex Tape for the Talkhouse Film has been making the rounds—and for good reason, too.
More listening (26’57”). On the latest episode of You Must Remember This, Karina Longworth looks back on the relationship between Howard Hughes and Katharine Hepburn, “which peaked and crashed in 1938.”
And yet more listening (133’59”). Illusion Travels By Streetcar #23: “Roberto Rossellini’s Other ‘War Trilogy’ (1941-1943).”