For the first time in its history, e-flux journal devotes an entire issue to a single artist. Issue 59 is tribute to Harun Farocki, whose sudden death this summer resonated far beyond the realm of cinephilia. Editors Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood and Anton Vidokle:
Farocki’s films lead us to think that the real brutality of power that uses advanced forms of technology, transmission, and mediation goes far beyond the application of physical violence on human bodies, and towards something much more delicate, much more refined. Its real violence arrives in something like boredom, in rendering the actual functioning of power as boring—uninteresting and technical on the surface, but eventually and ultimately authoritarian in its inaccessibility. It is from this point that Farocki’s mastery begins by identifying cinema as a historical meeting point between technology and seduction. Cinema has always been the name of the machine for merging warfare and entertainment, propaganda and pornography.
Derek Jarman “first tested positive for HIV in 1986, shortly after the release of Caravaggio,” writes Daniel Walber, surveying the BAMcinématek retrospective Queer Pagan Punk: The Films of Derek Jarman, running through November 11. “To say that this changed the quality of his work would be both an understatement and a misguided reduction of his career. What is true, however, is that his later films confront mortality with renewed rage, mysticism, and wisdom. His work does not quite slay the angel of death, but it does refuse to accept the finality of his chill. Jarman’s films survive not as the relics of a departed victim, but as living texts with ever more to say.”
Also in the new Brooklyn Rail, Steve Macfarlane: “Film critic Ismail Xavier has proposed that [Brazilian documentarian Eduardo] Coutinho’s approach was more radical, even, than Jean Rouch’s cine-trance, shifting the burden away from the documentarian’s self-acknowledgement and back onto the reactive properties of the subject captured in the lens…. Along this line, Coutinho’s role is neither to depict a facsimile of somebody else’s day-to-day life, nor is it for him to vanish behind the camera: it is to give the interviewee a sense of awareness, and prod that tension accordingly. 2007’s Playing (Jogo de Cena) prioritizes neither his authority nor the supposed verity of his findings half as much as the collision between artifice and reality he manages to create in concert with his ‘cast.'” The film screens Saturday at Hunter College as part of Codes and Modes: The Character of Documentary Culture.
Jodie Mack‘s Glistening Thrills
And: Colin Beckett looks back on this year’s Projections program at the New York Film Festival and Herb Shellenberger probes the “Slavic Undercurrents in the 2014 London Film Festival.” For more on London 2014, see Dan Kidner (frieze) and James Slaymaker (Alternate Takes, parts 1 and 2).
“Andrzej Wajda is one of Poland’s most celebrated filmmakers,” writes Yasmeen Khan for the Quietus, “but until now there has been little chance to see one of his most critically admired films, 1974’s The Promised Land (Ziemia Obiecana) in its original, three-hour cinema version. A new restoration and DVD by Second Run is aiming to change that, giving audiences a chance to appreciate the film as Wajda originally made it. It’s well worth discovering; both for its artistic innovation and to explore its deep thematic connections with the rest of his work and with Polish cinema as a whole.”
New York. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde screens tomorrow as part of the Rouben Mamoulian Weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image. Nick Pinkerton for Reverse Shot: “In addition to being an emotionally taxing experience, of which I will say more later, Mamoulian’s film is an inventory of just about everything that the cinema could do in the year 1931, quite a lot of which still outlines its capabilities today.”
Mark Hogancamp’s Women of Marwencol: Recent Photographs opens this evening and will be on view through December 13 at Pioneer Works.
Tomorrow, UnionDocs presents Fire+Light+Vision: New projections by James Harrar.
Chicago. The Reader‘s J.R. Jones presents a guide to this week’s goings on.
Los Angeles. “What happened to art in the twentieth century was film,” writes Linda Yablonsky for Artforum. “It gave fine artists a new medium and storytellers a visual language. Today, artists like Steve McQueen make movies, but established moviemakers rarely make art. Not in Hollywood anyway, where these days the art and film worlds each operate in a separate and unequal universe. The seams were plainly showing last Saturday night, when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held its fourth annual Art + Film Gala.”
London. It’s Jacques Tati season not only for Criterion fans but also, through November, at BFI Southbank. “The modern world has it in for the characters played by Jacques Tati in the five features he directed between 1949-71,” writes David Parkinson. And “animate and inanimate objects alike conspire against them at every turn, with plants and animals as likely to confound them as mod cons and motor vehicles.” The piece is accompanied by a collection of Tati’s quips.
IN THE WORKS
“Pixar Animation is returning to its most successful franchise, Toy Story, for a fourth movie, to be directed by the studio’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter,” reports Rebecca Keegan for the Los Angeles Times. Lasseter tells her that Toy Story 4 “will be a love story and will pick up where Toy Story 3 left off, when Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the series’ toy chest of characters were handed down to a little girl named Bonnie.” Release date: June 16, 2017.
“Chris Cooper has signed on to play late author J.D. Salinger in Coming Through the Rye, a coming-of-age story set in 1969.” Scott Roxborough has a bit more in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the untitled Oliver Stone-directed film that will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. And, as Leo Barraclough reports for Variety, Stone would like to make a documentary about Vladimir Putin.
Also: “Joel and Ethan Coen’s Hail, Caesar! is to start shooting Monday in studios and on location in Los Angeles… Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich and Jonah Hill star in the film set in Hollywood in the 1950s.”
Listening (42’09”). At the Talkhouse Film, “Errol Morris talks with James Marsh about his new Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, plus Morris’ own Hawking film, A Brief History of Time, Frederick Wiseman, cinematic misanthropy, Ed Gein, beating Donald Rumsfeld with a brick, and much more.”
Not only do we have new entries on J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year and Andrei Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan, the one on Interstellar‘s been substantially updated once again. Meantime, see the Critics Round Up entries on The Theory of Everything and Sion Sono‘s Why Don’t You Play in Hell?.