One of the questions Cannes artistic director and delegate general Thierry Fremaux has been asked over and again since announcing this year’s Official Selection on Thursday is, basically: What’s up with Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York? Turns out, it’s complicated. Fremaux’s team had seen an early cut, and he’s hoping to see a final version soon. But whether or not it’s a late addition to the program, Welcome to New York is going to Cannes.
On Friday, Wild Bunch announced it’ll release the film on VOD—which, as Screen‘s Melanie Goodfellow explains, disqualifies it from a theatrical run in France. French law requires a four-month window between theatrical and VOD releases. Says Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval: “Up until now, people have experimented with smaller films but we said if we really want to know the true potential of online distribution, we needed to try with one of our strongest titles, otherwise we’ll never know.”
Welcome to New York stars Gérard Depardieu as Mr. Devereaux, essentially a stand-in for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF who resigned in 2011, having been arrested in New York following charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid. And Ferrara and Depardieu are going to Cannes to take part in a day-long event that’ll launch the film online that evening. Wild Bunch is going all out, says Maraval: “The promotional campaign, costing some $1m, will be on a par with a theatrical one, even bigger. We’ll be doing posters, trailers and TV ads. It will be a proper release.”
IN OTHER NEWS
The exhibition Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers is on view at the Centre de Cultura Contemporanea in Barcelona through September 7
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Brian Brooks has announced a comprehensive two-part retrospective of the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Fassbinder: Romantic Anarchist (Part I), including nearly all his work between 1972 and 1984, will run from May 16 through June 1.
“The head of Egypt’s censorship board has resigned after the country’s prime minister overruled his decision to allow a film starring a sultry Lebanese singer to be shown.” Maggie Hyde reports for the AP.
Nick Pinkerton‘s relaunched his “Bombast” column at Film Comment, and yep, it’s bombastic.
The original version of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising (1972) with a soundtrack by Jimmy Page was recently rediscovered and, on Thursday, screened at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. For KCET, David Cotner talks with Anger about the revival and the film’s troubled history.
As part of the Chiseler‘s focus on Palestine this weekend, David Cairns looks back on Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention (2002) and the controversy the Academy kicked up when it refused to consider the film as a foreign language Oscar contender because it didn’t recognize Palestine as a country.
Glenn Heath Jr. and Tim Grierson‘s discussion of Jonathan Glazer rolls on at To Be (Cont’d).
“Spies is in some ways Fritz Lang’s forgotten classic,” suggests David Kalat at Movie Morlocks. “It’s not Metropolis, it’s not M, it’s not Dr. Mabuse or The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, it isn’t The Nibelungen—and when you’re the kind of prolific genius who can generate masterpieces at that volume during just the first phase of your storied career, then reboot and start all over again somewhere else, it can be hard for all the masterpieces to get their due. But in just 3 hours (Spies is a trifle on the long side), Lang invented James Bond and created a template that Alfred Hitchcock would strip-mine for years to come.”
“So why,” wonders Willie Osterweil, writing for the Paris Review, “in the nineties, a decade where the counterculture was definitively subsumed by marketing and ‘selling out’ was the major cultural no-no, did dad worship become a profitable trend?”
The “theme” of Peter Ackroyd’s Charlie Chaplin “is the alarming contrast between the sweetness of the Little Tramp, the savior of fallen women and lost children, and the monstrousness of Chaplin himself, who came across to every single person who ever met him as difficult, suspicious and angry,” writes Roger Lewis for the Spectator.
David Kipen in the Los Angeles Times on Scott Eyman’s John Wayne: The Life and Legend: “Others have tried to write Wayne’s life, by no means all of them hacks. Even the great polymath Garry Wills had a bash at it. But no Wayne biography until now has ridden the defile between the reverential and the tendentious with quite the graceful equilibrium of this one.”
“The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan provides a welcome complement—a corrective, really—to the unflattering self-portrait offered in A Life,” writes Wendy Smith in the Washington Post. “These letters make possible a fuller understanding of Elia Kazan as both a formidably gifted director and a painfully conflicted human being.”
IN THE WORKS
“After the script of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight was leaked in January, the director said he had ‘no desire to make it,'” notes Janine Lew for Variety. “Well, it’s safe to say he’s reconsidered. At Film Independent’s staged reading of The Hateful Eight on Saturday at Downtown L.A.’s Ace Hotel, Tarantino said he was working on a second draft and a third would also come.”
Anne Thompson was at the reading, which featured Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. Charlie Schmidlin reports on the event, too, for the Playlist.
It’s Okay with Me is Midnight Marauder’s online exhibition of posters based on Robert Altman and his films.
More browsing? The Film Doctor‘s posted another round of links.