Daily | Ferrara, Herzog, Simon

Willem Dafoe as Pier Paolo Pasolini

Willem Dafoe as Pier Paolo Pasolini

Certainly one of the most anticipated films of the upcoming fall festival season is Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini, featuring Willem Dafoe in the title role and focusing on the final days of the filmmaker and poet’s life. At 1985, Ferrara tells actor and writer Evan Louison that “I’m not making a documentary on Pier Paolo Pasolini. Willem is playing him. I’m making a film as much about Willem as much as Pasolini, and I’m making a film about me just as much as I’m making a film about Willem or Pasolini…. The guiding light for me is the pursuit of freedom. I mean, [Pasolini’s] not taking a backwards step. He’s not backing up for one second. His work, his art, his life, to be open the way he was, like him, he was taking the position of all positions. Nevermind the brilliance of his poetry, his films—just as a free man, as a free individual, living the life he wanted to live, that’s the real deal.”


Both Mark Olsen (Los Angeles Times) and James Rocchi (Playlist) ask Werner Herzog what it’s like to “look at this… totem… with your face on it,” as Rocchi puts it, referring to Herzog: The Collection, a box set of 16 films out on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory—and of course, available to watch here at Fandor in HD. “I’m very proud,” he admits to Olsen.

Just this morning I looked through it and what I realized is it’s basically about men. Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Heart of Glass, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Stroszek and so on. Only one film about a woman, Land of Silence and Darkness, and I think this is my deepest film I ever made.

It’s a film dating back to the early ’70s and it’s very, very strange because now having made Queen of the Desert I realize that I should have made many, many, many more films about women, because I’m really good with women, maybe even better than with men. And that’s a huge surprise for me. But since I had written all my screenplays myself, it was always about characters that had some sort of affinity with me, hence men.

At Slant, Chuck Bowen gives the package an overall grade of four out of five stars: “Fingers are already crossed for a second post-1990s volume.” And the Playlist looks back over the entire oeuvre.

With a complete retrospective coming up in September, Brian Brooks talks with John Waters for the Film Society of Lincoln Center. And last night, Waters himself interviewed Isabelle Huppert. Judy Berman has the highlights of that lively conversation at Flavorwire.

“I may have panned his latest, Honeymoon, in this week’s issue, but Jan Hřebejk is still my favorite working Czech filmmaker,” writes Ben Sachs in the Reader. “A gifted director of actors and a perceptive chronicler of domestic life across all social strata, Hřebejk exhibits a warm (but seldom sentimental) understanding of character regardless of whether he’s working in comedy or drama.” And here‘s Part 2 of that interview.

A recent interview with Carlos Reygadas via The Seventh Art

For Esquire, Sanjiv Bhattacharya profiles Robert Pattison, who’s “working exclusively with auteurs, on films that are not obviously commercial, and in roles that are uniquely challenging and wildly different, one to the next.” Most recently, that’d be David Michôd’s The Rover and David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars. Forthcoming are Anton Corbijn’s Life, “in which he plays the photographer Dennis Stock, who took iconic photos of celebrities in the Fifties. And later, there’s a crime drama by the French director Olivier Assayas, co-starring Robert De Niro. These are just the confirmed productions. There’s a long list of other compelling indie projects in the pipeline. A film with James Gray (The Immigrant) based on David Grann’s book The Lost City of Z, and a couple of films that are actually being written for him—Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), is writing him a gangster movie, set in Miami, and Brady Corbet, one of the killers in Michael Haneke’s blood-chilling Funny Games, is developing a script called Childhood of a Leader. ‘It’s about the youth of a future dictator in the Thirties,’ he says.”


Vulture‘s running an excerpt from Glenn Kenny‘s Robert De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor that focuses on Midnight Run (1988), “a mainstream movie that’s highly informed by the tough-guy tropes that he and Martin Scorsese pioneered in the ’70s.” It also “achieved the aim of rendering De Niro bankable.”

“Billed as ‘the first book to document the spectacular art of underground film posters,’ Matthew Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground is a fairly comprehensive snapshot (or let’s say family album) of a convergent moment in cinephilia and graphic design.” Writing for Film Comment, Adrian Curry has a few quibbles, but all in all, this is “a treasure trove of witty, inventive, and beautifully executed designs, all expressing a geeked-out love for their subjects.”

James B. Evans reviews a batch for Electric Sheep: Stephen Gundle’s Mussolini’s Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy, Brett Martin’s Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution and Dean J. DeFino’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.

Agnès Varda talks to Anouk Aimée about Jacques Demy’s Lola (1961)

Congrats to Michael Smith and Adam Selzer for signing up with Wallflower Press. Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry will be out next year.


“These are your parents.” So begins Lena Dunham‘s essay for Criterion on Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill (1983). At the AV Club, Mike D’Angelo gives the film a B.

“Characters in Wilder’s films aren’t just quirky and lusty; they have appetites that range wide and run deep.” At the Dissolve, Noel Murray reviews Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970).


Larry Clark’s The Smell of Us, a “portrait of a group of self-destructive skateboarders in Paris” starring Michael Pitt, Alex Martin and Niseem Theillaud, will see its world premiere at Venice Days, reports Leo Barraclough for Variety.

Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow and J.J. Abrams are leading an attempt to save the last Kodak factory that manufactures physical film stock. Ben Fritz reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Edgar Wright and the Art of Close-Ups from David Chen.

As Ryland Aldrich reports at Twitch, Sundance Next Fest has put together quite a lineup of conversations for this year’s edition (August 7 through 10 in Los Angeles). For the screening of Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Werner Herzog will talk with David and Nathan Zellner; Bret Easton Ellis will talk with Alex Ross Perry and Jason Schwartzman about Listen Up Philip; and Nicolas Winding Refn will talk with Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett about The Guest.

Voice film editor Alan Scherstuhl has handled this one very nicely indeed: “A Note to the Guardians of the Galaxy Fans Who Are Calling Our Critic a ‘Harlot.'”


New York. “Gilbert & George’s use of film gives life to the seemingly banal, attempting to create meaningful experiences accessible to all through the common language of the human condition,” writes Claire Voon at Hyperallergic. Films and Sculptures, 1972-1981 is on view at Lehmann Maupin Gallery through August 8.

This week’s recommendations from the L: Elise Nakhnikian on Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977, through tomorrow at MoMA); Samantha Vacca on Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944, tomorrow through August 7 at Film Forum); Mark Asch on Douglas Sirk‘s All That Heaven Allows (1955, Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image); Henry Stewart on Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974, Sunday at MoMI); and Aaron Cutler on George Romero‘s Martin (1978, Monday at the Nitehawk).

Philadelphia. The BlackStar Film Festival opens today and runs through Sunday. For the City Paper, Dotun Akintoye and Sameer Rao profile the organizers and note that “the festival is quickly building a national reputation for featuring the best in film from the African diaspora and beyond.” Plus, a preview of four films.

London. On September 21, a live Q&A with Al Pacino, hosted by Stephen Fry, will accompany screenings of Pacino’s as yet unreleased Salomé (2013) and his doc about its making, Wilde Salomé (2011).


“HBO has given a greenlight to Show Me a Hero, David Simon’s long-percolating civil rights drama based on Lisa Belkin’s book of the same name,” reports Whitney Friedlander for Variety. Paul Haggis will direct all six episodes written by Simon and William F. Zorzi, whose previous collaboration was, of course, The Wire. Featuring Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener, the new series, set in the 1980s and 90s, “follows a young Yonkers mayor who is faced with a federal court order requiring that he build a small number of low-income housing units in his town’s Caucasian neighborhoods. His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the entire municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the him and his political future.”

“Elle Fanning will play Mary Shelley in the story of the budding author’s romance with poet Percy,” reports the Guardian‘s Ben Child. “Haifaa al-Mansour, the pioneering Saudi Arabian female filmmaker whose debut feature film Wadjda was a festival smash two years ago, is on board to direct the period romantic drama, titled A Storm in the Stars.”


Following Listen Up Philip, Alex Ross Perry will direct Elizabeth Moss again in Queen of Earth, a “psychological thriller, which is inspired by films like Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby,” according to Rebecca Ford and Borys Kit in the Hollywood Reporter. “It centers on two women who retreat to a beach house to get a break from the pressures of the outside world, only to realize how disconnected from each other they have become, allowing their suspicions to bleed into reality.” Joe Swanberg will produce. And the Talkhouse Film‘s just posted Perry‘s take on John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary.

“John Goodman is in early talks to join Bryan Cranston in Jay Roach’s Dalton Trumbo movie Trumbo,” reports TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider. Cranston will star as the screenwriter “whose career writing classics like Spartacus and Roman Holiday came to a halt when he was blacklisted in Hollywood after refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. He was forced to write under pseudonyms, winning two Oscars while blacklisted before he resumed his career using his own name…. Helen Mirren will co-star as Hedda Hopper, the gossip columnist who went after Trumbo and supported his blacklisting.”

For EW, Ariana Bacle reports that George Clooney will star in Jodie Foster’s Money Monster, which’ll be about a TV show host “who gets taken hostage by a gunman while on-air and is forced to reveal high-stakes secrets to his (steadily increasing) audience in order to survive.”


Earlier today, one legendary makeup artist announced the passing of another. “The master is gone,” tweeted Rick Baker. “My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.”

From Gilbert Cruz at Vulture: “He turned Marlon Brando into the bulldog-jowled Vito Corleone for The Godfather, Dustin Hoffman into a 121-year-old for Little Big Man, and Linda Blair into a profane, cracked-faced, demon-possessed teen in The Exorcist. In 1985, along with Paul LeBlanc, he won a best makeup Oscar for his work on Amadeus, in which he aged F. Murray Abraham’s Salieri.”


Peter Bogdanovich has posted a fifth and final stack of notes on films by and/or with Orson Welles that he kept “in my movie card-file” between 19562 and 1970.

Yesterday was Satoshi Kon Day at DC’s.

More news and links? See Vadim Rizov at Filmmaker.

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