Daily | Festival News, the 40’s, James Gray


Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Her’

We can expect another lineup announcement or two from Toronto this week, but we’ve got some catching up to do first. The world premiere of Spike Jonze’s Her will close the 51st New York Film Festival (September 27 through October 13), and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Brian Brooks interviews the writer-director. Featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Scarlett Johansson, Her tells the story of a man who falls for an operating system. We posted the trailer last week.

Venice has announced that the program for its 70th edition (August 28 through September 7) is now complete. Patrice Leconte’s Une Promesse, based on a novel by Stefan Zweig and featuring Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman, and Richard Madden, will screen Out of Competition, as will Enrico Salvatori, Giuseppe Giannotti, and Davide Savelli’s Dai nostri inviati – La Rai racconta la Mostra del Cinema 1980-1989. As noted earlier, Gabe Klinger’s Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater will screen in the Venice Classics program—to which another doc’s been added, Marco Spagnoli’s Donne nel mito: Anna Magnani. Carrie Fisher’s is the last name to be added to the International Jury, and Amat Escalante (Heli) joins the Jury of the “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film.

From a Flemish-language TV documentary on the making of Jerry Lewis’s never-released The Day the Clown Cried (1972); the Guardian‘s Ben Child has background

The BFI London Film Festival will close on October 20 with John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks, featuring Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Since London will open on October 9 with Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips, some have referred to this upcoming 57th edition as a Hanks sandwich.

The San Sebastian Film Festival (September 20 through 28) has announced that sixteen first or second features “directed by emerging talents” will compete for the Kutxa-New Directors Award. Early lineups: 1 and 2.

“Animated movies will be one of the main focuses at the upcoming Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, to be held from 11 to 20 October. Space Pirate Captain Harlock, by Shinji Arakami, a spectacular version of Leiji Matsumoto’s famous manga…, will be one of the animated films competing in the Official Fantàstic Selection.”

In other news. “Ken Loach’s upcoming drama, Jimmy’s Hall, will likely be his last, according to regular producer Rebecca O’Brien,” reports Andreas Wiseman. “‘This is probably the last narrative feature for Ken,’ O’Brien told ScreenDaily. ‘There are a few documentary ideas kicking around, and that will probably be the way to go, but this is a serious period-drama with a lot of moving parts so it’s a big thing to put together. I think we should go out while we’re on top.'”

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Reading. Catherine Grant‘s discovered that “TWELVE film studies books published by Hong Kong University Press in the last ten years have recently been made freely accessible via the OAPEN website!”

Towards the end of last week, Anil Dash, “blogger, entrepreneur, and technologist,” posted an entry, “Shushers: Wrong About Movies. Wrong About the World,” which Matt Zoller Seitz soberly calls “a polemic against those who complain about people who text or make phone calls during movies.” Matt’s and Glenn Kenny‘s are the best responses.

In the Atlantic, Trey Taylor tracks the rise and fall of a fake accent, a “faux-British elocution” in the Hollywood movies of the 1930’s and 40’s, “a hybrid of Britain’s Received Pronunciation and standard American English as it exists today. It’s called Mid-Atlantic English (not to be confused with local accents of the Eastern seaboard), a name that describes a birthplace halfway between Britain and America. Learned in aristocratic finishing schools or taught for use in theater to the Bergmans and Hepburns who were carefully groomed in the studio system, it was class for the masses, doled out through motion pictures.”

Hedy Lamarr’s is one of those great stories that can be told again and again, and Anne Helen Petersen tells it well at the Hairpin.

Burrowing ever deeper into the 1940’s, David Bordwell picks apart two examples of the onscreen demonization of the Japanese during World War II.

“From One Second to the Next” is Werner Herzog‘s 35-minute PSA doc to support the It Can Wait campaign against texting and driving; via Nick Dawson at Filmmaker

“‘Unpleasant, possibly even vindictive,’ was Sir Alec Guinness’s verdict on Sir Laurence Olivier, and a new biography of the Oscar-winning actor suggests Sir Alec may well have been right.” In the Independent, Liam O’Brien highlights some of the juicier quotes from “taped interviews with Olivier that were originally intended for the actor’s own memoirs.”

Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The Gardener is an “intimate, discursive inquiry into religious belief that opens to include questions about cinema,” writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times, and “to separate the movie from its maker and his history would be a mistake. Mr. Makhmalbaf’s radical tolerance is itself an act of political defiance.”

At the Dissolve, Tasha Robinson talks with Harlan Ellison about A Boy and His Dog, the various pre-adaptation versions, the 1975 movie, and the possible remakes and/or sequels.

John Bleasdale interviews Takeshi Kitano for Cinespect.

At, Vadim Rizov recounts the “Legend of Harvey Scissorhands.”

If you’ve found this summer’s Hollywood blockbusters rather dismal, “Don’t expect much to change,” warns New Republic senior editor Isaac Chotiner.

Lists. Travis Wilkerson‘s “100 Greatest Living American Filmmakers.”

And ICYMI, Nick Pinkerton at Sundance Now: “25 SITUATIONS ONLY FILM PPL CAN UNDERSTAND.”

Trailer for George Clooney’s Monuments Men with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman

In the works. James Gray has “been flirting with studio projects like The Lost City of Z and The Gray Man (both set to star Brad Pitt, both of which haven’t yet happened), he’s directing TV pilot The Red Road for the Sundance Channel, and now, he’s lined up a new project at Warner Bros.,” reports Oliver Lyttelton at the Playlist. White Devil is “apparently based loosely on John Willis, otherwise known as White Devil John, a white kid adopted into a Chinese family who ended up rising through the ranks of Boston’s Asian crime gangs (you can read more about Willis, who was convicted of dealing oxycodone and money laundering earlier this year, here), and as such, sounds like it’ll be right in Gray’s wheelhouse.”

Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. reports that Ang Lee‘s next project will be a 3D “epic look at the boxing world of the 1960s and 1970s, as seen through the prism of its biggest rivalries and greatest fights. That will include the showdown between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali that was called the Thrilla In Manila. Peter Morgan will write the script.”

For the Telegraph, Catherine Gee has the first known details on a series of projects Pixar and Disney will be working on over the next three years. Among the features is Pete Docter’s Inside Out (2015), primarily taking place within the mind of a young girl as emotions, “personified as cute little characters,” deal with her family’s move to San Francisco. “It’s a unusually abstract concept for Pixar—who hardly lack imagination—and was met with a rousingly positive reception.”

Gallery. “Over 200 rare photos of Yasujirō Ozu have been unearthed,” reports the Film Stage.

Obits. “Haji, the Quebec-born actress who most famously starred in iconic cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! passed away” on Friday evening, reports Nicholas Pell for the LA Weekly. She was 67. “She first appeared in Meyer’s Motor Psycho, their first of five collaborations. Haji worked in more of Meyer’s films than any other woman, including his third wife Eve Meyer and longtime companion Natividad.” Tim Lucas links to “a beautiful fan video that serves as a magnificent tribute to her potent and unearthly charms. There is nothing in it that is indecent or pornographic, but it is sufficiently erotic and powerful to fall under the heading of Not Safe For Work.”

“In the 1950s, while watching a second feature before the ‘big picture’ at their local cinema, regular British filmgoers would often have seen Rona Anderson, who has died aged 86,” writes Ronald Bergan in the Guardian. “Anderson starred in 20 movies between 1950 and 1958, mostly well-crafted, low-budget thrillers. Opposite such luminaries as Robert Beatty, Jimmy Hanley, John Bentley, Paul Carpenter and Lee Patterson, Anderson was the classy girlfriend who helps the hero solve a murder, usually via a visit to the criminal underground, all within the hour allotted to the film.”

Ben Wheatley’s directed the video for Editors’ single “Formaldehyde”

Updated entries. Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, David and Nathan Zellner‘s Kid-Thing, Baltasar Kormákur’s 2 Guns, and Paul Schrader’s The Canyons. As for other films now in or headed to theaters, see the Critics Round Up pages on Brian De Palma’s Passion (earlier: reviews from last year’s Venice and Toronto festivals), David Gordon Green‘s Prince Avalanche, and Sebastián Cordero’s Europa Report.

More browsing? Here’s how John Wyver opens his latest collection of links: “Continuing this weekend’s British cinema theme (see ‘Ealing before Ealing’ here), my first recommendation has to be for Xan Brooks’s delightful Guardian essay and video, ‘A pilgrim’s progress: on the trail of A Canterbury Tale.’ Brooks uses the detective work of local historian Paul Tritton who has identified many of the locations used for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s extraordinary 1944 feature (details here, along with a page of links of various walks around Canterbury). If you want to know more there are further links at The Powell and Pressburger Pages lovingly assembled by Steve Crook.”

And Scott Macaulay has more linkage at Filmmaker.

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