Daily | Film Comment, Langlois, Soderbergh

Film Comment

The July/August 2014 issue

It’s Boyhood week. Richard Linklater and his cast have been making the rounds—we posted Sean Axmaker‘s interview yesterday—and, following the Sundance premiere and screenings at the Berlinale and a good number of other festivals, the film spanning twelve years in the lives of its characters in just over two-and-a-half hours finally opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles. The rollout across the country will last all summer.

Boyhood‘s also landed on the covers of the new issues of Sight & Sound and Film Comment, where Holly Willis writes that “at its core, Linklater’s attentive portrait of a Texan boy named Mason is less about what it means to be a young male than it is an evocation of another key theme in the filmmaker’s body of work, namely time. And not just time as a philosophical concept, but our time, the present moment, and what it means to be alive now. Right now.”

We’ll have more on Boyhood before the week is out, but for now, let’s just note that, at Word & Film, Lisa Rosman‘s written up her top five films of the first half of the year, and of her #1 she writes: “Truly, Boyhood is the cinematic achievement of 2014 thus far.”

Back to the July/August issue of Film Comment. “While portrayals of working-class life have long held the moral high ground in British cinema, and images of archaic privilege continue to do a roaring trade as television luxury goods, the upper middle class is generally considered too bland or too embarrassing to be given screen space,” writes Jonathan Romney. “In documenting this milieu, [Joanna] Hogg has gone out on a limb as a British filmmaker. That’s all the more true because of the kind of films she makes: laconic, gentle, yet delicately excruciating dramas of social unease.” And Indigo Bates interviews Hogg for Bright Lights.

That Moment – The Making of Magnolia

“Tom Noonan’s 1995 film The Wife is a finely concentrated, subtle, perturbing, strangely humane, and nearly perfect American comedy,” writes Howard Hampton. The new FC also features Cannes 2014 reports from Amy Taubin, Kent Jones, Gavin Smith, Dennis Lim and Nicolas Rapold, who also calls for a distributor for Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe. Violet Lucca recommends David Davidson’s excellent Toronto Film Review and, of course, there are several fine reviews of films in theaters, on silver discs and/or streaming along the wires.


“At this year’s SCMS conference in Seattle in the spring, the single best session I attended was devoted to video essays—and their emergence as a new and exciting mode of scholarship,” writes Girish Shambu. “Specifically, I am intrigued by the connection between video essays and cinephilia.” And he asks: “Is there a special, cinephilic, affective charge that the critic/scholar derives from making video essays? And, correspondingly, that the viewer derives from watching them?… There are some valuable clues to the first question in Catherine Grant’s essay ‘The Shudder of a Cinephiliac Idea?,’ in which she describes the process of making her first video essay, Unsentimental Education (2009).”

Girish has also posted another round of links to items that have especially interested him of late, meaning, of course, they’re likely to be of special interest to you as well. One of them takes us to a collection of video tributes to Henri Langlois from Francis Ford Coppola, Agnés Varda, Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Manoel de Oliveira, Costa-Gavras, Stephen Frears, William Friedkin, Bernardo Bertolucci and, embedded here below, Souleymane Cissé:

David Bordwell speaks for many of us here: “Festival critics, we know you face moments of despair. But make the sacrifice. Soldier on.”

Steven Soderbergh tells Mike Ayers at Esquire why he’s not making movies anymore (though, of course, he’s just produced and directed the 10-episode series The Knick, directed a play and launched a brand for his imported Bolivian brandy). “The ratio of bullshit to the fun part of doing the work was really starting to get out of whack.” And how’s the country doing? “This could turn into Mad Max, like tomorrow.”

There’s a John Ford blogathon going on at Krell Laboratories.


Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli reports that the Rome Film Festival has slimmed its lineup down to 40 features (71 screened last year), cut the international juries (awards will be voted on by audiences) and focus on emerging directors. The ninth edition runs from October 16 through 25.

Chantal Akerman‘s Saute ma ville (1968) “announces themes and strategies she continues to this present day,” writes Filmmaker editor Scott Macaulay


“Paul Apted, a sound editor and son of British director Michael Apted who worked on studio blockbusters as well as smaller films for more than two decades, died Friday.” As Erik Hayden and Mike Barnes note in the Hollywood Reporter, he was only 47.

“George Morrison, an acting teacher and director who trained, worked with, and inspired great actors including Gene Hackman, Edie Falco, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Klugman, Sandy Dennis, Judy Collins, Susan Dey, Jane Alexander, Jill Clayburgh, Joel Grey, Stanley Tucci, Scott Glenn and Ving Rhames, has died,” reports Carmen Dagan for Variety. “He was 96.”

French editor Andrée Davanture, who worked with Souleymane Cissé and many other African directors, died on July 1 at the age of 81, reports Alice Casalini for Cinemafrica. Jean-Michel Frodon has written a remembrance at


Three new trailers to catch if you haven’t already. David Fincher’s Gone Girl:

Olivier Assayas‘s Clouds of Sils Maria:

And Rebecca Zlotowski’s Grand Central:

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