“Jean-Luc Godard, l’insurrection permanente” reads the headline of a piece by Olivier Séguret in today’s Libération. In short, at 83, Godard is still stirring the shit, and he will carry on stirring the shit, probably even beyond his dying day. As Séguret notes, Godard’s partner Anne-Marie Miéville has suggested that his gravestone should read “Au contraire…”
Now, I don’t read French, but I do read Perlentaucher‘s feuilleton roundups regularly, so be aware that what I relay of what Godard told Philippe Dagen and Franck Nouchi in Le Monde a day or two ago comes by way of my translation of a translation. At any rate, Godard was asked for a few words on the results of the recent European elections. As I’m sure you know, the French rattled the continent last month by voting to send more parliamentarians to Brussels from the right-wing National Front than from any other party.
Godard: Yes, I do have an opinion. I was hoping that the National Front would come out on top. I think that [French President François] Hollande—I said this to France Inter, but they cut it—should name [National Front leader] Marine Le Pen prime minister.
Le Monde: Why?
Godard: To get a little movement in here. So that we at least act as if there were some movement if we’re not going to move. Which is better than acting as if we’re not doing anything. [Laughs]
@KeyframeDaily Godard wants National Front to govern for it to fail. He reminds us a bit later in same Q&A that he hates them & them him
— Anox (@axoln) June 12, 2014
So there’s that, but the real find of the day comes by way of Glen Norton, who points us to a Q&A held at Portland State University on October 16, 1972, when Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin were touring the States with Tout va bien and Letter to Jane. I’ve yet to make it all the way through the two hours and 33 minutes, but this is amazing stuff.
“For many viewers, I suspect, Pulp Fiction was their introduction to strategies of block construction in movies,” writes David Bordwell. “Those of us studying film history had seen it in various guises before, but seldom so cleverly and explicitly worked out as in Tarantino’s film. And I’m not sure even film historians realized how much Tarantino owed to earlier traditions…. [T]he 1940s was a kind of golden age of block construction. And Tarantino serves especially well to illustrate how that strategy can be put to use in modern times. In fact, his work is a fairly comprehensive layout of the creative possibilities of the format.”
Norman Mailer‘s 1955 novel The Deer Park “is probably the best novel ever written about the movie business,” suggests David Thomson in the New Republic. “Nathanael West, in The Day of the Locust, had known that the millions of failures in Los Angeles were at the end of their tether and dangerous. But Mailer recognized that the same condition affected the far smaller band of successes.”
“A natural-born mimic, ham, tease, hard worker, stoic follower and out-of-reach babe, Ginger Rogers has proven one of the most difficult to define of all the 1930s Hollywood stars,” writes Dan Callahan. “In Stage Door (1937), Rogers gives one of the most distinctive, most suggestive, and most perfectly judged performances of the period, molding every one of her bone-dry, wisecracking line readings (and what lines she has in that movie!) into something pleasurable, something unexpected, even something profound, delivering them all with her guarded, in-transit sort of face.”
Noel Murray for the Red Bull Music Academy on the greatest concert movie ever made: “Stop Making Sense isn’t just a document of a band; it’s a film, with a structure, and with concessions made to how everything will work as a piece of cinema.”
At the Dissolve, Murray talks with Teller (of Penn & Teller, of course, and director of Tim’s Vermeer) about, of all things, Irwin Allen’s The Towering Inferno (1974): “I expected it to be crap, but it’s thrilling, much more so than any of the disaster things I’ve seen that are more recent.”
Also at the Dissolve, Keith Phipps: “In the early 1990s, America’s more adventurous arthouses programmed the unusual 63-minute feature Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, which is now included as a bonus feature on the new Criterion edition of All That Heaven Allows.” The form of Mark Rappaport‘s 1992 film “anticipates everything from contemporary video essays to supercuts.”
“These days, in the discourse of popular culture, nothing is JUST entertainment, but EVERYTHING must be fun.” Glenn Kenny on the state of things at RogerEbert.com.
Entertainment Weekly‘s “rise, scattered identity, brilliant heyday and slow, gradual decline mirrors the same journey of Time Warner’s conglomerate hopes and dreams,” writes Anne Helen Petersen in an epic history of the magazine at the Awl. “The leading magazine company weds a film and television giant? It all looked so great on paper. But here we are with the EW of today, and it’s clear: Just because it looks pretty in a business plan doesn’t mean it’s a good idea at all.” Criticwire‘s Sam Adams notes that “founding editor Jeff Jarvis has posted his original seven-page proposal for the magazine to his website… It’s a fascinating read for what it reveals about how much—and how little—has changed.”
On Saturday, Adam Nayman will be at New York‘s Museum of the Moving Image to introduce a screening of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls (1995) and to sign copies of his new book, It Doesn’t Suck—and Moving Image Source is running an excerpt. Meantime, MOMI’s series See It Big! Science Fiction (Part Two) rolls on through July 13.
“With a career spanning half a century and delving into Italy’s thorniest legacies, Marco Bellocchio seems to embrace the potential, as melodramatic as it sounds, of being a country’s cinematic conscience,” writes Nicolas Rapold. Dormant Beauty is currently playing at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema.
More recommendations from the L: Zach Clark on Luchino Visconti‘s Death in Venice (1971, through tomorrow at MoMA); Mark Asch on King Hu’s Dragon Inn (1967, Saturday at BAM); AJ Serrano on Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures (1994, Monday at Nitehawk); and then there’s the Northside Festival, for which the L‘s got recommendations as well.
IN THE WORKS
“Kristen Wiig will star in and direct her first movie, a comedy she’s co-writing with Bridesmaids partner Annie Mumolo,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary. “Details of the project are being kept under wraps beyond that Wiig and Mumolo will play best friends who find themselves in over their heads and out of their depth.”
Tim Lucas remembers “the striking Romanian actress” Veronica Lazar, who died on Sunday at the age of 75. She’s probably best known as the demonic Mater Tenebrarum in Dario Argento‘s Inferno (1980), and Lucas notes that “she was directed by Mario Bava for the final special effects reveal of her character and also by the film’s credited assistant director Lamberto Bava on the days when Argento was hospitalized for hepatitis.” Lazar also worked with Michelangelo Antonioni (Identification of a Woman and Beyond the Clouds) and Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris, Luna, The Sheltering Sky and You and Me).