Daily | Godard, Minnelli, Clayton

Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard

Updates to the entry on Jean-Luc Godard‘s Goodbye to Language just keep on rolling in. Turns out, the movie’s a hit, too. Relatively speaking. The opening weekend per screen average is impressive, but of course, the number of screens at this point is very small. “I think I might be one more viewing away from finally being able to say what the hell it’s about,” writes Bilge Ebiri at Vulture. David Bordwell, too, has posted a second round of notes on the film:

In both sound and image, the post-production process for Godard is a kind of transformation, an openly admitted re-writing of what came from the camera. He slaps graffiti on his own film. In Narration in the Fiction Film, I argued that our sense of a Godard film being “told” or narrated by the director proceeds partly from his ability to create the impression of a sort of Cineaste-Emperor, a sovereign master who is governing what we see and hear at any given moment. The collage principle suggests someone behind the scenes pasting these fragments together. Not only his commentary (once whispered, now croaked) but every shot-change and bit of music and noise, every intertitle and look to the camera all bear witness to Godard as God. (advvisioncenters) Before he cut a strip of film; now he twiddles a knob or guides a slider. In all cases, we still feel his playful, exasperating hand.

Ted Fendt‘s posted a transcription of the press conference that followed the premiere of Prénom Carmen at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, where the film won the Golden Lion. Godard: “I think that in cinema there can only be love stories. With military films, it’s about boys’ love for weapons; with gangster films, it’s about boys’ love for theft… That’s cinema, in my opinion. And that’s what the New Wave brought that was new: Truffaut, Rivette, me and two or three others, we brought something that didn’t exist anymore, maybe, or that had never existed in the history of cinema; we loved cinema before loving women, before loving money, before loving war. Before loving whatever, we loved cinema. For me, I’ve often said that cinema made me discover life. It took a while. It took me thirty years.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s “Godard in the Nineties: An Interview, Argument, and Scrapbook” comes in two parts and is “a restructured and substantially revised, updated, and otherwise altered version of my ‘Trailer for Histoire(s) du cinéma,’ which appeared originally in French in the Spring 1997 issue of Trafic.” He’s also posted his 1976 review of Numéro Deux for Sight & Sound.


Peter Bogdanovich has opened up his Vincente Minnelli file, revisiting the notecards he wrote on the films he saw between 1952 and 1970: “I came to appreciate this director’s style and strength more as I got older, though some of my most youthful reactions still have validity… He was an ideal director for the old Studio System, equally at home with all kinds of tales and genres, and each done with dependable expertise and lack of pretension. Indeed, he made some of the most purely entertaining and memorable pictures in that Golden Age.”

From Criterion, Peter Bogdanovich on Orson Welles‘s F for Fake (1975)

Back to Jonathan Rosenbaum, who wrote in 2012 that “The Trial (1962) emerges as a highly personal and slanted reading of a classic that adapts it to Welles’s own twisted times.”

“Why The Innocents still retains its ability to terrify us, more than 50 years after its release, is worth exploring, particularly within the context of the tremendously underrated [Jack] Clayton’s broader career,” argues Bilge Ebiri, again at Vulture. “Indeed, what makes The Innocents so powerful is the very thing that made Clayton’s films so distinctive.”

Dorothy Richardson for Close Up in 1928: “The next slow-motion exhibition was of horses clearing a hedge and ditch in a steeple-chase, and throughout the majestic spectacle, from the moment the great beasts slowly rearing left the earth until again they lightly, as if weightlessly, touched it in descent, there was nothing that could even remotely appeal to the eye on the look-out for pretexts for mirth. But the laughter came, for the slowness, the anomaly.”

For the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Tim Wainwright talks with New York Film Festival director Kent Jones: “NYFF formed a backdrop for topics ranging from how he approaches interviews with personalities like David Fincher and Kristen Stewart, recent (and not-so-recent) film history, and the ever-present question of ‘themes’ that tie films together in a lineup.”

Kelefa Sanneh profiles Chris Rock for the New Yorker.

Franny Alfano looks back on the night Pauline Kael interviewed Jonathan Demme at the Walker Art Center.

And Kim Morgan thinks back to the time she interviewed William Friedkin.

At Movie Morlocks, David Kalat writes an ode to the eyes of Jeanne Moreau in Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows (1957).

The Illusion Travels by Streetcar Collective has posted a manifesto addressing the “organismal sickness which has resided in the body cinephilic for more than half a century now.”

The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Yardley: “John Cleese’s memoir is just about everything one would expect of its author—smart, thoughtful, provocative and above all funny—but it is not what his most ardent fans probably have been expecting, a blow-by-blow account of the making of his most notable work: Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the many films made by the Monty Python troupe and the Fawlty Towers situation comedy. All of these are near-universally beloved, but telling us about them is not what Cleese is up to in So, Anyway…. Instead it is an account of what he did before he got to Monty Python, a picture, if you will, of the artist as a young man.”

For those who’d prefer a Spanish version, Détour has translated Paul Schrader’s 2006 article for Film Comment, “Canon Fodder.”


Mark Cousins, Tilda Swinton and Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux have written an open letter to Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev regarding the dismissal of Naum Kleiman, manager of the Moscow State Central Cinema Museum, and his staff: “We do not know all the political complexities of what has happened, but we would like to protest, in the strongest possible terms, against the ill-advised changes in the leadership of film policy in Russia.”

DOC NYC has announced that it’ll be presenting its inaugural Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence to Laura Poitras on November 14 “in conjunction with the Lifetime Achievement Awards presented to Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus; and the new Leading Light Award presented to Dan Cogan of Impact Partners.”


Los Angeles. Through Indian Eyes: Native American Cinema is on at the UCLA Film & Television Archive through December 15.


For Slate, Courtney Duckworth rounds up all that’s known up to this point about the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! with Josh Brolin and George Clooney.


“Ian Fraser, whose 11 Emmy Awards and 32 nominations for outstanding music direction made him the most honored composer/conductor in the history of television, has died. He was 81.” Mike Barnes has more in the Hollywood Reporter.

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