First up, J. Hoberman‘s got a new piece in Tablet: “The Immigrant’s phantom director is Frank Borzage, whose silent slum dramas include the original Lower East Side melting pot movie Humoresque; The Grand Budapest Hotel is haunted by the benign shade of Ernst Lubitsch, the most worldly and fanciful of Jewish Hollywood’s filmmakers. Although The Immigrant and The Grand Hotel Budapest project an Old Country nostalgia that Jews might feel, while acknowledging a sense of transience or displacement that Jews could remember, Jewish subjectivity is displaced.”
“Since the outset of his career, Godard has been interested in two kinds of criticism—film criticism and social criticism—and these two interests are apparent in practically everything he does and says as an artist.” In 1998, Jonathan Rosenbaum set out to “trace these two interests in relation to Godard’s commentaries on Alfred Hitchcock.”
Jonathon Sturgeon argues that Alain Resnais “was always a politically engaged artist on the level of Godard and Straub-Huillet. It is tempting to think that Resnais dropped politics after his turn toward the theatrical with Mélo; and certainly—with its winding monologues, red curtain, and dramaturgical sense of time and construction—Mélo established a trend toward theatrical artifice that would mark later films, like Coeurs (Private Fears in Public Places, 2006). But Resnais, I think, undertook his theatrical turn in order to explore the layers of commonality and virtuality that emerge when actors share a space that is itself both real and imagined (a theatre stage)—as in You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, in which actors use their real names (like Amalric) while playing fictional versions of themselves who, in turn, re-enact their (fictional) past roles in the play Eurydice, alongside a filmed version of Eurydice played by younger actors.”
Also in frieze, Patrick Langley: “In Double Visions, his recent exhibition at Anthony Reynolds, the Thai artist and film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul cut against this grain to posit sleep as a state of visionary intimacy, filled with motion, light and desire, in which political messages are so delicately underplayed that they border on the subliminal.” And the new issue also features Shanay Jhaveri on Sarkari Shorts, a tumblr dedicated to short films from the vaults of the Films Division of India.
“You’ve been dead for around 25 years now.” David Lynch interviews Leland Palmer
We’ve mentioned Film Desk’s first book before—it’s François Truffaut by Lillian Ross: from The New Yorker, 1960-1976—but it needs mentioning again because Ross’s colleague, Richard Brody, offers a guide to her writing on cinema in the magazine (some of it available to non-subscribers, some not):
She has written a prescient piece on the House Un-American Affairs Committee and its impact on the movie business, an insightful series of reports about the clash of art and business in Hollywood (which became the book Picture), an illuminatingly stylized Profile of Otto Preminger, and Talk of the Town pieces centered on her timely discussions with such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin as he was casting Limelight, Jacques Tati after the release of Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, Alfred Hitchcock upon the opening of The Birds, Jean-Luc Godard when he came to the third New York Film Festival, in 1965, John Cassavetes during the release of Husbands, Federico Fellini during the promotional tour for Amarcord, Elaine May and Alan Arkin on the occasion of a theatrical venture, Wes Anderson during the shoot of The Royal Tenenbaums, and, for that matter, Glenn Gould’s cinematic self-analysis.
The TLS has posted B.W. Ife‘s 2000 review of An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected writings of Luis Buñuel: “Most of the best work is from the 1920s, when Buñuel came under the influence first of José Bello, and then of Lorca and Dalí at the liberal Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.”
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of one of the greatest film noir ever made, perhaps the quintessential title of that perpetually popular and occasionally fluid cinematic category.” For Film International, Jeremy Carr revisits Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), “a honey of a movie.”
“How could such a talented artist choose to take his life at the height of his creative powers, when anything seemed possible and probably was? And how did a positive, happy person fall into the depths of despair with almost no one being the wiser?” For the Hollywood Reporter, Scott Johnson travels to Sweden to investigate the death of Malik Bendjelloul, director of the Oscar-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man.
IN OTHER NEWS
Brazil’s greatest living filmmaker, Coffin Joe, has suffered a heart attack. Let’s wish him a swift recovery http://t.co/HDy5hCZzFG
— Gabe Klinger (@GabeKlinger) June 11, 2014
IN THE WORKS
“Variance Films has acquired the North American distribution rights to Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain,” reports Shipra Gupta for Indiewire. “One of Iran’s most celebrated filmmakers, Panahi has been under house arrest since 2011 after the Iranian government banned him from making any films for 20 years. Closed Curtain marks Panahi’s second time defying the ban placed upon him by the government—the first was with the 2011 documentary This is Not a Film.”
Buzzfeed‘s Alison Willmore talks with actor (The Wire), screenwriter (Up) and director (The Station Agent) Thomas McCarthy, who’s “currently in post-production on The Cobbler, which he directed and co-wrote, and which stars Adam Sandler in one of those rare and often surprising non-Adam Sandler movie roles.”
Mark Kermode to Ken Loach, June 3
“Marion Cotillard is set to topline Mal de Pierres, a period romance drama directed by critically-acclaimed auteur Nicole Garcia,” reports Elsa Keslassy for Variety. “An adaptation of Milena Agus’s eponymous novel, Mal de Pierres (Mal di pietre) spans 20 years, following the destiny of a passionate, free-spirited woman who is in a loveless marriage and falls for another man. A bestseller, the book has been translated in more than 15 languages.”
“The BFI Film Fund today announces support for three feature documentaries following a pitching session held at and in partnership with the UK’s leading documentary festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest.” And the three projects are Sophie Fiennes’s Grace Jones: The Musical of My Life; Iain Cunningham’s Irene’s Ghost, about “the mother he never knew”; and Robert Cannan and Ross Adam’s The Lovers and the Despot, which “details the bizarre love story of a celebrity director and actress kidnapped by movie-mad dictator Kim Jong-il and forced to make films in the communist state.”
Ken Loach replies, June 10
“Zhang Yimou, who made classics such as House of Flying Daggers and Raise the Red Lantern, will direct Great Wall, a fantasy epic about the mysterious reasons why the Great Wall of China was built.” Clifford Coonan has details in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Martha Hyer, one of the last studio glamor girls of the Golden Age of Hollywood, died May 31,” reports Robert Nott for the New Mexican. “She was 89 and had lived in Santa Fe since the mid-1980s. A striking blonde who once turned down a date request from the young Sen. John F. Kennedy, Hyer was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her work in 1958’s Some Came Running, an MGM film starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine.”