If you were looking for a primer on Jean-Luc Godard, a meaty introduction that runs no more than, oh, 3300 words or so, you couldn’t do much better than J. Hoberman‘s latest piece for the Nation. “Godard’s ideas about movies are not altogether exotic,” he argues. “For him, as for filmmaker Dziga Vertov and critic Walter Benjamin, cinema is a material means to know the world…. At the same time, Godard—like Sergei Eisenstein, his great precursor as a filmmaker-theorist—considers cinema both a mode of individual thinking and a form of mass hypnosis.” While Godard is “a quintessential 20th-century high modernist,” he “may also be considered cinema’s first postmodernist and, despite his disclaimers, a model for postmodernists in other disciplines.” Under consideration here are Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television, a collection of lectures delivered at Concordia University in Montreal in 1978, Michael Witt’s Jean-Luc Godard: Cinema Historian and, of course, Goodbye to Language.
Bright Lights has posted a two–part article by Matthew Asprey Gear which, as the editors explain, “draws on extensive archival research and new interviews to explore a fascinating lost episode from 1975 during the making of Welles’s legendary Other Side of the Wind. It is the history of a Welles project that was never made—a politically radical conspiracy thriller about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy—and also a tale from the fringes of Hollywood in a transformative era.”
Editors Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert introduce a new, ongoing symposium, “Reverse Shot in Space“: “How can we begin to consider filmic space in a more precise way? We’ve framed the argument for our writers. Literally. We asked our contributors to choose one film from any era and talk about how it uses the height and/or width of the frame in its specific aspect ratio…. This symposium, then, is a continuation of our larger ongoing ‘Takes’ project at Reverse Shot, in which we ask writers to isolate specific film elements to get at a greater whole. Takes one through four looked at a shot, a cut, a sound, and a color, respectively. We felt the shape of the frame made for a perfect number five.” So far: Imogen Sara Smith on Jacques Tati‘s Playtime (1967), Julien Allen on Powell and Pressburger‘s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and Adam Nayman on George Stevens’s Shane (1953). All three films will screen next month at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of the series See It Big! High and Wide.
The new Cineaste is out and, online, you’ll find previews of a few pieces from the print edition and a good handful of Web exclusives. The previews: Darragh O’Donoghue on Tati, Adam Nayman on Inherent Vice and Gary Bettinson‘s interview with Ethan Hawke. The Webbies: Aaron Cutler‘s interview with Martín Rejtman and Michael Guillén‘s with Andrei Zvyagintsev, plus Travis Maiuro and Cynthia Lucia on Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash, Robert Cashill on Richard Fleischer’s Che! (1969), Christopher Sharrett on Roger Corman‘s Bloody Mama (1970) and Leonard Quart on Nicholas Ray‘s The Lusty Men (1952).
Ben Wheatley has notes on his top ten Criterion releases.
“Behind-the-scenes portraits don’t come much more superficial than My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, in which the Drive director’s wife Liv Corfixen documents her Danish husband during—and shortly after—the six-month Bangkok production of 2013’s Only God Forgives,” writes Nick Schager for Film Journal International. “A far cry from the great Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (about Francis Ford Coppola and Apocalypse Now) or Burden of Dreams (about Werner Herzog and Fitzcarraldo), Corfixen’s film is a 60-minute documentary that plays more like a Blu-ray supplement than a standalone feature, thanks to a general detachment from its subject.” More from Mallory Andrews (Movie Mezzanine), Nicholas Bell (Ioncinema), Eric Kohn (Indiewire, B+), Shannon Plumb (Talkhouse Film), Katie Rife (AV Club, B), Brian Tallerico (RogerEbert.com, 2/4), Scott Tobias (Dissolve, 2.5/5) and Jen Yamato (Daily Beast).
Iain Sinclair “is usually seen through a literary prism,” notes Daniel Marc Janes in the Los Angeles Review of Books: “he emerged from the avant-garde poetry scene of Jeremy Prynne and Edward Dorn; he is indebted to the psychic topography of William Blake and the freewheeling exuberance of the Beats, whose path across the United States he traced in 2013’s American Smoke. However, from the very beginning, he has maintained a parallel existence in film—and when his 70th birthday arrived, it was this crucial but overlooked side of his persona that Sinclair chose to spotlight.” And he did so with a program of 70 film screenings, the subject of his latest book, 70×70: Unlicensed Preaching: A Life Unpacked In 70 Films.
For the New Statesman, John Gray reviews Greg Garrett’s Entertaining Judgement: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination and finds it “distinctively American.”
Matt Porterfield‘s 30-minute short Take What You Can Carry has just seen its premiere at the Berlinale and, for Filmmaker, Andrew Grant talks with him, his producer, Zsuzsanna Kiràly, and his DP, Jenny Lou Ziegel.
The Austin Chronicle‘s Joe O’Connell talks with John Ridley, who wrote 12 Years a Slave and wrote and directed Jimi: All Is by My Side, about the series he’s created for ABC, American Crime, premiering on Thursday.
For Interview, Steven Soderbergh talks with Riley Keough, who, in Magic Mike (2012), “played trouble-incarnate as a magenta-maned wraith in Florida named Nora.”
For the Credits, Loren King talks with Henry Corra about his controversial doc, Farewell to Hollywood: The Life and Death of Reggie Nicholson.
IN OTHER NEWS
“Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights to Jafar Panahi’s Taxi on the heels of the film winning the Golden Bear and the Fipresci International Critic’s Prize at the Berlin Film Festival,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary. “Kino Lorber will release the film theatrically in the fall.”
“Rebels of the Neon God, the classic first feature by cult Taiwan-based director Tsai Ming-liang, is to get a U.S. theatrical release—some 23 years after it was made.” Patrick Frater for Variety: “The film will bow at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Quad Cinema in New York on April 10, 2015, ahead of a major Tsai retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, N.Y., from April 10–26, 2015.”
New York. In the L: Thirza Wakefield on George Stevens’s Vivacious Lady (1938, this afternoon at MoMA), Jordan Cronk on Woody Allen’s Interiors (1978, tomorrow afternoon at the Museum of the Moving Image), Micah Gottlieb on Nils Malmros’s The Tree of Knowledge (1981, tomorrow afternoon, Film Comment Selects), Elina Mishuris on Wim Wenders‘s The American Friend (1977, Monday at MoMA), Glenn Heath Jr. on Samuel Fuller‘s China Gate (1957, Monday at BAM) and Aaron Cutler on The Farm: Angola, USA (1998), directed by Liz Garbus, Jonathan Stack, and Wilbert Rideau (Tuesday at the IFC Center).
Also on Tuesday, and every Tuesday throughout March at the French Institute Alliance Français: Benoît Jacquot: Leading Ladies.
Hardcore Home Movies are screening at REDCAT on Monday: “This radically fun and eclectic collection of queer film and video works assembled by programmer Bradford Nordeen draws from punk and queercore archives, and includes essential works by Jonesy, Jill Reiter, G.B. Jones and Greta Snider, in addition to unearthing recent finds and lesser-known titles.”
Seattle. “During the run of A Fuller Life, the Grand Illusion theater will host one-off screenings (in appropriately gritty 16mm) of Fuller’s wild Shock Corridor (1963) and equally strange but compassionate The Naked Kiss (1964),” notes Robert Horton in the Weekly. “Stumble in, and be flabbergasted.” Today through Thursday.
IN THE WORKS
Richard Linklater is “in talks” to direct Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s (Fault in Our Stars) adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 bestseller, Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit note that the novel “centers on an agoraphobic architect and mother named Bernadette Branch who goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica. The book is narrated by her 15-year-old daughter Bee Branch” via “emails, letters, F.B.I. documents, correspondence with a psychiatrist and a bill for an emergency room visit involving the titular character.”
“Rosamund Pike is in talks to play the female lead opposite Christian Bale in Fox’s The Deep Blue Good-by based on John D. MacDonald’s novel,” reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll. “James Mangold is directing the bigscreen adaptation.”
“A [Bernard] Madoff miniseries is coming soon to a television screen near you,” reports Rachel Shukert for Tablet. “Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss is slated to star as the notorious fraudster in ABC’s multi-part something or other based on Brian Ross’s book The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth.”
EscribiendoCine is reporting that Marie-Louise Alemann has passed away. Born in Germany in 1927, she moved to Buenos Aires in 1949 and founded the Grupo Cine Experimental Argentino in 1967.
In the fourth episode of She Does, Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg talk with Debra Granik (33’55”).
Illusion Travels By Streetcar #48: Mankiewicz Before Eve (1946-1950) (96’48”).
Girish Shambu‘s posted an outstanding collection of links to “Recent Reading” that, seriously, might take you weeks if not months to exhaust. But you’d want to. This is the crème de la crème.