“While Daniel Morgan’s fantastic 2012 book Late Godard and the Possibilities of Cinema devotes a significant portion of its pages to Histoire(s) du Cinéma, Michael Witt’s Jean-Luc Godard: Cinema Historian offers a book-length study of this singular work, filled with color still frames and images, in what’s unquestionably the most comprehensive English-language examination of Godard’s endlessly complex work of video historiography.” At the House Next Door, Clayton Dillard adds that it also happens be “the best-looking film-studies text in recent memory.”
“As anyone with access to a computer knows, Woody Allen has been pilloried of late across the internet, over allegations that 21 years ago, he molested the daughter he and Mia Farrow adopted in 1985.” At the Daily Beast, Robert B. Weide, who produced and directed Woody Allen: A Documentary, adds: “Even people who give Woody the benefit of the doubt and defend him on the internet are often confused on a few points.” Which he then addresses.
“As [Pauline] Kael’s biographer Brian Kellow put it, the critic generally preferred actors ‘who conveyed some kind of ripe sensuality, inflected with a certain craziness or messiness,'” notes Karina Longworth. Just as intensely as she praised an actor like Marlon Brando for his sexual presence on screen, Kael could sharpen her knives on performers who she felt didn’t use their bodies to the fullest. One actress whose physicality made her a Kael bete noir was Meryl Streep.”
At Open Culture, Colin Marshall points us to a bit of correspondence between Alfred Hitchcock and Vladimir Nabokov, who never ended up working together: “Close historical contemporaries and mutual admirers, the writer and the director did once exchange letters discussing film ideas they might develop together. You’ll find the full text of both Hitchcock’s query and Nabokov’s interested response at the American Reader.”
Emma Brockes for the Guardian: “I meet James Schamus the morning the Oscar nominations are announced, news of which he received with mixed emotions: cheering for the success of Dallas Buyers Club, a film he stewarded as head of Focus Features, and which garnered six nominations; and swallowing the somewhat bitter pill of it coming three months after he was unceremoniously fired. ‘We’re going out with a bang.’ He grins.”
“Long considered as something of a guilty pleasure among filmmakers, critics, and fans, director Edgar G. Ulmer finally gets the attention and scholarship he deserves in Noah Isenberg’s new book: Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins.” Matthew Steigbigel interviews Isenberg for The Credits.
“Writer/director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson is almost single-handedly responsible for Iceland’s impressive movie boom of the 1990s and early 2000s.” So Michael Smith interviews him.
IN OTHER NEWS
“The fourth edition of the Czech Film Critic Awards sealed the already expected outcome,” reports Martin Kudláč at Cineuropa. Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush “was nominated in every category expect that for best documentary film. The story of an infamous act of self-martyrdom won six awards from ten nominations including the award for the Best Czech Film.”
The Guardian‘s Ben Child reports on the Quentin Tarantino vs. Gawker brouhaha.
New York. Tacita Dean and Luther Price are among the artists to donate work, currently on view, for Friday’s Light Industry Benefit Art Auction.
Chicago. Kevin B. Lee has curated and, on Saturday, will introduce Searching Images: Harun Farocki at 70. Kevin “cites Farocki as his favorite living filmmaker and an inspiration to his own critical thinking and artistic practice.”
Cambridge. The Harvard Film Archive series Old Dreams in Strange Times – The Films of Alain Guiraudie opens on Friday and runs through February 8.
IN THE WORKS
Femke Wolting and Tommy Pallotta, who worked with Richard Linklater on Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, are at it again, having already begun work on the design and animation for Linklater’s remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which, in 1964, saw Don Knotts playing a talking fish. Geoffrey Macnab reports for Screen Daily. On a related note, Sam Adams put a question to the Criticwire network the other day: “What’s the best movie Richard Linklater has made, and what’s the worst?” Meantime, Wolting and Pallotta’s Last Hijack, “which combines animation and real footage to tell the story of a young Somali pirate preparing for what might be his last mission,” premieres at the Berlinale next week.
Albert Brooks has joined Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac in the cast of J.C. Chandor’s third feature (after Margin Call and All Is Lost), A Most Violent Year, reports Guy Lodge at In Contention. It’s a “1980s-set crime drama—another Chandor original—which centers on an immigrant family in New York whose burgeoning heating-oil business takes them into criminal territory.”
Jason Reitman’s next project is The Possibilities, reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll: “Kaui Hart Hemmings, who wrote The Descendants, penned the novel which is set in a Colorado ski town and follows a grieving mother struggling to overcome her son’s death. She’s visited by a girl with a secret that will change them both.”
“Benedict Cumberbatch has been attached to star in the thriller Blood Mountain,” reports Leo Barraclough in Variety. “Sergei Bodrov (Mongol, Seventh Son) will direct… The film follows a private military contractor whose special forces team is ambushed and killed during a covert raid, forcing him to personally escort one of the world’s most wanted terrorists over hostile terrain in order to bring him to justice. With a bounty at stake and insurgents and rival mercenaries hunting them, the two find themselves facing not only their enemies, but each other in their fight for survival.”
Whit Stillman‘s writing a book, reports Vulture‘s Amanda Dobbins. “Its very full title: Love & Friendship: An Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novella Concerning the Beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, Her Loves and Friendships, and the Strange Antagonism of the DeCourcy Family.”
“Why did Pete Seeger, who has died aged 94, matter?” asks Billy Bragg in the Guardian. “Because for over 75 years he stood true to his original vision, he never wavered. Even when his beliefs had a huge impact on his life and career: he never sold out. He wasn’t just a folk singer, or an activist: he was both.” David Simon: “If there is an American who has lived a more honorable and creative life in the past century, the name cannot be readily conjured. Pete Seeger did everything possible to merge the power of popular song to the very idea of community.” More from Richard Corliss (Time), Ben Greenman (New Yorker), Jack Hamilton (Slate), Dahlia Lithwick (Slate), Jon Pareles (New York Times) and Alec Wilkinson (New Yorker).
“Martin S. Bergmann, a psychoanalyst, author and educator who became known to a wide general audience for his unplanned, much-praised role as a philosopher in Woody Allen’s 1989 film, Crimes and Misdemeanors, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan,” reports Margalit Fox in the NYT. “He was 100.”