We begin in New York and with Melissa Anderson, writing for Artforum: “Directed by Robert Altman during the New Hollywood paragon’s most fertile decade, 3 Women (1977) stars two of the greatest, most emblematic actresses of 1970s American cinema: Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek. This shape-shifting movie, which explores self-delusion, intense attachment, and identity-merging, originated in a dream Altman had and proceeds with a particular oneiric logic. The film is rich in brilliant oddities and juxtapositions, never more so than when Duvall and Spacek are encompassed in the same frame.” 3 Women screens tonight and Saturday as part of MoMA’s Robert Altman series running through January 17.
In the New York Times, Mike Hale notes that Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973), cited quite a bit these days in reviews of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, has screened at MoMA, at BAM as part of its Sunshine Noir series and will screen once again at Film Forum on Tuesday as part of the Chandler, Hammett, Woolrich & Cain series. “The Long Goodbye sits at all these intersections,” writes Hale: “of Altman and Chandler, of Altman and noir, of the 1950s (when the novel was written) and the 1970s, of old and (at the time) new Los Angeles…. Altman spent much of his career tearing apart and reconstituting Hollywood genres in his own sly, satirical fashion—the war film in MASH, the teen comedy in O.C. and Stiggs. In some cases, as with the western McCabe & Mrs. Miller or the musical protest film Nashville, the results had profound, mythic dimensions. In The Long Goodbye the result is elegiac and entertaining, bittersweet and ceaselessly funny.”
The Voice‘s Alan Scherstuhl notes that the MoMA series boasts “a host of fascinating curios”—the short Modern Football or 1956’s Corn’s A-Poppin’, for example. “Altman’s existential 1974 gambling buddy comedy California Split isn’t quite a curio, and it isn’t quite lost, but the only legal way to see it these days… is in a compromised home-video cut: An issue over music licenses (read: money) resulted in three minutes of the film getting axed for its ’04 DVD debut. Toasted upon its release, the loose, low-key, engagingly slight California Split has never been heralded as one of the key Altmans. But the few things it does—friendship and disappointment and the drab and desperate thrill of the gambler’s life—it does superbly.”
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kim Morgan presents a remarkable oral history of that film, a freewheeling conversation with stars Elliott Gould, George Segal and screenwriter Joseph Walsh. Morgan and Guy Maddin had presented a 40th anniversary screening of California Split at Telluride earlier this year. The four of them met in “mid-September, one of those absurdly hot Los Angeles days.” Parts 1, 2 and 3.
David Lynch has missed “the opening of a rare exhibition in Britain showcasing his painting and photography,” notes Mark Brown in the Guardian. “But the reason will cheer the hearts of millions. ‘I can’t come over,’ he said. ‘I’m supposed to be working on Twin Peaks.’ Lynch was speaking ahead of the opening of an exhibition at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima)—a genuine coup for a small gallery in a town that does not get too many national art firsts.” David Lynch Naming is on view through March 26.
Meantime, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts exhibition David Lynch: The Unified Field is open through January 11. “Lynch’s paintings and assemblages place his movies—or at least the great ones, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire—in the setting of his art work and not vice versa,” writes J. Hoberman for the New York Review of Books.
MORE GOINGS ON
San Francisco. The Roxie will be hosting A Coppola Family Affair all weekend long. On Friday, sound designers Richard Beggs and Walter Murch will talk before a screening of Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now (1979). On Saturday, Roman Coppola will be on hand for a screening of A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2012) and Eleanor Coppola will be present for screenings of Sofia’s The Virgin Suicides (1999) and her own The Making of The Virgin Suicides and Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991). And on Sunday, Gia Coppola and James Franco will participate in a Q&A following a screening of Palo Alto (2013).
The Naked Room, the final film in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts series New Waves in Mexican Cinema, screens tomorrow. It’s “a documentary by Nuria Ibáñez, which is simply a series of close-ups—of children and young teens, telling therapists about their deeply troubled lives,” writes Jonathan Kiefer in the SF Weekly. “The stories, so directly expressed, can wrench even the hardest heart.”
London. John Carpenter‘s Dark Star (1974) screens on Friday, Monday and on December 28 as part of the BFI’s Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder: Contact! season. “Space travel has rarely been as mundane, riotous or charmingly unspectacular,” writes Kevin Lyons.
Brussels. “Is it possible to break the deadlock of the present and imagine a different future through a revisiting of the past?” asks Stoffel Debuysere at diagonal thoughts. “The theoretical and curatorial work of Ariella Azoulay is grounded in an exploration of this possibility: using the events that occurred between 1947 and 1950 as a prism, she proposes a civil perspective on the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, one that turns away from the framework imposed by the paradigm of an unavoidable and irreversible national conflict.” Azoulay will be at the Galeries Brussels tomorrow evening for screenings of Ram Loevy’s Khirbat’ Khize (1978) and Dani Gal’s al-Midya (2014).
Vienna. The Austrian Film Museum’s series Another Country: Five Austrian Film Histories is on through tomorrow.
Karlsruhe. Lynn Hershman Leeson. Civic Radar is a comprehensive retrospective at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art open through April 6.