Daily | Goings On | CRU, Bertolucci, July

Jean-Louis Trintignant in 'The Conformist'

Jean-Louis Trintignant in ‘The Conformist’

For a heavy load of obvious reasons, events in New York tend to get written about more than events in other places, and these “goings on” entries often reflect that. And the majority of you reading, it’s probably safe to say, don’t live in NYC (though, hopefully, the articles I point to about those events are interesting nonetheless). So I’d like to top this entry with a reminder: James Kang’s Critics Round Up is a fantastic resource, wherever you are. I’m all the way over here in Berlin, and I find it extraordinarily useful. The “New Releases” featured on the front page may not have crossed the Atlantic yet, but that’s what the CRU search box is for.

A sampling of those roundups being highlighted at the moment: Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani‘s The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, Ari Folman’s The Congress, Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s Salvo, David Mackenzie’s Starred Up, Charlie McDowell’s The One I Love, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Ira Sachs‘s Love Is Strange and Christina Voros’s Kink.


“It’s easier to describe the historical importance and immense influence of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 film The Conformist than to describe what it’s about, or to discuss the peculiar experience of watching it in 2014,” writes Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir. “Indeed, I suspect there is no separating form and substance with The Conformist, and the minute you say that it’s primarily an exercise in prodigious visual style, or that it’s a political thriller about a Fascist secret policeman on a murderous mission in France, you have committed an important taxonomical error. Either or both of those descriptions make The Conformist seem less peculiar, less sui generis, than it is. The unsettling blend of images and ideas in this movie cannot satisfactorily be disentangled or decoded, and it’s the very strangeness of Bertolucci’s masterpiece that has made it so influential in cinema history.”

More from Nelson Kim (Hammer to Nail) and Calum Marsh (Voice)—and for yet more, see, of course, Critics Round Up. Film Forum‘s week-long run begins today; see Kino Lorber for future cities and dates.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s series James Brown: The Hardest Working Man in Show Business opens today and runs through the holiday weekend. “Is it overselling it to claim that James Brown’s 18-minute performance on 1964’s The T.A.M.I. Show rivals the moon landing as the choicest footage of human achievement of the 1960s?” asks the Voice‘s Alan Scherstuhl. And, writing for Artforum, Melissa Anderson agrees that the film’s “unsurpassed exuberance, not just onstage but also off it, assures that it will remain forever young.” At the L, Ashley Clark highlights Larry Cohen‘s “fast-moving Blaxploitation romp,” Black Caesar (1973).

More recommendations from the L: Henry Stewart on A Tale of Springtime (1990), screening today as part of the BAMcinématek series Rohmer’s Four Seasons; Samantha Vacca on Douglas Sirk‘s Written on the Wind (1956), a tonight’s entry in the Museum of the Moving Image series See It Big! Hollywood Melodrama; Jake Cole on Werner Herzog‘s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), tonight and tomorrow at midnight at the Nitehawk; and Justin Stewart on King Vidor‘s The Big Parade (1925), screening tomorrow and Sunday as part of MoMA’s series, The Great War: A Cinematic Legacy.

Miranda July on her new iOS application, Somebody™, co-presented by the New Museum, but available to use anywhere (not just New York!): “When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes—not to your friend—but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (probably a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in.”


Chicago. Noir City 6: It’s a Bitter Little World is on at the Music Box from today through Thursday and the Reader‘s J.R. Jones notes that this edition “debunks the idea of noir as strictly an American export by pulling in films, both known and unknown, from France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Argentina, and the UK.”

San Francisco. The Bay Guardian‘s Cheryl Eddy previews the repertory and festival highlights of the season.

Austin. The Chronicle presents a “Fall Festival Crib Sheet.”

London. The Sci-Fi Weekend at the British Museum is underway through tomorrow and, for the BFI, Claire Smith tells the story behind Mike Hodges’s Flash Gordon (1980).

With Isidore Isou’s Venom and Eternity (Traité de bave et d’éternité, 1951) screening this evening at the Romanian Cultural Centre, Electric Sheep has re-posted Philip Winter‘s 2009 appreciation of this “howling, white hot, meteor of resistance.”

Vienna. Land of the Dead: Horror Movies 1968–1987 opens today at the Austrian Film Museum and runs through October 15.

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