For the New York Times, Rachel Donadio has visited Miguel Gomes on the set of Arabian Nights (As 1,001 Noites), “an experimental yearlong project in which the director has blended fact and fiction to examine contemporary Portugal in the throes of its debt crisis. Mr. Gomes’s films, including the critically acclaimed Tabu (2012), have often featured documentary-style footage. But for Arabian Nights, which is expected to be released next year, he took this approach to a new level, bringing on a team of three journalists to research real reports from the Portuguese press and develop them with screenwriters into around a dozen fictional episodes, all narrated by a contemporary Scheherazade. ‘I thought maybe that I should make a film with Portuguese stories that are popping up, appearing at this moment,’ Mr. Gomes said. Arabian Nights is one of the first films to take on the euro crisis. It attempts to hold a mirror, albeit a convex one, to a country struggling with unemployment, emigration and general gloom.”
Writing for the Walker Art Center, Ilsa Leaver-Yap considers the “highly codependent relationship” between typography and the moving image.
“In 1948 Leo McCarey was coming off the biggest hits of his career, as Bing Crosby’s singing priest in Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) topped the box office,” writes R. Emmet Sweeney at Movie Morlocks. “Both films were amiable attempts at humanizing Catholicism, moving from the inaccessible Latin mass to the lucid curative powers of pop crooning…. For Good Sam , McCarey again returned to a religious theme, placing a man of saintly selflessness in the bourgeois suburbs…. Decades later, after the film had disappeared from view, McCarey stated, ‘the moment was ill chosen to make a film about apostleship.’ This fascinating, frequently hilarious apostle-out-of-time feature is now available on Blu-ray from Olive Films.”
Glenn Kenny‘s posted the Labor Day 2014 Edition of his Blu-Ray Consumer Guide.
IN OTHER NEWS
The 71st Venice International Film Festival has opened with Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman and, as I hope you’ll have seen, the first reviews are in. As Nick Vivarelli reports in Variety, the festival has “expressed its solidarity with two film directors who have been recently imprisoned for political reasons, Mahnaz Mohammadi of Iran and Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, by leaving two empty chairs during its opening press conference.”
Meantime, at Indiewire, Shane Danielsen argues that what Venice does well is “throw into sharp relief the unexpected, uncommon and unguessed-at. It is, in a quiet way that’s rather at odds with the brash vulgarity of Italian culture, a festival of discovery, with all the good and bad that entails.”
The Film Society of Lincoln Center has added another round of titles to the lineup for the 52nd New York Film Festival (September 26 through October 12): a 30th Anniversary Screening of Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap; the “Film Comment Presents” selection, John Boorman’s Queen and Country; a double bill of Arnaud Desplechin’s The Forest and Claire Denis‘s Voilà l’enchaînement; Paul Grimault’s The King and the Mockingbird; and Bruno Dumont‘s Li’l Quinquin.
Drafthouse Films has announced that it’s acquired Joshua Oppenheimer‘s followup to The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence, set to premiere in Venice before screening in Toronto and New York. A US theatrical release is slated for next year.
For Thompson on Hollywood, Ryan Lattanzio reports that, on September 23, Icarus Films will release Bill Morrison: Collected Works (1996-2013) on DVD and VOD “just a few weeks before the Museum of Modern Art mounts a major New York retrospective of his singular shorts and features (October 14-November 21).”
“Ulrich Seidl’s In the Basement, Kaouther Ben Hania’s Challat of Tunis, and Andrew Huculiak’s Violent will screen at the 62nd San Sebastian Festival’s Zabaltegi sidebar, section, which this year highlights a swathe of documentaries or non-fiction features—nine out of a 19 total titles.” Emilio Mayorga has the full program in Variety.
IN THE WORKS
“James Ellroy, the two-fisted author behind such crime novels as L.A. Confidential and Black Dahlia, is making a rare foray into film.” Borys Kit in the Hollywood Reporter: “Fox 2000 has signed the author to write a remake of Laura, the classic 1944 film noir that was directed by Otto Preminger.”
Via Twitter, Lee Daniels has announced that Mike Epps will star in his Richard Pryor biopic. Notes Flavorwire‘s Jason Bailey: “Pryor himself selected Epps for the role back in 2005, so maybe he saw something we haven’t.”
“Ellen Burstyn has signed to make her feature directorial debut,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. “The Emmy nominee will star in and direct Bathing Flo, a character piece she fell in love with that is inspired by events in the life of Thruline manager-producer Danny Sherman. It’s a New York-set story that centers on a man in need of a place to live, who’s given the chance to house-sit in exchange for free rent. He discovers the house is occupied by the man’s elderly mother Flo, who is part of the deal.”
Following The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels and Demons (2009), Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are teaming up for a third adaptation of Don Brown’s Robert Langdon books, Inferno. Again, Flavorwire‘s Jason Bailey: “Production is set to begin in April; construction will presumably begin on a new addition for Howard’s house the following August.”
Listening (224’49”). Director Julie Taymor and actor Harry Lennix are guests at the Projection Booth, talking about Titus (1999).