The big story since the last general news update (and heavens, it’s been five days) would have to be that a string of festivals around the world have all announced that Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips will be their opening night film. The thriller, featuring Tom Hanks as the titular captain of a U.S. container ship hijacked by Somali pirates, will see its world premiere on September 27 at the 51st New York Film Festival. It’ll then open the 57th BFI London Film Festival on October 9 and the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival on October 17.
For the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Brian Brooks talks with Greengrass about, among other things, “working within the studio system and why he thinks criticism that Hollywood has sacrificed storytelling for marketable sequels, superheroes, and special effects simply isn’t correct.”
And Shelley Farmer has today’s announcement from the FSLC: “Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will have its world premiere on Sunday, October 5 as the Centerpiece Gala presentation.” The cast features Stiller, of course—Brooks interviews him, too—as well as Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine, and Patton Oswalt. NYFF 2013 runs through October 13.
Joseph Losey, Adolfas Mekas, Amos Vogel and Richard Roud on Camera Three (1963), discussing Losey’s The Servant and Mekas’s Hallelujah the Hills, both of which were screened at the very first New York Film Festival that year. Via The Seventh Art
In other news. Very pleased to see the announcement from Gabe Klinger that his documentary, Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater, has been added to the Venice Classics lineup. Meantime, the list of directors slated to contribute short films to the Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded project carries on growing day by day.
“The heirs to Chris Marker’s estate have donated the director’s collection of books, VHS tapes, CD and DVD supports, negatives and photographic prints, press clippings, and other documents to the Cinémathèque française,” reports Katherine Groo in her latest roundup of “Archival News.”
“Side by Side, Russia’s LGBT film festival, is in trouble,” reports Daniel Walber at Film.com, noting that “it’s almost surprising that Side by Side exists in the first place. On the one hand, the Russian film industry isn’t in very good shape. As Vadim Rizov explained earlier this week, Putin’s government and its Culture Ministry are essentially killing the Russian film industry with new funding rules and the pending introduction of a system of censorship akin to Old Hollywood’s Hays Code. Meanwhile, there is the bigger news story of the summer: the government’s outright legal assault on its own LGBT citizens.”
Meantime, a new documentary, The Second Christianization of Rus, “shows how the political culture of modern Russia is tilting towards Byzantinism and Eurasianism, the political trends that juxtapose Russia and the West and emphasize the role of Eastern Orthodox Church in the construction of Russia’s identity,” writes Peter Eltsov in the Atlantic. Putin himself appears, arguing for “the significance of the Eastern Orthodox Church,” and: “Paradoxically and in spite of its understandable criticism of the Soviet period (when religion was brutally oppressed by Communist authorities), the film is reminiscent of Soviet propaganda.”
“The Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF), the largest movie competition in the Balkans, will open on August 16 and showcase 214 films, but this year’s edition faces deep budget cuts which organizers blamed on the political and economic crisis in Bosnia.” Daria Sito-Sucic reports for Reuters.
Kim Ki-duk‘s Moebius, which “chronicles a man atoning for his sexual misdeeds by cutting off his genitals while also focusing on destructive family dynamics,” will premiere in Venice, but is currently all but banned in South Korea. As Nemo Kim reports for Variety, Kim has solicited the help of “film critics, journalists, and other industry professionals” to persuade the Korean Media Rating Board to reverse its decision and “has already trimmed some 20 scenes.”
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology
And the poster’s awfully nice, too
Reading. A couple of weeks ago, we linked to Glenn Kenny‘s terrific entry on My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles, edited by Peter Biskind, and if you follow that link now, you’ll find that Glenn has sparked quite a conversation. Yesterday, he opened another entry by thanking Jonathan Rosenbaum for steering him towards Todd Tarbox’s Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts: “[T]he Welles in My Lunches, sometimes truculent, spiteful, perverse, given to venting resentments, etc., is a particular kind of private Welles who coexists with an Orson who is very aware of the fact that he is giving a performance for a younger admirer. Is the Welles in the Hill conversations on his best behavior because he clearly knows that these conversations are in some sense intended for posterity? I would say yes and no, and I would also say that the Welles that emerges in Tarbox’s book is the truer Welles. And yes, it is a Welles that is more noble than the one constructed via Biskind and Jaglom.”
Catherine Grant points us to a new issue of InterDisciplines Journal of History and Sociology on “Documentary Film Styles.” Also, in the inaugural issue of Affirmations, Laura Marcus “explores recent discussions of ‘the death of cinema’ in film theory, and some of the ways in which this death is figured in films themselves. It then turns to recent and contemporary fiction to explore the figuring of ‘the death of cinema’ in literary texts. My interest in the contemporary novel, in its relation to cinema, is also in the ways in which new and different relationships between the verbal and the visual seem to be emerging.”
In his latest column for Sight & Sound, Brad Stevens measures the impact of “fan subtitling” on contemporary cinephilia. “One director whose reputation has obviously benefited from this is Naruse Mikio, a legendary figure often said to be among the greatest of Japanese directors, whose output used to be inaccessible outside Japan.” Now, “all 67 of Naruse’s surviving films can be ‘illegally’ downloaded with English subtitles, finally allowing us access to an oeuvre fully the equal of Mizoguchi’s or Ozu’s.”
Michael Smith presents a primer, writing up “10 essential films by 10 different directors that I consider lynchpins of the New German Cinema.”
James Maynard Gelinas introduces his analysis of Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): “Did Kubrick intend to create a ‘hard science fiction’ film, one where a depiction of believable technology is crucial to a linear cause and effect narrative? If so, why do many nonhuman element, such as the monolith and its makers, repeated celestial alignments at crucial plot points, and the formation of the Star Child at the end, appear to be supernatural plot elements? And why did he choose a musical score that seems to evoke emotions contrary to what’s expected by imagery and situations? This essay will attempt to answer those questions with a detailed scene-by-scene analysis. It then ends with a review of cultural antecedents and reactions to the film to provide context of its lasting legacy.”
In “Looking at Women,” Darren Hughes suggests that William Wellman’s Frisco Jenny (1932) and Midnight Mary (1933) “make for a useful case study of the director’s style. The former is a grand Greek tragedy dressed in gangster clothing; the latter is an interesting trifle, a mash-up of genres that occasionally transcends convention.” Also in the Notebook, Celluloid Liberation Front argues that “Breaking Bad ratifies the end of the Spielbergian paternal hero.”
In Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down: Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Films, Kelly Oliver “makes a strong case that Hollywood films echo social pressure on white women to reproduce, often depicting the baby as the solution to a woman’s problems,” writes Fran Bigman for the TLS.
Boyd van Hoeij in the Hollywood Reporter: “The eccentric life and vision of Soviet-era director Sergei Paradjanov—a unique artist championed by the likes of Fellini, Godard, Antonioni, and Tarkovsky—are artfully suggested more than fully documented in the suitably offbeat biopic Paradjanov, from Ukrainian writer-director Olena Fetisova and French-Armenian actor-director Serge Avedikian, who also plays the lead.”
David Davidson‘s been digging deep into the history of Positif.
Here comes David O. Russell’s American Hustle with Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence
“It’s the summer, and it’s too hot to read. So n+1 editors and interns have been going to the movies instead.” And of course, they’re offering their thoughts on what they’ve seen.
Bilge Ebiri has launched a week-long series on 80’s action films.
BlackBook dusts off a 2006 piece by Richard Hell in which he dumps on Wim Wenders and Sam Shepard’s Don’t Come Knocking, Carlos Reygadas’s Battle in Heaven, and the Dardennes’ L’Enfant (The Child), all released the previous year.
In the Moving Arts Film Journal, Jack Welch considers the spirituality of the films of Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Boston Globe‘s Ty Burr interviews Errol Morris, who’s “busier than he has ever been… He has published two books in the last three years; the most recent, A Wilderness of Error, opens up the 1970 Jeffrey MacDonald murder case for reappraisal. He is putting the finishing touches on The Unknown Known, a documentary on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to meet the fall film festival season.” And he’s “signed up to direct not one, but two fictional feature films; the one about cryonics, Freezing People is Easy, is set to star Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson, while Holland, Michigan is a ‘Hitchcock-like movie’ set at a tulip festival.”
Speaking of appreciations, David Bordwell‘s written one of Donald Westlake, “also known as Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, and other cover names,” focusing on the economic style of the novelist who died in 2008. “Many films have been drawn from Westlake’s books. Made in USA (1966) and Point Blank (1967) are probably the most famous, but both are very free treatments. Closer to the brusque Stark spirit is The Outfit (1974), while the French version of The Ax (2005, by Costa-Gavras) is quite watchable…. Westlake wrote screenplays too, notably The Stepfather (1987) and The Grifters (1990).”
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Nafis Shafizadeh presents a cinephile’s overview of the art house theaters in LA.
Via John Coulthart: “A 45-minute omnibus film from 2009 in which Abel Ferrara, Arden Wohl, Asia Argento, Brian Butler, Carlos Reygadas, Charles Burnett, Charlyn Marshall, Chris Graham, Chris Milk, David Lynch, Dee Poon, Floria Sigismondi, Florian Habicht, Gaspar Noé, Grant Morrison, Griffin Marcus, Harmony Korine, James Franco, Joe Coleman, Jonas Mekas, Jonathan Caouette, Kenneth Anger, Larry Clark, Leos Carax, Lola Schnabel, Lou Ye, Matt Pyke, Michele Civetta, Mike Figgis, Mote Sinabel, Niki Caro, Rajan Mehta, Rinko Kikuchi, Ryan McGinley, Sean Lennon, Tadanobu Asano, Taika Waititi, Terence Koh, Yung Chang, Zachary Croitoroo, and Zhang Yuang each direct a 42-second film on the subject of dreams.”
In the works. Woody Allen would have the financing to make a film in Stockholm; he just hasn’t come up with an idea for it yet. Jorn Rossing Jensen reports for Cineuropa.
“Ethan Hawke has signed on to reteam with writer-director Michael Almereyda for a modern-day adaption of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. The two worked together on Almereyda’s 2000 version of Hamlet.” Tatiana Siegel has details in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah doesn’t hit theaters until March 28, 2014,” notes the Hollywood Reporter‘s Hilary Lewis, “but efforts are already being made to get the word out to religious communities.” Recently, Aronofsky showed an ‘exclusive sneak peek’ of the Paramount film to an audience at Texas’ church-based Echo Conference.” And she gathers a few tweeted first impressions—quite positive so far.
Zhang Yimou may direct Josh Brolin in Quasimodo, an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, reports Justin Kroll for Variety.
As Time‘s James Poniewozik reports, this past weekend, NBC announced that it was working on remakes of Rosemary’s Baby and The Tommyknockers. “But the biggest head-turner was signing Diane Lane to star in a mini event about the life of Hillary Clinton. As in very likely 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” Meantime, CNN’s working on a doc about Clinton, as Margaret Hartmann reports at Vulture.