We begin today where we began yesterday, with Cahiers du Cinéma‘s forthcoming 700th issue. To mark the occasion the magazine and the French Institute Alliance Française in New York are presenting a series of Tuesday night screenings. French Cinema’s Secret Trove begins tonight with a Jean Grémillon double feature: La petite Lise (1930) and, introduced by Benny and Josh Safdie, Daïnah la métisse (1931).
Indiewire notes that the series “continues in June with a showcase of top picks that have been championed in the pages of the magazine.” But first, they’re presenting two appreciations of Grémillon’s work for the first time in English. Dominique Païni considers what La petite Lise has meant for Leos Carax, while Cahiers editor Stéphane Delorme suggests of the same film that “Grémillon was inventing poetic realism live (though no film would ever recover this intoxicating dreamlike strangeness, this primeval naturalism transfigured into dreaminess).”
“Who’d have dreamed that the 1960s were as dumb as the 1990s? And that Shirley MacLaine was the transitional figure between the serious 1950s and the brainless decade that followed?” Jonny Held lays out his argument in Bright Lights.
Stick with it; you won’t need Spanish
In the 1940s, a new genre of Mexican cinema emerged, “the cabaretera, a bizarre amalgam of music and melodrama and noir, with liberal doses of sex (especially sadism) and what we now would call high camp, set in the squalid whorehouses, cheap bars, and dark glistening streets of ‘sin towns’ like Ciudad Juarez.” Bright Lights editor Gary Morris notes that, of the many stars that arose, none were “as popular as Ninón Sevilla, a Cuban rhumba dancer who became an international success on the basis of her spirited performances in films with sleazy titles like Victims of Sin, Sensuality, I Don’t Deny My Past, and the unquestioned masterpiece of the genre, Alberto Gout’s Aventurera (1950).”
Jean Renoir’s The Woman on the Beach (1947), “an atmospheric and harsh film noir, has long been a favorite of mine, for its depiction of a peculiar triangle that bristles with symbolic power,” writes the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody.
Fernando F. Croce‘s “Movie of the Day” is Fritz Lang‘s Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924). “The transformation from blossom tree to grimacing skull adduces a note from Poe, the challenges of Brunhild (‘defeated but not cowed’) anticipate the sinew of Riefenstahl’s Olympics, the telltale mark on Siegfried’s tunic points to the chalky sign on the child-killer’s coat in M.”
For the Notebook, Ryan Meehan reviews Louis C.K.’s first feature, shot on a shoestring budget in 1998: “For all its goofiness, Tomorrow Night is a world of the mind. Its plotlines are abstractions, its characters shallow contrivances.”
For Interview, Scarlett Johansson talks with Elle Fanning about growing up in front of a camera, “about the young star’s love of Marilyn Monroe,” and more.
As a producer and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan has often been referred to as Stanley Kubrick’s “right-hand man.” But Lauren Wissot, who interviews Harlan for Filmmaker, finds that “Kubrick is perhaps the least interesting thing about this classy and endearing gentleman of the cinema.”
IN OTHER NEWS
“On Tuesday, more than 17 years after Bernie Tiede shot 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in the back and tucked her body under potpies in a deep freezer, he could walk out of jail,” reports Brandi Grissom in the Texas Tribune. “But his release would come with two conditions—that he live with his moviemaking benefactor, Richard Linklater, and receive counseling for sexual abuse.” Tiede was, of course, portrayed with TLC and surprising nuance by Jack Black in Linklater’s Bernie (2011).
“BAMcinématek has announced the complete line-up for its annual BAMcinemaFest, and it might be the best in its six-year history,” suggests Edward Davis at the Playlist. Running from June 18 through 29, this year’s edition will open with Linklater’s Boyhood, close with Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989), with Lee and his cast in attendance, and the centerpiece will be Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. At the L, Henry Stewart picks out twelve must-sees.
And Snowpiercer will open the Los Angeles Film Festival (June 11 through 19), which, as Beth Hanna reports at Thompson on Hollywood, has also announced its lineup today. “Included is the premiere of Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys (as the closer), and gala screenings of Ira Sachs’s Love Is Strange, Justin Simien’s Dear White People and Hossein Amini’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces of January.”
The exhibition Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat is on view at Whitechapel Gallery in London through June 22
The sixth edition of David Thomson’s widely read and admired New Biographical Dictionary of Film is out today, featuring more than a hundred new entries—including several actors who’ve made their names on television rather than on the big screen. At Slate, you can read the new entries on Bryan Cranston, Claire Danes, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini and Jon Hamm.
Neil Young‘s updated the odds on the Palme d’or contenders.
After explaining why a list of top ten Criterion releases could go at least three radically different ways, James Schamus presents his top ten—of the moment.
IN THE WORKS
Screen Daily‘s Melanie Goodfellow reports on the slate Wild Bunch will be shopping in Cannes.
- Paul Verhoeven’s project is “an adaptation of French writer Philippe Djian’s 2012 novel Oh!, revolving around a psychological game of cat-and-mouse between a businesswoman and a stalker who raped her, a crime for which she is seeking revenge.”
- Gaspard Noé’s Love is “a sexual melodrama about a boy and a girl and another girl.”
- Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Real Wound, is about “a French-Tunisian teenage boy’s bid to lose his virginity while on holiday in the resort of Hammamet in Tunisia.”
- Arnaud Desplechin’s Three Memories of Childhood is “a portrait of a man as he looks back over three periods in his childhood and adolescence that shaped his life.”
- Nicolas Winding Refn and William Lustig are teaming up to produce a remake of Maniac (1980).
- In Spring Breakers: The Second Coming, “the Spring Breakers do battle with an extreme militant Christian sect that attempts to convert them.” Irvine Welsh has written the screenplay and Jonus Akerlund will direct.
- And as previously noted, Wild Bunch will premiere Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York as a VOD release while Cannes is on. And now there’s a one-minute trailer (no subtitles).
Emma Stone will join Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen’s next film, reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll. Other than that it’ll likely shoot in July, we evidently know nothing more at this point.
“William Friedkin and Bette Midler, together at last!” exclaims Film Comment editor Gavin Smith. “They’re teaming up to make a Mae West biopic for HBO, based on her memoir Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It.”
“Spike Lee is revisiting his debut feature, 1985’s She’s Gotta Have It, on the small screen,” reports Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva. “Showtime has put in development a half-hour series adaptation that updates the film, with Lee set to write and attached to direct.”
Emma Thompson, Nick Offerman and Kristen Schaal have joined Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in A Walk in the Woods, an adaptation of travel writer Bill Bryson’s memoir. Variety‘s Dave McNary: “Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You) is directing from a script by Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt.”