It’s been a full week since filmmaker John Greyson and physician Tarek Loubani were arrested in Cairo as they were making their way to Gaza. I’m almost ashamed to admit that, when I first saw this story break, I figured that a mistake had been made, that, in the confusion and upheaval of post-coup Egypt, the police had acted impulsively, would soon realize that Greyson and Loubani posed no threat, and would send them on their way. The mistake, it turns out, was mine.
Loubani, a doctor and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Western Ontario, was heading to Gaza to train emergency room doctors; Greyson, an award-winning filmmaker and activist, was accompanying him with the intention of making a documentary. According to CBC News, both are “in good health, high spirits,” even as they’re being held in an overcrowded prison. They’ve met with a lawyer and will have their first hearing next week. You can track updates from Greyson’s sister, Cecilia Greyson, and at a dedicated site with more background, links, and a guide to the various ways you might help.
Trailer for Far From Afghanistan
New York. Cinema of Resistance, the week-long series programmed by Dennis Lim and filmmaker John Gianvito, inspired by the new omnibus film Far From Afghanistan and the new restoration of Far From Vietnam (1967), is opening today at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Hopefully, you’ll have seen Kevin B. Lee‘s outstanding video and textual essays that went up here in Keyframe on Wednesday. In her overview for the Voice, Melissa Anderson notes that the “15 feature-length works and various shorts programs here—whether fact, fiction, or, more often, an explosive hybrid of the two—are all acts of bearing witness, made to provoke outrage over abuses, conflicts, and wars.” For Film Comment, David Gregory Lawson has notes on a good handful of the films in the series—and the New York Times has posted an annotated slide show.
Andrew Chan talks with BAMcinématek programmer Nellie Killian about A Time for Burning: Cinema of the Civil Rights Movement, the series culminating on Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. See, too, Melissa Anderson for Artforum on King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis, screening again on Wednesday at Film Forum.
Meantime, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced that the 51st New York Film Festival will host Gala Tributes for Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes.
La Société du spectacle (1973) with subtitles
Reading. Via Girish Shambu comes word that the new issue of Grey Room is devoted to “Guy Debord’s Cinema.” Two essays are freely accessible: Jason E. Smith considers “the theoretical centrality of the place of cinema in the situationist project, as well as its relative marginality in the actual practice of the SI.” And Jacques Rancière: “For Debord, the cinema is the ‘passive substitute for the active, unitary artistic activity that is now possible.'”
Peter Nellhaus recommends Mark Schilling’s Nudes! Guns! Ghosts! The Sensational Films of Shintoho.
In the works. “Is David Lowery having the year of his life or what?” asks the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth. “In January he had his hand in three films in Park City: as the writer of Pit Stop, editor on Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, and writer/director on his own impeccable Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. And the heat generated from that alone saw Lowery linked to a plethora of projects over the past seven months or so: writing Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon; writing and directing The Old Man and the Gun, with Robert Redford slated to star and produce; writing and directing former David Fincher project Torso, and producing Alex Ross Perry’s upcoming Listen Up Philip toplined by Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss.” And now word comes from the Hollywood Reporter‘s Borys Kit that Lowery will re-team with Casey Affleck on To Be Two, an adaptation of a short story from the Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology collection by Paul Broks…. It’s set in a world where teleportation exists and people are scanned, the digital self sent to Mars, reconstructed atom by atom, while the original is vaporized. The story then posits the idea of the teleportation machine malfunctioning and not vaporizing the original person. Who is now real?”
“Ozu Pillow Shot” from Gabe Mendes
Cinema Guild has acquired U.S. digital and non-theatrical rights to Agnès Varda‘s From Here to There, a series of five 45-minute episodes originally aired on the French-German network Arte in 2011. As Alison Willmore notes at Indiewire, the series takes Varda around the world to meet up “with different artists and filmmakers, including directors Alexander Sokurov and Carlos Reygadas, sculptor Christian Boltanski and his partner, artist Annette Messager. She visits with Chris Marker at his home shortly before he passed away, and dances with Manoel de Oliveira.”
Danny Boyle will direct the pilot for Channel 4’s Babylon, a comedy “set in the world of modern policing,” reports the Guardian‘s Mark Sweney. Also, Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench will star in the BBC’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot.
And finally, the feed-clogger of the day, the news that Ben Affleck will play Batman to Henry Cavill’s Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel.