Dan Sallitt, simply one of finest writers on Howard Hawks around, has posted a fresh entry:
To Have and Have Not feels like the dead center of the Hawksian universe, even more than the other two films that Robin Wood bracketed with it as “the Hawks trilogy,” Only Angels Have Wings and Rio Bravo. Uninflected by either the will to power that seizes control of the Hollywood machinery in Angels or the craftsman’s desire to regain lost prestige with the perfect object of Rio Bravo, To Have and Have Not simply is, much as Bogart simply appears, without provenance, in the film’s elegant first shot. The 1940s were Hawks’ oyster—he had eleven consecutive box-office hits from 1939 to 1951—and To Have and Have Not was the pearl at the center, a work undertaken in and executed with as much comfort and confidence as an industry director is ever likely to muster.
Completing Othello (1952) was a bumpy ride for Orson Welles, but so, too, was Touch of Evil (1958). Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted his brief 2002 account. Also: The 1995 review of Wong Kar-wai‘s Ashes of Time.
IN OTHER NEWS
Matt Zoller Seitz and his publisher, Abrams, are going to follow up on The Wes Anderson Collection, “the dedicated cinephile’s fetish-object of choice for 2013,” as Sam Adams puts it at Criticwire, with The Oliver Stone Experience, which Abrams promises “will feature original artwork, scene analyses, and voluminous footnotes, plus personal photos, script pages, letters, and other materials provided by Stone”—who, as it happens, will be at Ebertfest tonight for a screening of Born on the Fourth of July (1989). Seitz spoke with Peter Labuza about the film in the summer of 2012, and Sam Adams points us to Seitz’s conversations with Steven Boone about Stone’s Untold History and with Stone himself about attending NYU with Martin Scorsese.
YellowKorner’s Jacques Tati
James Keach’s Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, Fernando Eimbcke‘s Club Sandwich and Rachel Goslins’s Besa: The Promise are among the winners at the Nashville Film Festival. Max O’Connell has the full list at the Scene.
But in his repeated efforts to be an artist, Franco is only making bad art. Or things that look like art but are still bad. Either way, the crux of the issue was touched on by the sneaky-brilliant Cindy Sherman herself. When asked by Gallerist what she made of Franco’s act she simply said, “I can only be flattered. I don’t know that I can say it’s art, but I think it’s weirder that Pace would show them than that he would make them.”
She’s right. By now hundreds of young artists have riffed on the Film Stills. It’s almost required in art schools. I’ve seen painted versions of them, filmed ones, slideshows, a woman dressed as other famous women artists doing them, and a guy who posed his dogs as Sherman in the film stills. It’s a lark meant to slip-stream into art history, comment about feminism or art, and bide time until an artist can actually figure out his or her own work. It’s one of the most predictable holding patterns in all of art.
On Tuesday, Light Industry will present a selection of short 16mm films by Brian Frye: “Currently a legal scholar—his research into the obscenity cases surrounding Flaming Creatures may be found here—Frye was previously the longtime co-proprietor, with Bradley Eros, of the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, undoubtedly one of the most vital alternative film venues of the 1990s. His films, perhaps consequently, dissolve any lingering boundaries between selection and creation.”
Chicago. On Wednesday, White Light Cinema welcomes Scott Stark to the Nightingale, where he’ll “present a small sampling of his film and video work.”
Los Angeles. Highlights from the Academic Ciné-club Belgrade, 1960-1980 will screen at the Egyptian tomorrow evening.
IN THE WORKS
“Steven Spielberg will direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel The BFG,” reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll, who notes that we’re looking at 2016 release since Spielberg will likely direct Tom Hanks in a Cold War thriller first.
Alexander Payne on Dino Risi’s Il sorpasso (1962)
Also in Variety, Nikara Johns reports that Jude Law is replacing Michael Fassbender in Michael Grandage’s Genius, “based on A. Scott Berg’s biography Max Perkins: Editor of Genius about the real-life relationship between literary giant Thomas Wolfe (Law) and renowned editor Max Perkins [Colin Firth].” Nicole Kidman’s cast as well; no word yet on her role, far as I can tell.
“What accounts for Persona ?” asks J. Hoberman in the New York Times. “For one thing, Bergman’s brand of philosophical existentialism seems to have gravitated from the Kierkegaardian spiritual anguish that suffused his so-called Trilogy of Faith (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light and The Silence) to a more Sartrean concern with human psychology; for another, the artist turned his attention from the nature of existence to the nature of cinema. It is as if he had suddenly become aware of Antonioni and Resnais, the French New Wave, the existence of Japanese art films and even perhaps American underground movies.” Hoberman also reviews Master of the House, “a 1925 silent from the greatest of Nordic filmmakers, Carl Theodor Dreyer.”
“Daniel Anker, a filmmaker whose sober documentaries brought unsensationalized narrative power to subjects including the trials of the Scottsboro boys and Hollywood’s treatment of the Holocaust, died on Monday in Manhattan,” reports Bruce Weber in the NYT. Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004), produced and directed by Anker with Ellin Baumel, preceded the publication of Ben Urwand’s controversial The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler and Thomas Doherty’s more sober Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 by nearly a decade. “Narrated by Gene Hackman, it begins with the film industry’s willingness to accommodate the rise of Hitler in the 1930s for the sake of maintaining a German audience and follows Hollywood’s changes in attitude through the war and in the decades beyond, as the Third Reich came to embody monstrous human behavior.” Anker was 50.
Listening (30’00”). In the BBC radio program Tacita Dean: Save This Language, the artist “travels to UNESCO in Paris, to the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, to persuade the world’s heritage keepers to act fast or lose what she considers the most important form of artistic expression of the 20th century.”