“Happy #HerzogDay!” announced the BFI this morning, and the hashtag’s been a lively resource for clips, articles—we’ve got 24 of them right here in Keyframe—images and the occasional existential quip ever since. The BFI itself got Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing) talking about a good handful of his favorite films by Werner Herzog. They also posted notes on the animals in Herzog’s oeuvre and a map citing locations of various shoots. At Little White Lies, Paul Risker, too, roams the “Geography of Werner Herzog.”
Of all the links to flutter across Twitter today, my own favorite would be the Paris Review‘s, pointing to an excerpt from the journals Herzog kept during the making of Fitzcarraldo (1982). Herzog introduced the entries in the Spring 2009 issue, and you can hear that world-famous voice in your head as you read:
A vision had seized hold of me, like the demented fury of a hound that has sunk its teeth into the leg of a deer carcass and is shaking and tugging at the downed game so frantically that the hunter gives up trying to calm him. It was the vision of a large steamship scaling a hill under its own steam, working its way up a steep slope in the jungle, while above this natural landscape, which shatters the weak and the strong with equal ferocity, soars the voice of Caruso, silencing all the pain and all the voices of the primeval forest and drowning out all birdsong. To be more precise: bird cries, for in this setting, left unfinished and abandoned by God in wrath, the birds do not sing; they shriek in pain, and confused trees tangle with one another like battling titans, from horizon to horizon, in a steaming creation still being formed. Fog-panting and exhausted they stand in this unreal world, in unreal misery—and I, like a stanza in a poem written in an unknown foreign tongue, am shaken to the core.
“Within the past twelve months, Scarlett Johansson has been an alluring and rapidly expanding artificial intelligence in Her; a seductively murderous extraterrestrial in Under the Skin; and now, in Lucy, a superintelligent, post-sexual, sometimes deadly freak of evolution.” Stuart Klawans in the Nation: “It’s obvious that the game but vulnerable waif of 2003’s Lost in Translation did not just grow up but has gone on to transcend the merely human, and in record time. Why this should have happened isn’t so clear…. [I]t would be a mug’s game to rush into defining Johansson’s new screen persona, let alone to speculate about the wishes and anxieties floating about in the culture that might have coalesced to create it. As a mug, though, I will observe that the change began in 2010, when Johansson first played the comic-book character Natasha Romanoff, also known as the Black Widow, in the Iron Man and Avengers cycles…. Some critics in the past have found her more winning than impressive, more pleasant than adept; but in Lucy she makes the most of every moment of her character’s transformation.”
Durga Chew-Bose for Adult on Love Streams (1984): “Film, like love, is for Cassavetes the act of not knowing. Yet his insistence that he is rudderless, that he doesn’t know how to keep shooting, is wonderfully at odds with his certainty of what this whole film is about.”
IN OTHER NEWS
Like everyone else, the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth is surprised to hear that Paramount has taken US home video and digital entertainment rights to Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood—especially since Linklater, sporting a Criterion t-shirt in a photo accompanying the New Yorker‘s recent profile of him, had confirmed a Criterion release loaded with extras just last month. “Now, as folks will point out, Paramount and Criterion did tag team on the home video release of David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with the former issuing a barebones disc, and the latter a more deluxe edition. Maybe that’ll happen here.”
From the Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Roxborough: “The Oldenburg International Film Festival, an indie fest billed as ‘Germany’s Sundance’ will honor Australian cult director Philippe Mora this year with a retrospective of his life’s work. One of the most consistently eclectic of the 70s and 80s, Mora’s work has ranged form controversial Nazi documentary Swastika—banned in Israel and Germany for its use of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun’s home movies—to outlaw-biopic Mad Dog Morgan starring Dennis Hopper to superhero spoof The Return of Captain Invincible featuring Alan Arkin.” September 10 through 14.
Asghar Farhadi will head the main competition jury at October’s Busan International Film Festival (October 2 through 11) and, as Nemo Kim reports for Variety, his fellow jurors are “film studies professor Dina Iordanova, French philosopher Jacques Rancière, Indian actress Suhasini Maniratnam, and Bong Joon-ho, Korean director of The Host and The Snowpiercer.”
New York. With Screenwriters and the Blacklist: Before, During, and After on at Anthology Film Archives through September 2, Moving Image Source has posted the second part of Imogen Sara Smith‘s essay, “Fighting Words.”
IN THE WORKS
Alex Ross Perry will direct Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary in Downton Abbey) and Elizabeth Moss (Peggy in Mad Men) in Queen of Earth. According to Rebecca Ford in the Hollywood Reporter, this’ll be a “psychological thriller, which centers on two women (Moss and Dockery) who retreat to a beach house to get a break from the pressures of the outside world. Although they grew up as best friends, they soon realize how disconnected from each other they have become, allowing their suspicions to bleed into reality.”
Listening (31’48”). At the Talkhouse Film, Stacie Passon, director of the very fine 2013 film Concussion, and Ira Sachs, whose Love Is Strange is out in theaters today, “discuss full frontal nudity, how to get great performances, and the necessity of being a ‘hustler’ in indie film.”
Related listening (28’50”). Adam Schartoff talks with Sachs here in Keyframe.