The Venice Film Festival has announced that the Orizzonti International Jury, chaired by Pierfrancesco Favino, is now complete. The other members are Sandra den Hamer, Runa Islam, Jason Kliot, Nadine Labaki, Milcho Manchevski, and Amir Naderi. The festival runs from August 29 through September 8.
In other news. Mike Everleth reports that, following the release in November of a DVD box set featuring work by Jonas Mekas, there’ll be retrospectives in Paris and London.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has laid off its film critic, Christopher Kelly, who’d been writing for the paper for twelve years, reports Matt Singer at Criticwire. And, writing his last column for Smithsonian Magazine, Daniel Eagan looks ahead to the year in archival films.
Reading. Writing in Film International, Christopher Sharrett calls for a reevaluation of On the Beach (1959) and, more generally, Stanley Kramer: “[I]t is often true that his sermonizing can seem naïve and condescending, but the dismissal of Kramer may be as much about the dismissal of liberalism itself in the present epoch.”
At GreenCine Daily, Nick Schager revisits Wim Wenders’s The American Friend (1977): “Like Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge, Wenders’s film encases film noir fatalism in tonal and aesthetic chilliness. It’s a marriage that makes it not only Wenders’s best film—given an intricate narrative to work with allows for fewer of the director’s pretentious proclivities—but a simultaneously stark and suspenseful portrait of alienation, blindness, and the search for (and confrontation of) one’s true self.”
Philippe Garrel’s “distinctive, drawn-out pacing and his level fascination with both minute and large-scale detail can dissolve whatever’s happening around you and distend your sense of time,” writes Ben Sachs in the Chicago Reader. “The experience is comparable to being on drugs—which may explain why I’m turning into a Garrel addict.”
Book. “Before there was Fred and Ginger, there was Fred and Adele,” writes Paula Marantz Cohen for the TLS. “Kathleen Riley, in The Astaires: Fred and Adele, has set out to do something very difficult—to summon up a sublime dance partnership for which there are no moving pictures. Of course, we’ve seen one half of this brother-sister duo. Fred Astaire went on to an illustrious cinematic career, partnering a series of women of distinctive talent and charm. But Riley tantalizes us with what came before.”
Paris. With Serge Daney: 20 Years Later running at the Cinémathèque française through August 5, Jonathan Mintzer argues at Moving Image Source that “if there’s one long, unwavering line—call it the baseline—that traverses Daney’s colossal oeuvre, making him the most direct heir to André Bazin and the critic-filmmakers (Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Rivette, and Chabrol) of the Cahiers jaunes, it’s this moral and ethical stance, this desire to regard cinema as a profoundly humanistic experience and to hold filmmakers responsible for the choices they make on screen.”
Montreal. Boasting a lineup of over 160 films, this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival, “the Cannes of Genre Film Fests” (Jason Widgington at Ioncinema), runs through August 7. Michael Guillen previews the offerings (more, plus animation), highlights the focus on Jennifer Lynch, posts a roundup on Sushi Girl, and talks with Álex de la Iglesia about As Luck Would Have It.
New York. “The twelfth edition of Premiere Brazil!, the Museum of Modern Art’s annual festival of new Brazilian films receiving their United States premieres (organized in collaboration with the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival), gives a sampler of Brazilian life and art that goes far beyond the stereotypical images of beaches, drugs, and slums,” writes Aaron Cutler for Artforum.
In the works. Twitch‘s Todd Brown celebrates the return of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It’s been four years since Tokyo Sonata, but now he’s “currently in production on a new feature titled Riaru Kanzen Naru Kubinagaryu no Hi. Adapted from the novel by Rokuro Inui the picture stars Takeru Sato, Haruka Ayase and Kurosawa veteran Joe Odagiri.”
For the New York Times, Dave Itzkoff talks with Jerry Lewis, who, at 86, is directing a musical adaptation of The Nutty Professor.
“Peter Greenaway plans to shoot a movie about Sergei Eisenstein‘s stay in Mexico this fall and considers partially filming his next movie in St. Petersburg.” Vladimir Kozlov has more in the Hollywood Reporter.
Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) will direct Robin Williams and Mila Kunis in the comedy The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, reports Chris Eggertsen at Hitfix: “Also on tap for Williams is director Lee Daniels’s The Butler, about the life of long-time White House servant Eugene Allen. Featuring a star-studded cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, John Cusack, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda, the film will see Williams taking on the role of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.”
“Andrew Stanton has confirmed he will return to direct a sequel to hit animation Finding Nemo,” reports the BBC.
Obit. “Rajesh Khanna, whose success as a romantic lead in scores of Indian movies made him Bollywood’s first superstar, died on Wednesday after a brief illness,” reports the AP. He was 69. “Khanna began his career in the mid-1960s, starring in romantic films that were hugely popular. He played the lead role in 120 of the 170 movies in which he appeared and won scores of awards. His enormous success was a new phenomenon in India. Screaming fans surrounded him whenever he appeared in public. Women married his photograph and wrote him letters in their blood proposing marriage.”