With the retrospective Carte Blanche: MK2 rolling on a MoMA through June 23, the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody has taken the opportunity to talk with the founder of the French distributor, director and producer Marin Karmitz, about how he built up MK2—and about the current state of cinema.
I’ve made lots of movies in the context that the directors I’ve wanted to work with could no longer find money to make films. So I made second first films. Godard—second first film, Every Man for Himself . There was no more money for Godard. He had spent four or five years in Grenoble, he was unknown, he was out of circulation. Louis Malle, Au Revoir les Enfants —no one wanted to produce Au Revoir les Enfants. Nothing. Alain Resnais, Mélo —no one wanted Resnais any more. Claude Chabrol—no one wanted him any more when I made Cop au Vin .
As for the present:
In our cinema, I have the sense that it’s sub-Godard or sub-Chabrol. There’s very little new energy in the French cinema. I’m only talking about the French cinema. I think that there’s lots of energy in other countries, in other forms of cinema, but which are much more in a system of resistance, which need to resist in order to exist. It’s a strange idea: to resist in order to exist.
“As we approach the fortieth anniversary of Chinatown…, one wonders what’s become of the cinematic knight errant?” asks Peter Gerstenzang. Among those he talks to for a piece in the New Republic is Molly Haskell, who “thinks the detective genre has moved to the small screen because of the character of the P.I.’s experience: It may involve less physical action—a mainstay of today’s movies—and a greater degree of internal contemplation. ‘The detective story is no longer about representatives of the law fighting external evil,’ she says, ‘but struggling with ones’ internal demons. We live in a post-analytic age and know that anyone drawn to crime is probably fighting his own criminal impulses.'”
One click over, Esther Breger suggests that the “riotously funny and earnestly sentimental” Obvious Child is a sign that another “moribund genre,” the romantic comedy, “may be returning to good health.”
The George Kuchar Reader, edited by Andrew Lampert, gathers “film scripts, autobiographical and critical writings, comics, drawings, paintings, correspondence, autobiographical musings, tales of UFO encounters, student recommendation letters, photos, film stills and a wide range of ephemeral, often hysterical writing by the late auteur,” as publisher Primary Information has it. “What resonates with me the most,” writes artist Kalup Linzy, “are Kuchar’s often handwritten insights and reflections on his life and creative processes.”
In another entry for BOMB, legendary theater director Richard Foreman recommends Bertolt Brecht: “The great merit of Philip Glahn’s relatively brief book is to plunge the reader directly into the midst of Brecht’s stress and strain as he tried to embody in the texture of his art a very dominant ‘instructive’ element. Glahn’s documentation of a Brecht driven by an unflagging social responsibility takes exhilarating precedence over extended analysis of the plays or the details of his private life.”
For the Guardian, Leslie Felperin lists ten “great post-Soviet films.”
“I wish I could say that I enjoyed The Sacrament more than I did, but unfortunately the overdone conventions of the almost 35-year-old found-footage subgenre ends up doing it in.” Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) at the Talkhouse Film.
IN OTHER NEWS
Mike Leigh, Béla Tarr, Ken Loach, Wim Wenders and Pedro Almodóvar are among several directors calling for the release of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, reports Ben Beaumont-Thomas in the Guardian. “Sentsov was arrested in May at his home in Simferopol, Crimea, charged with attempting to organize a terrorist attack, and Russia’s Federal Security Service has said he has admitted to plotting attacks on railway bridges, power lines and public monuments. His lawyer Dmitry Dinze, a veteran of the Pussy Riot trial, has however said Sentsov denies any involvement. The head of a German film fund who supported his movies, Kristen Niehuus, claimed that Sentsov was merely a protestor against the annexation of Crimea by Russia.”
“Beginning life as an installment in a European television series on modern dance, One Day Pina Asked… (1983) is the best cinematic reflection on the late, great modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch,” declares Jeremy Polacek at Hyperallergic. “Following the then-rising star of Pina Bausch and her Wuppertal, West Germany-based dance company for five weeks during a tour of Europe, director Chantal Akerman subtly abandons all pretense of producing a comprehensive or exacting documentary. Dreamy, searching, and almost paradoxically decisive, One Day Pina Asked… evokes the spirit of a diary—a web of brief, tinged, focused moments of interviews, performances, rehearsals, and backstage preparation.” And it screens at New York‘s Film Society of Lincoln Center through Thursday.
London. The symposium Film Criticism in Arts magazine (1952-1966). Godard, Rivette, Rohmer and Truffaut away from Bazin’s paradoxes is happening all day today at the ICA Studio.
IN THE WORKS
Bryan Cranston’s just won a Tony for his performance as LBJ in All the Way, and now Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. hears that Steven Spielberg’s optioned the play for television. “Spielberg wants Cranston to reprise his role in a drama that begins with the Kennedy assassination, and spans the first year of Johnson’s administration, from taking office and leveraging his power to pass Civil Rights legislation in Congress to his landslide re-election victory.”
Daniel Kaluuya has joined Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin in Denis Villenueve’s Sicario. Tatiana Siegel in the Hollywood Reporter: “Penned by Taylor Sheridan, the story is set against the backdrop of the border wars between the cartels in Mexico and the Americans trying to stem the violence from creeping over the border.”
Brolin’s joining George Clooney in the Coen brothers’ Hail Caesar, reports Jordan Raup at the Film Stage. Set in the Hollywood of the 50s, the new film will follow “a fixer named Eddie Mannix (Clooney) who works for the studios to protect the stars of the day. This may be based on the real-life Mannix, former Vice President of MGM who was involved in various underbelly dealings of his own, but that’s not confirmed yet.”
American Hustle screenwriter Eric Warren Singer may adapt Jason Matthews’s spy thriller Red Sparrow and David Fincher might direct and Rooney Mara could, conceivably, take a role. Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. considers the possibilities.
“James Cameron has confirmed that Sigourney Weaver will return for all three Avatar sequels, despite having been killed off in the 2009 box-office behemoth,” reports the Guardian‘s Ben Child. “However, Cameron said in a statement that Weaver would portray a new character in the trio of follow-up films, which are expected to begin production later this year.”
“If you’re American and you’ve never seen The Young Ones—and if you haven’t, you need to rectify that ASAP—you may not know Rik Mayall,” grants Sam Adams. “But for fans of that classic British TV series, as well as the singularly abrasive yet strangely charming movie Drop Dead Fred, Mayall’s death comes as a blow, not least because he was only 56.” At Criticwire, Adams has been collecting initial reactions to yesterday’s rattling news.
For more on Mayall’s career and a good number of terrific clips, see Sean O’Neal at the AV Club.
Listening (67’10”). Bret Easton Ellis chats up James Gray.