Editors Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu have begun rolling out the fourth issue of LOLA, beginning with a dossier on Brian De Palma. Cristina Álvarez López and Martin give us a close reading of Passion (“when it comes to the exhilarating thrill, the wallop of cinema that his work gives us, it’s always the first time”); Alain Bergala argues that “Obsession is, from end to end, a great ‘evoker of imaginaries'”; Martin walks us through Carlito’s Way; and at one point in Helen Grace‘s essay, she recalls seeing in Dressed to Kill “a film which seemed to say more about masculine anxiety than about the fears that women were expressing in relation to the film. We kept waiting for the horror—and when it came, we enjoyed it. We wondered if we had seen the same film that people had been complaining about, so we went to one of the street meetings to discuss our problems. We found out that, in fact, none of the women had seen the film at all, and they did not want to hear our opinions about it.”
Clips from King Vidor‘s Our Daily Bread (1934)
“This will not do.” Farran Nehme finds that Ben Urwand’s arguments in The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler are built on some questionable sources and a few fairly outrageous readings of films made in the ’30s. “Urwand is on firm ground—and has decades’ worth of prior company—when he criticizes Hollywood silence as the Nazis began to enact their horrendous plans for the Jews. But it is some big leap from the fact that studio movies did not assail Nazism and the persecution of the Jews by name, to the idea that Hitler’s ‘great victory would take place on the other side of the globe’ (he means Hollywood, in case there’s any doubt).”
At Artinfo, Graham Fuller interviews Harry Dean Stanton, finding him “taciturn, but engaged and warm, ending many of his answers with rueful smiles. He chain-smoked and wore a crumpled crimson shirt under his jacket and a pair of boots that, pleasingly, looked like they were veterans of the Mojave.” Must have been the day photographer Robin Holland shot him.
“Beyond the text book reasons for Dr. Caligari’s significance, which make it must-see viewing for all movie lovers, the stories surrounding the production are peculiar, adding to the film’s charm,” writes Susan Doll at Movie Morlocks. “A clear, accurate behind-the-scenes record is not possible, because contradictory anecdotal accounts by members of the creative team muddy the waters. No recollections are more bizarre than those of cowriter Hans Janowitz.”
For Michael Smith, the Lumière brothers’ Serpentine Dance (1896) “is a film of astonishingly abstract beauty in which light, color, form and movement combine into an exhilarating 45-second blast of pure cinema.”
Toronto’s Cronenberg Project
New York. “Considered by the likes of Errol Morris and Walter Murch to be one of the most fascinating filmmakers operating in the world today, [Adam] Curtis is hardly a documentarian at all,” writes Lawrence Weschler in the new issue of New York. “He’s more like a wildly heterodox, extravagantly assured, occasionally quite loopy and often self-ironizing history lecturer… Curtis has spent two decades cutting the endless BBC film archive into a series of brainy, free-associative mash-up meditations on the course of empire. And has done so with not just the Beeb’s consent but its support—sort of like what might happen if Oliver Stone got his hands on the national-security archives and remixed them for PBS.” Weschler then reports on a “complicated performance piece,” Massive Attack v Adam Curtis, “which premiered a few months back at the Manchester International Festival and will alight on September 28 at the Park Avenue Armory.”
In the newly redesigned Goings On about Town section of the New Yorker, Alex Ross sketches the story behind Kubrick’s use of music composed by György Ligeti in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), noting that the classic is “less a dramatic narrative than a concerto for film images and orchestra.” Ross has further notes at his own blog, and on Friday and Saturday, the New York Philharmonic will perform the complete soundtrack live as 2001 screens at Avery Fisher Hall.
In the works. “The Young Vic made its name worldwide as one of the UK’s most exciting producing theatres, offering fresh versions of the classics, new plays and emerging talent alongside established stars,” writes Dalya Alberge in the Guardian. Now it’s turning two of its productions into feature films. “The first, to be shot in Kinshasa, is a version of its acclaimed A Season in the Congo, involving two of the British film industry’s biggest names: actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Joe Wright. Aimé Césaire’s play is an epic retelling of the 1960 Congo rebellion and the assassination of the charismatic political leader Patrice Lumumba, played by Ejiofor…. The second feature is an adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, loosely inspired by Carrie Cracknell’s staging which is now playing in the West End to packed houses. It has won rave reviews and awards for its star Hattie Morahan, whose mesmerising performance as a woman driven to abandon her children has elevated her to the front rank of British actors.”
From Anne Thompson: “Fox Searchlight Pictures has started production in the UK on Thomas Vinterberg’s Far from the Madding Crowd, a Thomas Hardy adaptation starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple.”
Romy Schneider in Alberto Bevilacqua’s La Califfa
Obit. “The distinguished Italian novelist, poet and filmmaker Alberto Bevilacqua has died aged 79,” reports John Francis Lane for the Guardian. “Bevilacqua was one of the most respected new Italian writers of the 1960s and won fame with two novels, both of which he adapted and directed successfully for the screen: La Califfa (The Lady Caliph), published in 1964 and filmed in 1970, and Questa Specie d’Amore (This Kind of Love), published in 1966 and filmed in 1972.” Bevilacqua also wrote screenplays, “including two for the horror director Mario Bava; one of the resulting films, I Tre Volti Della Paura (Black Sabbath, 1963), gained cult status.”