With today’s round of essays, the fifth issue of LOLA, edited by Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu, is now complete. The latest additions:
- Hoi Lun Law: “Two or Three Things I Know about the Filmic Object.”
- Davina Quinlivan: “Hopefulness, Healing and its Contestation in Film.”
- Louis Armand on robots, with a special emphasis on Blade Runner.
- Yvette Bíró on Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of the Unjust.
- David T. Johnson on Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color.
- Richard Porton: “With the publication of the Library of America’s selection of Kael’s writings—The Age of Movies (2011)—and Brian Kellow’s Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, a scrupulously well-researched biography, the hyperbolic encomiums and vehement denunciations that went with the territory during her career as a supposedly ‘must read’ reviewer have resurfaced with a vengeance.”
- David Davidson on the “Cahiers/Positif Dialectic”: “The occasion for this retrospection is the unexpected appearance, in the current critical juncture, of Gérard Gozlan’s remarkable book L’anti-Bazin, first written as a series of Positif articles in the early 1960s.”
- And a multi-part piece on anime from William D. Routt.
Nadia Awad‘s brief history of Palestinian filmmaking under the Israeli occupation begins in 1969 with the invitation extended by Hany Jawhariyya, “a filmmaker and member of Fatah,” to Jean-Luc Godard. Would he document the struggle? “The flashpoints of Godard’s political evolution were absent from his Palestinian comrades’ chronology. Godard even requested that the Palestinians stop their training exercises so he might film them reciting passages from Mao’s Little Red Book—a text none of them had heard of. The Palestinians’ telos did not include Mao and, ultimately, neither did Godard’s.” The piece for the New Inquiry traces the impact of the occupation on Palestinian image-making up through the current moment of social media.
Nadia Awad: “Mustapha Ali’s They Do Not Exist, one of the most significant Palestinian films ever made, is a direct response to Golda Meir’s speech in which she denies the reality of Palestinian lives.”
Not only do artistic directors of the Locarno Film Festival tend to blog, they also tend to do it well. Olivier Père (2009 – 2012) has taken his blog with him to Arte, where he carries on writing in French. Carlo Chatrian blogs in Italian, but the Notebook is the new North American home of the blog in English. In the current entry, Chatrian writes about Sam Peckinpah, the subject of Locarno’s retrospective in August: “Retracing his career means looking as much at the great classical tradition that preceded him as at the new directors currently leaving their mark on the imagination.”
If this book’s doing anything, it’s exploding easy binaries about acting styles. Thomson mourns the fact that we never got to see Brando’s Hamlet—he calls him a “pioneer of agonised hesitation.” More surprisingly, he’s intrigued by what Olivier’s Don Vito Corleone might have been like. For Coppola, it was between the two of them. Thomson’s quite right that Olivier’s Godfather would have been a different man—“colder, weaker, more devious, less adored”—but he likes to imagine a hypothetical dimension in which we could get a look at both.
This is often the trouble with film, in laying one interpretation down for the ages, and denying actors their stage-born right to square off with competing visions for a role.
“There were years when I went to the cinema almost every day and maybe even twice a day, and those were the days between ’36 and the war, the years of my adolescence. It was a time when the cinema became the world for me.” Luke McKernan‘s posted excerpts from Tim Parks’s translation of Italo Calvino‘s “A Cinema-Goer’s Autobiography” which originally appeared in The Road to San Giovanni (1993).
Chris Randle revisits the trouble history of Backtrack, aka Catchfire (1990), directed and then disavowed by Dennis Hopper and starring Hopper and Jodie Foster and featuring the work of Jenny Holzer as well as cameos by John Turturro, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
The latest addition to Nihon Cine Art‘s collection of Art Theatre Guild pamphlets is Eizo Sugawa’s The Japanese Belly Button (1977).
Matthew Parker’s Goldeneye, Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica is “the first book to explore the north-shore estate where the author and former intelligence officer Ian Fleming spent two months each year and wrote all the Bond books,” writes Katie Kilkenny for the Atlantic. “The purchase of his tropical lair, the retreat from society, the way Fleming spent the latter half of his life there—these are all apparently telltale signs of a man who just can’t handle getting older. What Parker’s new book shows is how much that crisis latched itself onto James Bond, and how the defiant fantasy he provided against decline both restored Fleming and gave life to an immortal franchise.”
Akira Kurosawa was born 105 years ago today. Jasper Sharp for the BFI: “With 30 titles to his name as a director since his 1943 debut Sanshiro Sugata (and many more as a screenwriter), distilling Kurosawa’s must-see titles into a tidy top 10 list is something of a fools errand.” Nonetheless, he gives it a go. Take a look, too, at the posters Tony Stella‘s designed for several of Kurosawa’s films.
For Sight & Sound, Robert Greene elaborates on “five things to consider when making a documentary character.”
And the BFI’s rolled out another one: Matthew Thrift on “10 great trilogies.”
For PremiumBeat, Johnathan Paul recommends “16 Must-Read Books for Filmmakers and Videographers.”
IN OTHER NEWS
“Abel Ferrara issued a cease and desist letter last week addressed to IFC Films and its global distributor Wild Bunch against the U.S. release of his film Welcome to New York.” IFC has responded and Ferrara has shot back in a statement the Hollywood Reporter has made public today. As Ariston Anderson explains, “Ferrara says the message of the film is ‘no means no,’ referring to the infamous hotel rape scene. In an edited version of the film, the infamous hotel rape scene is turned into a flashback, leaving the maid’s credibility open to interpretation. In Ferrara’s original film, the guilt of Gérard Depardieu‘s character is apparent, and the director shows zero sympathy toward men in power who have an abusive relationship with women. As of now, IFC will release the edited version of the film as planned, and Ferrara tells THR he will pursue legal action against both IFC and Wild Bunch for releasing a version of the film he didn’t approve.”
Los Angeles. In the Hollywood Reporter, Jordan Cronk previews four “Can’t-Miss Events,” the TCM Classic Film Festival (Thursday through Sunday), the UCLA Festival of Preservation (through March 30), Cinefamily‘s tribute to Hal Hartley and REDCAT‘s evening of films by Gregory J. Markopoulos.
The 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday.
Montreal. The Society for Cinema & Media Studies conference begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday. There are too many promising talks to mention, but here’s big news: The event will also see the release of Girish Shambu‘s new book, The New Cinephilia.
London. Among the highlights of the inaugural edition of the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image’s Essay Film Festival, opening tomorrow and running through Sunday, are “a tribute to Peter von Bagh, with a program featuring Helsinki, Forever (2008) and Remembrance (2014); an evening devoted to The Otolith Group including Year of the Quiet Sun (2013); and several works by Thom Andersen, including a new version of Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), and the UK premiere of his latest film, The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015).” The blog‘s bursting with related resources and, for the Guardian, Sukhdev Sandhu interviews Andersen.
Tilburg, the Netherlands. Isaac Julien in Artforum on the centerpiece of RIOT, the exhibition on view through May 31 at the De Pont Museum: “PLAYTIME is a film installation representing three cities and their relationships to capital: London, a city transformed by Thatcherism, neoliberalism, and bank deregulation; Reykjavik, where the 2008 financial crash stopped capital in its tracks; and the new art and financial center Dubai, an oil-fueled metropolis that sprang from the desert.”
IN THE WORKS
The sudden death of Michael Glawogger on April 22 last year shook cinephiles around the world. He’d been filming in Liberia, where he contracted malaria and passed away at the age of 54, leaving what was to be a monumental work, his “Film Without a Name,” incomplete. Nearly 70 hours had been shot and, at the Diagonale, the festival of Austrian film which wrapped this weekend, three 15-minute chapters bearing the names that Glawogger had given them—”I – Bare Brickwork,” “VI – Martial Bodies” and “IX – Desert Train”—were introduced by editor Monika Willi. Reporting for Die Presse (in German), Andrey Arnold describes scenes shot in Senegal and Croatia, the latter passages underscored with texts on the Balkan wars by William T. Vollmann and recent music by Scott Walker. Glawogger’s team, which includes cameraman Attila Boa, are working on a version to present in cinemas.
Roy Andersson’s next film will be more optimistic, he says – but he’s still planning to film Céline. Read on… in next @SightSoundmag.
— Jonathan Romney (@JonathanRomney) March 23, 2015
The Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART) has opened to today to run through Thursday and you can follow the breaking news via the Hollywood Reporter‘s free dailies. Meantime, in Variety, Patrick Frater reports that Sion Sono will be adapting “the Wakasug Kiminori comic book Minna! Esper Dayo!, in which a high school student wakes with the power to read minds. He discovers that there are others with similar powers who are using their gifts for nefarious sexual purposes and determines that he will instead fight erotic terrorism.” Also, Ding Sheng will direct Andy Lau and Liu Ye in Saving Mr. Wu, “a true crime story about the kidnapping of a film star.”
Colm McCarthy, “the Scottish director of U.K. TV smash hits including Sherlock, Doctor Who and Peaky Blinders,” will direct Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine in his debut feature, She Who Brings Gifts, an adaptation of Mike Carey’s bestseller, The Girl with All the Gifts. Alex Ritman in the Hollywood Reporter: “Set in a dystopian future in which much of humanity has been wiped out by a deadly fungus, it tells the story of Melanie, an infected girl with a genius level IQ who is ‘full of questions about the world.'”
“Howard H. Guttenplan, who took what began as an anti-poverty program on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and transformed it into a leading workshop and showcase for experimental filmmakers, including Andy Warhol, died on Feb. 23 at his home in Manhattan,” reports Sam Roberts in the New York Times. “Mr. Guttenplan, who struggled to keep the nonprofit organization afloat, said its goal was to offer ‘very personal films by individuals working without large crews or budgets with the same kind of independence as a painter or a poet’ and to ‘appeal to film artists as well as audiences.'” Guttenplan was 80.
“Gregory Walcott, an admired actor who appeared in such memorable films as Mister Roberts, The Eiger Sanction, Norma Rae and, unfortunately for him, Ed Wood’s lamentable Plan 9 from Outer Space, has died.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s Mike Barnes tells the story of how Walcott wound up giving the performance he’d regret for years and adds: “In his final onscreen role, however, Walcott appeared in a cameo as a potential film backer in Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic Ed Wood.”
More listening (88’58”). On the latest episode of the Cinephiliacs, Peter Labuza talks with Calum Marsh about “prose and its function in describing a visual medium”—and about Whit Stillman‘s The Last Days of Disco (1998).
Photo gallery. 60 years ago today, Revenge of the Creature premiered in Denver, marking the first onscreen appearance of one Clint Eastwood. The Telegraph‘s Martin Chilton walks us through a remarkable career.