Let’s start with the news today, because the Adelaide Festival has announced that it’ll be hosting quite an event, the Australian premiere of River of Fundament: “A radical reinvention of Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings, this epic film is the latest work by world renowned art visionary Matthew Barney in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler, Barney and Bepler fuse narrative cinema, live performance, sculpture and opera, reconstructing Mailer’s hypersexual story of Egyptian gods and the seven stages of death alongside the rise and fall of the American car industry. Alluring, authentic and intense, this vast, multidimensional experience is interspersed with remarkable live performances filmed over six years.”
Peter Streitmann, the Director of Photography who’s worked with Barney since 1992 on the Cremaster Cycle and the Drawing Restraint series, has more, noting that the world premiere will be in February—and in Munich, oddly enough.
As Peter Knegt reports for Indiewire, the International Documentary Association’s announced its nominees for the 2013 IDA Awards. In the running for best feature are Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish, Jason Osder’s Let the Fire Burn, Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell, and Jehane Noujaim’s The Square. And as Steve Pond reports for TheWrap, on December 6, the IDA will present “a Career Achievement Award to Alex Gibney, the IDA Amicus Award to Geralyn Dreyfous, and the Courage Under Fire Award to Laura Poitras. In IDA Creative Recognition Awards, Julian Schwanitz will receive the Best Cinematography award for Pablo’s Winter, Nels Bangerter the Best Editing award for Let the Fire Burn, Jeremy Turner the Best Music award for Narco Cultura, and Matthew Cooke the Best Writing award for How to Make Money Selling Drugs. Zachary Heinzerling will receive the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award for Cutie and the Boxer.”
Trailer for Michel Gondry’s Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky
“The prestigious Louis-Delluc Prize, which will be awarded on December 17 by a jury of film personalities and critics presided by Gilles Jacob, will this year see eight features compete for the Best Film Award,” reports Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa. And they are: Emmanuelle Bercot‘s On My Way, Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P., Bruno Dumont’s Camille Claudel 1915, François Dupeyron’s My Soul Healed by You, Albert Dupontel’s 9 Month Stretch, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake, and Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color.
Marion Cotillard, Patricia Clarkson, and Paolo Sorrentino have joined the 13th Marrakech Film Festival’s competition jury, presided over by Martin Scorsese. Elsa Keslassy reports. Also for Variety, Nick Vivarelli: “The Rome Film Festival has rounded out its main jury which will comprise U.S.-based Iranian director Amir Naderi; Italian director Luca Guadagnino; French thesp-turned director Noemie Lvovsky; Russian actor and producer Aleksei Guskov; Chinese director Zhang Yuan; and Argentine director Veronica Chen.” Jury president: James Gray.
At Film Studies For Free, Catherine Grant presents “a bumper entry on movie magazines and fan culture research,” a massive roundup of scholarly linkage divided into three clusters.
Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s posted a 1998 talk on Ozu in which he addresses a “distracting” question: “is he a realist or a formalist? What seems lamentable about this debate is that it fails to perceive that cinematic forms and social forms are not alternatives in the world of Ozu but opposite sides of the same coin, so that it should be impossible to speak about one without speaking about the other.”
Adrian Martin kicks off Transit‘s series, The Moves: “A rich example of moves, one atop the other, is provided by the Portuguese director Pedro Costa in his low-budget, black-and-white, debut feature Blood (O Sangue, 1989).”
For the Paris Review, Hope Reese talks with Tom Bissell about the book he’s co-written with Greg Sestero, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.
Manoel de Oliveira “is perhaps the last film director who has an authentic memory of what the world was like before electricity, when the night was lit with oil lamps and torches, and his painterly work, as exhibited in such ravishing films as The Strange Case of Angelica (2010), evokes a world in which spectatorship was very much a personal pursuit, and not one mass produced for audience consumption.” Wheeler Winston Dixon on “Light From the Screen: Cinema, Painting and Spectatorship.”
“Though Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte  isn’t a ghost story per se, Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau, the glamorous stars at its center, often drift around like spectators to their own empty lives,” writes Scott Tobias at the Dissolve. “They’re strangers to each other, and strangers to the Milan that’s changed so rapidly around them, and their dark night of the soul feels like a haunting right up until the last moment, when they finally have to come to terms with their floundering marriage. The year before, Antonioni set the standard for filmic expression of alienation with L’Avventura, his modernist classic about a woman’s disappearance on a deserted island in the Mediterranean. And just as the island itself, windswept and desolate, became a visual representation of its characters’ inner vacancy, the Milan of La Notte—sleek yet underpopulated, and deeply estranging—has a presence as substantial as the ghosts who wander through it.”
“The cinephiles laud The Big Parade as the peak of silent film craft, with performances, technique and theme that could hardly be bettered,” writes Luke McKernan. “I myself have just said how it rings true. Yet for the general audience these things are not true. It is quaint. It is false. It has been rendered implausible and unpersuasive by the passing of time and by the many films that have adapted its template for the tastes of their own times.”
Roderick Heath at Ferdy on Films: “Not the most popular or famous of Val Lewton’s epochal series of low-budget horror films made for RKO Studios, The Seventh Victim is the deepest, the most original, perhaps the darkest, a film that tends to weave a powerful spell on those who tune into its peculiar wavelength.”
“In a macabre subgenre, body parts are severed and gain life of their own,” writes R. Emmet Sweeney at Movie Morlocks. “The mangled classic in this strange sector is The Beast With Five Fingers (1947), in which Peter Lorre is convinced a severed hand is murdering the inhabitants of an Italian mansion. Other entries include The Hands of Dr. Orlac (1924), The Crawling Hand (’63), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (’65) and, succinctly, The Hand (1981, an early Oliver Stone effort), but the Lorre film is the one that endures, and it has received a longer life in a DVD from Warner Archive, released just in time for Halloween.”
At Flavorwire, Greg Cwik explains why slasher movies were the quintessential subgenre of the 80s: “The franchising of the unstoppable masked madmen of that decade—cutting down naked girls with big, fake, heaving breasts and guys whose sole conviction in life is to chase naked girls with big, fake, heaving breasts—is the cinematic kin of big corporations and white-collar criminals.”
Mike Everleth rounds up a batch of “Great Underground Horror Films” streaming right now. At Vulture, David Edelstein and Bilge Ebiri look back on the “25 Best Horror Movies Since The Shining”; HitFix lists the “13 best horror movies of the last 13 years”; for Indiewire, James Hiler revisits “10 Indies That Changed the Face of Horror”; and at Film.com, Jake Cole writes up the “10 Scariest Silent Films.” Among them: Waxworks (1924), an anthology that “begins with an extended comic adventure involving Emil Jannings as a lusty caliph. Once Conrad Veidt enters as Ivan the Terrible, however, the film plunges from light suspense into a nightmare worthy of Paul Leni.”
New York. Tonight at Light Industry, Devin Fore will be talking about The Old and the New (aka The General Line, 1929), Sergei Eisenstein‘s “paean to agricultural modernization” and “the Soviet director’s least understood film.”
From Friday through November 9, the Museum of the Moving Image will present Anja Breien: Games of Love and Loneliness, the first retrospective in the States of the work of the Norwegian filmmaker.
Los Angeles. “Robert Wise’s chilling 1963 psychological horror film, The Haunting, is a ghost story that actually never conjures up a ghost on screen.” The Times‘ Susan King reports on tonight’s 50th anniversary screening at the Regent in Westwood.
Frankfurt. The exhibition Fassbinder – NOW. Film and Video Art opens tomorrow at the Deutsches Filmmuseum and will be on view through June 1.
IN THE WORKS
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) is developing a drama for HBO, reports Alison Willmore for Indiewire. Focusing on “a young African American man with a past that may not be as it seems entering New York high society,” the untitled project has been described by some as “Six Degrees of Separation meets Shame.”
Dennis Lehane’s been hired to write the US remake of Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet (2009), reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll. Also: Sigourney Weaver has joined Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel in the cast of Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie.
And Variety‘s Dave McNary reports that Noomi Rapace will play seven sisters “who struggle to stay hidden in an overpopulated world where a one-child policy outlaws siblings.” The film is and What Happened to Monday? and “Tommy Wirkola is directing, based on the Black List script by Max Botkin.” Meantime, “Emile Hirsch has been cast as John Belsuhi in Steve Conrad’s untitled biopic about the actor.”
The Guardian‘s Maggie Brown reports that Diane Keaton’s acquired the rights to adapt the BBC series Last Tango in Halifax for HBO. “The drama about two widowed and retired septuagenarians who were childhood sweethearts rekindling their romance via Facebook stars Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi. It is unclear whether Keaton, 67, plans to appear in the HBO remake.”