Daily | Maysles, Telaroli, Hoberman

Film Comment

The May/June 2015 issue

“Unlike his brother and collaborator David, Albert Maysles was not a major presence in the editing room,” grants Chris Boeckmann in an appreciation that briskly walks us through a career that spanned half a century. “But thanks to his acute and distinctive eye and the deft hand of editors such as Charlotte Zwerin, Ellen Hovde, and Deborah Dickson, he is one of nonfiction cinema’s greatest and most enduring figures.”

Also in the new Film Comment:

And then there’s Olaf Möller‘s survey of this year’s Berlinale—an invigorating and welcome challenge to anyone who, like me, would disagree with many of his assertions. E.g., that Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups and Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, “widely dismissed,” yes, were actually “two of the competition’s most outstanding” entries; that As We Were Dreaming is Andreas Dresen’s “best film in years”; and as for Jafar Panahi‘s Golden Bear-winner, Taxi: “Isn’t it all a bit coy and vain?”


“Gina Telaroli has produced feature films (the quasi-narratives Traveling Light (2011) and Here’s to the Future! (2014)), still-image essays, and traditional criticism (dossiers on Allan Dwan and William Wellman), all while working full-time as an archivist, and the streams of her various modes of cinematic activity have finally run together in the form of her video collages.” Phil Coldiron talks with her about SILK TATTERS, “NEC SPE NEC METU” (2014), which “opens from a single gaze (on a 35mm print of Vincente Minnelli’s Brigadoon (1954)) onto a heavily composited history of nearly a century’s worth of cinema,” and about “her working process, the role of language, and what’s ailing narrative cinema today.”

Also in the new issue of the Brooklyn Rail:

  • M.T. Niagara on Akram Zaatari’s 28 Nights and a Poem, “a meditation on practice, life, and work based on the filmmaker’s experiences moving the life’s work of Saida photographer Hashem el Madani to the The Arab Image Foundation in Beirut.”
  • Fabio Roberti on Lary 7, “a New York City-based multimedia artist who has been making art in a variety of media for the better part of 40 years and counting: photography, film, performance, installations, music, sound recordings, and more.”
  • James Hansen argues that San Francisco’s Crossroads “has quickly become an essential festival for contemporary moving-image art, thanks in part to the capricious curatorial vision of Cinematheque Artistic Director Steve Polta who resolutely maintains the cacophonous spirit of the festival’s namesake (Bruce Conner’s 1976 film) in his programming.”
  • Anna Gurton-Wachter on the inaugural edition of the New York City Drone Film Festival.
  • And Williams Cole finds that, this year, Tribeca‘s “documentary roster seemed to cut a deep and diverse path.”

Jacob Shamsian profiles J. Hoberman for the Pipe Dream, the paper at Binghamton University, Hoberman’s alma mater. The critic recalls that when Ken Jacobs arrived at BU, he “took all my remaining courses with him,” changed his major from English to Cinema and became Jacobs’s projectionist. Shamsian: “Jacobs’s views on cinema changed the way Hoberman saw film. Movies weren’t just self-contained stories made of light and shot on celluloid—they were objects, artifacts and social constructs that told something about the world from which they were made.”

Of the many stories you’ve heard about Werner Herzog, one of them is surely about his walk in 1974 from Munich to Paris, where critic Lotte Eisner lay dying. He kept a diary, published four years later as Of Walking in Ice, now being reissued by the University of Minnesota Press. “It is a weird and wonderful document,” writes Jenny Hendrix for Slate, “a vital record of Herzog’s creation of his famous, baffling self.”

“Like mother-of-pearl, Bulle Ogier’s beauty is unshowy and multi-faceted.” In the Notebook, Locarno Film Festival Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian writes an ode to this year’s recipient of the Pardo alla carriera, the Golden Leopard presented for lifetime achievement.

“I’m playing the game to do what’s necessary to attract the people who have money.” That’s Frederick Wiseman, explaining why he’s delivered what amounts to “an elevator pitch,” as Eric Hynes puts it in Indiewire, to potential funders at Hot Docs. As he prepares his next film, In Jackson Heights, Wiseman has also offered “seven invaluable pointers—encompassing both process and philosophy—from the indefatigable master of American documentary film.”

Full trailer for Paulo Rocha: 50 Anos de Cinema; restorations supervised by Pedro Costa

David Resha’s The Cinema of Errol Morris is “a great book for anyone who cares about one of the most compelling figures in the contemporary mediascape,” writes Randolph Lewis for the Boston Review. “Resha is clearly a fan, but his passion for his subject doesn’t undercut his analytical cool.” Via Movie City News.

Experimental Cinema alerts us to the publication of Thom Andersen / William E. Jones, a book-length conversation. Relatedly, at the Notebook, Jordan Cronk writes that “Andersen has spent many years investigating and reflecting upon Deleuze’s work. But if The Thoughts That Once We Had is his first film to explicitly acknowledge the influence of Deleuze, it does so with the wry awareness of its own academic impulse—indeed, it seemed inevitable that Andersen would one day make a film expressly inspired by the late philosopher.”

Michael Pattison, writing for FIPRESCI, has “never seen [cinema] as desperate as it currently is (or as certain portions of it currently are) to abandon the world that bore it in favor of facile provocation, mannered simulacra and false objectivity.”

In Bright Lights: João Cerqueira on “Genetic Engineering, Slavery, and Immortality in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).”

Interviews: Steve Erickson and Steve Macfarlane with Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent) for the L and Slant and Kate Patterson with Frances Bodomo (Afronauts) for Sloan Science & Film.


The story of the day has to be the launch of the Indiegogo campaign launched by producers Filip Jan Rymsza, Frank Marshall and Jens Koethner Kaul, along with Peter Bogdanovich, to complete Orson Welles‘s The Other Side of the Wind. They got the 1,083 reels of footage. They’ve hired an editor, Affonso Gonçalves (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Keep the Lights On). And now, as Brooks Barnes reports in the New York Times, they’re “hoping to raise at least $2 million by June 14 to help pay for editing, music and other postproduction costs.” More from Stephen Galloway in the Hollywood Reporter.

The Other Side of the Wind from The Kennedy/Marshall Company

Cannes has announced that two of its juries are now complete. Un Certain Regard: Isabella Rossellini (President), Haifaa Al-Mansour, Nadine Labaki, Panos H. Koutras and Tahar Rahim. And the Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury is now complete: Abderrahmane Sissako (President), Joana Hadjithomas, Rebecca Zlotowski, Cécile de France and Daniel Olbrychski.

“This year’s Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree at AFI DOCS is pioneering documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson,” announces the American Film Institute.

Francis Ford Coppola has won Spain’s top arts prize, the Princess of Asturias award, reports the AFP.

Salman Khan is out on bail for two days after a court in Mumbai sentenced him to a five-year term in jail. The Guardian‘s Andrew Pulver: “The actor, one of India’s most popular movie stars, had been found guilty of killing a homeless man in 2002 in a hit-and-run case that has dragged through the courts for more than 12 years.”

Dogwoof has acquired worldwide rights to Werner Herzog’s volcano documentary Into the Inferno,” reports Variety‘s Leo Barraclough.

Joshua Oppenheimer, Michael Palin, Sigur Rós and Michael Nyman are just some of the names who will feature in this year’s Sheffield DocFest lineup,” reports Benjamin Lee for the Guardian. “The festival, which runs from 5-10 June, will feature 150 screenings of short and feature-length documentaries.”

“Twelve first or second features are in with a chance of winning the Transilvania Trophy, the top award at the Transilvania International Film Festival,” writes Stefan Dobroiu, who’s got the full list at Cineuropa.

Ju Anqi’s documentary Poet on a Business Trip has won the Grand Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival, reports Sonia Kil, who has the full list of winners in Variety.

“Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, a Berlin-set crime drama shot in a single, unedited take, leads the pack for this year’s German Film Awards, or Lolas, the local equivalent to the Oscars.” Scott Roxborough has the list in the Hollywood Reporter.


New York. Staging Encounters, “an intensive seminar on film and media curatorial practice,” led by Genevieve Yue, happens this weekend at UnionDocs.

Recommendations from the L: Jake Cole on Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976; tonight at BAMcinématek), Paul D’Agostino on Fellini‘s I Vitelloni (1953; tomorrow at BAMcinématek), Aaron Cutler on Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi’s Electric Fragments N. 1 – Roma (2001; screening tomorrow as part of Anthology’s Things (Never) Seen: A Tribute to Fuori Orario), Samantha Vacca on George Miller’s Mad Max (1979; tomorrow and Saturday at the IFC Center), Kenji Fujishima on Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker’s Top Secret! (1985; Saturday and Sunday at the Nitehawk), Zach Lewis on Mikio Naruse’s Wife Be Like a Rose (1935; Saturday and May 17 as part of MoMA’s series of Japan Speaks Out! Early Japanese Talkies), Ela Bittencourt on Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968; Sunday, part of the Museum of the Moving Image’s Horror Mother’s Day) and Aaron Cutler again, here on Safi Faye’s Mossane (1996; Tuesday, part of the New York African Film Festival; trailers).

Breaking the 4th Wall II: Break Harder from Leigh Singer

Baltimore. From what I can tell, the consensus is that the lineup for the Maryland Film Festival, running through Sunday, is especially strong this year. Of particular note, given recent events in the city, is tomorrow’s panel, Work in Progress: Writing Race, with Taylor Branch, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James McBride and David Simon. These are four of the five writers currently working on a series for HBO based on the third volume of Branch’s monumental biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Simon, creator of The Wire, of course, has posted an entry with more background.

Austin. Noir City returns to Texas with eleven films, ten of them based on the work of Cornell Woolrich. “Inspired by last year’s success,” writes Richard Whittaker in the Chronicle, “and the fact that Drafthouse booker Tommy Swenson is a Woolrich fan, [Film Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller] said, ‘It seemed inevitable; why don’t I do a whole festival based on his stories?'”

Vienna. Tomorrow, the Austrian Film Museum launches a series dedicated to the work of Joseph Losey, Nicholas Ray and Orson Welles. Through June 21.

Venice.The Internet Saga is the only project dedicated to art on the web to be inaugurated on the 6th and 7th of May on the occasion of the 56th Venice Art Biennial. This edition’s main protagonist is an independent cinema legend: Jonas Mekas.”

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