Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is back in the news, or at least on the minds of many again. With awards season around the corner, we’ll need to get used to it. In a lengthy piece in this week’s New York, Frank Rich makes it abundantly clear that he’s an admirer, but: “The problem comes when we go to these movies, have a good cry, and imagine that, through some kind of Hollywood magic, they will bring about change.”
While Rich, already dreading the post-Obama era, anchors his argument in contemporary events (“white legislators in both parties have responded to the Supreme Court’s recent castration of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 largely with apathy, not urgency”), Matt Karp, writing for Jacobin, considers 12 Years in light of other slave narratives, some canonical, some not quite there yet: “If Django Unchained, for all its provocative inversions, failed as a revolutionary document, it’s conceivable to read 12 Years a Slave as an even more profoundly pessimistic commentary on the bounds of the politically possible.”
Richard Linklater “is aware of life’s temporality, of the characters’ temporality, of our own temporality,” writes kogonada for Sight & Sound. “What I appreciate about Linklater is his willingness to converse about these things, about things that matter. He is rarely coy or apathetic.” The piece is accompanied by a video (8’30”) that intertwines clips from a conversation with Linklater and from the films.
Ryan Coogler, Atom Egoyan, James Gray, Oliver Hirschbiegel, and Jonathan Teplitzky talk art and business at the Hollywood Reporter‘s independent directors roundtable.
For fxguide, Mike Seymour talks at length with visual effects supervisor Tim Webber “about Gravity and we also highlight some of the other history, elements and computer controlled rigs in our in-depth coverage of one of the year’s most important visual effects films.”
Issue 12, Volume 1 of One+One Filmmakers Journal, “Trash, Exploitation and Cult,” takes readers “from the splatter film through to spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation cinema, critically engaging with the genre, whilst exploring its eruptions into political and social commentary.”
Michael Kammen for the Los Angeles Review of Books: “Muybridge is not yet a household name, but given Rebecca Solnit’s excellent study (2003) along with the rich catalog for [the 2010 exhibition Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change], and now this suspenseful book, that might happen.” Edward Ball’s The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures “exposes two fundaments of the American experience: rampant capitalist greed and the transformation of visual experience.”
Writing for Bookforum, Roxane Gay finds it “a shame that Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him by David Henry and Joe Henry neither lives up to its slick title nor the complicated life of the man himself.”
Criterion‘s posted a translation of a brief interview Michelangelo Antonioni gave to a French newspaper in 1961: “Five or six years ago, the audience would have had difficulty tolerating a film like La notte. I am happy about the reception La notte has received, not only for me but for cinema in general. It means that something has changed. For the better.”
For Filmmaker, Nicholas Rombes carries on exploring the Media History Digital Library: “These Boy’s Cinema magazines are a source of wonder not just for their cut-up visuals and elaborate re-created films in text, but also for the sorts of visual images they must have conjured in their readers’ minds.”
“The Philosophy of Film and Film as Philosophy” is new paper by Tom McClelland.
Anya Jaremko-Greenwold talks with Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq about their remarkable documentary, These Birds Walk.
At Movie Morlocks, Susan Doll wishes Gig Young a happy 100th.
IN OTHER NEWS
The Berlinale will open on February 6 with the world premiere of Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Following The Moviegoer Who Knew Too Much, Mark Rappaport has a new e-book out, (F)au(x)tobiographies, “a collection of fictions about movies.” Says Phillip Lopate: “This invocation of movie lore, so hilarious, so tender, so knowing and wise, gave me more pleasure than any recent book on the cinema.”
Three documentaries have been nominated for the European Film Award in that category: Kaveh Bakhtiari’s Stop-Over (L’Escale), Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing, and Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture. The awards will be presented on December 7 in Berlin.
Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me won three prizes at DocLisboa over the weekend: Best Feature in the International Competition, the top award from the Fine Arts Faculty, and the C.P.L.P. Award, which honors the best feature produced in a Portuguese-speaking country. Vitor Pinto reports for Cineuropa.
Woody Allen Making Love: A Supercut
“The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) will honor Egyptian film critic Samir Farid with a Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his longstanding passion and support for Arab cinema.” Nick Vivarelli reports for Variety.
New York. Mary Ellen Bute: Abstronics is a program of shorts screening tonight at Light Industry. “Though her films are seen only rarely today, during her lifetime she was likely the most widely-viewed avant-garde filmmaker in America.”
Chicago. “How could it be anything but a disappointment?” asks the Reader‘s J.R. Jones. Fritz Lang‘s M (1931) “is a masterpiece of German expressionism and a brilliant, complex social statement…. One can hardly write off the 1951 version, however, because it was directed by Joseph Losey, a gifted filmmaker in his own right and a man smart enough to know what a thankless job he’d taken on.” Screens tomorrow at the Patio Theater.
London. With the Barbican’s Britten season opening tomorrow and running through November 24, Paul Kildea, writing for Sight & Sound, notes that the composer “loved cinema: it was his only middlebrow pursuit. The Marx Brothers, Chaplin and Disney films all captured his imagination and tickled his schoolboy humor. And though he owed his sense of narrative mainly to literature (he remained a great lover of Dickens), his operas are full of crossfades and underscoring, of internal monologues and elliptical conversations, all taken from film.”
York. At Little White Lies, Adam Woodward previews the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, running from Thursday through Sunday.
IN THE WORKS
Talking to James Marsh at Twitch, Bong Joon-ho confirms that “we already have one fixed American version [of Snowpiercer] with 20 minutes cut out but that’s not the final version, we are still going through the process…. Actually Harvey Weinstein wants to speed up the movie. I’m not that kind of young, innocent film school student who is saying ‘Nobody can touch my movie!!’ I’m not like that, I can negotiate, but I really hope to protect and keep my vision.”
François Ozon will direct Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier, and Raphael Personnaz in The New Girlfriend, reports Variety‘s John Hopewell: “Penned by Ozon (pictured above) and based on a novel by Ruth Rendell, Girlfriend turns on Claire, a young woman who falls into depression after her best girlfriend’s death. She eventually finds the strength to embrace life after discovering an unexpected secret about her late friend’s husband. Rendell’s work has previously been brought to the big screen by such acclaimed directors as Claude Chabrol and Pedro Almodóvar.”
American Ultra will re-team Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart five years after they starred in Greg Mottola’s Adventureland. Variety‘s Dave McNary has details. Also: “Samuel L. Jackson has come on board to co-star with John Cusack in the apocalyptic thriller Cell, based on the novel by Stephen King.”
“While The Girl King—his new version of US director Ruben Mamoulian’s Queen Christina (1933), starring Swedish screen legend Greta Garbo—is still in pre-production, Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki will film a local family drama, Coming Home,” reports Jorn Rossing Jensen for Cineuropa.
Stick with it; the image comes in at around 0:20
“Irene Kane, the female lead in director Stanley Kubrick‘s second feature film, Killer’s Kiss, died Oct. 31.” Mike Barnes for the Hollywood Reporter: “Kane was her stage name; she later was known as writer and journalist Chris Chase, who worked for CBS and CNN, wrote regularly for the New York Times and co-authored autobiographies of Rosalind Russell, Betty Ford, Alan King and Josephine Baker. She also wrote a memoir, How to Be a Movie Star, or, A Terrible Beauty Is Born.”
When he was a film student, Mark Romanek worked for Hal Ashby on Being There (1979) and kept extensively, meticulously observed notes in a diary. He’s tweeted several pages recently and Meredith Borders has posted a few at Badass Digest. Via Cinephilia and Beyond, which tosses in a few more images and video.
Nihon Cine Art‘s suddenly added three issues to its Art Theatre Guild Pamphlet Project.
In the Notebook, an image essay from Gina Telaroli: “Stop Making Sens(ory Ethnographic Films) #1.”
More browsing? John Wyver has another fine round of linkage.
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