To begin this round of a few quick from-the-road notes, what must be mentioned first and foremost in that The Dissolve, the highly anticipated film site launched by Pitchfork and a solid set of AV Club vets, plus news editor Matt Singer, is up and thriving. Keith Phipps presents a user’s guide, which’ll come in handy, as the range of what’ll be regular features is daunting.
To sample just one, here’s Scott Tobias in his first “Essential Retro” column: “Produced during the peak of Mizoguchi’s career—an early-to-mid-’50s run that included masterpieces like 1953’s Ugetsu and 1954’s Sansho the Bailiff, and ended with his death in 1956, the year his great final film, Street of Shame, was released—1952’s The Life of Oharu continued his preoccupation with the suffering of woman throughout Japanese history.” Here, “Mizoguchi follows one woman as she falls, rung by rung, down the social ladder, for no other crime than loving the wrong man. It’s a devastating journey, and for Mizoguchi, a direct, blunt statement of purpose.”
For more on The Life of Oharu, see Jordan Cronk (Slant, 4/5), Peter Labuzza (Film Stage), Gilberto Perez (Criterion), Bill Ryan, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (AV Club, A), and Daniel Walber (Film.com, 8.6/10).
More reading. Brad Stevens‘s column for Sight & Sound, “Bradlands,” has moved online, archive and all.
“Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t alone,” writes Alyssa Rosenberg at RogerEbert.com. “The use of drones, and robots like them for war or for surveillance has turned up as a subject in a surprisingly large number of summer’s biggest blockbusters, including Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and now Pacific Rim.” And she looks into the ways that “superheroes and action heroes’ relationships to drones” are “reaffirming the primacy of man over machine in blockbusters.”
Via Farran Nehme, Larry Harnisch‘s been tearing apart rumors (and with them, Wikipedia as well) that Wallace Beery, star of such films as Grand Hotel and Dinner at Eight, was, in real life, a murderer.
In other news. “Jacqueline Bisset and Anna Karina will be among the guests of honor at the upcoming Locarno Film Festival’s celebration dedicated to the master of Hollywood comedy, George Cukor,” reports Brian Brooks. “For the first time, Locarno, which takes place August 7 – 17, is collaborating on an extensive retrospective with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where the program will be presented in December.”
“Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first woman filmmaker whose debut feature Wadjda has been a hit on the festival circuit since last fall, has been named President of the International Jury for the ‘Luigi De Laurentiis’ Venice Award for a Debut Film at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, running from August 28 through September 7,” reports Beth Hanna at Thompson on Hollywood.
New York. “The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 16th annual Latinbeat program (July 12-21) presents the latest works from South American filmmakers from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Uruguay.” Gary M. Kramer picks five must-sees, including two films by Mathías Piñeiro, who’ll be on hand to present four of his features. Shelley Farmer interviews Piñeiro for the FSLC.
“While the Film Society of Lincoln Center has a week of free Breaking Bad marathon screenings set for July 26-30, over in Queens, the Museum of the Moving Image is planning its own salute to the ending AMC drama,” reports Alison Willmore at Indiewire. “The Museum will be home to a new exhibit, From Mr. Chips to Scarface: Walter White’s Transformation in Breaking Bad, scheduled to run from July 26 through October 27th.”
Berkeley. The Pacific Film Archives retrospective A Call to Action: The Films of Raoul Walsh rolls on through August 10, and Michael Guillén‘s had a wide-ranging conversation with Dave Kehr, who’s had a hand in curating the series.
Austin. Fantastic Fest will open on September 19 with the world premiere of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills.
Buenos Aires. Curated by Bérénice Reynaud, Leandro Katz: Raptures, Diagonals and Ruptures is the first exhibition of its kind, regrouping two dozens of photographic, film, video and digital works completed between 1965 and 2013. At the Espacio Fundación Telefónica through October 5.
In the works. Mami Sunada is “completing the final cut” on The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, a documentary about Studio Ghibli, and of course, Hayao Miyazaki, reports Beth Hanna at Thompson on Hollywood.
Errol Morris is now attached to two narrative features, notes Deadline. Not only will he be directing Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Christopher Walken in Freezing People Is Easy, but he’s also now attached to Holland, Michigan, “a suburban thriller laced with black humor.”
Lists. The staff at In Review Online write up their top tens of 2013-so-far.
New trailers: Spike Lee’s Oldboy with Josh Brolin; Paul Schrader’s The Canyons, with Lindsay Lohan ands James Deen; Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, and Zoe Saldana; and John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins.