Daily | Mourning in Beijing, Anticipation in Venice

Beijing Independent Film Festival

The poster for the 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival features the notice announcing the shutting down of last year’s edition

With Venice opening tomorrow, Telluride on Thursday, and Toronto next week, let’s first spare a few moments and thoughts for a festival that ought to have another day to go but was instead more or less shut down before it even began. “Immediately after the opening ceremony” of what was to be the 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival, “the assembled crowd were informed that the planned screenings would not be taking place as scheduled,” reports Time Out Beijing managing editor James Wilkinson.

“There were no melodramatics, no scenes of police clad in riot gear storming the cinema, no histrionic shouts of defiance,” notes film editor Simon Zhou in his blog entry, “The death of independent cinema in China.” Instead, as Wilkinson writes, “police arrived with an official notice from on high and set up surveillance teams to quash any illicit viewing.” Festival director Wang Hongwei, known outside China for his performances in Jia Zhangke‘s films, managed to strike a deal: “Approved persons—directors, jury, invited guests—can sign up to take away DVDs of all the films that were to be screened at the fest, to watch in their own time. They can then return to Songzhuang [a café and cinema] to take part in the already scheduled discussions and lectures. However, the DVDs may not be watched by fewer than two people or more than five…. It remains to be seen whether the festival will return next year, and if so what form it will take. Regardless, this is a sad time for Beijing’s film community, and for Chinese creative culture as a whole.”

Zanuck and Welles

From the Venice Film Festival: The year was 1948; Orson Welles was presenting Macbeth in Competition; Darryl F. Zanuck was producing Anatole Litvak’s The Snake Pit, which would win a Best Actress award for Olivia de Havilland the following year

Meantime, Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera tells Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli that the lineup for this year’s 70th anniversary edition is frisky and risky, setting “some newcomers next to names that stand as pillars of moviemaking these days.” The most in-depth preview out there is Guy Lodge‘s at In Contention (parts 1, 2, 3, and 4). Oliver Lyttelton‘s got the Playlist‘s ten most anticipated titles, and Cineuropa reports that 15 features, most of them from the Orizzonti program will be available for viewing in the “Web Theatre,” i.e., online at four euros a pop.

In other news. A week from today, Peter Labuza and Andrew Welch will launch To Be (Cont’d), “conceived as a space for writers to talk about the films they love without having to worry about timeliness or word counts. Instead, it’s about slowing the conversation down.”

Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell have posted a guide to the blog entries they’ve posted over the past year that serve as supplements to Film Art: An Introduction.

Reading. Alejandro Jodorowsky is, of course, primarily known as a filmmaker, but he’s also worked as a clown, theater director, playwright, and author of graphic novels. “Jodorowsky’s catalog ranks as one of the finest in the field,” writes Anthony Paletta for the Los Angeles Review of Books, “but most of these works were unavailable in English for decades. Now, thanks to the publisher Humanoids, we have a wealth of material to bolster the ever-increasing regard for Jodorowsky’s multimedia body of work.”

Fernando F. Croce interviews Brian De Palma for Slant and, for the New York Times, Nicolas Rapold takes on “the ultimate De Palma experience: watching a master of cinematic voyeurism watch his own films.” De Palma’s also a guest on Filmwax Radio.

On the set of 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

On the set of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Fall previews. In New York, Mary Kaye Schilling tells the story behind Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir, featuring ­Leonardo DiCaprio, and opening on November 15.

And‘s fall preview features a string of trailers.

New York. Aleksandr Medvedkin’s The New Moscow (1938) screens tonight at Light Industry.

In the works. Hayao Miyazaki has “hinted that he’s open to the possibility of a sequel to 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, his second feature film and one of his most beloved by fans,” reports Beth Hanna at Thompson on Hollywood. “But he wouldn’t want to helm it himself—he’d pass the reins over to director Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion).”

For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @KeyframeDaily on Twitter and/or the RSS feed. Get Keyframe Daily in your inbox by signing in at

Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.