Daily | New desistfilm, Satyajit Ray, Apichatpong

By David Hudson

Frantisek Vlácil

Frantisek Vlácil

Frantisek Vlácil’s “moral grappling seems like its own answer throughout his films,” writes David Phelps. The piece is one of a solid handful to appear in English in the new issue of desistfilm, also featuring Claudia Siefen‘s “rhythmic thoughts on some cinematic poems by Ken Jacobs“—as well as the poems themselves!—John A. Riley on Luis Buñuel‘s Viridiana (1961), and Riley and Mónica Delgado‘s interview with Alex Cox: “Straight to Hell was always one of my favorites and revisiting it, playing around with it, making it more bloodthirsty and giving it a different color treatment and more skeletons and reinserting the deleted scenes… it was a real treat.”

More reading. J. Hoberman, writing for the New York Review of Books, is “not alone in sensing a kinship between [Harmony] Korine and [Lena] Dunham—or Spring Breakers and Girls. The Hollywood Reporter produced a mash-up in which Dunham’s character Hannah Horvath engages in split-screen dialogue with Alien, allowing the viewer to compare their various raps and tattoos—while imagining Hannah’s experience of Easter in Florida. The real connection lies in their programmatic use of the nubile body. The female form is their canvas.”

Richard Brody revisits Peter Bogdanovich‘s 1963 interview with Alfred Hitchcock: “It’s much shorter than Truffaut’s book; it’s also denser. Truffaut’s probing questions help Hitchcock dig deep into memory; Bogdanovich’s shorter, broader ones elicit grand yet succinct theoretical reflections and an epigrammatic, assertive vigor.”

Salon‘s senior political writer Steve Kornacki recently moderated a discussion of film and politics with Andrew O’Hehir and Ramin Bahrani, focusing in particular on Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and Argo.

For the Hollywood Reporter, Hal Espen talks with Harry Knowles about the perilous financial straits Ain’t It Cool News is currently navigating, and asks, “Is the pioneer of online nerddom still relevant in an age where there are a hundred different sites covering geek entertainment, where sneak peeks now are doled out by studio marketing divisions, where filmmakers have figured out how to work the web to their advantage rather than hide from it, where directors like J.J. Abrams wield secrecy like Tolkien’s Ring of Power?”

At Movie Morlocks, Richard Harland Smith reviews (and recommends) the new issue of Video Watchdog.

Rachel Monroe, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, has all kinds of problems with Alisa Statman‘s Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice, but finds it’s also “a Lifetime movie of a book, and it delivers the drama with requisite zeal.”

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray

In other news. Criterion is restoring 18 films by Satyajit Ray, reports Zinia Sen for the Times of India: “What’s more, director Abbey Lustgartern is in town to film personal accounts shared by artistes who have worked with Ray, to go with each film.”

The Tribeca Film Festival, opening on April 17, has announced that it’ll close on April 28 with the presentation of a new restoration of Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983).

“A company tied to the India effects and animation studio Prana Studios has beat out other bidders to acquire Rhythm & Hues, the Oscar-winning visual effects house that filed for bankruptcy protection last month,” reports Richard Verrier in the Los Angeles Times. Entertainment Weekly‘s Emily Rome adds news that two more VFX houses, The Mill and Tippett Studio, are scaling back on staff. Earlier: “The VFX Community’s Beef with Hollywood.”

In the works. Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been rounding up financing for Cemetery of Kings, his first feature since his 2010 Palme d’Or-winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recount His Past Lives. Patrick Brzeski has details in the Hollywood Reporter: “Its story is said to take place in a small town on the Mekong River in northern Thailand, where 27 soldiers come down with a strange sleeping sickness. Frequent Apitchapong collaborator Jenjira Widner will reprise her role—from Uncle Boonmee and Syndromes and a Century—as a nurse tasked with caring for the soldiers. Strange dreams, phantoms, a mysterious river creature, and tangled romances all play a part in the evocative narrative, according to early promo materials.”

“Martin Scorsese has revealed that he is developing a TV series based on his 10 times Oscar-nominated film Gangs of New York,” reports the Telegraph‘s Alice Vincent. “The 70-year-old director is working with Miramax on the project, which will be based on the activities of organized gangs in America at the turn of the century.”

Adam Markovitz reports that Steven Soderbergh’s told him that even though “the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra (airing May 26 on HBO) will be his last conventional feature film for the time being…, he is now at work developing a 12-hour miniseries based on John Barth’s 1960 novel The Sot-Weed Factor.”

Sion Sono is auditioning actors via YouTube for his live adaptation of Santa Inoue’s manga Tokyo Tribes, reports Kevin Ouellette at Nippon Cinema.

Fay Kanin

Fay Kanin

Obit. “Fay Kanin, half of the husband-and-wife team that wrote the Clark Gable-Doris Day comedy Teacher’s Pet and the writer of television movies including Emmy-winning vehicles for Maureen Stapleton and Carol Burnett, died on Wednesday at her home in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 95.” Aljean Harmetz: “In 1979 Ms. Kanin, who was a playwright as well as a screenwriter, became just the second female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the advocacy organization that presents the Oscars. The first was Bette Davis, who resigned after two months in 1941.”

Also in the New York Times, Ben Sisario: “Phil Ramone, a prolific record producer and engineer who worked with some of the biggest music stars of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 79…. In his 2007 memoir, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music, written with Charles L. Granata, Mr. Ramone defined the role of record producer as roughly equivalent to that of a film director, creating and managing an environment in which to coax the best work out of his performers.”

Viewing (1’49”). In Contention‘s Kristopher Tapley has the trailer for Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight, but warns: “If you are a huge fan of the Before series, you really ought to stay away from this and just go into the movie.”

More browsing? Criticwire‘s Steve Greene‘s gathered “Weekend Reel Reads,” Bruce Reid‘s got a week’s worth of selections at Parallax View, and John Wyver‘s posted a terrific batch of “Links for Easter.”

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