As rattled as Guardian columnist John Patterson may be by revelations of the NSA’s reach, he’s even more alarmed by “a poll determining that a slim but clear majority of Americans weren’t worried in the least about the 360-degree, all-platform access that the eavesdropping agency apparently now has to their phone, internet and wireless communications.” And he knows who to blame: “Hollywood has been softening us all up for years now… It’s a matter of perspective: as movie viewers we are accustomed to being situated on the side of the law, and thus are behind the lens or microphone or cloned phone or security cam tracking the killer, criminal or terrorist in the story. In reality, however, we are never in that place; we are always potentially in the place where that terrorist or criminal is: under the magnifying glass, on tape, in the crosshairs.”
“American society has been sliding toward the realm of dystopian science fiction—toward a nightmarish mishmash of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Philip K. Dick—since at least the early years of the Reagan administration, and arguably a lot longer than that.” So begins Andrew O’Hehir‘s analysis in Salon of the state we’re in and how we got here, beginning with our failure to heed Eisenhower‘s early warning, tracing the evolution of evaluations of Orwell’s and Huxley’s predictive powers, and ultimately arguing that “our dystopia is still messy, still incoherent, still incomplete. Which means, in theory, that it can still be undone.”
Shane Salerno’s Salinger, a documentary which may or may not reveal something we don’t already know about the famously reclusive author.
For the New York Times, Noam Cohen profiles Laura Poitras, who’s “described herself as an unexpected player in the Snowden leak.” Her current project is, as we’ve mentioned before, part of an ongoing effort “to show on screen how the world has changed since the Sept. 11 attacks,” as Cohen puts it. “Her first two films in that project—My Country, My Country, set in Iraq after the American invasion, and The Oath, about a former Guantánamo Bay prisoner and his brother-in-law, who once worked as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard—garnered critical praise and apparently the attention of the United States government…. After six years of being questioned at the border—’upwards of 40 times, probably more, I lost count’—and having her laptop seized, her notes copied, she relocated to Europe.”
For the New Republic, Laura Bennett assesses a decade of surveillance television: “If you want to fuel your paranoia about the national security apparatus, here’s what to watch—and how they stack up against the real thing.”
A rant by NPR’s Linda Holmes has been making the rounds, as it should: “In many, many parts of the country right now, if you want to go to see a movie in the theater and see a current movie about a woman—any story about any woman that isn’t a documentary or a cartoon—you can’t. You cannot. There are not any. You cannot take yourself to one, take your friend to one, take your daughter to one. There are not any.”
Lake Bell’s In a World…, winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance.
José Teodoro‘s conversation with Olivier Assayas for the Believer “was lubricated by several glasses of Bordeaux.” And of course, they talk about Something in the Air and the 70’s in general. Assayas: “Ultimately the radical Leftists of the time had very classical tastes in art. They despised art in general, but they tolerated straightforward or figurative or documentary formats. They did not believe in fiction or formal radicalism.” Also, “it was definitely not okay to have fun. Fun was extremely suspicious.”
For the Independent, Chris Evans talks with Anna Broinowski about how her film, Aim High in Creation, evolved from an experiment in creating propaganda according to rules former Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il laid out in his Manifesto on the Art of the Cinema into a full-blown documentary on the North Korean film industry.
For the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Emily Savage reports on the second annual Music Video Race competition, pairing 20 musical acts with 20 filmmaking teams given 48 hours to make 20 videos.
Books. “One of the virtues of Eve Golden’s smart, funny biography of John Gilbert is that she doesn’t make him seem too pathetic,” writes Dennis Drabelle in the Washington Post. “The received wisdom on Gilbert—Rudolph Valentino’s successor as Hollywood’s Great Lover—is that his career was cut short by three things: booze, a thin voice that blurred his image when sound came in, and the enmity of movie mogul Louis B. Mayer. Golden adds nuance to every element of that triad without dwelling too long on any of them. She makes sure readers know that, for all his weaknesses and the sad finish of his life, Gilbert had a bully time while his heyday lasted.”
Masha Tupitsyn‘s Love Dog, “an art book that is part love manifesto, part philosophical notebook, part digital liturgy,” will be out at the end of the month. It’s a followup to LACONIA: 1,200 Tweets on Film, “the first book of film criticism written entirely on Twitter.”
In other news. “During 13 hours of negotiations at an European Union meeting in Luxembourg on Friday, E.U. trade ministers capitulated to the insistence of French trade minister Nicole Bricq that cultural goods should be excluded from the forthcoming U.S.-E.U. trade negotiations,” reports Variety‘s John Hopewell.
Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely with Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Josh Pais, Scoot McNairy, and Ron Livingston.
New York. The Human Rights Watch Film Festival is on through June 23. New overviews: Miriam Bale (Indiewire), Christopher Bourne (Twitch), Stephen Holden (New York Times), and Rob Humanick (House Next Door).
The San Antonio Film Festival opens tomorrow and runs through June 23.
Toronto. The Cronenberg Project, opening its doors on November 1 at TIFF before setting out on an international tour, “includes a virtual museum, newly struck 35mm prints of his films, an interactive digital experience, an art exhibition, and two original publications celebrating the film and art exhibitions.” Ben Travers reports for Indiewire.
In the works. “Tom Hanks is reuniting with his Cloud Atlas co-director Tom Tykwer for a big screen version of Dave Eggers’s National Book Award finalist, A Hologram for the King.” Zach Dionne has more at Vulture.
Woody Allen reportedly seeking 500 extras in the south of France for a film set “in the 1920s”: lefigaro.fr/cinema/2013/06…
— Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow) June 13, 2013
And Woody Allen will also be making a cameo in Sophie Lellouche’s Paris-Manhattan, reports the Observer‘s Jason Solomons.
Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) will direct an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince,” reports Carolyn Kellogg for the Los Angeles Times. Among those lending their voices will be James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, Benicio Del Toro, and Paul Giamatti.
The Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing sequels to not one, not two, but three of his hits from the 80’s—a fifth Terminator, King Conan, and Triplets, with Eddie Murphy joining him and Danny DeVito.
Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer with Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris.
Lists. The Atlantic Wire‘s Richard Lawson blurbs seven books being adapted for films set to premiere this fall, including Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorsese’s film will be in theaters in November) and Robert M. Edsel’s The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (George Clooney’s adaptation hits in December).
For the BFI, Jasper Sharp sets out on a “journey through 10 of the most emblematic” films set in Tokyo.
And Bo Harwood‘s now made his previously unreleased musical collaborations with John Cassavetes available for purchase.