DAILY | Pasolini, Scorsese, Spielberg, and More

Franco Berardi Bifo met Pasolini three times, twice in the mid-60’s and once again in 1973. In an essay for the new issue of e-flux Journal, he aims “to question the sensibility of the poet of the mid-twentieth-century Roman borgate from the point of view of a violent rebellion of lumpenproletarians that took place in the English suburbs in August 2011…. When we look at Pasolini’s work, when we read his novels and his poems and his countless interviews and articles, and when we watch his movies and documentaries, we sometimes feel we are getting lost in a labyrinth of paradoxes. I have tried to make sense of his paradoxical judgments and opinions, of his idiosyncrasies, passions, and aversions. The general conclusion that I have reached is this: when he writes, when he speaks, when he ideologizes, Pasolini is essentially a reactionary and a conformist disguised as a provocateur. But when it comes to his works that use images, Pasolini is a visionary, almost a prophet, and he is able to see much further than anybody else. Although a bad poet and an old-fashioned ideologue whose knowledge of Marxist philosophy was quite poor, Pasolini was a man of extraordinary vision.”

Humanities: Scorsese

The cover of the March/April 2013 issue

Glenn Kenny opens an appreciation of Martin Scorsese, the cover story of the latest issue of Humanities (via Adam Cook), by quoting the titles that appear at the end of Raging Bull (1980), the story, recounted in the Gospel of John, of the blind man healed by the unnamed Christ—and notes that “biographical accounts of the director, and many of his own words, testify to the notion that making Raging Bull helped save Scorsese’s life, personally and professionally. And I believe that in that gospel passage, and the dedication that follows it, there’s a microcosm of what Scorsese has always been about as an artist. Knowing and not knowing. Seeing and not seeing. Transformation, and, finally, love and resolution.” Accompanying the piece are two sidebars, Bruce Bennett‘s notes on a selective filmography and Marilyn Ferdinand‘s piece on the work of the Film Foundation, established by Scorsese in 1990, particularly the 2006 restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948).

Matt Zoller Seitz introduces an exchange at Press Play: “I’ve been arguing with film and TV critic Tom Carson for over a decade, over all sorts of issues. One is the relative merit, or lack thereof, of the films of Steven Spielberg, about whom I’m quite enthusiastic; Tom, not so much. Tom’s recent, highly skeptical take on Schindler’s List in The American Prospect sparked a chain of emails between us. We talked about Spielberg, history, Hollywood, the relationship between showmanship and truth, and other thorny issues.”

In other news. In a piece for Libération‘s Next Magazine (via Richard Brody), Didier Péron, Bruno Icher, and Julien Gester suggest that we may well see films by Claire Denis, Corneliu Porumboiu, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Serge Bozon, Catherine Breillat, Alain Guiraudie, Arnaud Desplechin, among many others, in the Cannes 2013 lineup. The actual announcement isn’t expected until next month and the festival will run from May 15 through 26.

Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s What Maisie Knew, loosely based on Henry James’s 1897 novel, will open the San Francisco International Film Festival April 25. This year’s Centerpiece will be the documentary Jacob Kornbluth’s made with Robert Reich, Inequality For All, and closing the festival on May 9 will be Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke’s triumphant Before Midnight.

Moen Mohamed at Ioncinema: “Yesterday, Hot Docs unveiled its full lineup (which runs April 25th to May 5th) of 205 official selections from 43 countries, chosen from over 2,300 submissions, with 44 World premieres.”

“So, it took Ray Carney 11 months to respond to Mark Rappaport‘s allegations,” notes Filmmaker‘s Nick Dawson, “but no time at all for Rappaport to fire back at the Boston University professor.” Among the many points he makes, Rappaport provides evidence that Carney has “signed two documents, under oath, with totally contradictory testimony. I think there’s a word for that that begins with a ‘p.'”

The nine early works by Alfred Hitchcock restored by the British Film Institute will begin a tour of the U.S. at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in June, reports Stephanie Goodman for the New York Times.

Book. “Practically the opposite of a tell-all, J.G. Ballard’s memoir, Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton, suggests that this is an author who said all he wanted to say in his fiction,” writes Dennis Lim for Bookforum.

New York. The IFC Center‘s Kubrick retrospective opens today and runs through March 28.

In the works. “I didn’t see this one coming,” admits Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. David Lowery, who was all over Sundance this year (besides taking his own Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, he’d also edited Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color and co-written Yen Tan’s Pit Stop), and his writing partner Toby Halbrooks (Pioneer) have been hired by Disney to revamp Pete’s Dragon (1977).

Looking over the projects that have received support from the Eurimages Fund, Ioncinema‘s Eric Lavallee lists all 13 and highlights a few: Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s Winter Sleep, which began shooting in January; Ruben Ostlund is “inches away” from going ahead with Tourist; and Michael Glawogger‘s setting up his as-yet-untitled project.

“Sony Pictures Classics have snapped up the North American, Latin American and Eastern European rights to Mike Leigh’s upcoming and untitled J.M.W. Turner biopic,” reports the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth.

“Nicolas Roeg is developing a First World War romance revolving around an affair between a young, British Army sniper and a wealthy, French landowner behind enemy lines,” reports Screen‘s Melanie Goodfellow.

Tatiana Siegel: “28 Days Later writer Alex Garland is gearing up to make his directorial debut with the indie robot thriller Ex Machina.”

Also in the Hollywood Reporter, Lacey Rose: “HBO is getting into the thriller business with Ben Wheatley. The British filmmaker behind such independent films as Down Terrace and ultra-violent Kill List will write, executive produce and direct the original drama Silk Road, which is said to be in the vein of The Prisoner.”

But HBO has also cancelled the critical favorite Enlightened. Time‘s James Poniewozik: “It’s not exactly a stunner that a network would cancel a show with Enlightened‘s ratings, which were in the low six figures for its first-run showings, miniscule even by pay-cable standards. What’s rarer, honestly, is that the show would get a second season to begin with, as an acknowledgement of what a fine thing Laura Dern and Mike White created: a poetic story of personal growth, earnest yet shot through with unflinching humor. Rarer still is that an acclaimed, low-rated show would get a fitting ending.”

And then there’s the strange and evidently ongoing saga of Jane Got a Gun. Co-producer Natalie Portman is to play Jane, “a woman whose outlaw husband returns home riddled with bullets” and sets out to defend her farm, according to Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr., who’s been reporting on comings and goings of the cast and crew over the past two days. Michael Fassbender was the first to exit the project, replaced weeks ago by Joel Edgerton. Then on Monday, which was to have been the first day of shooting, director Lynne Ramsay simply failed to show up. She’s been replaced by Gavin O’Connor, a move that’s clearly failed to reassure Jude Law, who’s just exited as well.

Obit. “70s porn actor and successful real estate broker Harry Reems (real name Herbert Streicher) passed away yesterday afternoon, March 19,” reports Richard Metzger at Dangerous Minds. “He was 65. Harry Reems came to pop culture notoriety as the male star of Gerard Damiano’s Deep Throat, the 1973 porno film that is the biggest XXX money earner of all time.”

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