Daily | Performance, Top Sci-Fi, Demy

Al Pacino

Al Pacino in ‘Heat’

“If we agree that we go—and return—to the movies and to our television shows because we are compelled by the human beings we find there, why is their presence in particular films and shows not a more common port of call in our written appreciation of them?” asks Elliott Logan, introducing Issue 7 of Screen Machine (wherein he also writes about Mad Men). The theme: Performance.

  • Hue Walmsley-Evans: “I don’t mean to say that performances, or moments within performances, such as [Al Pacino’s in Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) or Anton Walbrook’s in Thorold Dickinson’s Gaslight (1940)] aren’t ridiculous, but rather that these modes and choices become explicable in context.”
  • Andrew Gilbert: “I propose an examination of pornographic performances as cinematic assemblages; an argument that will take me through a discussion of distinctions of both technique and content.” And he reviews James Gray’s The Immigrant (2013).
  • Whitney Monaghan: “Complexity, I am told, is the epitome of screen performance and something all actors should aspire to. But what does it mean for a performance to be complex?”
  • Aaron Cutler: The power of Another Dawn (1943) “depends overtly upon the contributions of and collaborations between its five central performers. Its director, Julio Bracho; its two main human actors, Pedro Armendáriz and Andrea Palma; its director of photography, Gabriel Figueroa; and its chief location, Mexico City.” And he reviews Mitra Farahani’s Fifi Howls from Happiness (2013).


Time Out has polled directors and actors, scientists and authors to come up with a fresh list of the “100 best sci-fi movies.” It’s hardly a surprise that Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) comes out on top. The real fun here is browsing the individual lists by, say, Alfonso Cuarón or Guillermo del Toro, George R.R. Martin or Stephen King, and so on.

At, Omer M. Mozaffar is presenting “Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies,” a series in four installments. “First, we will explore religious films. Second, we will survey attempts at good will and attempts at hostility. Third, we will explore Israel from the perspective of pro-Israeli filmmakers. Fourth, we will explore Palestine from the perspective of pro-Palestinian filmmakers.”

For the Notebook, Ted Fendt has translated a 1978 reassessment of the work of Charlie Chaplin by Mireille Latil-Le-Dantec.

“A little fighting spirit keeps film culture sharp, on the edge, where it needs to be,” argues Nick Pinkerton in his latest “Bombast” column for Film Comment.

From Criterion, Agnès Varda and others on the restoration of Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

“The soul of every movie by Jacques Demy is a woman,” writes Terrence Rafferty for Criterion. “In his first feature, Lola (1961), it was black-haired, sad-eyed Anouk Aimée; in his third, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), it was Catherine Deneuve, blonde, shy, and hopeful. In between, and for the only time in the filmmaker’s work, it was Jeanne Moreau. As the heroine of Demy’s extraordinary second feature, Bay of Angels (1963), Moreau sports a platinum do with darkish roots, and the emotions of her character, a compulsive gambler named Jacqueline Demaistre, swing wildly, from joy to gloom and back again with every turn of luck.”

Chances are, you’ll have seen quite a bit of writing about the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet over the past few weeks. For a broader and deeper understanding of the man and his literary legacy, you simply must read Adam Schatz‘s new piece for the London Review of Books.

Persistent Laya Maheshwari has made the most of the five minutes with Park Chan-wook he recently scored for Filmmaker.

At the Playlist, Jessica Kiang has a wide-ranging talk with William Friedkin.

Ladies! Work out in style with activewear designed by David Lynch. Mally Espaillat has details at Paper.


Locarno‘s announced that Giancarlo Giannini will receive the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon during its 67th edition (August 6 through 16).

Roadside Attractions will be distributing Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, co-winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes (with Godard‘s Goodbye to Language), in the US, reports Eric Eidelstein at Indiewire.

And, as Jordan Zakarin reports at TheWrap, we here at Fandor are prepping a day-and-date release at one of my own favorite films of last year, Ramon Zürcher’s The Strange Little Cat.


New York. MoMA’s series On the Edge: Brazilian Film Experiments of the 1960s and Early 1970s is about to wrap, but Zach Clark recommends catching José Mojica Marins‘s Awakening of the Beast (1968) tomorrow. Also at the L: Elina Mishuris on Fritz Lang‘s Scarlet Street (1945), screening tomorrow at Film Forum, and Samantha Vacca on Max Ophüls’s The Reckless Moment (1949), coming up Saturday and Tuesday at MoMA.

Trailer for Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy

On Monday, Glenn Kenny and Dan Callahan will be reading from their books, Robert DeNiro: Anatomy of an Actor and Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave, at Book Court. Then, on the following Thursday, Glenn will talk about De Niro and show some clips at Videology.

San Francisco. “Given the seemingly endless one-step-forward, two-steps-back nature of peace negotiations in the Middle East,” writes Dennis Harvey in the Bay Guardian, “it seems a fair bet that the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (July 24-Aug. 10) will never stop being among the most politically charged among umpteen annual Bay Area film festivals.” And while he surveys the documentaries, Cheryl Eddy notes that the festival will open with The Green Prince, “a documentary based on the memoir of Mosab Hassan Yousef. The son of a founding member of Hamas, he worked as an undercover agent for the Israeli secret service for 10 years, sharing a profound trust with his Shin Bet handler. The closing night film is also a documentary about a conflicted childhood that paves the way for tough choices later in life—but if Little White Lie is also a personal story, it’s a far less political one.”


Chuck Palahniuk has announced that his sequel to Fight Club, appropriately named Fight Club 2, will appear in May 2015 as a series of ten comic books.

FX is taking a pass on Charlie Kaufman’s series How and Why, reports Charles Bramesco at the Dissolve. The show, starring Catherine Keener, Michael Cera, John Hawkes and Sally Hawkins, is about a physicist who “can explain the intricacies of a nuclear reactor in what will surely be lovingly specific detail, but remains clueless about day-to-day human behavior.” While Kaufman shops it to other networks, Anomalisa, the stop-motion animated feature co-produced by Kaufman, Dan Harmon and Dino Stamatopoulos, is “70 percent done.”

“Following his very public departure from directing Marvel’s Ant-Man, Edgar Wright now looks ready to move on as he is in talks to direct Baby Driver for Working Title Films,” reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll. “The plot details are vague other than it would be in the vein of his Cornetto Trilogy he made with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.”

“Naomi Watts is in negotiations to star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Demolition, which is slated to be the next film from Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée,” reports Bryan Sipe at TheWrap.

Doc on the making of Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) via The Seventh Art

“Emma Thompson, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Lily James, Jamie Dornan and Alicia Vikander are joining Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in Chef,” reports the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth. “John Wells (The Company Men, August: Osage County) is directing this culinary world movie about an A-list chef who will stop at nothing for a third Michelin star.”

“Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Billy Magnussen (Boardwalk Empire) and Eve Hewson (The Knick) will star opposite Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg’s Cold War spy thriller,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary.


“Thomas Berger, whose novel Little Big Man reimagined the American West, has died at the age of 89,” reports the BBC. “His book, turned into a 1970 Hollywood movie starring Dustin Hoffman, was published in 1964 and proved to be his biggest commercial success.”


Listening (35’21”). Woody Allen makes his first appearance on a podcast—Josh Horowitz‘s. And at the House Next Door, Calum Marsh has a few words and a trailer for each of the “10 Best Woody Allen Movies.” Meantime, keep up with the updates to the Magic in the Moonlight entry.

More listening (18’28”). Susan L. Mizruchi‘s been on the Leonard Lopate Show discussing her new book, Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work, which Carrie Rickey calls an “unexpectedly empathic and involving intellectual biography of the actor.”

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