DAILY | Rappaport Vs. Carney, NYFF’s Avant-Garde, and More

Since our last news update, Venice wrapped with a controversial awards ceremony—but Toronto rolls on and anticipation mounts for the 50th anniversary edition of the New York Film Festival. On Friday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the lineup for this year’s Views from the Avant-Garde program, over 80 films in all, screening from October 4 through 8. Included are works by Raúl Ruiz, João Pedro Rodrigues, Chris Marker, Kevin Jerome Everson, Ben Rivers and Apichatpong Weerasethakul as well as world premieres of films by David Gatten, Jeff Preiss, Nathaniel Dorksy, Michael Robinson, Peggy Ahwesh, April Simmons, Laida Lertxundi, and Jerome Hiler—and a special event world premiere of Peter Kubelka’s Monument Film.

The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender

Mark Rappaport’s The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender (1997)

In other news. Is critic and Boston University professor Ray Carney trying to extort $27,000 from filmmaker Mark Rappaport? In an open letter “to the international film community,” Rappaport claims that Carney is holding digital video masters for much of his work. Rappaport: “My life as a filmmaker, my past, and even my future reputation as a filmmaker are at stake. I gave Carney no rights to my materials except the right to hold them and return them to me on request. His lawyer has refused to disclose the current location of my materials.” David Ehrenstein, who’s published the open letter at his site, comments: “For those familiar with Carney and his psychotically proprietary attitude towards the first, unreleased cut of John Cassavetes’s Shadows (over which he’s been wrangling with [Gena] Rowlands for several years now), this is nothing new.”

The New York Times fall preview package is out and it opens with a conversation between Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott on the digital switchover. Dargis: “There’s an underexamined technological determinism that shapes discussions about the end of film and obscures that the material is being phased out not because digital is superior, but because this transition suits the bottom line.”‘

Also, Leah Rozen talks with Nicole Kidman about, among other things, The Paperboy; Terrence Rafferty talks with just about everybody about Denzel Washington (his forthcoming film is Robert Zemeckis’s Flight); Frank Bruni profiles Ben Affleck, whose latest, of course, is Argo; Anupama Chopra has a piece on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi; Dennis Lim picks out five breakout performances; and…

DVD/Blu-ray. Charles Taylor and Stephanie Zacharek preview the most notable upcoming releases.

Budd Wilkins in Slant: Vittorio De Sica‘s Umberto D. (1952) “wants to break your heart. Criterion’s spit-polished Blu-ray upgrade makes that prospect all the more beguiling.”

Reading. Geoff Andrew, Head of Film Programme at BFI Southbank, is puzzling over Vertigo (1958): “I must confess I am a little puzzled as to precisely why it has become, for so many, the Hitchcock movie without equal.”

Film International has posted the fourth and final part of Wheeler Winston Dixon‘s “Dark Humor in Films of the 1960s.”

At the Chiseler: “Among the character actors who enliven any movie they are in, the wisecracking, street-smart Ruth Donnelly holds a special place for me,” writes Dan Callahan. “There is no other actor or actress I am happier to see on screen.” Also, John Strausbaugh on Jimmy Durante and Imogen Smith: “[T]he whole tone of pre-Code movies is urban: wised-up, fast-paced, slangy. Even when someone tried to make a film extolling the virtues of rural life, it seems they just couldn’t stop sneering and shuddering. The Purchase Price (1933), a total mis-fire by William Wellman, follows the basic trajectory of City Girl but is made with complete disregard for narrative logic or credibility…. Rural gothic films succeed where they avoid Purchase Price-style hypocrisy and are unapologetic in their antagonism. The completely unexpected Two Alone (1934) is such a triumph. It is unexpected both because this kind of dark, brooding, romantic, Borzagean tale was out of fashion in 1934, and because no one involved in the film had a distinguished record elsewhere.”


River Phoenix, Robert Redford, Dan Ackroyd, and Sidney Poitier in Sneakers (1992)

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Phil Alden Robinson’s “cyber caper” Sneakers, featuring Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn. The “cyber caper” label comes from John Swansburg, who’s discussing the film with fellow fan Julia Turner as part of Slate‘s celebration, which also includes Stephen Tobolowsky looking back on his work with “one of the most spectacular casts I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of” and Lowen Liu looking into the question, “How did a joke from Sneakers end up on the uniform of a real-life U.S. intelligence agency?”

New York. For more Dan Callahan, turn to the L, where he recommends catching Jean Grémillon‘s Le Ciel Est à Vous (1944) tomorrow at Film Forum.

London. The Film-Philosophy Conference 2012 is on from Wednesday through Friday.

In the works. Jude Law has joined Johnny Depp in the cast of Wes Anderson’s next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, reports Oliver Lyttelton: “Law’s comment about the ‘usual team’ suggests that the rumored involvement of Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody, as well as newer ensemble members Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum, may well come to pass.”

Also at the Playlist, Simon Dang has word on 1905. Kiyoshi Kurosawa will direct Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Matsuda Shota, and Maeda Atsuko in “a Japanese production that’ll reportedly be 90% Chinese language. Set in 1905 near the end of the Qing Dynasty and the introduction of Western culture, a loan shark named Yan (Leung) travels to Japan to collect the money from five separate men. There he meets a member of an ultranationalist group called ‘Houkokukai’ (Matsuda) who has been ordered to conduct the forced repatriation of five Chinese revolutionaries, who happen to be the same five people Leung’s loan shark is hunting.”

Deadline‘s Mike Fleming reports that Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), currently completing his documentary Bertolucci on Bertolucci, may take on an adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel The Big Nowhere.

“Elizabeth Banks has joined Amy Berg’s Every Secret Thing, starring opposite Diane Lane in the big-screen adaptation of Laura Lippman’s book.” With a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener. Pamela McClintock has more in the Hollywood Reporter.

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