The Berlinale‘s on, so we’re going to move fast here. The first item to note is the excerpt from Adrian Martin‘s new book, Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art, at RogerEbert.com.
Peter Bogdanovich has opened up his file on Jean Renoir.
“The first film of Godard’s productive, creative 1980s period, which saw him return to the public eye with a string of high-profile features, Every Man For Himself serves as a kind of bridge between his permanently hip New Wave work and the later phase of his career,” writes Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at the AV Club. More from Amy Taubin for Criterion.
From David Bordwell, “The Never-Ending Pan & Scan Story.”
The Stranger‘s Charles Mudede notes that, in a lecture delivered in 2013, Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis “made the bold claim that the science-fiction film The Matrix was not actually science fiction but a documentary about capitalism and its main contradiction: It wants to transform humans into complete commodities, but the complete commodification of humans would result in the destruction of capitalism.”
Michael Mann’s “formal language has evolved rapidly since he started experimenting with digital filmmaking technology in a single scene in Ali (2001),” and Adam Cook tracks that evolution. Also in the Notebook: J. Lee Thompson’s The Chairman (1969) was The Interview of its time, argues Jakub Mejer. And David Cairns on Lucky Luciano (1973): “The late Francesco Rosi‘s answer to The Godfather is an authentic, didactic and pugnacious odyssey through post-war Italian and American politics and gangsterism.”
Brad Stevens for Sight & Sound: “Given the frequently observed similarity between dreaming and watching films—two activities which, at least traditionally, have taken place in darkness—it is hardly surprising that those of us whose lives have, to greater or lesser extents, been dedicated to the cinema often find our dreams haunted by cinephilic concerns.”
In Bright Lights:
- Joseph Natoli on Ira Sachs‘s Love Is Strange.
- Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on Ingmar Bergman’s Dreams (1955).
- Matthew Asprey Gear‘s “Brief Chat with Emmanuel Mouret.”
- Thomas Austin on Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Rosetta (1999).
Dan Sallitt‘s posted “a list of my favorite films that played at least one week in Manhattan for the first time in 2014.”
“As the reactions to Selma and American Sniper suggest, movies often still have the power to provoke national debate.” John Guida for the New York Times: “Do they also have the power to affect our view of government? A recent study by Michelle C. Pautz, an associate professor of political science at the University of Dayton, suggests films can act as an influence.”
Alex Nicol‘s The Screaming Skull (1958) “strikes me as a film ripe for renewed appreciation,” writes Tim Lucas—”not as a horror classic, by any means, but rather as an extremely modest film of skilled parentage that succeeds in creating something pleasurably eerie within its very limited means.”
Sex! Little White Lies writes up a list of “Ten Great Movies About Sex”; for the BFI, Michael Brooke considers “10 great erotic British films”; and Time Out goes all out: “The 100 best sex scenes of all time.”
IN OTHER NEWS
The Festival del film Locarno has announced that it’ll be dedicating its retrospective this summer to Sam Peckinpah. Also: “Walter Murch, the triple Oscar winning editor and sound designer, will be the recipient of the Vision Award.”
And the Toronto International Film Festival is devoting this year’s City to City program to London, reports Jennie Punter for Variety.
“Overheard 3 leads the 34th Hong Kong Film Awards nominations with eleven nods, followed by The Golden Era with ten nominations.” Karen Chu has more in the Hollywood Reporter.
David Bordwell, James Udden and Bart Testa discuss the work of Hou Hsiou-hsien
Mike Leigh will be presented with a BAFTA fellowship this weekend, reports Variety‘s Leo Barraclough.
IN THE WORKS
“Alejandro Jodorowsky is set to produce and direct Endless Poetry, the continuation of his latest film The Dance of Reality,” reports Elsa Keslassy for Variety. “The film recounts Jodorowsky’s teenage years in Santiago, Chile, and chronicles his struggle to overcome family pressure and find his path as an artist and a poet. Jodorowsky emerged along with Enrique Linh, Nicanor Parra and Stella Diaz as one of the most influential poets of Chile in the 1940s.”
Also: “Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks have joined the cast of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon, the subversive female-driven horror tale.”
Japan’s Nippon TV is launching sales on Takashi Miike‘s The Lion Standing in the Wind, which follows a Japanese doctor who travels to Africa and treats a boy soldier,” reports Liz Shackleton for Screen. And Shunji Iwai’s “animated feature The Case of Hana and Alice is a follow-up to his live action high school romance Hana and Alice (2004).”
Screen‘s Jeremy Kay reports that Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins are slated for the “bizarre true-life romance,” Maudie. “Hawke will play a reclusive fish peddler who falls for his arthritic housekeeper, the eponymous Maud who displays little talent for her job but huge ability as a painter and goes on to become a celebrated folk artist.”
Isabelle Huppert on Jean-Luc Godard and Every Man for Himself (1980)
“Mia Wasikowska and Guy Pearce are set for epic thriller, Brimstone,” reports Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione. “Dutch helmer Martin Koolhoven (Winter in Wartime) is directing and wrote the script. Wasikowska plays a heroine on the run from her past and hunted by Pearce’s diabolical Preacher.”
“Marshall Schlom, a Hollywood script supervisor for four decades who worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kramer, Mike Nichols and all the top directors of his day, has died. He was 86.” Mike Barnes has more in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Colleen McCullough, whose novel The Thorn Birds sold 30 million copies worldwide, died on January 29, 2015, at age 77 after a long illness,” reports the Telegraph‘s Martin Chilton. “The Thorn Birds was the classic story of the doomed romance between de Bricassart (played by Richard Chamberlain in the wildly popular TV miniseries that won four Golden Globes) and his young lover Meggie Cleary.”
From Karina Longworth, You Must Remember This #31: Star Wars Episode V: Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles (42’45”).
Illusion Travels By Streetcar #46: The Resurrection of Blake Edwards (1979-1986) (130’28”).
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Brian Brooks talks with Jay and Mark Duplass about their HBO series, Togetherness, which has been scoring pretty well with critics (48’51”). See, for example, Chris Cabin (Slant, 2.5/4), Joe Reid (Atlantic), Brian Tallerico (RogerEbert.com) and Ben Travers (Indiewire, A). As Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva reports, HBO’s renewed the series for a second series.
More links? Check in with the Film Doctor.