DAILY | Riefenstahl + Fassbinder Biopics

Leni Riefenstahl

“A German actress whose grandfather helped Jews escape from the Nazis has landed the lead role in a new movie about the Third Reich’s genius propaganda moviemaker Leni Riefenstahl,” reports the Scotsman. “Maria Furtwaengler, who is best known in her homeland playing a Prime Suspect-style detective in the popular TV series Crime Scene, will star as Riefenstahl in the two-hour film being produced by the ZDF TV network. Hollywood actress Jodie Foster announced more than a decade ago she wanted to make a big screen epic about her but failed to generate enough interest in the project. Now ZDF has stepped in to make the movie, which will be dubbed and sold to the English-speaking world.”

In other biopic news, the Fassbinder project we’ve mentioned does indeed appear to be actually happening. I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks that this is a good idea in the first place, let alone that Marco Kreuzpaintner is the director who’s been trying to cobble Rainer together for nearly four years now. Those who read German can judge for themselves, though; Hanns-Georg Rodek‘s spoken with Kreuzpaintner for Die Welt. Shooting’s currently slated for April 2013.

On a more serious note, Der Tagesspiegel recently asked Christoph Hochhaüsler, Christian Petzold, Andreas Dresen, Angelina Maccarone, Benjamin Heisenberg, Hans Weingartner, and Brigitte Hobmeier for their thoughts on Fassbinder.

Festivals. Geoff Dyer will be the guest director for this year’s Telluride Film Festival, running September 2 through 5, reports Anne Thompson, quoting Telluride co-director and co-founder Tom Luddy. “He and I were introduced while he was writing his book Zona, an in-depth exploration of Andrei Tarkovsky‘s film Stalker. Around that time Sight & Sound asked Geoff what his five favorite books on film were. His top choice was David Thomson’s A Biographical Dictionary of Film in its first edition. The revised second, third, fourth and fifth editions were picks two, three, four and five. His answer convinced me that he and I are on the same wavelength film-wise.”

Bob Turnbull previews the full lineup for the Shinsedai Cinema Festival, running in Toronto from July 12 through 15.

Awards.Once, the intimate and melancholy bar-room musical that has charmed Broadway audiences and critics, took top honors at the Tony awards in a night of upsets at the annual US theatre industry bash,” report Matt Wells and David Cote for the Guardian. “With its largely British creative team, Once beat the boisterous corporate Disney behemoth Newsies to best musical, Steve Kazee won best actor in a musical, and John Tiffany won best director. In all, Once took eight awards from 12 nominations.” And it’s based, of course, on John Carney’s award-winning 2006 film featuring Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.

“It ain’t the Tony Awards®, but the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis is arguably the leading German drama-prize, and Peter Handke takes it this year, for Immer noch Sturm,” reports M.A. Orthofer. Handke has written screenplays for and with Wim Wenders and directed a few films of his own, including Die linkshändige Frau (1978).

“Donald Sutherland has been awarded the French honor of Commander of the Arts for his contribution to cinema,” reports the BBC.

DVD/Blu-ray. “It’s curious how Too Late Blues, the 1962 film that was John Cassavetes’s second feature-length work as a director, seems to have vanished from the Cassavetes canon,” writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. “Yet Too Late Blues, which can now be seen in a fine new edition (on Blu-ray and standard definition DVD) from Olive Films, is unmistakably a personal work, filled with the same faces (Seymour Cassel, Val Avery, Marilyn Clark), themes (the lure of emotional instability, alcohol as an agent of social leveling, artistic integrity as an absolute value) and most crucially, the eccentric tempos and peculiar narrative gaps that would inform his mature style in great films to come like A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Love Streams (1984).”

New York. Previewing All the News That’s Fit to Screen, a series running at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts through June 28, Dan Barry riffs freely in the NYT on “why reporters and editors love movies about themselves.”

Download. The latest addition to Nihon Cine Art‘s collection of Art Theatre Guild pamphlets: Kazuo Kuroki’s The Assassination of Ryoma (1974).

In other news. “The season’s latest feature destined to boost the demand for kids’ archery lessons, Brave might disappoint many ardent Pixar loyalists while simultaneously delighting old-time Disney fans,” writes Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter. More early reviews from Peter Debruge (Variety) and Brent Simon (Screen).

Obit. For Filmmaker, Jon Reiss remembers Oscar-nominated production designer J. Michael Riva, who died last week at 63. “He found artistry in everything around him, and everything he did was filled with artistry. While he is known primarily for production designing multiple iterations of big Hollywood spectacles (most versions of Iron Man(s), Charlie’s Angels(s), Spiderman(s), Lethal Weapon(s), even his smaller works incorporated spectacle (Goonies, Buckaroo Bonzai)…. It was his attention to detail that elevated the audiences’ experience of these films to another level, whether it was the shape of Jamie Fox’s glasses in the upcoming Django Unchained or the shower of gold confetti in the final scene of Charlie’s Angels.”

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