We begin with Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s “personal report on an adventure called film.factory,” which is “usually thought of and referred to as a film school that’s been recently set up in Sarajevo, housed at the Sarajevo Film Academy. But Béla Tarr, who created it, isn’t happy with this classification. He’d rather call it a workshop or, as its name suggests, a factory that produces films in which he serves as a producer.” Just as one example of the goings on there, JR introduced a screening of Sátántangó (1994), “followed the next day by Béla lecturing for four-and-a-half hours about how he made it, shot by shot and take by take, using a sort of post-it storyboard as his narrative thread.” They’re going to be deluged with applications.
Meantime, back in 1993, Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote: “Just for my own edification, I’ve put together a list of the 12 greatest living narrative filmmakers—not so much personal favorites as individuals who, in my estimation, have done the most to change the way we perceive the world and are likeliest to be remembered and valued half a century from now. The names I’ve come up with are Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Federico Fellini, Samuel Fuller, Jean-Luc Godard, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Nagisa Oshima, Alain Resnais, and Ousmane Sembene.” And what follows is an assessment of the work of Antonioni.
Jeff Wall’s commentary on Pedro Costa‘s Ossos (1997)
More reading. Dan Sallitt shares a 35-page document with us: “Notes on the Extant Films of Mikio Naruse.”
“The 1980s were rife with cinematic Trojan horses that proved more troubling and complex than their packaging, or pop cultural context, would indicate,” argues Eric Hynes at Moving Image Source:
Witness Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981), a self-scrutinizing romantic communist epic that, by turning up mere months after conservative savior Ronald Reagan’s electoral landslide, is perhaps the most politically countercultural Hollywood movie ever released; Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff (1983), a shaggy-dog dissertation on our twinned taste for individuality and collectivism disguised as a pro-NASA prestige picture; and Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas (1984), a road movie melodrama that simultaneously dismantles and exults in the myth of the taciturn Western hero, These three films in particular explored the dawn of the Reagan era as a time for reimagining and reevaluating the American frontier—in borders actual and imagined, ideological and metaphoric, collective and personal. To scramble Reagan’s own words, they each interrogate our heroic dreams, and honestly consider the costs of America’s “greatness.”
Speaking of Wenders, he’s presenting “50 (that’s right, 50) Golden Rules of Moviemaking” at Moviemaker.
Luke McKernan introduces us to his forthcoming book, Charles Urban: Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897-1925.
John Preston has a good long profile of Nicolas Roeg for the Telegraph: “At an early screening [of Performance (1970)], one Warner Bros executive was reportedly so appalled by the sight of Mick Jagger and James Fox exchanging sexual partners, clothes and identities that he threw up.”
Making David Lynch’s The Big Dream. Via Ray Pride
For Bomb, Michael Saur has “a conversation about art and peace with David Lynch.”
A Piece of Monologue is running an extract from Anthony Paraskeva‘s 2012 essay, “Digital Modernism and the Unfinished Performance in David Lynch’s Inland Empire,” as well as a short piece by Michael Keane, “The Soundscapes of Béla Tarr.”
In the Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs considers “the wide world of Richard Fleischer.”
The second part of R. Emmet Sweeney‘s survey of the career of Allan Dwan is up at Movie Morlocks: “Tennessee’s Partner (1955) is Silver Lode’s  gentle counterpart, another tale of a town’s greed and corruption, but with the focus shifted to two lonely drifters, played with easy charm by John Payne and Ronald Reagan. There is one moment in the film that moves me deeply every time I see it. After the requisite circlings of the Dwan storyline, Payne and Reagan reach a détente. Forgiveness is proffered and accepted, and Payne places his hand on Reagan’s shoulder. I don’t know why this gesture affects me so – perhaps because it is a rare pause in the whirl of the Dwan universe, a moment of beneficent calm before Dwan’s irresistible entertainment machine cranks back up again to take them away.”
“Joseph Kahn’s Detention (2011) is one of the best new films I have seen in the last several years.” If you can handle the spoilers, you’ll want to read Steven Shapiro‘s thoughts.
Critical Theory has a bone to pick with many who’ve had their own bones to pick with Margarethe von Trotta‘s Hannah Arendt: “Whether or not Arendt was wrong about Eichmann, in a way, misses the point. A host of reviews, including The New Republic‘s were quick to criticize the movie, and Arendt, for being wrong about the banality of evil. What’s missed, however, is host of empirical studies, from the Stanford Prison Experiments to the Milgram Experiment, seem to verify the ease at which people can be turned into evil monsters. Even if Arendt was wrong about Eichmann, she was still right about the nature of evil.”
At Thompson on Hollywood, David Chute reviews Brett Martin‘s Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution, From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, while Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn reviews My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles—a book that Glenn Kenny finds to be “a substantively better book than most of its positive notices would have you believe.” All in all, it’s “about 250 pages worth of the company of an artistic genius who was also a first-rate mind (as we know these qualities are not always mutually exclusive) and the sheer conversational, philosophical, polemical and emotional pleasure such a thing organically affords. There is poignancy here, too, afforded by Welles’ frequently querulous personality and his roundabout ways of acknowledging his flaw.” Meantime, Will Sloan interviews Jaglom for NPR.
In other news. “Film collector, curator and historian Fernando Pena figured he’d made the biggest discovery of his career when, back in 2008, he uncovered a complete print of the original, uncut version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,” begins Scott Foundas in Variety. “The 1927 German expressionist sci-fi epic had been gathering dust in the archives of Argentina’s national Museo del Cine. But one month ago, Pena topped himself when he happened upon an equally remarkable gem: an alternate cut of Buster Keaton’s The Blacksmith. If Metropolis was Pena’s Holy Grail of lost film finds, count The Blacksmith as his Shroud of Turin.” A related list from Flavorwire‘s Jason Bailey: “17 Amazing Stories of Lost and Found Films.”
“The Venice Film Festival is celebrating its upcoming 70th edition with 70 shorts on the future of filmmaking each from a different auteur all over the world,” reports Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. “The first batch of helmers who will contribute to Venice’s Future Reloaded initiative are Bernardo Bertolucci, Paul Schrader, Shekhar Kapur, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Abbas Kiarostami, Walter Salles, and Monte Hellman.”
“25 New Faces of Independent Film,” the complete 2013 package, plus an archive dating back to 2001, is now up at Filmmaker: “We like to think that our ’25 New Faces’ provides a snapshot of the young independent filmmaking community, and if any conclusions can be drawn from this year’s list it’s that the DIY imperative has combined with the democratization of filmmaking tools to create filmmakers with astonishingly robust skill sets.”
“Movies in movies: A montage.” Via Vulture
For the Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan talks with Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf about his controversial visit to Israel, specifically to the Jerusalem Film Festival: “I went there to take a message of peace.”
Mira Nair, on the other hand, “has rejected an invitation to attend the Haifa International Film Festival, saying she will only visit Israel ‘when the walls come down,'” reports Harriet Sherwood for the Observer. “In a series of messages that Nair posted on Twitter on Friday evening, she said she was backing the Palestinian campaign for a cultural boycott of Israel in protest at its 46-year occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.”
List. Criterion’s posted a list Richard Linklater presented at SXSW in 2000: “Ten (sixteen, actually) Reasons I Love Two-Lane Blacktop.”
Los Angeles. In the Weekly, Michael Nordine recommends the American Cinematheque series Ocean of Dreams: The Visionary Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky, on through July 29.
London. Iain Sinclair has been “seduced by an enticing offer: the opportunity to nominate 70 films, one for each year survived.” As he explains in the Guardian, “My choices were, to a degree, influenced by ongoing conversations with the film-essayist and novelist Chris Petit. We had been playing with the idea of an anti-pantheon, a difficult thing to define. These were films that struck us as having energy, attack, context – but which stood outside the usual registers of excellence, either as achieved works of art or as smartly delivered industrial product.” The 70×70 film season is off and running for a full year. Meantime, 3:AM gives us a sneak peak of the Barbican special season Urban Wandering – Film and the London Landscape.
Thought in Action: The Art of the Essay Film is a season running at BFI Southbank from August 1 through 28. Appropriately enough, Sight & Sound has asked Kevin B. Lee to warm up the crowd. In the text accompanying his video essay, “The essay film – some thoughts of discontent,” he writes that “having watched and re-watched most of the films in the series, and engaged with several critical texts on the essay film, I’m no longer even certain if most of the videos I’ve produced over the years qualify as ‘essayistic.’ … My own working definition of the essay film errs on the side of inclusion at the expense of qualitative judgment or inflated promises of uniqueness: for me, an essay film explicitly reflects on the materials it presents, to actualize the thinking process itself.” And at Criticwire, Sam Adams embeds “(Almost) Every Film” from which Kevin quotes in his piece.
A new trailer for Davide Manuli’s The Legend of Kaspar Hauser
with Vincent Gallo. Via the Playlist
In the works. John Lithgow’s joining Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine, and Ellen Burstyn in the cast of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, reports TheWrap.
With Elysium out in a few weeks, Mark Yarm‘s profiled Neil Blomkamp for Wired, and the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth notes that the director mentions having drawn up an 18-page treatment for District 10, which would, of course, be a sequel to his breakthrough, District 9: “Of course, he won’t spill any details about it except to say it’s ‘really fucking cool’ nor is he committed to putting on his schedule.”
Speaking of sequels, Andrew Kevin Walker, who wrote Se7en, is at least tweaking Steven Zaillian’s screenplay for The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally bestselling series after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher may or may not direct; Peter Hall has details at Movies.com.
Listening. In the latest episode of Filmwax Radio, Adam Schartoff talks with Andrew Bujalski about Computer Chess and with Joshua Oppenheimer about The Act of Killing. Speaking of which, here’s Francine Prose in the New York Review of Books: “In its revealing examination of the genesis of moral conscience and of the psychology of evil, The Act of Killing is less like any film I can recall than like journalist Gita Sereny’s book-length interviews with Albert Speer and the commandant of Treblinka.”
More viewing. An Alfonso Cuarón double. Film.com has him discussing the difficulty of making his next feature (4’50”): “Reportedly opening with a nearly 17-minute shot and containing fewer cuts in its 88 minutes than most films do in their trailers, Gravity is a classic suspense yarn with a mind-boggling technical flourish.” And at Indiewire, Alison Willmore has the trailer (2’34”) for his upcoming sci-fi series, Believe.
And then, this (7’12”). In one of the more unique plugs for a book you’re likely to see, Alex Cox respectfully disagrees with Errol Morris. The book, by the way, is The President and the Provocateur: The Parallel Lives of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Original theatrical trailer for Douglas Sirk‘s The Tarnished Angels (1957),
via Masters of Cinema
Obits. “Italian screenwriter, author, and playwright Vincenzo Cerami, who was Oscar-nommed for penning Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful and worked with top Italo helmers, including Marco Bellocchio and Gianni Amelio, died on Wednesday in Rome,” reports Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli.
“Comic star Mel Smith, who has died aged 60, became a household name during the 1980s when TV sketch shows Not the Nine O’Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones were at the height of their success,” reports the BBC. “But he was also a writer, actor and acclaimed director whose love of performing started at an early age.”