Daily | Sallitt, Makhmalbaf, Antonioni

Artists and Models

Jerry Lewis in Frank Tashlin’s ‘Artists and Models’ (1955)

It’s a wildly busy weekend at the New York Film Festival, but for those of us who can’t be there, editors Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu have got us covered. They’ve just rolled out a second wave of essays for LOLA 4. Amelie Hastie revisits three films that “represent broader trends in contemporary independent and global cinema that invite us to pause and reflect on connections between our natural world and our social relations in it—what Kracauer terms ‘psychophysical correspondences.'”

“Why does a widescreen format that, five years after its initial launch in 1953, appeared to be generally out of favour, still evoke an intense fascination among film scholars and cinephiles?” asks Sam Roggen at the top of his piece on CinemaScope.

Veronika Ferdman: “For a film that takes love – perhaps the most mysterious and shimmery-winged of all things – as its central topic, Kira Muratova’s Getting to Know the Big Wide World (1979) remains firmly rooted in the material and earthy.”

“There are some surprising correspondences between the writing of Clement Greenberg and the films of Frank Tashlin.” Okay, this one, by Burke Hilsabeck, is the one I’ll be spending time with first.

And the fifth and final piece for now (there’ll be more) comes from Yvette Bíró: “It is unavoidable: applying the title of Wong Kar-wai’s new film, The Grandmaster (2013), to the author himself.”

Trailer for the 4th Festival International du Film de La Roche-sur-Yon, October 16 through 21

More reading. Slate‘s Dana Stevens writes about catching up with Dan Sallitt‘s four features, noting that, watching them all in one go, they “start to cohere into a fascinating work in progress. They’re all, in one way or another, intimate, small-scale domestic dramas—although ‘drama’ as a genre category seems somehow too stiff and formal for Sallitt, a slippery trickster who is often wickedly funny and who clearly enjoys messing with his audience’s expectations and their heads. All four films are highly verbal (‘talky,’ in the unnecessarily derogatory term), with densely written dialogue in which every line matters. And all four have moments of uncanny insight into the behavior of people in closely enmeshed, ambivalent relationships, whether it’s parents and children, siblings, or lovers.” And let me once again recommend Peter Labuza‘s engaging conversation with Dan Sallitt.

Adina Hoffman has a terrific piece in the Nation on Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s controversial trip this summer to the Jerusalem International Film Festival: “The former Islamic militant and death-row prisoner under the shah, current secular activist for a democratic Iran, and political exile from his homeland has come to Jewish West Jerusalem—that is, Israel.” What follows is a portrait of the city, “as, nearby, Egypt seethes and Syria smolders,” and an appreciation of the director: “[T]hinking back across all the thousands of hours of sitting in the dark and at my desk that being a film critic entailed, I can say that seeing his movies—and, to a lesser though still important degree, those of his countryman Abbas Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf’s gifted oldest daughter, Samira—did more to rearrange in a lasting way my sense of what film could do than any others I took in during nearly a decade at the job.”

At his fantastic site, Letters of Note, Sean Usher posts two letters he’s been able to obtain from producer Si Litvinoff and the BFI. In the first, Litvinoff sends John Schlesinger a few preliminary ideas regarding an adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange—as well as a draft of Terry Southern’s screenplay. When Marianne Faithfull, the Beatles (who’d considered tackling the soundtrack), and others heard that Southern preferred the idea of casting David Hemmings (who’d just broken through in Blow-Up) as Alex over Mick Jagger, they sent a vibrant letter of protest. Eventually, of course, Stanley Kubrick would direct the film with Malcolm McDowell.

Antonioni in Venice: just one of dozens of newsreel-like clips the festival’s uploaded

Book. For Film International, Jez Owen reviews Selected Film Essays and Interviews, a collection of work by “the eminent University of Boulder resident lecturer, critic and theorist Bruce F. Kawin…. [T]he editors have given daylight to what is a strikingly relevant oeuvre.”

New York. “An entire generation of punk fans are familiar with Jem Cohen’s work, largely thanks to Instrument, his 2001 documentary about Fugazi,” writes Jason Diamond at the top of his interview for Flavorwire. “The film stands as not only the best living visual document of what I consider to be the most important band of the last 25 years, but also the finest punk/DIY documentary ever made.” Cohen’s latest project, We Have An Anchor, will be presented once more tonight at BAM.

“Coming to Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura today means having to strip away a great many preconceptions—about Antonioni’s status as a model genius-auteur, about his alleged association with a certain strand of high-end art-house elitism, and about the presumed chilliness and anti-expressiveness of the films he made in the remarkably fruitful ten years between Il Grido (1957) and Blow-Up (1966).” Max Nelson is here—well, at Reverse Shot—to help shake off those preconceptions. And L’Avventura (1960) screens tomorrow at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Vienna. The Austrian Film Museum’s Joe Dante series runs through October 13. An accompanying book edited by Nil Baskar and Gabe Klinger is now available in English.

A new, melancholic clip from Lars von Trier’s forthcoming Nymphomaniac

In the works. Katie Holmes has joined Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in Phillip Noyce’s The Giver. Borys Kit for the Hollywood Reporter: “Brenton Thwaites is the young star of the sci-fi project, which tells of a society in which there is no conflict, racism or sickness.”

Obit. The BFI remembers Peter Worden, the “initial and tireless custodian and conservator” of the Peter Worden Collection of Mitchell and Kenyon Films, “consisting of hundreds of films of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain… discovered in a basement in 1994.”

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