Well, this is pretty damn major: Martin Scorsese in the New York Review of Books. The title of the piece is “The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema,” and he begins by looking back on his youth, the way he connected with his family in the darkness of the theater, and asks, “What was it about cinema? What was so special about it? I think I’ve discovered some of my own answers to that question a little bit at a time over the years.” Following exaltations of light and movement, Scorsese argues that visual literacy is just as vital as verbal literacy before segueing into a plea for the preservation of our visual heritage.
“Birth to Death as told by Cinema,” via Slate
More reading. The fourth issue of desistfilm is up. Julie Grossman and Therese Grisham aim “to unlock gender from specific genre types by way of Ida Lupino’s melonoir films of the 1950s.” For Adrian Martin, George Romero’s Land of the Dead (2005) “is, at every moment, a jaw-droppingly audacious film.” There’s a piece (collectively written?) on the “Electroclash Spaghetti Westerns” of Davide Manuli (La Leggenda di Kaspar Hauser). José Sarmiento Hinojosa celebrates FJ Ossang’s subversion of noir, while Mónica Delgado, Michèle Collery, and Mina Blumenfield interview the “punk gladiator, guerrilla poet, musician, chanteur, and filmmaker.”
John A. Riley: “The well-worn tropes of the detective and police procedural genres are, in [Bong Joon-ho’s] Memories of Murder , reinvigorated and fashioned into something sly and critical that retains a hard-hitting power.” Also, a note on Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s Mekong Hotel (2012) and a longer piece on hauntology and the work of Adam Curtis and Patrick Keiller. Claudia Siefen reviews Tom Mes’s book, Re-Agitator: A Decade of Writing on Takashi Miike. Sarah Nichols argues that David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) “is, in the best sense, unhinged.” Nicole Brenez finds “a modest version” of the “apocalyptic protocol” in Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2012).
And the new, second issue of cléo is up, featuring editor Kiva Reardon‘s interview with Athina Rachel Tsangari, director (Attenberg), producer (Dogtooth, Pearblossom Hwy, Before Midnight), and occasional actor (Ariadni in Before Midnight and Cousin from Greece in Slacker). Kiva Reardon‘s guide to the rest of the issue:
In his piece on Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, Andrew Gilbert looks at this filmmaker’s interpretation of hearths and home life. Mallory Andrews examines Todd Haynes’s Safe in the light of Barbara Ehrenreich’s writings, producing a nuanced critique of supposed “self-help” mentalities. Adam Cook sheds light on Kathleen Shannon, an underappreciated Canadian talent…. Tina Hassannia looks at two representations of female homelessness in Agnès Varda’s Vagabond and Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy. Last, Lindsay Jensen takes down the mommy issues in Joseph Kosinski’s recent Oblivion.
Catherine Grant points us to a new issue of Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, “Comic Book Intensities.” Lots for anime fans in there, too.
India carries on celebrating its cinema’s centenary, and the British press has been popping in and out of the party all year long. Today, the Guardian‘s running quite the package, with novelist Amit Chaudhuri recalling being drawn in by the work of Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, Kamal Amrohi, and early Raj Kapoor before succumbing to the seduction of Bollywood—a term, by the way, which Irrfan Khan is less than happy with. Nosheen Iqbal interviews the actor best known outside of India for his roles in Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi. Also: Pamela Hutchinson on the Indian films before 1913; Rachel Dwyer‘s list of “10 classics of Indian cinema, decade by decade”; and Rahul Verma‘s “Top 10 Indian cinema soundtracks.” Both of those lists, by the way, are laced with clips.
Robert Altman on The Player (1992), via The Seventh Art
At Slate, Ben Kenigsberg wonders whether Hollywood might be imploding after all; and for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Andrew Gumbel talks with Lynda Obst about her new book, Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business. Before the chat, Gumbel notes that the studios “have severed most of their deals with established screenwriters, stopped taking all but the rarest of pitch meetings, and largely given up on what was once a Hollywood staple: the mid-budget character-driven drama or comedy. In short, the world of The Player—the inane pitches, the production deals, the constant interaction between executives, agents, directors and writers—has vanished, replaced by a reality that, in any other cultural moment, would seem inherently absurd. Most poignantly, a movie like The Player—intelligent, scabrous, funny, reliant on sharp writing and spirited ensemble acting—could not now get made.”
New York. With the exhibition From Mr. Chips to Scarface: Walter White’s Transformation in Breaking Bad opening today at the Museum of the Moving Image (it’ll be on view through October 27), Moving Image Source runs an excerpt from Brett Martin‘s book, Difficult Men.
Chicago. The 3rd Annual Chicago French Film Festival opens tonight and runs through Thursday. The Reader‘s got your guide.
Berkeley. Brian Darr has been “slow to warm to Demy,” but his interest has been rekindled by Tales of Love: The Enchanted World of Jacques Demy, a series on through August 31 at the Pacific Film Archive.
Los Angeles. Live and In Color: An Evening with Simon Tarr happens on Sunday.
Montreal. Michael Guillén carries on dispatching from the Fantasia Film Festival, on through August 7.
A new clip from Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, via the Playlist
In the works. “For his latest project since a series of declarations that he was at least stepping away from feature filmmaking, [Steven] Soderbergh… will direct the first 10-episode season of a new Cinemax series called The Knick, set in a New York hospital in the year 1900,” reports Dave Itzkoff for the New York Times. Soderbergh will also executive produce the series starring Clive Owen.
James Gray will direct the first episode of the Sundance Channel’s police drama, The Red Road, reports Beth Hanna at Thompson on Hollywood.
“Rosamund Pike has been offered and is expected to accept the starring role opposite Ben Affleck in [David Fincher’s] mystery thriller Gone Girl.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tatiana Siegel has details.
In other news. “Film4 FrightFest’s Variety Award, which was inaugurated last year, will go to Brit helmer Ben Wheatley,” reports Leo Barraclough.
Lists. Spectrum Culture picks its “Best Films of 2013 (So Far),” while R. Kurt Osenlund introduces the House Next Door‘s list of the “15 Best Performances of 2013 So Far.”
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