Daily | Screen Machine 5, Akerman, Lanthimos

Breaking Bad

‘Breaking Bad’: Jesse and Jane wait for a signal

“How many more articles, podcasts, interviews, panel discussions, and documentaries do we need glibly asserting that feature films are dead, serial television is the new king, and that each new cable serial represents a cultural high water mark?” asks Essays Editor Huw Walmsley-Evans, introducing the new issue of Screen Machine. “The trouble with this sort of talk is twofold: it negates critical distinctions between different texts by lumping them all in the same (problematic) category of ‘quality long-form television,’ and it obscures the interest in, and value of, other genres and formats. These other formats make up the vast, vast bulk of what television is. Rather than hagiography or triumphalism, the essays and reviews on television in this issue are concerned with how television really functions, what it’s really like.”

Issue 5 features Brad Nguyen on televisual narrative vs. traditional film narrative and Elliott Logan on Breaking Bad, beginning, of course, with the ending, noting that “in our shallow-focus obsession with making the unwieldy, sprawling mass of a long-running television show fit upon the head of a needle, we might miss what we found so compelling to look at all along.” Plus, Walmsley-Evans on Unsolved Mysteries, Robbie Fordyce on Bored to Death, Anders Furze on Arrested Development, and more.


“Amazing!” exclaims David Cairns. “Picked up the special edition of Positif from 1964 in Lyon for two measly euros.” Inside, he’s found a “piquant questionnaire” about cinema and eros and proceeds to fill it out (“Yes, cinema has influenced my erotic life”), inviting others to do so as well in the comments. And that’s happening right now.

Design for Living

Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins in Lubitsch’s ‘Design for Living’ (1933)

Kim Morgan revisits “Ernst Lubitsch’s charming pre-Code transgressions,” those “comedies made between 1929 and 1934, most co-scripted by Samson Raphaelson…. These movies offer not just a twist, but a twist atop a twist, and a joke atop the joke: the ‘superjoke,’ as Billy Wilder called it. Those themes repeat: the lively, often-painful love triangle, the sexual and romantic jealousy, the thrill of sex, and in this case, the carnal kicks co-mingling with the art of stealing, an act more erotic than gold-digging.”

Also at the Dissolve, Keith Phipps looks back to 1971 and to two dour visions of the future: Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and George Lucas’s THX-1138.


The Rome Film Festival (November 8 through 17) announced some time ago that James Gray would be heading up the Competition jury; today, they’ve revealed the full jury for CinemaXXI, “the section dedicated to new trends in international cinema.” The president? Larry Clark.


New York. Chantal Akerman‘s “formalist portraits of New York—two of which were made during her 18-month stay here, the other during a brief return to Manhattan a year after the premiere of her masterwork Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)—stand as some of greatest contemplations of the city ever made,” argues Melissa Anderson. Hotel Monterey and Le Chambre, both from 1972, will screen at MoMA on Friday and Wednesday.

Also in the Voice, Alan Scherstuhl previews The Middle Ages on Film: Vikings!, a series of five films screening at Anthology from Friday through Monday.

The Korean American Film Festival New York is on from tomorrow through Saturday.

Chicago. With the Facets Night School closing down this weekend, Michael Smith looks back on some of the programming highlights of the past five years.

Los Angeles. With Bruce Baillie: Coming into Vision, the UCLA Film & Television Archive presents “three early masterworks: his rarely-screened and haunting first film, On Sundays (1961), the landscape meditation To Parsifal (1963), and Quixote (1965), Baillie‘s sumptuously layered, epic road poem on mid-century America and Americana, and others.”

Austin. The Housecore Horror Film Festival is on from tomorrow through Sunday.


At Cineuropa, Joseph Proimakis reports that Yorgos Lanthimos has received another shot of funding for The Lobster, “a love story set in a dystopian future, where all single men and women are apprehended and incarcerated in the Hotel, a government facility where they are forced to find a partner within 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing, and are then released into the Woods.” Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione‘s got the cast list: Jason Clarke, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, and Olivia Colman.


Sokurov on the set: Le Louvre

Alexander Sokurov‘s currently at work on Francofonia – Le Louvre Under German Occupation, and the Parisian landmark closed its doors for a day for the shoot. Vassilis Economou‘s posted several photos.


Recently updated entries: 12 Years a Slave, Bastards, Blue Is the Warmest Color, and The Square.

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