Introducing Issue 70 of Senses of Cinema, editor Rolando Caputo notes that “the spectre of Fellini has been in the air of late, mainly due to La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty).” Writing about Paolo Sorrentino‘s Oscar-winner, Carlotta Fonzi Kliemann assures us that these Italians, “with all their bizarre peculiarities and existential ennui, are true and real.” Whether Italy was in better shape as Fellini was pulling together a collection of notes and interviews, odds and ends to be published in 1980 as Fare un film (Making a Film) is debatable. Regardless, Christopher B. White has translated the volume and presents “an excerpt from the book in advance of its forthcoming publication in late 2014 in which Fellini discusses his fondness for art as a child, his first memories of cinema, and Roberto Rossellini’s influence on his decision to become a film director.”
Other features in this new issue include Jorge Latorre on Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves, Peter Verstraten on Alex van Warmerdam, Brigitta Wagner‘s interview with Josephine Decker and Christopher Mildren‘s remembrance of Miklós Jancsó. A special dossier, “Key Moments in Australian Cinema,” gathers seventeen of them, plus: Cinémathèque program notes, festival reports (including Darren Hughes on why he chose to focus on the shorts when he went to Rotterdam; on a related note, the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody argues the case for paying shorts more attention) and book reviews.
MoMA’s tribute to Tilda Swinton
David Bordwell has been spoiling us lately as he explores the cultural milieu from which three major film critics emerged in the 1940s. Following two great posts on James Agee, he’s just posted a second entry on Manny Farber. Up next: Parker Tyler. As “a sort of adjunct to David Bordwell’s excellent two-part study,” Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s posted a “very personal essay” on Farber from 1993. He’s also added links to his 2009 review of the Library of America collection Farber on Film and to “the ninth issue of Donald Phelps’ long-defunct magazine For Now, devoted entirely to Farber’s writing (including some of his art criticism).”
Three more recent posts from Jonathan Rosenbaum need mentioning, his 1976 piece on Barry Lyndon, a 1995 essay on Otto Preminger and a lecture delivered in 2001 on Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black (1962).
Interviewed in the new issue of The Seventh Art are Ben Wheatley (A Field in England), Mark Peranson (La última película), Frank Pavich (Jodorowsky’s Dune) and Ramon Zürcher (The Strange Little Cat). Spencer Everhart has also posted an alert: we can watch Tsai Ming-liang’s Journey to the West, one of the best films of last month’s Berlinale and featuring Lee Kang-sheng and Denis Lavant, one more day for free, courtesy of Arte.
At diagonal thoughts, Stoffel Debuysere has posted his “Notes on Militant Cinema (1967-1977).”
In the new Sight & Sound: Sukhdev Sandhu on Bill Morrison’s The Great Flood (2013) and Adam Preston‘s conversation with David Hare about Turks & Caicos, one of three films he’s made with Bill Nighy for the BBC.
Recently at Criterion’s Current: David Sterritt on Errol Morris‘s A Brief History of Time (1991; for more, see Tina Hassannia in Slant [4/5] and Nick Dawson‘s interview with Morris for Filmmaker) and Catherine Russell on Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress (1958; for more, see Jordan Cronk at Slant [4/5] and Mike D’Angelo at the AV Club [B+]).
Christopher Walken Dance Now
“[I]n the digital age what is left for a critic to supply?” asks Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson in Prospect. Meantime, in the New Republic, Esther Breger calls Anthony Lane‘s piece on Scarlett Johansson “the worst profile I can remember reading in The New Yorker.”
John Wyver reports on last week’s conference in Brussels, Imagining the Past: Ken Russell, Biography and the Art of Making History.
IN OTHER NEWS
B. Ruby Rich: “Assuming the editorship of Film Quarterly at a time when nearly every element of the medium of cinema is up for reinvention is no small burden.”
Just launched! [in]Transition is “a collaboration between MediaCommons and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ official publication, Cinema Journal” and “the first peer-reviewed academic journal of videographic film and moving image studies.”
“Although I’ll miss reading Alison Willmore’s TV criticism in Indiewire‘s virtual pages, I’m delighted she’s been named BuzzFeed‘s first film critic,” writes Criticwire‘s Sam Adams. “The fact that a site whose core mission is to “create things people will want to share” thinks there’s a place for criticism amid its signature lists and GIFs is an encouraging sign for anyone who cares about the art form—especially since it’s safe to assume BuzzFeed wouldn’t make that move if they didn’t have the data to back it up.” He then talks with Alison and BuzzFeed‘s entertainment editorial director, Jace Lacob.
From the Los Angeles Times: “Think of it as TCM for librarians: Vintage Books has announced that it will reprint books that were the basis for classic films.”
Anticipation mounts as we await the lineup announcements from Cannes. Indiewire‘s got a 40-film wish list, the Playlist‘s posted its predictions and Neil Young‘s already placing odds on the Palme d’Or contenders. But of course, there are other festivals.
Indiewire‘s Max O’Connell has got the lineups for Ebertfest (April 23 through 27) and the second First Time Fest (April 3 through 7). And Eric Eidelstein‘s got the lineup for Nashville (April 17 through 26).
The 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival (April 10 through 13) is looking pretty enticing.
Meantime, a few final notes on SXSW. Martin Shore’s Take Me to the River has won the 24 Beats per Second Audience Award. Steve Greene introduces Indiewire‘s survey of critics’ rankings. Wrapping up this year’s edition: Justin Chang (Variety), Eric Kohn (Indiewire) and at Hammer to Nail, Mike S. Ryan and Michael Tully.
IN THE WORKS
Film Comment editor Gavin Smith‘s got another jam-packed round: “Joshua Oppenheimer will follow up The Act of Killing with The Look of Silence which continues the earlier film’s examination of the Indonesian genocide, this time from the point of view of a family who confront their son’s killers.” Jerzy Skolimowski is working on a “catastrophic thriller,” Mohsen Makhmalbaf is shooting his first English-language film in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Maren Ade carries on working on Toni Erdmann, “another film about a strained relationship, this time focusing on woman whose father believes she has lost her sense of humor and proceeds to bombard her with jokes.” And there’s more where that came from.
Full trailer for Fruit Chan‘s The Midnight After
“After the success of his Polish-language debut Ida, director Pawel Pawlikowski is planning another Polish film, which he describes as ‘a love story across 30 years,’ loosely based on his own parents’ relationship,” reports Screen‘s Wendy Mitchell.
An Evening with Laida Lertxundi happens tomorrow at Light Industry.
“Oscar-winning British cinematographer Oswald Morris, who worked with directors including John Huston and Stanley Kubrick, has died aged 98,” reports the BBC. Morris also worked with David Lean, Carol Reed, Sidney Lumet and Jim Henson. “In all, he photographed nearly 60 movies. Morris was awarded a Bafta fellowship in 1997 and received the British Society of Cinematographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.” The Telegraph notes that his “career bridged the cinematic shift from the mood-infused chiaroscuro of the 1940s silver screen to the lush celluloid palette of the Technicolor productions of the latter half of the 20th century.” More from Brian Baxter in the Guardian.
“Karl ‘Baumi’ Baumgartner, one of Germany’s leading producers and independent distributors, has died,” reports Variety‘s Leo Barraclough. “Last month, the Berlin Film Festival presented Baumgartner with its Berlinale Camera award, which is given to film personalities or institutions to which it feels particularly indebted and wishes to express its thanks.”
“James Rebhorn, the busy character actor who played the father of Claire Danes’ troubled CIA officer Carrie Mathison on the Showtime drama Homeland, has died.” Erik Hayden and Mike Barnes for the Hollywood Reporter: “During his prolific five-decade career, the Philadelphia native also was memorable as the district attorney that sent Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer to jail on the Seinfeld finale in 1998 and as the prosecution’s FBI expert automotive witness in the hilarious film My Cousin Vinny (1992).” Rebhorn was 65. “He played the wealthy shipbuilder in The Talented Mr. Ripley who hires Matt Damon’s Ripley to track down his playboy son (Jude Law) in Italy,” notes Scott Tobias at the Dissolve. “He was the man behind the desk in David Fincher’s The Game… It’s safe to say every film lover knew who James Rebhorn was, but few knew his name.”
Louis CK vs. Bradley Cooper
70’07”. James Rocchi talks with Anne Thompson about her new book, The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System.
90’34”. Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA , Wild Man Blues  and Running From Crazy ) is Adam Shartoff‘s guest on the 200th episode of Filmwax Radio.
119’47”. On the third Optical podcast, Mark Boszko talks with Ian Brier about Walter Murch’s early sound design, with Scott Leberecht and Christina Lee Storm about the state of the VFX industry and with Ben Radatz about Saul Bass’s title designs.