With Issue 71, Senses of Cinema revamps its site to offer, as administrator Stuart Richards puts it, “an enhanced navigational experience and a responsive design—which means that it’s easier than ever to get stuck into an issue of Senses while using your tablet or smartphone.” Looking good.
New book reviews editor Daniel Fairfax is all over this new issue. He interviews Sergio Caballero (Finisterrae, La Distancia), writes about Jean-Pierre Léaud‘s performance in Jacques Rivette‘s Out 1 (1971)—part of a Léaud package introduced by Philippa Hawker—files a report on Cannes 2014, and reviews Michael Witt’s new book, Jean-Luc Godard: Cinema Historian, a study of Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988-1998).
There are two pieces on films by Alfonso Cuarón—Ben Ogrodnik on Children of Men (2006) and Stuart Bender on Gravity (2013)—plus Bonnie Fan on Ritik Ghatak’s The Cloud Capped Star (1960), Sam Littman on contemporary Romanian cinema, Clint Stivers on David Lynch‘s Mulholland Drive (2001), Joseph Natoli on how audiences respond to the Hunger Games movies, Marc Saint-Cyr on Aki Kaurismäki and Akira Kurosawa, Tan Xing Long Ian on Béla Tarr, more festival reports, program notes, book reviews and two new inductees to the Great Directors database: Kelly Reichardt and Lucian Pintilie.
Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s posted a new essay, “Working-Class America in American Cinema of the Depression and New Deal,” reminding us that “working-class characters were not what most audiences wanted to see, even as identification figures, unless they were tied in some fashion to gangsters and/or stars of the stage or screen.”
By Nina Paley
Michael Pattison in the Notebook on Oscar Micheaux: “While his prolific output was justified by a sustained demand from and popularity with his target audiences, the films’ chief point of interest today has little to do with pioneering form or narrative style. They tend to be crudely made, badly acted and incoherent and unwieldy when it comes to plot. As quickly evinced by the several features that formed a small retrospective at the 25th edition of FIDMarseille, however, Micheaux was consciously aspiring to a formal sophistication, through which his films could be taken seriously by black audiences and, in turn, be viewed as something to aspire to.”
In the Atlantic, Steven Heller tells the story behind the creation of “a font that speaks for a silent film,” a project initiated by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and realized by Chank Fonts founder Charles Anderson.
Charles Matthews reviews James Harvey’s Watching Them Be: Star Presence on the Screen from Garbo to Balthazar for the Washington Post: “Harvey, who has to his credit such fine books as Movie Love in the Fifties and Romantic Comedy in Hollywood, sees, thinks and feels intensely when he watches a movie. More important, he has the gift of evoking what he has seen and thought and felt.”
The latest best-of-2014-so-far list comes from Dennis Cozzalio.
IN OTHER NEWS
Locarno‘s announced that Gianfranco Rosi, winner of last year’s Golden Lion in Venice for Sacro GRA, will preside over the Concorso internazionale (competition) jury during the 67th edition running from August 6 through 16. The other jury members are Thomas Arslan, Alice Braga, Connie Nielsen and Diao Yinan, winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale for Black Coal, Thin Ice.
Syrian director Ossama Mohammed will preside over the jury for the Concorso Cineasti del presente, for first and second films. The other jurors: Fribourg Festival artistic director Thierry Jobin, Don McKellar, Clémence Poésy and editor Mary Stephen.
Rutger Hauer—that’s right, Rutger Hauer—will preside over the jury for the Pardi di domani, with its Swiss and international short film competitions, and he’ll be joined by film directors Helvécio Marins Jr., Lois Patiño, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy (The Tribe) and Nicole Vögele.
New York. Lady in the Dark: Crime Films from Columbia Pictures, 1932–1957 is on at MoMA through August 4 and Femmes Noirs opens on Friday at Film Forum and runs through August 7. The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody: “The physical and emotional violence of these bitter-toned, highly stylized, low-budget movies exposed lurid fantasies and social traumas that went unmentioned in the studios’ more prestigious productions. Almost all of these films were directed by men, so it’s no surprise that, as the titles of the series indicate, many are centered on women—women in trouble or women who are trouble.”
London. “So what is his standing as a photographer now?” Geoff Dyer in the Guardian on Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album, on view at the Royal Academy of Arts through October 19: “While he didn’t invent or significantly extend a way of seeing he was fully articulate in the visual language of the time. As Fonda put it, he had an understanding ‘not just of the frame of the camera but the frame of the life.'”
IN THE WORKS
J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All Is Lost) is “in talks” to direct Deepwater Horizon, a “big-scale drama” based “on the April 20, 2010 explosion of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that caused a massive offshore oil spill that created the second-largest U.S. environmental disaster,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr.
“Gregg Turkington—best known for his ‘anti-comedian’ Neil Hamburger persona—is reuniting with The Comedy director Rick Alverson on a new feature,” reports Jen Yamato at Deadline. “Entertainment stars Turkington as a broken and aging comic, known only as ‘The Comedian,’ who travels across the Southwestern United States to meet his estranged daughter while attempting to revive his dwindling career.” The cast also features John C. Reilly, Michael Cera, Tye Sheridan, Aggeliki Papoulia (Dogtooth) and Dean Stockwell.
“The South African Nobel-prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer, one of the literary world’s most powerful voices against apartheid, has died at the age of 90,” reports the Guardian. Working with Danish director Henning Carlsen, she co-wrote Dilemma, a film based on her novel A World of Strangers and, as Nathan Lee noted in the New York Times in 2008, “produced without authorization and shot clandestinely in a down-and-dirty, neo-realist mode.”
Listening (91’32”). Peter Labuza’s latest guest on The Cinephiliacs is J. Hoberman, who talks “about his adventures as a kid traversing New York City’s film culture, his movement through the the city’s underground scene, and eventually to his position at The Village Voice and creating a voice that often examined the relationship between politics and cinema.” The conversation then turns to Andy Warhol‘s Poor Little Rich Girl (1965).
Ever heard of James Blue? His 1962 film Olive Trees of Justice, embedded above, won a critics’ prize in Cannes and at UCLA, he taught the likes of Thom Andersen, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Schrader, Joan Churchill—and Jim Morrison. His 1968 documentary A Few Notes on Our Food Problem was nominated for an Oscar, and the James Blue Project has just made it available to view online (35’49”). See, too, a new doc, Discovering James Blue (11’19”).
Meantime, the Timeline of Historical Film Colors has relaunched with a new design.