Daily | Sluizer, Varda, Polanski

Johanna ter Steege in 'The Vanishing'

Johanna ter Steege in ‘The Vanishing’

“The basic setup of a mysteriously disappeared woman has been employed dozens if not hundreds of times in the seventy-six years separating Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes from David Fincher’s Gone Girl,” writes Scott Foundas for Criterion, “but only occasionally with The Vanishing’s [1988] chilly precision. That is partly a tribute to the Dutch novelist Tim Krabbé, who wrote the novella upon which the film is based and who collaborated with [George] Sluizer on the screen adaptation (Sluizer had previously filmed his short story ‘Red Desert Penitentiary’ in 1985). But it has mostly to do with Sluizer’s elegant, sleight-of-hand filmmaking, which splinters the narrative into a series of nonlinear fragments and shrewdly misdirects our attention throughout (shades of another missing-woman movie to come, Christopher Nolan’s 2000 Memento). The present tense in The Vanishing is always shifting and uncertain, and inevitably haunted by the past. And even once its famously shocking ending stands revealed, the movie repays endless repeat viewings, for the sheer folly of trying to figure out how it pulls off its devilish tricks.”

Those who’ve seen Göran Hugo Olsson’s Concerning Violence will recall that it opens with a statement read straight to the camera by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, presumably in her office at Columbia. Now Film Quarterly‘s posted the preface.

Luis Rocha Antunes for Film International: “Multimodal Segmentation in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line: An Insight into the Time Window of Sensory Integration.”


At Film Comment, Grady Hendrix has notes on “31 obscure, terrifying, and often just plain weird, cinematic nightmares, one for each day of the spookiest month of the year.” All from Asia.

“Few headlines are more tiresome than ‘X Films You Haven’t Seen,'” writes Max O’Connell at Criticwire. “A horror-themed ‘you haven’t seen’ list from Rolling Stone, then, doesn’t sound terribly promising. But while the list does feature a few films that are widely-known, it’s mostly an example of how to do the ‘you haven’t seen’ concept right: by actually including films that most readers probably haven’t heard of.”

Orenda Fink, “This Is a Part of Something Greater

FACT presents its “guide to the 100 greatest horror scores of all time.”

Justin Stewart at Reverse Shot: “Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 Night of the Demon can sit proudly next to the early-forties masterpieces the director made with Val Lewton (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, The Leopard Man), high praise for any film.”

Peter Nellhaus tells us how Klaus Kinski botched Nosferatu a Venezia (1988). Poor Christopher Plummer and Donald Pleasance.


The European Film Academy‘s announced that it’ll be presenting its Lifetime Achievement Award this year to Agnès Varda. The 27th European Awards ceremony will take place on December 13 in Riga.

Roman Polanski attended the opening of the main exhibition of the History of Polish Jews Museum in Warsaw on Tuesday. Polskie Radio reports that, according to a story in the Gazeta Wyborcza, US authorities “contacted Poland’s attorney-general asking that Polanski be detained so extradition procedures could begin.” Not going to happen. A Polish official tells the newspaper: “For the time being, we won’t do anything, as the petition did not meet formal requirements, it is not translated into Polish, and that is required by international agreements. It will come to nothing, because the document will be amended, and in the meantime, Polanski will return to France—until next time.”

“For the third time in its history the Moscow Film Museum is in danger of being destroyed.” That’s from an open letter to the Russian Minister for Culture in which the entire staff has announced their resignations. The Berlinale Forum has the letter and the back story. And yes, once again, Nikita Mikhalkov is part of the problem.

Nick Broomfield‘s Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Marshall Curry‘s Point and Shoot, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s Finding Vivian Maier, Laura Poitras‘s Citizenfour and Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s The Salt of the Earth have been nominated by the International Documentary Association for Best Feature Awards. The Hollywood Reporter has the full list of this year’s nominations. The awards will be presented on December 5.


Seattle. “Certainly one of the top films you will watch this year is in the Seattle South Asian Film Festival, which opens on October 31 with a night of short films, food, and music.” In the Stranger, Charles Mudede heartily recommends Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry. And the festival’s on through November 9.

Cambridge. Saturday at the Harvard Film Archive: A Tribute to Robert Gardner.


Michael Bay is to bring his renowned insistence on the highest of standards in historical accuracy, political subtlety and cultural sensitivity to a Benghazi movie. Borys Kit in the Hollywood Reporter: “Bay is in negotiations to direct 13 Hours, the adaptation of Mitchell Zuckoff’s book about the attack on an American compound in Libya that left U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens dead.” As for the book, just last month, Erik Wemple asked in the Washington Post: “Does the 13 Hours version of events overthrow the official government narrative? Not dramatically.”


Viewing (5’40”). Revisiting The Alphabet Murders (1965), the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody argues that Frank Tashlin is the most Hitchcockian of directors—other than Hitchcock himself, of course.

Listening (95’40”). Illusion Travels By Streetcar #35: The Japanese Cursed Pond Ghost Cat Vengeful Spirit Episode.

Meantime, the Film Doctor‘s posted a round of “attentional tunneling links.”

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