Daily | Soderbergh, Dreyer, Chaplin

Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh

Keeping up with BAMcinemaFest, Edinburgh and Frameline38—not to mention Lav Diaz—has delayed an all-round briefing for nearly a full week (though we did manage an “in the works” roundup and a “goings on” entry). So let’s move this one along quickly.

Steven Soderbergh‘s posted a transcript of a terrific conversation he once had with the late cinematographer Gordon Willis. And the Playlist‘s got audio of Soderbergh talking shop with Mark Romanek and Neil LaBute.

Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s posted his 2008 essay on Dreyer‘s Day of Wrath (1943) as well as what “may have been my first really serious film review,” a 1964 piece on Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.

John Yau at Hyperallergic on Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963-2010: “As far as the critics are concerned, the films aren’t considered minor; rather, they are thought of as largely irrelevant. But like poetry, which the press is always deeming irrelevant, I was interested in Polke’s films because everyone seemed so intent on ignoring them.”

For Criterion: Megan Abbott on Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975); Peter Davis on his landmark 1974 documentary Hearts and Minds; and Farran Smith Nehme on Jane Wyman in Douglas Sirk‘s All That Heaven Allows (1955).

From Catherine Grant and Christian Keathley at photogénie: “The Use of an Illusion: Childhood cinephilia, object relations, and videographic film studies.”

In Bright Lights: Heather Addison on the “Amiable Lunacy and Blithe Brutality in Harvey [1950]”; Jeremy Carr on Ken Loach’s Kes (1969); and William Schindler suggests we keep an eye on Jordan Belfort.

Trailer for Soderbergh’s The Knick, a series premiering in August on Cinemax

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on Chaplin: “Did audiences pack theaters for decades because nothing better reflected their day-to-day lives and concerns than an English pacifist’s bittersweet, episodically plotted architectural fantasies? The answer is a combination of yes and no.”

Also at the AV Club, Mike D’Angelo on Fritz Lang‘s The Big Heat (1953): “Remember when audiences had to imagine a face getting brutally scalded?”

“Yasujiro Ozu’s Dragnet Girl (1933) is an electrifying expression of all the conflicted, ambivalent feelings swirling around the modern girl and the full-throttle westernization and modernization that, in the 1930s, ran up against Japan’s rising nationalism.” Imogen Smith at the Chiseler.

Celluloid Liberation Front for Sight & Sound: “A recent program organized by the Palestine Film Foundation in London exhumed rare films (and posters) from the Palestinian revolution of the 70s and with them the historical, political and cultural dimension that framed it, without which no critical understanding of the Palestinian armed resistance can be possible.”

And for Cinema Scope, CLF considers the work of Hito Steyerl, whose “creations emanate an urgency that is rarely found in the gallery-fillers and art debris whose exhibition spaces they sometimes share.”

Stephanie Lacava for the New Inquiry: “Some ’90s babies love a good Dazed and Confused reference or a Reality Bites–inspired look. My cinematic rite of passage was La Reine Margot. This movie ruined me.”

The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody revisits Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale (1996).

Close-Up aims to establish a new film center in East London

In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Will Di Novi considers “Sunshine and Noir” in the sprawling city.

At Movie Morlocks: R. Emmett Sweeney on Anthony Mann‘s The Man from Laramie (1955) and a primer on pirates from Susan Doll.

Tasha Robinson at the Dissolve: “We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome.”

Kristin Thompson recommends DVDs, Blu-rays and a book. More books: Lesley Chow on Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle, edited by Marketa Uhlirova (Bright Lights); Michael Kimmage on Peter Finn and Petra Couvée’s The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book (New Republic); David Kirby on Susan L. Mizruchi’s Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work (Washington Post); and Eat Drink Films is running an excerpt from Kenneth Turan’s Not To Be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film.

“Is Elaine May America’s most underrated living filmmaker?” asks Michael Smith.

Censorship in China’s probably more complicated than you think. Grady Hendrix explains at Film Comment. And in his latest “Bombast” column, Nick Pinkerton remembers Rik Mayall.

From Wheeler Winston Dixon at Film International: “Juan Orol, Phantom of the Mexican Cinema.”

On Jan Ole Gerster’s award-winning A Coffee in Berlin (2012): Kelly Vance and Jackson Scarlett at Eat Drink Films.

Geoff Manaugh presents “An Occult History of the Television Set.”

By kogonada for Criterion

Interviews: David Cairns with Michel Gondry (Notebook); Nicholas Elliott with legendary producer and distributor Marin Karmitz (Film Comment); Sean McCourt with Sam Hamm, who came up with the story for Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and co-wrote the screenplay (San Francisco Bay Guardian); and Ray Pride with David Gordon Green (Newcity Film).


Venice has named composer Alexandre Desplat president of the International Jury for its 71st edition running from August 27 through September 6.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Center Stage has asked 50 writers to create monologues addressing the question, “Who are you, America?” Hal Hartley‘s My America will see its exclusive SVOD premiere here on Fandor on, yes, July 4.

“With 122 critics voting in Indiewire‘s second annual mid-year poll of the Criticwire Network, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel checked in with a strong showing in first place,” announces Steve Greene.

“Films that wowed audiences a century ago have been all but erased from collective memory,” writes Adrienne Lafrance for the Atlantic. “And so, for the third year, the Library of Congress is calling on film buffs, historians, and members of the public to help search for clues in old reels.”

“DreamWorks Animation has bought the rights to the 95-year-old feline cartoon icon Felix the Cat,” reports Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew.


Berkeley. With Kenji Mizoguchi: A Cinema of Totality on at the Pacific Film Archive through August 29, Frako Loden presents an overview at Eat Drink Films.


“Masami Nagasawa, Haruka Ayase, Kaho, and Suzu Hirose will star in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s upcoming pic Kamakura Diary,” reports Mark Schilling for Variety. “Based on a best-selling, award-winning comic by Akimi Yoshida that has been serialized in the Flowers monthly magazine since 2007, the film will depict the lives of four sisters in the title city.”

Trailer for Downtown 81, directed by Edo Bertoglio, written and produced by Glenn O’Brien and starring Jean-Michel Basquiat and Anne Carlisle

We now know a bit more about Wong Kar-wai‘s next film. At Film Business Asia, Kevin Ma reports that he’ll be adapting “Ferryman,” a short story from Zhang Jiajia’s collection I Belonged to You. It’s “about an affair between a girl and a married artist in Changchun.” Via Kevin Jagernauth at the Playlist.


“Daniel Keyes, the writer of Flowers for Algernon, which was turned into the Oscar-winning film Charly, has died aged 86,” reports the BBC.

Also: “British actress Patsy Byrne, best known for playing Nursie in Blackadder II, has died aged 80.”


Viewing. Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Benning, Anna Karina, Michel Ciment, Chuck Jones, Luke Fowler and, speaking in German, Jean-Marie Straub, Michael Haneke and Dominik Graf are among the speakers who’ve been invited over the years to talk about their work at the Austrian Film Museum—which has now posted clips as part of an expanding online gallery, In Person: Video Documents 1975-2013.

Listening (32’27”). In the latest episode of You Must Remember This, Karina Longworth focuses on Isabella Rossellini in the 90s, “a decade which began with her being dumped by David Lynch and ended with her launching a company which she referred to as ‘a secret feminist plot’ against the beauty industry.” Karina also recommends the episode of Death, Sex & Money in which Anna Sale talks with Jane Fonda about… well, you know. 30’45”.

More listening (90’27”). Ellen Burstyn‘s in The Projection Booth, talking about working with Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern in Bob Rafelson’s The King of Marvin Gardens (1972).

At Curbed LA, Adrian Glick Kudler presents the “Ultimate Chinatown Filming Location Map of Los Angeles.”

More links? Check in with the Film Doctor.

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