Daily | Steele, Švankmajer, Resnais

Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele’s appearance in 1960’s Black Sunday is, even now, a shock of such febrile sexuality that it forces us to ask ourselves—why do we saddle her with diminishing monikers like ‘Scream Queen’?” Chiseler editor Daniel Riccuito: “And, more fundamentally, why does her force of personality seem to trouble and vex every narrative she touches?” He talks with Steele about Mario Bava and more.

Jim Vorel introduces Paste‘s list of the “100 Best ‘B Movies’ of All Time.”


“Criticism needs to overcome its passive pragmatism and reclaim an activist practice,” reads a statement issued from Oberhausen last week (scroll down for the full English translation). “We are willing, individually and collectively, to pursue an activist kind of film criticism. We are willing to face economic risks…. Our first measure of activist criticism is the launching of a Critics’ Week at the Berlin International Film Festival. We will no longer accept the abuse of film criticism as service.”

Criterion Collection president Peter Becker, actresses Maria Bonnevie and Géraldine Pailhas and director, screenwriter and producer Moussa Touré have joined the Un Certain Regard Jury presided over by Pablo Trapero, the Cannes Film Festival announced yesterday. Joining president Nicole Garcia on the Caméra d’or Jury are Richard Anconina, Gilles Gaillard, Sophie Grassin, Héléna Klotz, Lisa Nesselson and Philippe van Leeuw.

Via Craig Keller, an interview with Jean-Luc Godard conducted three or four years ago, now with English subtitles

The 68th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival will open on June 18 with Gerard Johnson’s crime thriller Hyena, which will join eight other British films in competition for the Michael Powell Award. Six of them are world premieres, including Gillies Mackinnon’s Castles in the Sky with Eddie Izzard as Robert Watson-Watt, the Scottish engineer who developed radar, and Andy Goddard’s Set Fire to the Stars with Celyn Jones as Dylan Thomas and Elijah Wood as John Malcolm Brinnin.

The Sydney Film Festival (June 4 through 15) has posted its full schedule. Shelly Kraicer has curated and written notes on for the series China: Rebels, Ghosts and Romantics, while James Benning: An Outsider Visionary has been programmed by Gabe Klinger. There are also special programs highlighting the work of Robert Altman and Studio Ghibli.


New York. Tomorrow evening at Light Industry, Matías Piñeiro will introduce screenings of Martín Rejtman and Federico León’s Elementary Training for Actors (2009) and Lisandro Alonso‘s Untitled (Letter for Serra) (2011).

Toronto. “Whether grappling with the horrific realities and scars left over from World War II or the capricious mental states of a lovelorn Parisian bourgeoisie, Alain Resnais had always been far more concerned with the act of remembering as an absurd imposition on the present as he ever was with any didactic cautioning about the dangers of forgetting,” writes Blake Williams at Ioncinema. “His fifth feature, 1968’s Je t’aime, je t’aime–screening at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox on a gorgeous 35mm print Thursday, May 15 at 6:30pm–is often seen as the first sort of relief in his exploration of his signature themes, primarily because it was the first of his films to attempt a balance between the burdens of the past and the tonal whimsy that would characterize his so-called ‘lighter’ late work.”


Jan Švankmajer, now 79, is currently developing his next feature, reports Martin Kudláč. “The Insects will be loosely based on the play From the Life of Insects by the Čapek Brothers, an allegorical comedy from 1922 written as a critique of contemporary society.”

Clip from Atom Egoyan‘s The Captive, set to premiere at Cannes

Also at Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier notes that among the projects Alfama Films is taking to Cannes’ Marché du Film are Andrzej Żuławski’s Cosmos, Benoît Jacquot‘s The Body Artist, an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2001 novel, Robert Schwentke’s The Captain, Hugo Vieira Da Silva’s An Outpost of Progress and Michael Sturminger’s Casanova Variations, a mix of fiction and opera with John Malkovich.

John Hurt may be playing Don Quixote in Terry Gilliam’s on-again, off-again, on-again project, notes the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth. Variety reports that casting is underway, with shooting scheduled to start early next year.

Danis Tanovic has been named the winner of the 2014 European Union Prix Media for drama What Are You Looking At?,” reports Carole Horst for Variety. “The prize goes to a writer and producer for a film project with the best box office potential submitted for development funding from Creative Europe’s Media program.” This one’s “set in a post-war city ‘without heroes and with its values hijacked by corruption and crime,’ said Tanovic in a statement.”


“Les Carlson, who played Barry Convex, the evil head of the Spectacular Optical Corp., in David Cronenberg’s hallucinatory sci-fi classic Videodrome, died May 3 at his home in Toronto.” Mike Barnes in the Hollywood Reporter: “Carlson also appeared in three other Cronenberg projects—as an intimidated newspaper editor in The Dead Zone (1983); as a doctor in the Jeff Goldblum starrer The Fly (1986); and as an aging actor in Camera (2000), one of a series of short films produced for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Toronto International Film Festival.” Carlson was 81.


Listening (104’40”). In the latest episode of The Cinephiliacs, Peter Labuza talks with film critic and Criticwire editor Sam Adams about Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973) and more.

Clip from John Guillermin’s Rapture (1965), out this summer in a duel format edition from Eureka

More listening (72’06”). On the Masters of Cinema Cast, Joakim Thiesen has Bilge Ebiri on to talk about Pasolini and his debut feature, Accattone (1961). Meantime, the Chicago Reader‘s Drew Hunt writes up his top five Pasolinis.

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