“At 81, living legend Jean-Marie Straub recently presented his new feature film Kommunisten at the Cinémathèque française in Paris,” writes Gertjan Willems for photogénie. “During his introduction to the film, Straub mumbled Il sogno di una cosa, il sogno di una cosa… (the title of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s first novel), thereby dropping a hint that the symbiosis of the two mentioned goals can be found in an 1843 letter of Karl Marx to his friend Arnold Ruge, in which he writes that ‘the world has long dreamed of possessing something of which it has only to be conscious in order to possess it in reality.’ For Straub, the communist dream is today more topical than ever.”
“Friends, colleagues, and champions of each other’s respective careers, artist Stan Brakhage and curator Sally Dixon had a life-long relationship,” writes Ilsa Leaver-Yap for the Walker Art Center. “Their history of swapping letters and sharing neighborhoods, as well as the gifting of works and other ephemera, clearly demonstrated that there was many routes through which Crystal Clips—the Walker’s as-yet unidentified 16mm film believed to be a Brakhage ‘work in progress’—could have passed between Brakhage and Dixon’s possessions.
“Science, art, and the spiritual have been linked for centuries across pictorial traditions, but they achieve a unique synthesis in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, an audaciously cerebral epic that, whenever seen or contemplated in its original 70mm format, never feels like anything less than a miracle of human imagination,” writes Damon Smith for Reverse Shot. “Cosmic space, an unbounded elsewhere that refers to an unknowable whole, was not conceptually well represented before the advent of widescreen. Given the limitless expanses of our rapidly expanding universe, now measured in orders of magnitude (megaparsecs, as it were) that derange any sense of human relevance, it’s not hard to see why.”
“Is Hollywood a source of Jewish pride or shame?” asks J. Hoberman in his latest piece for Tablet. “Is it Jewish at all?” His ruminations on these and other related questions have been prompted by recent viewings of David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars and Ari Forman’s The Congress “and, although far too intense to be shown together on a double bill, their respective meditations on the 21st-century movie industry are oddly complementary and mutually illuminating.”
For Hyperallergic, Julia Friedman talks with MoMA curator Charles Silver, whose program notes for An Auteurist History of Film will be collected in a book to be published this fall: “I’m sure a lot of people don’t agree with me, but I think there was a kind of golden age, from 1915 to the mid ’60s or 1970. I do have a strong emphasis on American film, but I don’t think this is exclusive to American film. There are good things being made now, but I think the Hollywood studio system did offer directors an opportunity to foster their talent free from the burden of fundraising.”
Nash Edgerton’s video for Bob Dylan’s “The Night We Called It a Day”
“When Bob Hope died in 2003 at the age of one hundred,” writes Frank Rich for the New York Review of Books, “Christopher Hitchens was in sync with the new century’s consensus when he memorialized him as ‘paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny.'” Richard Zoglin’s “mission” in Hope: Entertainer of the Century “is to explain and to counter the collapse of Hope’s cultural status, a decline that began well before his death and accelerated posthumously…. In trying to answer the question of why Hope is in eclipse today, Zoglin speculates in part that he ‘never recovered from the Vietnam years.’ … In truth, Hope’s brand of comedy was dated before Vietnam consumed the 1960s.”
IN OTHER NEWS
SXSW has announced that it’ll be presenting the world premiere of the new restoration of The Breakfast Club, John Hughes’s beloved tale of an impromptu Saturday afternoon therapy session. Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy will be on hand for a Q&A prior to the 30th anniversary screening.
“Xavier Dolan‘s French-language Mommy swept the Canadian Screen Awards on Sunday night, as Quebec movies continue to dominate the country’s film awards.” Etan Vlessing has more in the Hollywood Reporter.
Bille August‘s Silent Heart has won four Bodils at the Danish Film Critics’ awards. Jorn Rossing Jensen for Cineuropa: “August had received a Bodil on two precious occasions, 36 years ago for Honey Moon, and 27 years ago for Pelle the Conqueror (which also won an Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Feature).”
New York. Rendez-Vous with French Cinema runs from Friday through March 15 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, from Friday through March 12 at the IFC Center and from Saturday through March 12 at BAMcinématek. Writing for Artforum, Melissa Anderson recommends two films, Antoine Barraud’s “spellbinding” Portrait of the Artist with Bertrand Bonello, Jeanne Balibar and Géraldine Pailhas and Thomas Cailley’s “charming debut feature,” Love at First Fight, winner of three César’s and a handful of awards at Cannes. As for André Téchiné’s In the Name of My Daughter, it’s “an overcooked, often ridiculous mid-1970s true-crime saga. Despite my better judgment, I was hooked.”
For the Wall Street Journal, Steve Dollar talks with Martin Scorsese, Laurie Anderson, Nastassja Kinski, cinematographer Ed Lachman and novelist Siri Hustvedt about Wim Wenders. MoMA’s retrospective is on through March 17.
IN THE WORKS
Looks like Steven Spielberg will be directing Jennifer Lawrence in an adaptation of Lynsey Addario’s widely acclaimed memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. The Guardian‘s Ben Beaumont-Thomas: “Addario tells the story of becoming a photojournalist after being inspired by a Sebastião Salgado exhibition, before getting her big break documenting life as a woman under the Taliban – a story that gained global significance following 9/11. She subsequently reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Congo and Libya; she was kidnapped in the latter country by Gaddafi’s army, her driver was killed, and she was threatened with murder and rape. After her kidnap ordeal, she returned to her husband, started a family, and took a step back from the frontline.”
And the Hollywood Reporter‘s Borys Kit: “This is the second major project to be thrown in development centering on a real-life figure to which Lawrence is attached. In January, she and her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence boarded The Dive, the true love story of Cuban diver Francisco ‘Pipin’ Ferreras and the French-born diver Audrey Mestre. Lawrence is currently shooting Joy, in which she portrays Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano.”
Training Day director Antoine Fuqua will likely reunite with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke for a remake of The Magnificent Seven (itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai), reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll.
Hany Abu-Assad is currently in Jordan shooting Arab Idol, based on the true story of Mohammed Assaf, “the Palestinian singer who in 2013 saw his dream come true when he won the second season of the TV talent show,” reports Cineuropa. “Nazareth-born Abu-Assad has been nominated twice for the Oscars with his controversial socio-political dramas Paradise Now, in 2005, and Omar, in 2013. Arab Idol is expected to hit theaters in 2016.”
Less seriously, from Clickhole: “We Asked 7 Famous Directors Which Movie They’ve Always Wanted To Make But Have Never Been Able To.”