Daily | Tarantino, Von Trotta, Johnnie To

Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)

The Dissolve‘s running an excerpt from Flavorwire film editor Jason Bailey’s new book, Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece. A snippet: “It would be easy to surmise that Tarantino backed into the spiritual aspect of Pulp Fiction by accident—maybe he, like Jules, wanted to use the modified Ezekiel 25:17 quote from the Sonny Chiba movie because he thought ‘it was some cold-blooded shit to say,’ but then, like his protagonist, he began to consider the implications of the speech. Or it could just be that, as Tarantino says, the film’s subtle but heartfelt message about redemption and forgiveness is his own deeply held conviction.”

“How did a film that reprises the fifty-year-old controversy about what the German-Jewish refugee and political philosopher thought and wrote in 1963 about the kidnapping and trial of Adolf Eichmann become the most talked-about art-house movie of this past summer, and one of the most improbable independent-film successes in recent memory?” In the new “Fall Books” issue of the Nation, David Rieff goes long on what delights and what troubles him about Margarethe von Trotta‘s Hannah Arendt.

“True to its title, Ferris Lin’s documentary on Johnnie To touches on an incredibly varied array of topics,” writes Clarence Tsui in his Hollywood Reporter review of Boundless (Mo Ngaai – To Kei Fung Dik Din Ying Sai Gaai). “Exploring the cineaste’s emergence as Hong Kong’s most critically acclaimed director of the day—in the international festival circuit, at least—the Taiwanese student-helmer’s thesis film manages to contemplate on not just To’s career, aesthetics and modus operandi; the helmer’s self-proclaimed rags-to-riches story—from not being able to pay the rent for his office in 1998, to his present-day omnipresence on European red-carpets—is also deployed as somewhat an analogy of the sweeping changes in Hong Kong and its Hong Kong film industry in the 2000s.”

For the Atlantic, Steven Heller talks with Richard Goldgewicht, director of Pablo, a doc on the legendary title designer Pablo Ferro.

With the ballots for this year’s SAG Awards in the mail, Variety has got a slew of actors talking about other actors. The gallery begins with “Whoopi Goldberg on Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave,” moves on through “Joel Edgerton on Cate Blanchett as Jasmine in Blue Jasmine” and so on. 35 in all.

“Many filmmakers have tried to put their own mark on the Kennedy assassination, and each film reveals the scar tissue particular to its generation.” A brief history of, as he sees it, failure by Noah Gittell for the Atlantic. In a similar vein, at the Playlist, Jessica Kiang revisits eight films that take on “one of the great debates of 20th century history: who killed Kennedy?”

Meantime, at Movie Morlocks, Kimberly Lindbergs previews this evening’s JFK programming on TCM, a set of vérité docs all made in the early 60s.

“A powerful, erotic thriller with remarkable performances from all three of its leads (Jeff Bridges, John Heard, and Lisa Eichhorn), Cutter’s Way never made the impact it should have when it was released,” wrote Jonathan Rosenbaum in 1985, four years after Ivan Passer’s “masterpiece” was released.


As noted earlier today, the Playlist‘s Drew Taylor talks with Peter Bogdanovich about taking on a role in Will Slocombe’s Cold Turkey, the film he’s editing now, Squirrels to the Nuts (with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston), highlights of his oeuvre, and his attempts, since 1985, to get Orson Welles‘s The Other Side of the Wind out into the world: “It’s just a very, very difficult situation. I think it will get done some time but not in the near future.”

For Film International, Gary M. Kramer talks with Agnès Varda about the films she selected for this year’s recently wrapped AFI Fest, in particular, Bresson’s Pickpocket (1959) and Cassavetes’s A Woman Under the Influence (1974), as well as two of her own films, Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) and Documenteur (1981). Kramer also gets a few words with Bernardo Bertolucci concerning the new 3D version of The Last Emperor (1987).


“China’s family planning authorities are pursuing the acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou for allegedly violating the country’s one-child policy but have been unable to track him down,” reports Jonathan Kaiman in the Guardian.

At Twitch, Christopher O’Keeffe has the full lineup for Tokyo Filmex, running from Saturday through December 1.

“Amazon, continuing to spend on content to challenge Netflix, inked a deal with indie film distributor A24 under which it will obtain exclusive subscription VOD rights to titles including Scarlett Johansson-starrer Under the Skin, Spring Breakers, and The Bling Ring.” Todd Spangler reports for Variety.

“Google Chrome’s latest experiment, like all its web experiments, is designed to explore what is possible within the browser,” reports Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian. “And within Middle-earth.”

Stephen Fry will be hosting the BAFTAs on February 16, reports Variety‘s Leo Barraclough.


New York. “Contemplating Agnieszka Holland’s career I get the sense of a slugger who won’t quit or powerful swimmer heading resolutely upstream,” writes J. Hoberman at Artinfo. “It’s a tumultuous, politically-charged career, but for my money Holland’s masterpiece was produced for Polish TV in 1981 and has never been commercially released in the US. A Woman Alone is showing once on November 22 at the Tribeca Film Center as part of the series Different Ages, Different Voices: Polish Women in Film…. When I first [saw] the movie at the Museum of Modern Art in 1987, I wrote that was steeped in ‘a humor so corrosive that, if Holland, could bottle it, it could dissolve the state apparatus overnight.’ 26 years later, the vision has scarcely mellowed.”

Aaron Cutler recommends Chimes at Midnight (1965), screening tomorrow at Anthology Film Archives: “Welles’s favorite among his own films stitches together historical chronicles with parts of Shakespeare’s four-play Henriad to show the end of Merrie Olde England through the doomed friendship between young king-to-be Prince Hal (a poised Keith Baxter) and the old fat thief and tavern-dweller Sir John Falstaff (Welles himself).”

More at the L: Elina Mishuris on Karel Reisz’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), screening Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of its Harold Pinter series, and Dan Sullivan on Bob Rafelson’s King of Marvin Gardens (1972), Saturday as part of BAMcinématek’s series, Hot Dern!

Nashville. “The first major Demy retrospective this century is now touring the U.S., and it arrives Friday in Nashville at The Belcourt,” announces Jim Ridley in the Scene. “As the universe of Demy’s films is full of connections both explicit and implied—to other movies and to each other—you should take advantage of the chance to see as many as you can, starting Friday and Saturday with his first two features, Lola (1961) and Bay of Angels (1963).”

Seattle. Charles Mudede in the Stranger on Northwest Film Forum’s Chris Marker’s Revolutionary Cinema series: “La Jetée is as pure as cinema can get—bold images, beautiful faces, moody music, a poetic but thrilling plot, and no fucking acting. In Le Joli Mai, we experience the moving image in its most ideal habitat, the urban.” Tomorrow through Monday.


For Esquire, Peter Martin talks with Joshua Oppenheimer about his followup to The Act of Killing. The Look of Silence will focus on the brother of a man killed during the anti-communist purge in Indonesia in the mid-60s. “There is already a contingency plan to relocate [the brother] and his family when the film is released next year.”

Bill Murray will join Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, John Gallagher Jr, Zoe Kazan, Jesse Plemons, Brady Corbet, Cory Michael Smith, and Rosemarie DeWitt in Lisa Cholodenko’s HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge,” reports Kevin Jagernauth at the Playlist. “Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Elizabeth Strout, and adapted by playwright Jane Anderson, the series will chronicle the dirty laundry of one, small New England town as seen through the eyes of the titular Olive (played by McDormand).”


Viewing. The new issue of The Seventh Art features interviews with Jennifer Baichwal, Corneliu Porumboiu, João Pedro Rodrigues, and Alex Winter.

It’s another Hollywood Reporter roundtable (51’50”). Today belongs to the producers: Michael De Luca (Captain Phillips), Dede Garnder (12 Years a Slave), David Heyman (Gravity), Charles Roven (American Hustle), Mark Wahlberg (Prisoners), and Pam Williams (Lee Daniels’ The Butler).

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