First, the news. The International Documentary Association has announced that it’ll present its 2013 Career Achievement Award to Alex Gibney, its Amicus Award to producer Geralyn Dreyfous, and its Courage Under Fire Award to—who else?—Laura Poitras, who, along with Glenn Greenwald, has been instrumental in getting Edward Snowden’s revelations out into the world. She’s currently editing her third film in her post-9/11 trilogy; following My Country, My Country (2006) and The Oath (2010), this one will focus, of course, on NSA surveillance.
The lineup’s now set for the 46th edition of the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia (October 11 through 20).
Jacques Rancière, quoted in conversation with Oliver Davis at diagonal thoughts: “The question that traverses Béla Tarr films… is to know whether one draws from the communist failure a simple lesson of the nihilist equivalence of everything with everything else or whether one extracts figures of refusal out of nihilism.”
At Film.com, Daniel Walber argues that Pope Francis I’s “relationship with cinema and his understanding of the fights over homosexuality and contraception are equal parts of the same philosophy. The religious ideas” in two of the new Pope’s favorites, Fellini‘s La Strada and Rossellini’s Rome, Open City “are complements to the pontiff’s new openness, part and parcel of a single worldview.”
“One way to frame [Paolo Sorrentino’s] La grande bellezza, a film of at times quite overwhelming sensory and aesthetic intensity, is as a vast companion-piece to Il Divo, part two of an astonishing mannerist diptych of Rome’s, Italy’s, perhaps Europe’s modern decadence,” suggests Robert Gordon in the TLS.
Revisiting François Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966), the Dissolve‘s Scott Tobias proposes that “anomalies from great directors have a tendency to look better over time—partly because they can be appreciated in the larger context of a filmmaker’s entire career, and partly because their flaws look less obvious, and the virtues more apparent.”
Crystal Lake Memories is “a seven-hour documentary about the highly successful Friday the 13th franchise,” and for the New York Times, Erik Piepenburg talks with writer-director Daniel Farrands about, well, why.
Cambridge. “The MIT List Visual Arts Center, in collaboration with the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, and the Harvard Film Archive presents Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte, a survey exhibition of the work of renowned filmmaker and artist Chris Marker (1921-2012). The exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation of Marker’s pioneering work in writing, photography, film, video, and digital media, revealing his role as a chronicler of the second half of the 20th century through its images.” The dates: October 18 through January 5.
Los Angeles. “Director Michael Campus vividly recalls the reaction to his film The Mack from the opening-night audience 40 years ago in Oakland,” writes Susan King in the Times. “The film, starring Max Julien as the charismatic pimp Goldie and Richard Pryor as his friend Slim, had shot in the Bay Area city. ‘The first scene came on with Richie and Max and—I am not exaggerating—the whole audience stood up and started screaming back at the screen,’ Campus said. ‘They never sat down. No one had shown that world—no one had portrayed the black underworld.'” A 40th anniversary screening happens tonight at LACMA.
Seattle. Local Sightings, “a showcase of new films from the Northwest that puts homegrown talent in front of Seattle audiences and connects artists from Alaska to Oregon in a celebration of film from the region,” opens tomorrow and runs through October 3 at Northwest Film Forum. The Stranger‘s David Schmader and Charles Mudede preview five titles.
Trailer for Jem Cohen’s We Have An Anchor, part of BAM’s 2013 Next Wave Festival
In the works. And it’s all TV today. “Robert De Niro will take over the late James Gandolfini’s role in HBO limited series Criminal Justice,” reports Variety‘s Jon Weisman.
More HBO news. At Indiewire, Alison Willmore reports that the network “has picked up the U.S. and Canadian rights to Doll & Em, a six-episode half hour British comedy series starring [Emily] Mortimer and fellow actress and real life best friend Dolly Wells (The Mighty Boosh) as fictional versions of themselves. The pair wrote the series with filmmaker Azazel Jacobs (Terri, Momma’s Man), who directed the episodes. The series is about a British star (Mortimer) who invites her newly single childhood friend to work as her personal assistant when shooting a film in L.A.”
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has seen Battle Creek, a series he developed for CBS back in 2002, revived for the the 2014-15 season. Lacey Rose has details in the Hollywood Reporter.
Obits. “Marta Heflin, an actress who appeared in New York stage musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Hair, and Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1960s and ’70s, and later in a string of Robert Altman movies that capitalized on her waifishness, died on Sept. 18 in Manhattan,” reports Paul Vitello in the NYT. Heflin was 68 and “was best known for her featured roles in Mr. Altman’s 1979 romantic comedy, A Perfect Couple, and his 1982 film of Ed Graczyk’s play, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, with an ensemble cast that included Sandy Dennis, Kathy Bates, Karen Black and Cher. She was in the Broadway production, which Mr. Altman directed as well, that same year. Mr. Altman said in interviews that Ms. Heflin’s unconventional, sometimes awkward beauty lent authority to her portrayal of average people in both films.”
Jane Connell, a character actress best known for her portrayal of Agnes Gooch, the mousy secretary to the title character in the musical Mame, died on Sunday,” reports John Schwartz, also in the NYT. Connell was 87. “There were nearly as many Off Broadway shows, including the acclaimed 1954 production of The Threepenny Opera, starring Lotte Lenya, as well as national tours, regional productions and a great deal of television. She appeared on sitcoms like All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and Bewitched (she played Queen Victoria, among other roles) and, perhaps inevitably, Law & Order.”