Daily | The Blacklist, Pinto, Akerman

Hollywood 10

Protesting the sentencing of the Hollywood 10

“A real-life film noir featuring danger, betrayal, selflessness and close encounters with movie stars, the Hollywood blacklist is a juicy narrative and remains an enduring object of fascination,” writes J. Hoberman in the New York Times. “New scholarly histories roll off academic presses, most recently Hollywood Exiles in Europe by Rebecca Prime and Film Criticism, the Cold War and the Blacklist by Jeff Smith, with more on the way. This month, Anthology Film Archives and Cineaste magazine will initiate an ambitious three-part series, Screenwriters and the Blacklist: Before, During and After. And on Friday [August 15], the Film Society of Lincoln Center revives Red Hollywood, the influential 1996 documentary by Thom Andersen and Noël Burch, giving it context with screenings of eight features chosen by Mr. Andersen that were directed or written by blacklisted artists.” That series, Red Hollywood and the Blacklist, runs from August 15 through 21.

Hoberman notes that the Anthology series aims to dispel the notion that the Hollywood 10 “were a marginal and mediocre lot.” And Red Hollywood “provides an alternative way of looking at classic Hollywood, or even a new form of auteurism…. Drawing on both series, you could assemble the syllabus for a course on the concerns of the American left during the ’30s and ’40s.”

For more on the two New York series and on Hollywood Exiles in Europe, a series running at the UCLA Film & Television Archive through August 17, see Nick Pinkerton‘s recent piece for Artforum.


New York. “It’s safe to say that you will not see another film like What Now? Remind Me in cinemas this year,” writes Paul Dallas, introducing his interview with Joaquim Pinto for BOMB. “Pinto’s 162-minute epic—made in collaboration with his husband Nuno Leonel—is a deeply personal love letter to life lived fully, in the face of so much decay. The fifty-seven year old director, a central figure in Portuguese cinema who has worked with auteurs like Raúl Ruiz, Manoel de Oliveira, and João César Monteiro, has been living with HIV and Hepatitis C for nearly twenty years, and his latest documentary is an intimate diary of a year spent in a clinical trial for experimental treatment.” What Now? Remind Me’s week-long run (see reviews from last fall’s New York Film Festival and a more recent round at Critics Round Up), beginning today at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is accompanied by the series A Life Less Ordinary: The Films of Joaquim Pinto, running through Tuesday.

Trailer for Dick Cavett’s Watergate

Chicago. Ben Sachs in the Reader: “One Day Pina Asked… (1983), Chantal Akerman‘s TV documentary about German choreographer Pina Bausch, was made during a pivotal chapter in Akerman’s career, during which the Belgian filmmaker combined her minimalist style (most evident in her 1975 epic Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles) with elements of classic movie musicals.” Tomorrow night at Chicago Filmmakers.

San Diego. “As a musical,” writes Glenn Heath Jr. in the CityBeat, “Singin’ in the Rain—which screens Thursday and Friday, Aug. 7 and 8, at Cinema Under the Stars—lacks the formalist daring of Gold Diggers of 1933. Yet it taps into the emotional center of classical Hollywood film: the desire to polish and preen until the final product matches both the professionalism of its makers and the enjoyment of its audience. For that, the movie remains crucial to the understanding of film history.”


At the Dissolve, Nathan Rabin admires “The Beautiful Imperfection of Magnolia,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 followup to Boogie Nights (1997): “It’s one thing for a film to travel steadily to a place of wrung-out exhaustion after an extended journey. It’s another for it to begin there.”

S. Brent Plate for the Los Angeles Review of Books: “In a thoughtful new collection, Religion in Contemporary European Cinema, edited by Costica Bradatan and Camil Ungureanu, Bradatan suggests that ‘behind the façade of a secularized world, a wide range of “spiritual experiences” gives people a new sense of belonging to a grander, cosmic order, as well as of personal fulfillment.’ So, while politics and religion have undergone a trial separation in the modern West, cinema provides an arena for filmmakers and audiences to jointly partake in a ‘cosmopoietic’ project. If anything, as the subtitle of the volume suggests, today’s Europe lives under a ‘postsecular constellation,’ a star sign that links heavens and earth, sacred and profane, and, yes, politics and theology.”

Philip Winter for Electric Sheep on Fritz Lang‘s Woman in the Moon (1929): “[T]ruth be told, the context of its creation and its subsequent historical resonance is far more interesting than the film itself.” And at the Quietus, Tristan Bath takes on M (1931), “a film wherein the overarching theme is a meticulous study of the unexpected harmonies and discords of human society. Criminals as judges; killer as victim.”



“Setting up a potential Twilight-like franchise, Universal Pictures has acquired movie rights to Anne Rice’s novels in The Vampire Chronicles series for Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary.


“David Weidman, the UPA animation artist whose midcentury silkscreen prints found a new appreciation in recent years, died Wednesday,” reports Pat Saperstein. Weidman, who was 93, “worked on the backgrounds and other paintings for UPA cartoons such as The Boing Boing Show, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol and The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo that helped form the distinctive modern style for which the studio was known.” More recently, “his art came to the attention of the Mad Men set decorators, who found his colorful stylized forms to be the perfect fit for Peggy Olson’s office and other rooms at the ad agency.”

Also in Variety, Sebastian Torrelio: “Philip Marshak, a director known for his work on numerous horror and X-rated films of the 1970s and ‘80s, died Thursday.” He was 80.


Listening (25’22”). At the Talkhouse Film, Robert Downey and Elliott Gould swap stories about Robert Altman, Warren Beatty, Francis Ford Coppola, Groucho Marx and more.

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