DAILY | The Politics of BEASTS and the DARK KNIGHT

Beasts of the Southern Wild

‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’

“It might seem churlish to critique this engaging film on political grounds,” writes Kelly Candaele for the Los Angeles Review of Books. “But since [Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild] takes place within a poor and isolated community called the Bathtub on the eve of a Katrina-like storm, it is impossible not to read it politically…. For all the creativity and discipline invested in the making of this film, its political message seems dangerously hedonist—an apolitical, individualist hedonism with a tacked-on ending suggesting an incipient social movement.”

Another political reading of a movie still in theaters is making the rounds, but fair warning: “An academic I know speculates that this essay is fake, since it’s so predictably, paint-by-numbers Žižek it’s as if it was spit out by a software emulator,” notes Andrew Loewen. “Its authorship is difficult to verify in this unruly blog age.” So either Slavoj Žižek or some Žižek bot argues that, in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, “the Event—the ‘people’s republic of Gotham City,’ dictatorship of the proletariat on Manhattan—is immanent to the film, it is its absent center.”

More reading. In Esquire, J. Hoberman asks, “Where are the hotshots with the charisma to captivate a nation? Where is the irresistible force to knock these middle-aged charmers off their perch? Where are Hollywood’s new male stars?”

Austin. At Thompson on Hollywood, Sophia Savage hails the Alamo Drafthouse’s announcement of a new series, Presented in Amazing Alamoscope: 70mm at the Ritz. Says Tim League: “[Paul Thomas] Anderson has bucked the trend of digital conversion and shot his new American epic The Master in glorious 70mm.  As an homage to his bold ambition, we have made a long-term commitment to celebrate 70mm, both as a lead-up to the release of his new film and as an integral part of our programming for years to come.”

New York. The 50th edition of the New York Film Festival will close on October 14 with the world premiere of Robert Zemeckis’s Flight. The festival opens on September 28.

Ricky on Leacock

‘Ricky on Leacock’

“British filmmaker Richard Leacock, who passed away in 2011, had a hell of a life,” writes Ela Bittencourt for the L. “As told in Jane Weiner’s informative, if frustratingly hopscotch, documentary Ricky on Leacock, his ingenuity, cool-headedness, and can-do spirit made him a natural film pioneer. Leacock made cinematic history: rubbing elbows with John F. Kennedy and India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and spending three months with the Ku Klux Klan, all after getting his start in the biz as cameraman for the legendary director Robert Flaherty.” At the IFC Center for one week.

Tomorrow, Reverse Shot and the Museum of the Moving Image present Fellini Satyricon (1969) as part of the See It Big! series. For Michael Joshua Rowin, the film’s “outlandish and destabilizing fiction communicates particular symbols and emotions, yes, but also proves the limitless and extra-rational power of the artistic imagination, and the limitless and extra-rational power of the cinema to realize it.”

A bit more on MoMA‘s Quay Brothers exhibition and film series: Jessie Dorris (Time), Eric Hynes (Time Out New York), and Roberta Smith (New York Times), And in MUBI’s Notebook, Adrian Curry highlights “a lovely corner of framed Polish posters personally selected by the twins.”

Films by Kenneth Anger will be screening tomorrow at Recession Art at Culturefix.

Los Angeles. Sunday evening’s program at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian is Sarah Christman: As Above, So Below.

The Lodger

‘The Lodger’

London. The BFI’s newly restored print of Hitchcock’s The Lodger (1926) will be screening over the next few weeks and, for the Arts Desk, Ronald Bergan notes that the “influence of German Expressionism on Hitchcock, who had worked at UFA Babelsberg Studios in Berlin in 1924, can be seen not only in the set designs, lighting technique, and trick camera work, but also in [Ivor] Novello’s stylized performance, which would not have been out of place in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).” More from Peter Bradshaw (Guardian, 5/5) and Guy Lodge (Time Out New York, 4/5).
Ireland. On Sunday, “in association with Triskel Christchurch, Black Sun, Cork’s weirdo/outer limits music/film event, is presenting a day of unsettling experimental film, a host of rare cinematic shadows flickering mysteriously at the darker fringes of the mind.”

In the works. “Tim Robbins has signed a deal to return to directing with City of Lies.” Borys Kit has more on the forthcoming adaptation of Arthur Phillips’s short story “Wenceslas Square” in the Hollywood Reporter.

Sean Penn may direct again as well. Variety reports that he’s considering Crazy for the Storm, based on the memoir by Norman Ollestad.

“Justin Theroux has been set to rewrite and direct Swear to God, a Warner Bros comedy that will star Will Ferrell and Steve Carell,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming.

Obit. Wise Kwai and James Marshall remember Thai actor, producer and director Kom Akkadej, who’s died of heart failure at 64.

For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @KeyframeDaily on Twitter and/or the RSS feed. Get Keyframe Daily in your inbox by signing in at

Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.