One of the first volumes of film criticism that I can remember reading in one fell swoop, cover to cover, is François Truffaut‘s The Films in My Life (1975), now re-released as an eBook, and Max Nelson reviews it for Film Comment: “If, of the New Wave critics, Bazin was the great theorist, Truffaut now seems like the great enthusiast…. One of the more poignant aspects of The Films in My Life is that it reads like the brilliant early work of a critic whose voice would, if the volume’s lengthy, wonderfully candid autobiographical introduction is any indication, have grown wiser and more refined with time…. But Truffaut rarely seemed drawn to the wise, wistful detachment of late style. His sympathies lay with the reckless, spontaneous, and daring: the filmmakers, as he once put it, who were willing to make sacrifices.”
I almost never link to writing that requires a subscription to see, but I want to make a rare exception for one snippet from the “Life in Film” column in the new issue of frieze. It comes from Joanna Hogg: “Curiously, since starting the film collective A Nos Amours, with Adam Roberts, I am experiencing cinema less as a way to transport and influence my new ideas and more as a refuge, a safe place away from my own filmmaking circus. We are currently running a complete but slow retrospective of [Chantal] Akerman’s films and I am enjoying not thinking about my own practice, but witnessing this artist’s phenomenal, innovative body of work instead, and wondering why she isn’t as lauded as Jean-Luc Godard.”
At diagonal thoughts, you’ll find Marie Therese Guirgis‘s translation of a roundtable interview with Gilles Deleuze that originally appeared in Cahiers du cinéma in 1986. The occasion was the publication of Cinema 2: The Time-Image: “How could I not discover the cinema, which introduces ‘real’ movement into the image? I wasn’t trying to apply philosophy to cinema, but I went straight from philosophy to cinema.”
Editor B. Ruby Rich introduces the new issue of Film Quarterly, covering a wide range of topics before honing in on Steve James’s Life Itself which, well, triggers a remembrance of Roger Ebert: “During the interregnum between Siskel’s death and Richard Roeper’s hiring, he invited me on the show. We reviewed Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (1999), raved about Hilary Swank’s performance as Brandon Teena, debated his/her pronouns, and agreed on two thumbs up. It was classic Ebert: championing a first-time film on a controversial subject, produced by indie film impresario Christine Vachon’s Killer Films. He was the star of a show produced by Disney with millions of viewers and a brand that spanned multiple platforms, but Ebert wouldn’t desert upstart films that were daring, outspoken, and great filmmaking.”
“Whether Scorsese’s handling of his female characters ultimately reflects a nuanced critique of entrenched social misogyny or an implicit acceptance (and even glorification) of anti-woman sentiment became a central point of debate surrounding The Wolf of Wall Street,” writes Matt Connolly in the latest entry in Reverse Shot‘s current symposium. “What to make, then, of how little any of these critics have to say about 1974’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the only work within Scorsese’s filmography that places a single woman at the center of the narrative?”
In the fourth part of his series The Ephemeral Real for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Drew Johnson considers Edward Dmytryk’s Raintree County (1957) and Rob Reiner’s Ghosts of Mississippi (1996).
IN OTHER NEWS
New York and Berkeley. Yesterday, we made note J. Hoberman‘s piece on Discovering Georgian Cinema, a series running at MoMA through October 16 and set to open at the Pacific Film Archive on Friday (and run through April 19). A few more pieces have since appeared from both coasts.
Nick Pinkerton for Artforum: “Unpromising beginnings aside, Georgia would have its New Wave, producing several films that found renown in the larger world. [Tengiz] Abuladze, who balanced Christian mysticism with a well-developed sense of the absurd, became a figure of unparalleled importance, represented here by his decades-spanning trilogy of The Plea (1967), The Wishing Tree (1977), and Repentance (1984/87)—the last depicting the despotic mayoral reign of a petty potentate who has Hitler’s mustache but in many other respects recalls that infamous son of Tiflis, Joe Stalin.”
In the L, Aaron Cutler recommends Nikoloz Shengelaia’s Caucasian Love, aka Eliso (1928), “a Caucasus Mountains-set love story that unfolds in 1864, as Russian Empire agents attempt to expel a village’s worth of Muslim Chechens and separate a village girl named Eliso from her Christian beloved.”
For the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Max Goldberg interviews PFA curator Susan Oxtaby, noting first that this “is the kind of ambitious exhibition that reminds us how much of film history is yet to be written…. Its opening weeks feature prints from Toulouse, Berlin, New York, Tbilisi, and, most delicately given recent history, Moscow.”
IN THE WORKS
“Julie Delpy will return to French filmmaking with Lolo, a high-profile satirical comedy starring Dany Boon (Welcome to the Cht’is) and Karin Viard (Polisse),” reports Elsa Keslassy for Variety. “Delpy stars as Violette, a 40-year old alluring workaholic with a career in the fashion industry who falls for a provincial computer geek, Jean-Rene (Boon), while on a spa retreat with her best friend (Viard). The promising romance starts to unravel when Jean-René meets Violette’s cherished 20-year old son, Lolo (played by French up-and-comer Vincent Lacoste), and discovers their unusual relationship.”
Whiplash premiered and scored both the Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) and the Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance and has since had a pretty spectacular run through the festival circuit, hitting New York this weekend, before opening in theaters next month. So what’s next for Damien Chazelle? The Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth notes that at least two projects are possibilities: La La Land, a musical with Whiplash lead Miles Teller and Emma Watson, and First Man, a biopic based on the life of Neil Armstrong.
Trailer for the new restoration of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959)
Kevin Jagernauth also has the latest on Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It’s “hit another bump in the road,” but John Hurt’s still confident he’ll be playing the lead.
From Nellie Andreeva: “HBO finally has officially confirmed the first new auspices for Season 2 of True Detective: cast members Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn and director Justin Lin, who is set to helm the first two episodes. We also have the first official logline: ‘Three police officers and a career criminal must navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder.'”
And more news from Deadline: “Elisabeth Moss is set to join Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett in Truth, the film about the scandal that erupted after Dan Rather reported on 60 Minutes II that George W. Bush had gotten preferential treatment that put him in the Texas Air National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft.”
Listening (40’25”). From Karina Longworth, You Must Remember This #15: Madonna, from Sean to Warren, Part Two.