“In Conversation,” the new Winter 2012 issue of Vertigo, is composed entirely of interviews, Q&As, and such. Among the often enlightening talkers here are Pip Chodorov (Free Radicals, 2011), Wynn Chamberlain (Brand X, 1970), Claude Lanzmann (Shoah, 1985), Patricio Guzmán (Nostalgia for the Light, 2010), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Mekong Hotel, 2012), Michael Robinson, Light Industry co-founders Ed Halter and Thomas Beard, and a 2008 interview with Jafar Panahi.
More reading. For the Nation, J. Hoberman reviews Siegfried Kracauer’s American Writings, a collection edited by Johannes von Moltke and Kristy Rawson, and Culture in the Anteroom, “a wide-ranging collection of papers given at a 2008 Dartmouth College conference on Kracauer… His politics are implicit in his enthusiasm for Italian neorealism, particularly Roberto Rossellini’s Paisan (‘an epic, comparable only to Potemkin‘) and his appreciation for the rediscovered Jean Vigo, precursor of the French new wave, whom he praised for his ‘profound concern with truth.’ It’s striking that Kracauer favorably cites both Paisan and Vigo’s L’Atalante for their episodic structures—a loose series of self-contained events strung like pearls. I’d use similar words to describe From Caligari to Hitler and, especially, Theory of Film. Kracauer was undoubtedly a philosophical thinker. (Prefacing his Theory of Film, Kracauer says he will set cinema in ‘the perspective of something more general—an approach to the world, a mode of human existence.’)”
“In 1998, Jean-Luc Godard made a short video entitled Adieu au TNS (Farewell to the TNS). Never released (or intended to be), the video is nearly impossible to see and has not been included in any Godard retrospectives to date.” Ted Fendt argues at Kino Slang that, in Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, “misleadingly implicate[s] the video in some kind of cryptic, but sympathetic, engagement with anti-Semitism and/or Fascism that Brody feels runs throughout Godard’s work. Ultimately, these claims—at the very least in regards to this video—are just smoke and mirrors. “
“Shameless, prolix, vivid and curiously touching, [The Richard Burton Diaries] are a telling, often painfully truthful addition to the social history of the years between 1960 and 1974,” writes Frederic Raphael for the TLS.
Brett Martin profiles Bill Murray for GQ: “A pop-culture icon since his mid-twenties, he has emerged lately as something more bizarre and transcendent: a kind of wandering, perpetual performance artist, everywhere and nowhere, wherever the wind or spirit carries him: indie movies, golf tournaments, college frat parties, your karaoke booth right now. As one astute Internet commenter put it: ‘Some people photo-bomb pictures. Bill Murray photo-bombs life.’ That it’s nearly impossible to tell the apocryphal sightings from the real ones may be precisely the point.”
For Slant, Jaime N. Christley talks with Kenneth Lonergan about “the Margaret-ness of Margaret.”
DVD/Blu-ray. “Easily the hardcore cineaste’s DVD release of 2012, The Cinema Guild’s new box set Sokurov: Early Masterworks opens a door on a rarely-available room of this filmmaker’s catacomb of a career,” writes Michael Atkinson at Sundance Now, “and it happens to be the clutch of films that first awakened the world to Aleksandr Sokurov’s particular vision.”
New York. J. Hoberman at Artinfo: “A personality so legendary that her legend is legend, Barbara Rubin (1945-1980) was a one-woman counterculture who made scenes the way others made movies—although she did make those as well. If Jack Smith was the New York City underground’s Alfred Jarry, Rubin was its Arthur Rimbaud; she’s an enigma who may be pondered in the dense, fascinating, evocative archival exhibit currently at Boo-Hooray on Canal Street, west of Lafayette.” Through January 15.
Jonas Mekas Turns 90! is on through the weekend at Anthology Film Archives. Amy Taubin for Artforum: “Mekas’s first-person films are meditations on memory and history that contain some of the most expressive combinations of image and sound in the history of cinema.”
The full miniseries version of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander (1982) screens tomorrow and Sunday at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of the series See It Big!, co-presented by Reverse Shot, where Max Nelson suggests that it “plays like the cinema’s family tree, with different branches reserved for the theater, the magic lantern, the puppet show, even traditional storytelling. In each case, Bergman homes in on the hands-on work of artistic creation.”
Vienna. On through January 8 at the Austrian Film Museum: Beyond Buster. American Movie Comedians, 1923-1936.
Amsterdam. The exhibition Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) is on view at the EYE Film Institute through March 17.
In the works. “As part of an effort to just hand conservative pundits their talking points out of post-election pity, HBO has announced that it will air a new documentary about Bill Clinton to be produced and directed by Martin Scorsese, thus enabling easy, ‘oh, so it’s another gangster movie’ quips.” Sean O’Neal at the AV Club.
Angelina Jolie will likely direct Unbroken, “based on real-life story of Olympian and air force officer Louis Zamperini, who survived on a raft for 47 days after a plane crash during the second world war and later was captured by the Japanese and spent many years in brutal POW camps,” reports the Guardian‘s Catherine Shoard.
Viewing. Art of the Title presents “James Bond: 50 Years of Main Title Design.”