“Since [Wong Kar-wai] makes his movies out of pieces that can be recombined in many ways, each film is like a kaleidoscope,” writes David Bordwell. “Shake it, and the pieces reconfigure…. Here’s another analogy. At the level of style, Wong is assembling each film out of bits that can be reconfigured on another occasion. Looked at shot by shot, The Grandmaster becomes a sort of mosaic.” Thorough analysis follows, as does the news that Hong Kong is sending The Grandmaster to the foreign language Oscar race.
Word from Catherine Grant: the latest issue of the University of British Columbia’s film journal, Cinephile, is now online. The theme: Contemporary Extremism, with essays on Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible (2002), Marvin Kren’s Rammbock (2010), Daniel Grou’s 7 Days (2010), and more.
Yuriko Furuhata’s Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics is “a remarkably researched and argued case for Japan’s complex theoretical contributions to the field of cinema studies, often by the filmmakers themselves,” writes Clayton Dillard at the House Next Door.
David Denby revisits his review for the New Yorker of Ben Urwand’s The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler and Thomas Doherty’s Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939: “Perhaps I’m naïve about academic publishing, but I’m surprised that Harvard University Press could have published anything as poorly argued as Urwand’s book; and I’m surprised still more that Harvard or Urwand (or both) hired a commercial book publicist, Goldberg McDuffie, which, in its press release for Urwand’s book, attacked Doherty’s work on the subject.”
Shirin Neshat’s trailer for Viennale 2013 with Natalie Portman; shot by Darius Khondji
Thom Andersen has tweaked his 170-minute documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself and introduced a tenth anniversary screening at the city’s Egyptian Theater on Friday. Variety‘s Scott Foundas details a few of the changes since the 2003 version but concentrates on what remains the same: “Andersen traces the evolution of the city from a mere nondescript setting for movies (in the early days of film production) to a vivid character in ‘40s film noirs and melodramas and, finally, to a subject unto itself in the likes of Chinatown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and L.A. Confidential. In doing so, he engages and debunks many enduring Los Angeles stereotypes, from Joan Didion’s observation that ‘nobody walks’ to the assumptions that all Angelenos live in the hills or by the beach, and are—or yearn to be—part of ‘the industry.'”
Michael Smith presents an Australian/New Zealand Cinema Primer.
In other news. Gabe Klinger‘s tweeted word that the Festival Tous Écrans in Geneva will be presenting a complete retrospective of the Cinéastes, de notre temps series, 105 portraits of the likes of Godard, Lang, Hitchcock, Cassavetes, and so on. It’ll take three editions of the festival to get them all screened; this year’s edition runs from October 31 through November 7.
The Stockholm International Film Festival (November 6 through 17) has announced that one of its jury members will be Ai Weiwei.
Carpenter Peter Massie was tearing down a barn in New Hampshire in 2006 when he discovered the only known copy of Their First Misunderstanding, a 1911 film that marked a turning point in Mary Pickford‘s career. As Holly Ramer reports for the AP, this was the first film Pickford wrote “and the first for which she was given credit in the advertising materials. Before that, movie studios didn’t want actors to become household names because they’d demand more money, said Pickford scholar Christel Schmidt, editor of Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies.” A Library of Congress-funded restoration of Their First Misunderstanding will be screened next month at Keene State College.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is putting more than eight of those billion into the Oriental Movie Metropolis in Qingdao, a major city on the northeastern coast. Vadim Rizov at the Dissolve: “Upon projected completion in 2017, the Metropolis will boast 20 soundstages, the world’s first underwater studio, a shopping mall containing an indoor theme park modeled on Universal Studios, a permanent auto show, a celebrity wax museum, seven resort hotels and a yacht club with 300 berths.”
“Terrence Malick has hit back at accusations that he misused funds for his long-gestating documentary Voyage of Time, as his lawyers filed a counter-claim in a New York court against his one time financial backers,” reports the Guardian‘s Andrew Pulver.
DVD/Blu-ray. At Slant, Budd Wilkins argues that Richard Linklater‘s Slacker (1991) “sows the seeds of everything from the Before series’s conversational divagations to the cross-sectional regional profiling of Bernie.” Meantime, Dazed and Confused turns 20 today, and Linklater tells the Daily Beast‘s Marlow Stern, “It was actually a tough film to make. The film was much more ambitious than its budget and schedule allowed.” The New York Film Festival will host a a special Reunion screening on October 10.
New York. “The reception of Guy Debord’s work has long positioned him foremost as a theorist and political writer, and only secondarily as a filmmaker, but in a strategic departure, the current issue of Grey Room is devoted to a re-examination of Debord’s cinematic output. To mark the arrival of this publication, Light Industry presents a screening of a newly-produced (and completely unofficial) English-language version of Debord’s film Society of the Spectacle (1973), with a voiceover by Paul Chan.” Tonight at 7:30.
Obit. “Carolyn Cassady, the lover of Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac and the wife of Kerouac’s road companion Neal Cassady, the ‘Dean Moriarty’ of Kerouac’s 1957 novel On the Road, died Sept. 20,” reports Terence McArdle for the Washington Post. She was 90. In the Guardian, James Campbell remembers “an unlikely, and in many ways an unwilling, Beat icon” and notes that Sissy Spacek played her in John Byrum’s Heart Beat, the 1980 film based on Carolyn Cassady’s memoir.