Daily | Wong, Cronenberg, Murnau

Leslie Cheung in 'Days of Being Wild' (1990)

Leslie Cheung in ‘Days of Being Wild’ (1990)

Leslie Cheung was a phantom,” wrote Adrian Martin in 2003. “Wong Kar-wai, his best director, and powerhouse generator of a 1990s-era cinephilia, realized this early on. He gave Cheung the most precious gift any director can give an actor: a cinematic form, an incarnation in light, shadow and movement—an embodiment triangulated between the gestures of the actor, the displacements of the camera and the dynamism of the edits.” In photogénie‘s latest “Cinephiliac Moment,” Adrian looks back on Days of Being Wild (1990).

Two related items here. With Film Fest Gent, photogénie is presenting the first Young Critics Workshop, “open to five aspiring film critics (aged 18-26) from Belgium and abroad, offering them the opportunity to cover the 41st edition of this major international event” running from October 14 through 25.

And via Twitter, Adrian alerts us to the new issue of Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media.


Chances are, someone will have already insisted you read the latest piece from Wesley Morris at Grantland, but if not: “This would just be more flushable summer waste (and, please, don’t let me stop you from jiggling the handle), except Let’s Be Cops somehow doubles as a fantasy that knows its social limits, limits that connect it to the turmoil in Ferguson, and those limits ease on down the road of race.”

For Midnight Eye, Dimitri Ianni talks with Ayumi Sakamoto about her 2013 debut feature, Forma, winner of the Best Picture Award in the Japanese Cinema Splash section at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlinale in February.

F.W. Murnau‘s “use of super-imposition, model work, camera movement and other visual storytelling techniques single out Faust [1926] as one of the great technical masterpieces of the silent era,” writes James Marsh, reviewing a new dual format release for Twitch. “During the incredibly entertaining and informative audio commentary from film critics Bill Krohn and David Ehrenstein that accompanies this new release from Masters of Cinema, dozens of films and filmmakers are name-checked as being influenced by and drawing directly from Murnau’s grand gothic opus. Films such as The Thief of Bagdad and The Wizard of Oz, and everyone from James Whale to Steven Spielberg and Terry Gilliam, found something in Faust to inspire them.”

John Waters talks with Isabelle Huppert

“Juano Hernandez was too old, Canada Lee died young, James Edwards never caught fire, Harry Belafonte was perhaps too fiery,” writes J. Hoberman. “It remained for [Sidney] Poitier, smoldering yet stolid, his diction lightly inflected with a crisp Bahamian accent, to shoulder the black man’s burden, virtually alone, from The Defiant Ones, the 1958 movie in which he escaped from a chain gang tethered to Tony Curtis, through the rise of blaxploitation films of the early 1970s.” For the New York Times, Hoberman reviews Martin Ritt’s Paris Blues (1961), “a small movie with large ambitions,” and Ralph Nelson’s Duel at Diablo (1966), featuring not only the late James Garner but also Poitier “as a buffalo soldier turned quick-draw gambling dude—cool, edgy and supremely self-possessed.”

“Any other week I might have thought this movie was dumb but this week I see how the message of true friendship is really just the most important message ever.” Sophia Takal (Green) at the Talkhouse Film on The Expendables 3.

For Rolling Stone, Sam Adams, David Fear, Tim Grierson, Kory Grow, Eric Hynes and Jason Newman list the “40 Greatest Rock Documentaries.”

And the Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw has notes on and clips from the “top 10 cities on film.”


“Following his 1999 virtual reality body horror film eXistenZ (1999), [David] Cronenberg’s work has largely expanded outside of the horror genre, with films like A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007) opening him up to a more general film-going audience,” writes Shane Joaquin Jimenez for Film International. “Still, these post-body horror films have managed to maintain a transgressive, psychologically compelling edge. Consumed, his first novel, blends the two arcs of his cinematic career into one chaotic, perverse, thoroughly Cronenbergian narrative.”

Along with another round of contributions to the 2007 collection Defining Moments in Movies, Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s posted his 1981 review of David Bordwell’s The Films of Carl-Theodor Dreyer; meantime, Bordwell believed for a couple of days there that the mystery movie poster in Orson Welles‘s The Magnificent Ambersons had, at long last, been identified. But maybe it’s a play after all. “No research project is finished, only abandoned.”

Via the Seventh Art, Peter Hutton’s At Sea (2007), voted the best avant-garde film of the 00s in a 2010 Film Comment poll

And there’s more on the new book by our CEO, this time around from Jonathan Kiefer in SF Weekly: “Filled with tidbits of earned wisdom and stories from the proverbial trenches, Hope for Film is a sort of memoir-handbook clearinghouse for the author’s recent advocations in social media and various blogs. Or pontifications, if you prefer: As is arguably the prerogative of someone who’s improvised a career out of helping dreamers get stuff done, he habitually oscillates between the philosophical and the pragmatic. From very proactively snagging that first gig as a production assistant, to figuring out how Ang Lee’s mind works, Hope’s industriousness has proven highly scalable.”

San Francisco Magazine‘s Adam L. Brinklow finds some of Ted’s stories so out there—Russian gangsters, the tethering of live flies, the razing of an entire town—that he’s fact-checked them with a few of Ted’s collaborators. Turns out, to steal a phrase from Welles, it’s all true.

Kill My Mother, the first graphic novel by the flighty and mighty cartoonist Jules Feiffer, is, as novelist Laura Lippman notes in her piece for the New York Times Book Review, “a tribute to film noir and detective fiction” dedicated to Raymond Chandler “as well as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and three directors most associated with screen adaptations of their work: John Huston, Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder. The settings and eras (‘Bay City’ in the 1930s, Hollywood in the 1940s) suggest that Feif­fer is here to pay his sincere respects to the genre, not—oh, dreaded phrase—transcend it.” More from Mina Kaneko and Francoise Mouly, who talk with Feiffer for the New Yorker and present a few sample pages.


Eight features from the Orizzonti (Horizons) program of the Venice Film Festival (August 27 through September 6) and three from the Biennale College Cinema will be available online and Cineuropa‘s got the list.

For Screen Daily, Lauren Cole reports that L’Etrange Festival, running in Paris from September 4 through 14, will be honoring Jacques Audiard, Sono Sion and Godfrey Reggio, “who have each programmed five films for the event, which will screen 80 films in total across 11 days.”


New York. “Much of what we love about classic Hollywood is what we hate about its times.” The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody on Thom Andersen and Noël Burch’s Red Hollywood, screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center through Thursday.

John Woo’s tribute to Patrick Lung Kong

The latest piece on Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Cinema of Patrick Lung Kong, running at the Museum of the Moving Image through August 24, comes from WNYC’s Araz Hachadourian.


Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray’s upcoming N.W.A. biopic, has already cast most of its key players,” notes Sam Barsanti at the AV Club. “A literal young Ice Cube is playing the young Ice Cube, Marcus Callender—a classically trained stage actor—is playing a pre-med school Dr. Dre, and Jason Mitchell—who has mostly appeared in Mark Wahlberg movies—will be Eazy-E. Also, some other guys are playing the other guys. The only missing piece left was noted gangster rapper Paul Giamatti, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, he has now officially joined the film.” He’ll be playing N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller.

And Mike Vago, also at the AV Club: “Over the course of creating some of the most critically-acclaimed television of the past two decades—Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, Generation Kill, Treme—David Simon has written for a murderer’s row of acting talent, including Andre Braugher, Idris Elba, Melissa Leo, Michael K. Williams, and Steve Zahn. Simon can now proudly add to that list Jim—sorry, James—Belushi, whose distinguished career as a thespian has led him to a role in Simon’s forthcoming HBO miniseries, Show Me a Hero.


The Film Doctor‘s posted a round of “dystopian present links.”

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