30.April.2012:Reuters reports that the two Cuban Una Noche actors who went missing after landing in Miami en route to the Tribeca Film Festival have confirmed that they are seeking political asylum in the United States. Actress Anailin de Rua tells reporters, “It never entered our minds that we would get to travel because of the film. We never imagined that it would go this far.”The film won prizes at Tribeca for best cinematography, best actor (split between leads Dariel Arrechada and Javier Núñez), and best new narrative director (for Lucy Mulloy).
Indiewire’s Peter Knegt reports that Richard Linklater’s Bernie’s limiting opening this weekend was a rousing success: “On three screens in New York, Los Angeles and Austin, the film took in $90,438, averaging a stellar $30,146. That’s the best indie debut of 2012, and the best average ever for a Linklater film.”
The new documentary Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story premiered at Tribeca last weekend before opening in New York and Los Angeles. It also plays at Toronto’s Hot Docs tomorrow and Wednesday. Amy Taubin begins her review for Artforum: “Some stories need to be told and told again. Raymond De Felitta’s Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story (2012) is the sequel to his father Frank De Felitta’s NBC News documentary Mississippi: A Self Portrait (1966). Both films explore racism and a still unresolved struggle for desegregation in Greenwood, Mississippi, the town that was the home of Byron De La Beckwith, finally convicted in 1994 of assassinating Medgar Evers in 1963.” She describes the younger De Felitta as an “undervalued American independent film treasure,” drawing special attention to the humanist qualities of his fictional efforts like Two Family House and City Island.
The fresh 35mm prints of Shirley Clarke’s The Connection and Jacques Rivette’s Céline and Julie Go Boating won’t open in New York until next Friday (at the IFC Center and Film Forum, respectively), but The New York Times had excellent coverage on both releases this past weekend. Manohla Dargis begins her piece, “Dancer, bride, runaway wife, radical filmmaker and pioneer—Shirley Clarke is one of the great undertold stories of American independent cinema.” Happily, she reports that Milestone Films plans to distribute restored versions of several of Clarke’s key works beyond The Connection. Dennis Lim writes of Rivette, “More perhaps than any other filmmaker’s, his labyrinthine body of work attests to the timeless lure of the endless story.” He goes on, “It’s not just that [Céline and Julie Go Boating] holds up to repeat viewings; its very point is its seemingly infinite repeatability, its mysterious capacity to surprise both first-time viewers and those who know it as well as a magician reciting an incantation.”
Sean O’Hagan profiles William Klein at 84 for The Guardian, and his interview with the iconoclastic photographer and filmmaker starts with a bang: “‘People ask me why I never went back home to America,’ [Klein] says, when I meet him in his apartment overlooking the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. ‘Have you seen those crazy right-wing assholes who want to be president? The place is so reactionary it just makes me angry. If I lived there, you wouldn’t be interviewing me, I’d be dead from a heart attack by now.’”