11.April.2012: As part of its ongoing Biennial, the Whitney will be screening Charles Atlas’s film document of Merce Cunningham’s Ocean from today on through the weekend. After noting that Atlas served as Cunningham’s filmmaker-in-residence from 1974-1983, the museum notes add that “Atlas’s films stand as the final living record of many of Cunningham’s seminal works, and the feature-length Ocean marks his final Cunningham project.” In his piece for The New York times, Alastair Macaulay has more figures: Atlas made 39 Cunningham films in all and only finished this last one two years after the choreographer’s death. “The Ocean film, wonderfully, records how Cunningham’s mind moved,” he writes. “It shows the steep walls of the Minnesota quarry, shows the audience arriving, and then shows how the choreography, occurring within such a surround, draws the viewer into its own large and faraway world. (The Minnesota audience includes the choreographer, then 89 and wrapped warmly against the night air.)” Macaulay also has a wish: “I hope New York has a festival of Cunningham dance films before long.”
The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody reports that Francis Ford Coppola’s new film Twixt opens in Paris tomorrow even though it’s still waiting for a release date in the States. “It’s got quite a cast,” Brody writes, “Val Kilmer stars as a horror-fiction novelist who is drawn, for financial reasons, into writing a book with a small-town sheriff (Bruce Dern) about a local serial killer, and who has visions of a young girl who’s a vampire (Elle Fanning).” Referring to Le Monde‘s Isabelle Regnier review of the film, Brody writes, “She adds that Coppola’s questions regarding the connection of the three registers of fiction, dream, and reality ‘find, in this story of mourning, of creation, and of ravishing phantoms their most fruitful, most limpid, and most overwhelming expression.'”
Cineuropa reports that Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan will receive this year’s Carrosse d’Or director’s award at the opening ceremony of the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. You can stream Ceylan’s Climates and Three Monkeys at Fandor now.
The 19th annual New York African Film Festival gets underway today at Lincoln Center. For the LC blog, Daniel Rubinton looks forward to Opening Night selection Mama Africa, a documentary about the singer Miriam Makeba and an unusual archival program of Russian newsreel footage from Africa.
Close-Up has published the first new issue of Vertigo in two years, and it’s all about Jean-Luc Godard. Two of the dossier’s essays deal specifically with Godard’s most recent movie, Film Socialisme, which is also streaming on Fandor: Roland-François Lack’s “A Photograph and a Camera: Two Objects in Film Socialisme” and James S. Williams’ “Entering the Desert: The Book of Film Socialisme.”