By Max Goldberg
14.March.2012: Eric Kohn opens his consideration of why South by Southwest is “where crazy movies call home” by taking in Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s cinematic debut, Los Chidos: “The bastard love child of John Waters and Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Mars Volta frontman’s batshit-crazy spin on the telenovela includes a graphic scatological meal, incest, severed penises in jars, inexplicable cannibalism and intentionally amateurish dialogue that’s obviously dubbed. It’s littered with ugly stereotypes delivered in the service of crude satire. And at the SXSW Film Festival this week, it played through the roof.” Lopez tells The New York Times’ Mekado Murphy that “The cycle of oppressive language is one of the strongest themes of the film, if people can stay in the seat long enough, or think about it long enough to care.” But The House Next Door’s Jesse Cataldo isn’t buying: “While the film positions itself as an attack on Latin American traditions of misogyny and homophobia, any whiff of a reasonable argument is lost in the disordered muddle it stirs up.”
Indiewire’s Drew Taylor is gaga for Girls, the new Judd Apatow-produced HBO series created by Tiny Furniture auteur Lena Dunham that previewed at SXSW: “Dunham’s voice remains, while being wonderfully interpreted by other actors. And that’s the main impression you’re left with after watching the first three episodes of Girls—what a tremendous leap forward it is from Tiny Furniture. On a technical level, it’s akin to the difference between a bottle rocket being set off in a dusty backyard and the first manned mission to the moon.” Christopher Rosen recaps the Girls Q&A for the Huffington Post, while Dave Itzkoff announced that Dunham will program an eight-film series for the BAMcinématek next month called “Hey Girlfriend! Lena Dunham Selects.”
A series dedicated to the Russian director Aleksei Guerman opens tomorrow at the Film Society at Lincoln Center, and Artforum’s Tony Pipolo is describing it as “among the most important retrospectives in years.” “Though the Russian director’s output is small, his track record is flawless,” Pipolo opines. “The stylistic shift from his first four films to Khrustalyov, My Car! is dazzling—like stumbling upon Fellini’s wildly dreamlike 8 1/2 (1963) after having seen his Neorealist films.” Russian critic Anton Dolin’s expansive consideration in the current Film Comment is also online. “To many Russian critics, cinephiles, and viewers,” he writes, “Guerman is their national cinema’s foremost figure after Tarkovsky. Others insist that, in fact, he is more important and more original.”
Andre Soares reports for the Alt Film Guide that a beautiful original poster of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis can be yours for a mere $850,000.
On occasion of the publication of Claude Lanzmann’s autobiography The Patagonian Hare, which he reviews in the current New Yorker, Richard Brody speculates about the cultural forces that impelled the Shoah director towards cinema as his chosen medium: “There’s something special about Lanzmann’s approach to movies that owes something surprising to Sartre, and it’s something that he shares with the other supreme French filmmaker of the time, Jean-Luc Godard.”