12.April.2012: The vagaries of film distribution and Hong Sang-soo’s regular output means that the South Korean writer-director has two films opening in New York over the next couple of weeks: The Day He Arrives opens at Lincoln Plaza on April 20, while his sublime 2010 film, Oki’s Movie, finally gets a weeklong run at the Maysles Institute. The latter venue is oriented towards documentary, but series curator Livia Bloom contends that, “Documentary filmmaking is the secret star of the elegant…Oki’s Movie.” Of The Day He Arrives, The L Magazine’s Mark Asch writes that “As in 2008’s Night and Day, and elsewhere, interactions with the doppelgängers of previous romantic failures suggest something almost comically arrested in the maturity of Hong’s men. There are other tantalizing near-rhymes throughout The Day He Arrives: in a bar called ‘Novel,’ where each night ends up, Seong-jun and friends debate the essentially designed or arbitrary nature of coincidence. Reflexive, or possibly reflexive conversations are one of many elements that recur across Hong’s dozen features to date.”
Dario Argento fans, brace yourself. Deadline New York’s Mike Fleming reports that David Gordon Green, formerly known for indies like George Washington but more recently associated with the likes of Pineapple Express and the “Halftime in America” Super Bowl commercial, has received backing to remake the Italian horror maestro’s signature film, Suspiria. And the Goblin score?
The Museum of Modern Art’s brief Philip Kaufman retrospective continues tonight with screenings of the San Francisco filmmaker’s debut, Goldstein, and his aeronautical epic, The Right Stuff. Kaufman will be in attendance for a Q&A with Annette Insdorf, author of a new monograph on the director reviewed by Anne Thompson last week. “[Insdorf] writes clear, intelligent, if hagiographic, analysis,” Thompson comments. “But what I find so heartbreaking about Kaufman—a thoughtful craftsman whom Hollywood has failed to support as much as he deserves—she skips over, partly out of courtesy, I suspect.”
After reporting on PBS’s controversial decision to reschedule its platforms for independent documentary, Independent Lens and POV, Indiewire’s Anthony Kaufman has more bad news for documentary filmmakers: “The National Endowment of the Arts is stripping more than $1 million in federal aid from PBS shows, effective April 25, including drastic cuts for Independent Lens from $170,000 to $50,000, and at POV, from $250,000 to $100,000.”
The Chicago Reader’s Ben Sachs has his own harsh verdict on the state of documentary in two posts flowing from the Architecture & Design Film Festival opening at the Music Box tonight. “Don’t go,” he warns. “I’ve watched four of the 15 feature-length selections, and none contained an image awesome enough to evoke a festival—or, for that matter, a film.” He goes on, “It’s common knowledge that digital technology has rendered moviemaking cheaper and easier than ever before. The downside of this development is that more people with no apparent interest in movies are now making them—and more often than not, it’s the documentary form that suffers from their public indifference.”