1.March.2012: Monkees vocalist Davy Jones died Wednesday morning following a heart attack. He was 66. Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene reports, “The singer—who had been on a solo tour this month—complained of chest pains last evening and was admitted to hospital [yesterday] morning in Stuart, Florida.” Though the Monkees were a television phenomenon, they made the jump to the big screen in a big way with Bob Rafelson’s Head, “arguably the most authentically psychedelic film made in 1960s Hollywood” in Chuck Stephens’ estimable opinion.
The 17th annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema opens tonight at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with the North American premiere of the French box-office smash Intouchables. Stephen Holden is lukewarm on the film in his preview for The New York Times (“exploits every hoary stereotype of the black man as cultural liberator”), but he acknowledges the power of the film’s Weinstein Company imprint: “If Intouchables gains box office traction in the United States, you can expect the same kind of aggressive awards campaign for [actor] Mr. Sy that Harvey Weinstein mounted to secure what many consider to be an undeserved best actor statuette for the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni in the 1997 Holocaust comedy, Life is Beautiful.” Among the other films playing this year’s Rendez-Vous, Holden calls André Téchiné’s Unforgivable “one of his richest studies of complex relationships” and describes Diane Kruger’s turn as Marie Antoinette in Benoît Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen “a much more fascinating character than the blank, passive one played by Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.” Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval’s acclaimed Low Life screens Sunday and Wednesday at Rendez-Vous, and Aaron Cutler has the fascinating interview he conducted with the co-directors at last fall’s São Paulo International Film Festival for The MUBI Notebook.
A new 35mm print of Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession opens at Los Angeles’s Cinefamily tonight for a weeklong run. “The phrase over the top doesn’t begin to characterize Polish director Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 Possession,” begins J. Hoberman for The LA Weekly. “Made with an international cast in still-divided Berlin, the movie starts as an unusually violent breakup film, takes an extremely yucky turn toward Repulsion-style psychological breakdown, escalates into the avant-garde splatterific body horror of the ’70s (Eraserhead or The Brood) and ends in the realm of pulp metaphysics, as in I Married a Monster From Outer Space. Critics found Possession risible when, cut by some 40 minutes, it opened in New York on Halloween 1983. I confess I was one, terming it ‘a sort of arty Basketcase … difficult to recount with a straight face.’ But I never forgot it; Possession is not a movie you can easily scrape off the bottom of your shoe, particularly in the complete two-hour version.”
Right on the tail of yesterday’s rushes about the transition to digital projection, the film-oriented Montreal publisher Caboose announces a new collaborative on-line project called “Planetary Projection,” aiming give “some of the world’s remarkable film projectionists” their due. They’re soliciting additions, so pitch in with stories about your favorite cine-technician!