27. January.2012: Monty Python fans rejoice. Terry Jones (Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life) told Variety that he is set to direct the science fiction film Absolutely Anything with a little help from his friends: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. The BBC reports, “In the new CGI movie, the Pythons will provide voices for a group of aliens who grant a human being immense power, which eventually leads to all sorts of disruption.”
Designer Eiko Ishioka, whose bold costumes were seen in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ and The Cell, in addition to Broadway’s Spider-Man and the colossal Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, died in Tokyo last weekend. She was 73. In her obituary for The New York Times, Margalit Fox writes that Ishioka’s aesthetic was “a deliberate marriage of East and West,” embracing elements of “the gothic, the otherworldly, the dramatic and the unsettling…suffused with a powerful, dark eroticism.”
More than 50 years after Lionel Rogosin founded the Bleecker Street Cinema to debut his controversial anti-apartheid drama, Come Back, Africa, the film gets a second chance at Film Forum this week. As Bill Weber writes for Slant, “The miracle of Lionel Rogosin’s apartheid drama Come Back, Africa isn’t that it’s a solid, affecting artifact of a cruel society, but that it exists at all. In the wake of his debut film, the New York skid-row chronicle On the Bowery, Rogosin set out in 1957 for Johannesburg, and for months laid the groundwork for surreptitiously shooting a follow-up that would lay bare the pain and humiliations of black South Africans subjugated by the white majority, enlisting native writers Lewis Nkosi and Bloke Modisane to collaborate on the scenario.” That goes a little way towards explaining why Martin Scorsese has called it “a heroic film.” Meanwhile, Vadim Rizov responds to Rogosin’s polemic on a pointed note himself: “The Sophiatown district was being torn down even while Rogosin was shooting, so the film has been a time capsule from the moment it was released, but the dissection of racial frictions haven’t aged as much as we’d hope.”
Stanley Kubrick fans will be interested to hear about Room 237, a documentary spinning out interpretive theories of The Shining that premiered at Sundance last week. Michal Oleszczyk writes for The House Next Door, “With Rodney Ascher’s fantastic hoot of a movie, this year’s omnipresent Sundance tagline (“Look Again”) has finally lived up to its promise. Room 237 is a sustained act of tireless scrutiny, representing a near-kabbalistic approach to cinema, in which a sacred celluloid text is all that matters, and one can only aspire to offer a tentative interpretation of it—if only to then reread it yet again.” Robert Ito details some of the conspiratorial whispers for the Times. Oleszczyk thinks that the film, which heavily relies on clips from the original, is bound to run into copyright problems: “It will either end up as an illicitly downloadable item for Kubrick geeks, or it will help rework legal definition of ‘fair use,’ so that it finally includes ‘making love to another person’s work.’” Speaking of which, Violet Lucca’s historically minded article “On SOPA and the Future—and the Past—of Film” offers excellent weekend reading.
That is if you’re not watching one of Fandor’s new featured films, which are now viewable on iPad with a new app that hit #1 today in the “Lifestyle” category on iTunes. On the docket this week is Harry Houdini’s atmospheric vehicle for his magic, The Man from Beyond; Joseph Losey’s collaboration with playwright Tom Stoppard, The Romantic Englishwoman, described by Dave Kehr as one of the auteur’s “most engaging and accomplished films”; Dan Zukovic’s biting satire of Los Angeles pop culture, The Last Big Thing; and director Jim Finn’s debut film, Interkosmos, a wacky send-up of Communist space programs. In case you missed it, Jay Kuehner published a lengthy interview with Finn about his “unclassifiable body of work” on Keyframe yesterday.