Rushes: SFIFF | New Orleans | Kubrick | Kramer

28.March.2012: The San Francisco International Film Festival announced its full 2012 program yesterday, including tributes to its fallen executive directors, Graham Leggat (the opening night screening of Benoît Jacquot‘s Farewell, My Queen) and Bingham Ray (The Third Man). The festival runs from April 19–May 3.

Broolyn’s BAMcinématek opens its “New Orleans on Film” retrospective tomorrow with a double feature of Rene Clair’s The Flame of New Orleans with Leo McCarey’s Mae West vehicle, Belle of the Nineties. With Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild the story at Sundance and Bill and Turner Ross’s Tchoupitoulas garnering some of the best reviews of the documentaries at South by Southwest, the Big Easy is getting a lot of fresh attention. Melissa Anderson focuses on Walk on the Wild Side‘s blacklisted director Edward Dmytryk’s “spectacularly lurid melodrama centering around a New Orleans cathouse,” for her Artforum write-up.

Stanley Kubrick’s 1953 debut feature, Fear and Desire, screens as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films program tonight, and Film Comment’s Justin Stewart talks with Paul Mazursky about the film’s production. Mazursky had a role in the film more than ten years before he turned to directing.  “At a certain point when we were making the movie,” he recalls to Stewart, “Stanley was running out of money and he knew we needed some more, so we drove down from the mountains…On the way down Stanley was telling us he was going to get 5,000 bucks out of his uncle, and he was so determined that he spat at the windshield. I had never seen anything like it. I was 21 years old and Stanley was about 23, and I had never seen a guy that age with that kind of determination. And he got the 5,000 bucks out of his uncle.” “A work Kubrick dismissed as amateurish and tried to keep from public view in his later years, this slender war drama is, frankly, something of a pretentious, muddled mess,” writes Tim Grierson for The Village Voice. “But it’s also a fascinating one…Expect Fear and Desire to be a forgotten masterpiece, and you’ll be disappointed. Treat it like a wobbly, precocious demo from a 24-year-old with mighty aspirations, filled with hints of what he would become, and you’ll be properly enthralled.”

Legendary art critic Hilton Kramer died Tuesday at 84. Writing the obituary for The New York Times, where Kramer launched some of his most notable polemics as something of a high priest of modernism, William Grimes notes that the critic was “admired for his intellectual range and feared for his imperious judgments.” A few choice samples of the latter follow: “A resolute high modernist, he was out of sympathy with many of the aesthetic waves that came after the great achievements of the New York School, notably Pop (‘a very great disaster’), conceptual art (‘scrapbook art’) and postmodernism (‘modernism with a sneer, a giggle, modernism without any animating faith in the nobility and pertinence of its cultural mandate’).” The Atlantic‘s Alexander Abad-Santos focuses on the critic’s sometimes contentious relationship with the Gray Lady: “The paper’s politics became his main subject in his TimesWatch column in The New York Post…’It’s not my duty to provide a critical estimate of tabloid journalism,” he told New York, adding that his problems with his former employer came from ‘the extreme degree to which the reporting of the news has become politically determined by The Times.'”

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