13.April.2012: After opening yesterday with Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels, Robert Siodmak’s classic noir, Criss Cross, and a new restoration of Bob Fosse’s Cabaret, the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival presses on through the weekend. The Los Angeles Weekly splits its coverage between four authors, with Mark Olsen paying tribute to four Stanley Donen musicals (“making The Artist look like lame karaoke”); Tom von Logue Newth to a fistful of noir (including Gun Crazy with actress Peggy Cummins in attendance); Michael Nordine to rarities both classic and oddball; and Doug Cummings with big words for Pál Fejös’ little known 1928 film, Lonesome: “With its deeply romantic, fablelike spin on urban living, this visually exhilarating tale of two city workers who meet and fall in love on Coney Island rivals Sunrise or The Crowd.”
For The Los Angeles Times, Oliver Gettell reports on the difficult of TCM’s mounting of the 1962 epic How the West Was Won in its original Cinerama, the ambitious format that combined three images horizontally for a wide picture: “The three projectors and the sound dubber are mechanically linked, but multiple projectionists—Sunday’s screening will use five—must constantly adjust the alignment of the composite image. And with so many moving parts, there are more opportunities for something to go wrong…During the test run, a film strip breaks and the sound goes out of sync. [Projectionist John] Sittig is not flustered. In his 10 years showing Cinerama films at the Dome, he has never had one fail in front of an audience.”
For more on the projection front, we head back to the pages of The Los Angeles Weekly, where Gendy Alimurung has a long article on the consequences of Hollywood’s transition away from 35mm film. She begins by recounting a December meeting in which Christopher Nolan tried to convince other directors to push for 35mm films with a sneak peak at the photochemical Dark Knight Rises: “‘’The danger comes from filmmakers not asserting their right to choose that format,” Nolan says. ‘If they stop exercising that choice, it will go away. I tell people, ‘Look, digital isn’t going away.’” Indeed, Alimurung goes on to talk about what’s to come with exhibitors, projectionists, and archivists.
This is a good weekend to be on the international festival scene, with both the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (more commonly known as BAFICI) and the Images Festival getting underway. The latter is celebrating its 25th year of experimental film in Toronto with several programs of films that played back in 1988.
If you can’t make it to Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, or Toronto, though, Fandor has you covered with four new featured films of the week. Curator Peter Conheim once wrote that Joseph Losey’s King and Country “rivals the venerable [Paths of Glory] without depicting a single battle scene.” Losey fled America from the blacklist, while screenwriter Dalton Trumbo won an Oscar working under a similarly motivated pseudonym for The Brave One, a picture of a boy and a bull in Mexico. An epic verité portrait of the mass displacement resulting from the Three Gorges Project, Before the Flood was reportedly an inspiration for Jia Zhangke’s Still Life. And finally Armadillo, a (Danish) grunt’s eye view of the conflict in Afghanistan, nabbed the International Critics’ Week “Grand Prize” at Cannes in 2010.