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    • Over on Film Comment’s site, Margaret Barton-Fumo explores the sonic pleasures of the work of the beloved Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. “He has continuously crossed genres and pushed the boundaries of orchestral scoring since the beginning of his career,” she writes, “even though many of his theories—about the impact of technology, the relation between music and images, and the concept of ‘film time’—remain unchanged.” Plus, listen to the special mix of Sakamoto’s music that accompanies the post.
    • Also at Film Comment, this week’s podcast is dedicated to investigating the concept of the summer movie, through the lens of the films that premiered in the summer of 1966.
    • For TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog, R. Emmet Sweeney has begun his Summer of Rohmer series with the French auteur’s languid, sun-dappled 1967 film La collectionneuse. Speaking of Rohmer’s collaboration with Néstor Almendros, Sweeney points out that this film, the cinematographer’s first feature, “displays a sumptuously beautiful use of natural light, most of which was due to budget constraints. You can see the gradients in the summer sunlight and textures in the shadows.” He goes on, “This use of natural light was both an aesthetic choice and a budgetary necessity. They didn’t have big arc lamps so usually used whatever light was at hand, pushing the limits of the 35 mm film stock. For all its rivers of dialogue, La collectionneuse is a remarkably tactile feature, of terry-cloth robes against the skin, rocks under your feet, a shaft of light entering the room. Like most of Rohmer’s work, La collectionneuse has a piercing lucidity, conveying an understanding of background birdsong as well as the labyrinthine self-delusions of aging artist-Lotharios.”
    • Serendipitously, Abbey Bender has dedicated her latest Costume Party feature for Brooklyn Magazine to the swimsuits featured in Rohmer’s films.
    • Slant has published a list, The 75 Greatest LGBT Films of All Time, which includes Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, John Schlesinger’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and many other essential films.
    • Vanity Fair has just debuted the fake trailer Joel and Ethan Coen made in the early eighties for their first feature, Blood Simple, in an attempt to secure funding for the project. This never-before-seen look at the early stages of the production features Bruce Campbell in what would become Dan Hedaya’s starring role.
    • For Oscilloscope’s Musings blog, Piers Marchant examines Peter Weir’s haunting 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock:Picnic can be about practically anything you want to ascribe to it. Is it a meditation on the plaintive unknown of sexual awakening? A film about the limitations of human understanding? Does it concern the idea of our intellectual and spiritual frailty? All of the above and vastly more. In the end, we have a narrative steeped in the idea of mystery at its most elemental. To do this, the film takes a form that Kubrick himself would explore in The Shining some years later: It begins simply, as a kind of genre film, but gradually opens up to a more abstract consideration of the unknown.”
    • The BFI’s site has published a primer on “the unvarnished grit of Britain’s kitchen sink classics,” featuring the work of Ken Loach, Schlesinger, Karel Reisz, and Tony Richardson (including the forthcoming Criterion title A Taste of Honey).
    • The BFI site has also posted a survey of seventeen directors who’ve made five masterworks in a row, with Paul Thomas Anderson, Michelangelo Antonioni, Marcel Carné, and Hal Ashby topping the list. Might we also suggest Luis Buñuel, Rohmer, Maurice Pialat . . .
    • The first trailer for Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Jury Prize–winning film American Honey has arrived.


  • By TheDirector
    June 24, 2016
    07:03 PM

    That BFI 17 Directors List is bizarre. Not including Being There as a sixth for Hal Ashby or Monsieur Verdoux (and then Limelight!) for Chaplin, yet having a director like John Carpenter - whose place is certainly as doubtable as Verdoux or Being There!
  • By Phil
    June 24, 2016
    09:28 PM

    Thoughts on BFI 17 Directors List: Hitchcock is passed over because after Vertigo through The Birds, he made Marnie. What about the great film prior to Vertigo, the underrated The Wrong Man? There's room for debate with Hal Ashby. A review in the latest Cineaste magazine pretty much panned Bound for Glory. Is it too much of a stretch to consider John Hughes? Sixteen Candles. The Breakfast Club. Weird Science. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and...Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Well, almost. If that last one were a tad better, maybe...