Film Colossus and More

A new online quarterly, Film Colossus, has launched with an issue focusing on movie endings. Travis Bean cites Clayton Dillard’s interview with Apichatpong Weerasethakul that ran in Slant last year, specifically the Thai filmmaker’s observation that “there are really two extremes that you realize when a country is under dictatorship. You find people who are very very okay with being submissive and then you find a camp that’s the opposite.” Bean: “That boundary between ‘submissive’ and ‘inquisitive’ is where Weerasethakul’s characters always rest.” Bean then examines the split in Blissfully Yours (2002), Tropical Malady (2004), Syndromes and a Century (2006), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), and Cemetery of Splendor (2015). 

“The worlds of film and professional wrestling aren’t as different as they may seem from the outside,” suggests Taylor Hawkins at the top of an analysis of M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2017). Speaking of Shyamalan, Montages has posted a second article on After Earth (2013) by Dag Sødtholt.

Back at Film Colossus, we find interviews with directors, cinematographers, editors, makeup artists, sound designers, production designers, assistant directors, and festival programmers as well as essays on the endings of Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko (2001), Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea (2016), Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa (2015), and Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky (2001).

More Reading

The name Alice Guy-Blaché “should be heralded alongside early filmmakers like Georges Méliès and Auguste and Louis Lumière,” declares Allison Meier at Hyperallergic. “She was one of the first filmmakers—some argue the first—to work with fictional narratives, beginning with her 1896 La Fée aux Choux in which babies are born from cabbages with the help of a fairy. It’s not even a minute long, but as Open Culture points out, it came out only a year after the first film screening by the Lumière Brothers, who were still focused on ‘actualités’ that were more documentary than fiction.”

In Nicholas Ray’s “1950 noir masterpiece In a Lonely Place we find what is perhaps the director’s most tragic exploration of identity,” writes Sherry Johnson in the Notebook.

Writing for the New Republic,Josephine Livingstone argues that “the time has come to give [Andrei Tarkovsky’s] Stalker [1979] its due as the great apocalyptic opus for the climate change era.”

“In celebrating the surge in television and film production in Illinois and its injection of billions of dollars through the economy, a question that tickles outward is whether Chicago could become a victim of its success, especially if the industry finds itself unable keep pace with its rising ambition,” writes Ray Pride in Newcity Film. “In coming months and years, can we honestly say something called ‘the Chicago filmmaking community’ is economically and artistically sustainable?”

In Other News

“Studio Ghibli and the government of Nagoya’s Aichi Prefecture, are to build a park based on My Neighbor Totoro, the 1988 classic anime by Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki,” reports Mark Schilling for Variety. “The site will be part of a 200-hectare park previously used for the Expo 2005 world exposition. The park is scheduled to open in summer 2020.”

“Some hard-core movie and video enthusiasts are raising money to open a video-rental store in Remington, the first in Baltimore since Video Americain shut its flagship Coldspring Lane location in March 2014,” reports Chris Kaltenbach for the Baltimore Sun. “The group already has collected about 5,000 DVDs, and they’ve opened a Kickstarter page with a goal of raising $30,000 by June 21.”

Goings On

New York. Today’s reminder that The Lubitsch Touch is on through June 15 at Film Forum comes with a tip, a suggestion for further reading. Geoffrey O’Brien for the New York Review of Books on Ernst Lubitsch: “He offers a parallel domain of buoyant elegance, a theater of free-floating desire and inextinguishable humor ingeniously stitched together out of the fabric of Austrian operettas and French farces and the plot devices of a hundred forgotten Hungarian plays, flavored by delicate irony and risqué innuendo, where sex is everywhere but just out of sight behind discreetly closed doors, constantly implied in what is never quite stated.”

“For about a decade, Frank and Eleanor Perry made some of the most powerful American films of their era, but only recently has much serious attention been paid to their work,” writes Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice. “The Quad Cinema’s retrospective of some of their key titles, including several movies Frank directed on his own after their divorce in the early 1970s, should go some way towards restoring their reputation. It’s about damn time.”

Desperate Characters: The Cinema of Frank & Eleanor Perry is on through Tuesday and, writing for Screen Slate, Sarah Winshall recommends The Swimmer (1968), “expansive and intimate, mundane and surreal.”

David D’Arcy previews Films on the Green 2017, a season of free screenings of French films starting today and running through September 7.

Los Angeles.The Films of Lina Wertmüller are screening at Cinefamily through June 16.

London. With a Guru Dutt retrospective on at the BFI Southbank through June, Sight & Sound has posted the appreciation by Mark Cousins that ran in the March 2006 issue: “His downcast loners in films of the 1950s and early 60s signaled that, the upbeat tone of much of Hindi All India cinema notwithstanding, all was not well in reformist India. He could smile like [Amitabh] Bachchan and romance like [Shah Rukh] Khan, but his career was more complex than either, combining, in Western terms, those of John Garfield and Orson Welles.”

Paris. The John Boorman retrospective at the Cinémathèque française is on through June 25.

In The Works

“Carey Mulligan will star as a Vietnam war correspondent in the film On the Other Side,” and, for the Hollywood Reporter,Tatiana Siegel notes that “the true story centers on Kate Webb, a trailblazing journalist for UPI who would pave the way for all the female war correspondents that came after her.”

Hans Petter Moland will write and direct an adaptation of Per Petterson’s novel Out Stealing Horses and Stellan Skarsgård is set to play the lead, reports Variety’s Elsa Keslassy.

Ron Howard will direct a documentary about Luciano Pavarotti, reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr.


Luke McKernan remembers Karel Dibbets, “the great Dutch cinema historian, who died earlier this week. Karel, based at the University of Amsterdam, was scholar of notable accomplishments, writing a history of Dutch cinema to 1940 and editing a volume, Film and the First World War.” Dibbets also established and curated Cinema Context, which he himself described as “an online encyclopedia of film culture in the Netherlands from 1896 to the present.”

“Wendell Burton, who made his screen debut opposite Liza Minnelli in 1969’s The Sterile Cuckoo and appeared in touchstone 1970s fare like Go Ask Alice,You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Fortune and Men’s Eyes, died Tuesday at 69,” reports Greg Evans for Deadline.

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