On Wednesday, Martin Scorsese, in partnership with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers and UNESCO, officially launched the African Film Heritage Project. The Film Foundation, founded and chaired by Scorsese, will take part in the restoration of fifty African films. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn talks with him about the project: “We have to combat the ignorance that is taking over the world. It can only be done through knowing other people, learning about their culture and their values.”
Among the African films that the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has already restored in cooperation with the Cineteca di Bologna are Ousmane Sembène’s Borom Sarret (1963) and, pictured above, Black Girl (1966) and Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki (1973). Heads up: Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s documentary Sembene! (2015) is currently streaming for free today and tomorrow as part of the Sembene Across Africa project.
Kohn also talks with Scorsese about his support for up and coming filmmakers and his lifelong love for world cinema: “Without Fellini or Kurosawa, you wouldn’t have Spielberg . . . or Terry Malick.”
“What is the purpose of cinema in this current moment in time?” asks four by three magazine. Pedro Costa: “To avenge, to revenge.” Further in: “For me cinema came late, it came with everything and with the films came the writing. I’ve always praised great writing about films. . . . I have personal notes on my films by Jacques Rivette that are much better than my films—much better! . . . Film feeds on thinking.”
On a related note, the new issue of the Journal of Lusophone Studies features a special dossier on Portuguese cinema. Editors Clara Rowland and Estela Vieira: “The map of Portuguese cinema that emerges here does not take for granted any previous definition of the two words in the title but instead invites readers to rethink both evolving concepts.” The dossier includes Vieira on Costa’s O sangue (1989), António Preto on work by Costa, Manoel de Oliveira, and Miguel Gomes, Sérgio Dias Branco on João Botelho’s Um adeus português (1986), Fernando Arenas on “immigration in contemporary Portugal and social phenomena related to community, intercultural relations, and citizenship as represented in acclaimed cinematic and literary texts,” and Patrícia Vieira argues that, in Portuguese cinema, “cinematic depictions of the environment reflect the socio-economic and political changes Portugal went through in the past century.”
“I understand what’s going on in the ‘spaces of the political’ and engage with its significance,” John Akomfrah tells Brad Evans in the Los Angeles Review of Books. “But the work is not in some crudely mimetic relation to that political, not just mirroring it in the work. What I think I am offering are a set of propositions. Some of that is about the landscapes of violence. But those propositions are not ‘mere’ recognitions or acknowledgments of that ‘political.’ I am in dialogue with that ‘outside’ about its narcissisms, its untruths, its epistemic violence, its falsehoods, and its blind spots. But I am also trying not to be ventriloquized by it. Art can pose problems in unique ways, allowing for other meaningful dialogues. It’s not about imposing but about proposing. At its best, it is a conversation, a two-way street with the political.”
We’ve mentioned Charles Taylor’s new book Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ‘70s a few times over the past several days. At Flavorwire, Taylor tells Jason Bailey that “you have to be honest in every way about what you enjoy. You have to be honest about enjoying it, and you have to be honest about what it is. Just because I think Lucy is really a meditation on the awful perfectibility of God, doesn’t mean that I have to think of Drive Angry on the same level.”
Stuart Klawans in the Nation on Frédéric Mermoud’s Moka with Emmanuelle Devos: “Movies about female vigilantes are rare outside the realm of martial-arts epics and the deliriums of Abel Ferrara, which makes this cool, precise psychological thriller all the more notable.” And it “might have seemed like a minor Hitchcockian exercise if not for Devos. She remains the most dangerous woman in French cinema: someone who projects a sensuousness that is still startling in middle age, with her wide, downturned mouth and insolent eyes, combined with a visible intelligence so smoldering that it could get her charged with arson. I probably don’t need to say it, but American pictures have no equivalent.”
“It is true, and infuriating, that straight, white, male libidos have been judging cinema and television and the other visual arts for most of history, finding women and reducing them to objects,” grants Willa Paskin at Slate. “But desire isn’t boring! It’s propulsive. We trust that other physical responses, like tears and nausea, are trying to tell us something about what we just saw. So is lust.” Via Movie City News.
After yesterday’s big list, how about another one? The European Film Academy asked the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) to nominate candidates for “Best Film of the Year,” defined in this case as having premiered between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. The 30th European Film Awards, by the way, will be presented on December 9 in Berlin. Their list:
- Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul
- Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope
- Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless
- William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth
- François Ozon’s Frantz
- Calin Peter Netzer’s Ana, My Love
- Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor (Pokot)
- Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute)
- Kantemir Balagov’s Closeness
- Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß’s My Happy Family
VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture has a new site and the theme of its new issue is “Non-fiction Transmedia.”
In Other News
“‘I was not as traumatized as everybody thought I should have been,’ Samantha Geimer, the victim in Roman Polanski’s 40-year-old sex case, told reporters outside a Los Angeles courtroom Friday.” Michael Cieply for Deadline: “Geimer, whose surprise testimony in court was her first public legal appearance in the case, strongly defended Polanksi both inside the courtroom and before a large press gaggle outside.” And “she said the legal system had abused both her and Polanski almost from the beginning of the case.”
First up, today’s piece on the new 4K restoration of Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), currently playing at the Quad in New York, the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco, and the Royal Theater in Toronto, comes from Charles Bramesco at Little White Lies.
“It’s all too apropos that Matsumoto borrowed from the Greek tradition of drama for his film’s narrative skeleton. The ancient Athenians believed that homosexuality was a mark of refinement, even enlightenment. This dizzying swirl of fiction, metafiction and reality takes a similarly reverent stance towards indulgence, pleasure, and the splendorous body. There would be an orgiastic quality to the film even if it wasn’t packed with literal orgies; it writhes with unruly life, bursting out all over, too frenetic to be ignored and too sincere to be denied.”
New York. “That a song as heavy as ‘Little Ghetto Boy’ could originate within a genre movie as lighthearted as Come Back, Charleston Blue is only part of its slipperiness as a cultural artifact,” writes Andrew Chan for WaxPoetics. “The year was 1972, and Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield were laying their wispy falsettos on top of menacingly funky blaxploitation beats (Trouble Man and Superfly), their sinuous exhalations evoking the thick smog of racial unrest. Alongside their vivid portraits of inner-city crime, [Donny] Hathaway was laying down another kind of message, delivered in a voice so passionately resonant it sounded like the sonic equivalent of sanctified fire.” Mark Warren’s film screens on Tuesday at the Quad.
From Filmmaker editor Scott Macaulay: “Brandon Harris, whose insightful, politically sagacious and ruefully funny blend of memoir and criticism has graced the pages of the New Yorker, n+1 and Filmmaker, where you’ll recognize him as a Contributing Editor, has just released his debut book, Making Rent in Bed-Stuy, a cultural memoir on neighborhoods, race, millennial culture and filmmaking. Appropriately, he has also programmed a series of relevant films this weekend at New York’s Metrograph Theater.”
“Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time is the best new movie in town and the best movie of the year thus far,” declares Tony Pipolo, writing for Artforum. “Though its title would suggest a focus on the mysterious fate of a little-known city, Morrison’s latest output actually functions on several planes and tells many stories, all of which spring from the accidental discovery in 1978 of hundreds of 35-mm film reels, decades after they served as landfill over a subarctic swimming pool: yet another bizarre reason that 75 percent of all silent films are lost.” At the IFC Center through Thursday.
London. Being Ruby Rich is a series of screenings and talks celebrating the legacy of New Queer Cinema organized by Club des Femmes. It’ll take place at the Barbican from June 22 through 25 and, of course, the guest of honor is B. Ruby Rich. I’m flagging this event a bit early because, at Film Studies for Free, Catherine Grant has put together another one of her outstanding roundups of links to related resources—and video. What’s more, the collection is followed by yet more news and recent open access screen studies links.
Pinochet Porn is “a jarring melange of motifs and ideas, collaged of [Ellen] Cantor’s Super 8 footage, her drawings, and archival material,” writes Emily Gosling for AnOther. “Made between 2008 and 2016, it was the piece that dominated Cantor’s life in the five years leading up to her passing in 2015. Its post-production was completed by Cantor’s coterie of friends and collaborators, who worked according to the directives she left behind.” Tonight and tomorrow night at the ICA.
In the Works
At Flavorwire, Moze Halperin gathers comments Thom Yorke has been making here and there about the score he’s writing for Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria starring Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Talking to I, Daniel Blake director Ken Loach about the results of the general election in the UK on Thursday, Screen’s Andreas Wiseman notes that “while conversations are ongoing between himself, regular writing partner Paul Laverty and producer Rebecca O’Brien about potential future feature films, he ‘doesn’t know whether there will be another one or not.’”
Glenne Headly, who appeared in Frank Oz’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) with Steve Martin and Michael Caine and played Tess Trueheart in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990), has passed away at the age of sixty-three, reports Joe Otterson for Variety. “She was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove, as well as the 1996 Showtime film adaptation of Bastard Out of Carolina. She was in production on the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg produced Hulu comedy series Future Man at the time of her death.”
Headly’s acting career began at Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theater Company where, as Richard Sandomir notes in the New York Times, she worked “with Laurie Metcalf, Joan Allen, Gary Sinise and the actor and director John Malkovich (who became her first husband) . . . In recent years, she appeared on the television series Monk, E.R., and The Night Of, and in the films Don Jon and The Circle.”
At the A.V. Club, Christopher Guest discusses his love for Peter Sellers and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964) (4’17”).
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