Moviegoing, Books, and More

“While many of my more memorable screenings involved companions and cohorts—seeing Barbarella on a second date with the woman I’d eventually marry; catching a revival of Andrei Rublev with a friend as an elderly Russian lady noisily ate stinky borscht several seats down, turning it into an impromptu Sensurround event—the epiphanies tended to happen solo.” Writing for the Metrograph, David Fear reminds us just how unique an experience going to the movies is—and recalls in a postscript “the single most enjoyable screening experience I’ve ever had.” I don’t want to spoil it, but I can tell you that the film was not Hong Sangsoo’s On the Beach at Night Alone, from which the image above is taken.

Girish Shambu, writing for the TIFF Review, “can trace my enduring fascination with teen movies back to a specific moment in my personal history: when I moved to the US from India in my early twenties to go to graduate school. . . . As a young immigrant fashioning a new life in a land whose overwhelming strangeness and otherness simultaneously attracted and disoriented me on a daily basis, I resonated deeply with the doubt, anxiety, and excitement of teenage life depicted in these films. What is more, teen movies—more than other cinematic genres such as action, sci-fi, or gangster films—also served an oddly pedagogical function, as a special storehouse of cultural knowledge that helped initiate me into my new, adopted society.”

On a somewhat related note, Bruce LaBruce at the Talkhouse Film: “The summer camp movie became a staple for the working out of adolescent sexuality that may or may not result in evisceration or impalement . . . While Meatballs (1979) presented a benign and somewhat banal rendition of teen summer camp sexual awakening, Little Darlings, released the following year, depicted it, between the gags, as a blunt psychosexual drama, at times verging on Bergman Goes Summer Camp.

Jonathan Rosenbaum’s posted a piece on Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt (1963) that originally ran in the Chicago Reader in 1997. “Considering a few of his major sources indicates how broad and educated his conception of cinema was at the time,” and he then considers a good number of those influences: Michelangelo Antonioni, Joseph Mankiewicz’s The Quiet American (1958), Fritz Lang’s The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb (1959) and Jean-Daniel Pollet’s Mediterranée (1963), and Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running (1959).

As it happens, Noel Vera has just revisited Some Came Running and notes that “in the background hums the idea that America is a nation on wheels, that this physical mobility in many ways is an equalizing democratizing force in society.”

“Seen strictly on its own terms, Sofia Coppola’s remake of The Beguiled is an adept, mildly wicked, discreetly violent riff on the relations between men and women,” writes J. Hoberman for the New York Review of Books. “Put next to the original, an overheated Clint Eastwood vehicle, directed by Don Siegel, it’s a good deal more. . . . Siegel’s Beguiled was an expression of male hysteria (anxiety is too mild a word to characterize its juicy claustrophobic tumult). Coppola’s version is a dark comedy of manners.”

“The emphasis throughout” Albert Lewin’s The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1946) “is on women’s oppression under patriarchy,” argues Brad Stevens, writing for Sight & Sound.

Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up Doc? (1972), “an homage to Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby (1938), honors the classic era while updating the screwball comedy,” writes Susan Doll at Streamline.

David Davidson looks back on “how Cahiers du Cinéma responded to the AIDS crisis throughout the eighties and nineties.”

At 4:3, Jeremy Elphick talks with Anocha Suwichakornpong about By the Time it Gets Dark (2016).


“Anyone who’s read his astute critical biographies of Capra, Ford, Spielberg, and Welles knows that Joseph McBride is one of our most invaluable film historians,” writes Jonathan Rosenbaum in a review from the current issue of Film Comment that he’s now posted on his own site. Two Cheers for Hollywood: Joseph McBride on Movies gathers “half a century’s worth of his film journalism and criticism, encompassing 56 separate items and almost 700 large-format pages. It’s the sort of old-fashioned bedside compendium and browser’s paradise that we seldom get nowadays from academic publishers . . . McBride prefaces each piece with a contextualizing introduction, and part of what makes this volume fun is the informal history it offers of McBride’s own taste and career.”

The Cinema of Hal Hartley: Flirting with Formalism, edited by Steven Rybin, is “a sophisticated collection of viewpoints and an introduction for viewers who might not be as familiar with the films Hartley has made since his most famous output in the late 1980s and ‘90s,” writes John Duncan Talbird for Film International.

Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, on Rogelio Agrasánchez, Jr.’s Guillermo Calles: A Biography of the Actor and Mexican Cinema Pioneer: “Calles’s incredible achievement as an independent indigenous filmmaker needs to be communicated to a wider public, especially in the Native American community. Thanks to Agrasánchez, we now have his story.”

At the Film Stage, Christopher Schobert recommends Charles Taylor’s Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-in Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s and more summer reading.

Goings On

Los Angeles. “Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest has grown to eleven days of film (and TV) screenings, panel discussions and other happenings throughout the city,” writes Tre’vell Anderson in his overview for the Los Angeles Times. “This year’s event is packed with 194 films from thirty different countries.” Through Sunday.

Boston.‘Baby, I don’t care.’ In those three monosyllables preceded by a term of casual endearment you find the man’s gloriously inglorious persona: amiable yet wary, more than a bit roguish, thoroughly unillusioned,” writes Mark Feeney in the Boston Globe. Starting today, the Brattle presents its Robert Mitchum Centennial Tribute, a series of double features running mostly Mondays and Tuesdays through August 29.

For more goings on, see yesterday’s entry.

In the Works

At Cineuropa, Aurore Engelen reports on the latest round of projects to receive support from Belgium’s Walloon investment fund, among them:

  • Joachim Lafosse’s Continuer with Virginie Efira is “the odd story of a mother who leads her son on epic on horseback into the heart of the Kyrgyz mountains.”
  • Jacques Audiard’s first English-language film, The Sisters Brothers, a western with Joaquim Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, and Niels Arestrup.
  • Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy with Nicolas Cage.

The last round on projects in the works went up on Saturday.


“Elsa Martinelli, who starred opposite Kirk Douglas in the 1955 Western The Indian Fighter and went on to gain international recognition working with such directors as Mario Monicelli [Donatella, 1956], Roger Vadim [Blood and Roses, 1960], Orson Welles [The Trial, 1962], Howard Hawks [Hatari!, 1962], and Elio Petri [The 10th Victim, 1965], died Saturday in Rome,” reports Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. She was eighty-two.

“Miriam Marx Allen, the eldest daughter of Groucho Marx who worked on his quiz show You Bet Your Life and turned letters that she received from her famous father into a revealing book, has died.” Mike Barnes has more in the Hollywood Reporter. Allen was ninety.

Also, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, who “portrayed the slave Wrestler on the landmark 1977 ABC miniseries Roots and played opposite Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions (1985), Moving (1988), and, as the character ‘Toothless Gambler,’ in Harlem Nights (1989),” has died at the age of seventy-seven. “Cumbuka's film résumé also included Blacula (1972), Maurie (1973), Mandingo (1975), Hal Ashby's Bound for Glory (1976), Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), Angela (1977), Bachelor Party (1984), Volunteers (1985), and Outrageous Fortune (1987).”

“Nelsan Ellis, the actor who starred in HBO's True Blood as Lafayette Reynolds, has died,” and he was only thirty-nine. Ryan Parker for the Hollywood Reporter: “On True Blood, Lafayette was a short order cook at Merlotte's. In the books, he was killed off, but because Ellis made him such an enjoyable character, he survived in the series.”


At Silent London, Pamela Hutchinson, Pete Baran, and Philip Concannon, look back on this year’s Cinema Ritrovato, “a banquet of archive, vintage and restored cinema, spanning silent and sound films” (70’35”).


Mike Everleth introduces Bruce Baillie’s Quixote, probably completed in 1965 and revised over the next few years.


Nictate points us to an impressive slide show at Architectural Digest. Crispin Glover has personally restored a 17th-century chateau in the Czech Republic.

More eye candy? Max Tohline is looking at hands in the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Parts One and Two.

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