The Venice International Film Festival, whose seventy-fourth edition will run from August 30 through September 9, has announced that, on September 1, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford will each be presented a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. This will happen just before the world premiere of Ritesh Batra’s Our Souls at Night, a Netflix production screening Out of Competition that reunites Fonda and Redford fro the first time since Sydney Pollack’s The Electric Horseman (1979). They also appeared together in Gene Saks’s Barefoot in the Park (1967), an adaptation of Neil Simon’s comedy.
According to the festival, Our Souls at Night “is set in Colorado and begins when Addie Moore (Jane Fonda) pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters (Robert Redford). Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they’d been neighbors for decades, but had little contact.”
While there’s quite a lot to read at Films of Jim Jennings, a lovely site devoted to the work of the experimental filmmaker and photographer, there’s also more than a little to watch and look at.
The photos David Cairns has been posting are fascinating to look at as well: “I love empty sets. They would take these stills for continuity reasons, but, like security camera footage, they always have an atmospheric quality. A little bleak, a little scary.”
Writing for Artsy, Margaret Carrigan tells the story behind Salvador Dalí’s dream sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945): “Rather than the traditional, blurred Hollywood dream sequence, Hitchcock ‘wanted to convey the dream with great visual sharpness and clarity, sharper than the film itself.’”
David L. Pike, author of Canadian Cinema Since the 1980s, lists his top hundred Canadian films for the Toronto Review.
Tad Friend recently had dinner with David Lowery at a vegan place in Williamsburg and tells us about their conversation, which naturally focuses on A Ghost Story, in this week’s New Yorker.
“From Nine to Nine is a remarkable debut feature from Neil Bahadur, a no-budget piece of DIY cinema that challenges what a film is supposed to be,” writes Adam Cook for Kinoscope. “With intense influences—Straub-Huillet, Pedro Costa, late Godard, and contemporary Isiah Medina as much as masters of the past like Griffith, Chaplin and Ford—Bahadur’s sensibility is one deeply informed by an understanding of the building blocks film form and its political dimensions.”
In Other News
The New Yorker’s Richard Brody notes that “despite the popularity of theatrical viewings of a handful of new wide-release films each year, most of the watching that gets done now, thanks to streaming on a laptop computer, is as private and intimate as reading a book.” So he’s introducing the New Yorker Movie Club, “our new Facebook group, is a place for people who love films to gather with like-minded people—it’s like an online book club for films.”
In the Works
“It’s about time,” declares Laurie Penny in the New Statesman. “After years of febrile speculation and fan-theory, it’s now official: Doctor Who will soon be played by a woman, and the iconic five-decade-old BBC science fiction behemoth will regenerate into a series with a modern understanding of gender.” Jodie Whittaker, “who rose to fame in ITV’s crime drama Broadchurch,” as Sarah Marsh notes for the Guardian, will be the the thirteenth incarnation of The Doctor—and the first woman.
“One of the outstanding films of the last year, both stylistically and in content, Radu Jude’s Scarred Hearts is the latest from someone who is emerging as the most individual and inventive of the new generation of Romanian filmmakers,” writes Jonathan Romney, introducing his interview with Jude for Sight & Sound. Jude’s documentary The Dead Nation will screen in Locarno next month, and he’s “also just embarked on shooting a new fiction feature. Its subject is an attempt to re-enact the massacre by Romanian troops of the Jews of Odessa in October 1941; it will be done, Jude says, partly along similar lines to artist Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave re-enactment project. ‘I didn’t want to stage a massacre, a filmic representation,’ Jude says, ‘but I can speak about it in an oblique way, through characters who reenact it.’”
It was back in 2014 that Whit Stillman created the pilot for a series for Amazon Studios, The Cosmopolitans, starring Chloë Sevigny and Adam Brody. Now, as Tom Grater reports for Screen, Amazon has ordered up six more scripts, “which Stillman is now writing. . . . ‘It’s been two years since I did the pilot so I’m no longer interested in that story, but I really like the actors and the characters. It’s going to go in a new geographical and story direction, but with some of the same characters,’ he reveals. ‘It’s going to go to different cities and have more adventure.’ The director is also pursuing two feature ideas, one of which is the long-gestating Dancing Mood, about a gospel church in 1960s Jamaica.”
Grater also reports that documentaries by Robert Greene, Marie Losier, and Claire Simon and a virtual reality piece by Rithy Panh are among the forty-seven projects taking part in this year’s Gap-Financing Market at the Venice International Film Festival.
Katherine Waterston will replace Michelle Williams in Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, Mid-90s, reports Jeff Sneider at the Tracking Board. “The coming-of-age drama follows a teenager named Stevie [Sunny Suljic, last seen in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer] who has a tough home life and finds solace in a group of young skateboarders. The role shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Suljic, who just played a young skateboarder in Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which co-stars Hill.”
Nadav Lapid is preparing to shoot Synonyms in Paris this autumn, reports Screen’s Melanie Goodfellow. The story “revolves around a young Israeli searching for self-identity in the French capital. It is based on Lapid’s own experiences of living in Paris when he was younger.” Tom Mercier stars. Lapid is probably best known for The Kindergarten Teacher (2014), currently being remade by Sara Colangelo in a version that will star Maggie Gyllenhaal.
“Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake has found its stars,” reports Michael Nordine for IndieWire. “Mena Massoud will play Aladdin himself, with Power Rangers star Naomi Scott as Jasmine; Will Smith is taking over for Robin Williams as the beloved Genie.”
The Aladdin news comes out of D23 Expo, where the studio’s rolled out trailers and bits of news about its forthcoming productions. Bryan Bishop gathers the most notable news at the Verge, while at Cartoon Brew, Amid Amidi notes that Whoopi Goldberg, now a “Disney Legend,” will be lobbying the studio to release Song of the South (1946): “The live-action/animation hybrid, set in the Reconstruction Era following the end of the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery, was taken out of circulation by Disney following its 1986 theatrical re-release, due to the perception that it was racially insensitive toward African-Americans.” Goldberg wants to “talk about what it was and where it came from and why it came out.”
“The long-gestating, controversy-laden biopic about the rock band Queen is finally moving forward—or so says the band,” reports Andrew R. Chow for the New York Times. “Bryan Singer (the X-Men franchise) is set to direct, and Rami Malek, who stars in USA Network’s Mr. Robot, has been tapped to play Freddie Mercury.”
“FX Productions has signed Oscar-nominated Ex Machina filmmaker Alex Garland to an exclusive overall deal to develop, write and produce television projects,” reports Erik Pedersen for Deadline.
Word is only just now getting around that Alexandra Kluge, who appeared only in films made by her brother, Alexander Kluge, passed away last month at the age of eighty. Their most well-known collaboration would be Yesterday Girl (1966). Those who read German may want to see Verena Lueken’s remembrance for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Edie Falco is Marc Maron’s guest on the WTF Podcast (88’13”).
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