Lubitsch in Venice and More

On Film / The Daily — Jul 21, 2017

The Venice International Film Festival has announced that Rosita (1923), “famed as the single collaboration between two of the giants of the silent screen, the director Ernst Lubitsch and the star Mary Pickford, is the film that has been chosen for the Pre-inaugural evening.” In other words, it’ll screen on August 29 before the seventy-fourth edition kicks off in earnest with Alexander Payne’s Downsizing on August 30. And this is a new 4K digital restoration of Rosita, “effected by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, with the support of The Film Foundation; this will be the restored version’s world premiere.”

We know that Jane Fonda and Robert Redford will be in Venice to attend the world premiere of the film that’s reunited them, Ritesh Batra’s Our Souls at Night, and that Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Nico, 1988 will open the Horizons section, and we’ve seen the lineup of restorations slated for the Venice Classics program.

Variety’s Nick Vivarelli, in the meantime, has been hearing rumors. The official lineup announcement won’t happen until next week, so we have to emphasize that the list below is by no means official, but according to Vivarelli, “among the titles strongly tipped” to make a showing are:

  • George Clooney’s Suburbicon with Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin, and Oscar Isaac
  • Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water
  • Stephen Frears’s Victoria and Abdul with Judi Dench
  • Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete with Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, and Steve Zahn
  • Lucrecia Martel’s eagerly anticipated Zama
  • Martin McDonaugh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson
  • Andrea Pallaoro’s The Whale with Charlotte Rampling
  • Paul Schrader’s First Reformed with Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried
  • Paolo Virzi’s Ella and John with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland

Also, “Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue Is the Warmest Color) is expected to bow Mektoub Is Mektoub, a 1980s coming-of-age story. The pic has been shrouded in secrecy.”

Venice Days, whose fourteenth edition runs from August 30 through September 9, has announced that Samira Makhmalbaf will be president of the jury.

Reading

“Holly, please direct me one day. Please. Let's direct more things.” That’s Laura Dern, talking with Holly Hunter for Interview.

“What can five shots hold?” James Lattimer writes about Salomé Lamas's Eldorado XXI (2016) for the Notebook.

Raymond De Felitta is the son of Frank De Felitta, who adapted his own novel, Audrey Rose, for the film Robert Wise made in 1977. De Felitta fils has posted a clip of Wise discussing West Side Story (1961) and shares a few thoughts on “Bob’s” career and demeanor: “I always liked his lack of neurosis.”

For the Japan Times, Mark Schilling talks with Ryuichi Hiroki about his post-Fukushima drama Side Job. In his review, Schilling notes that the film “provides a narrative that stays true to the complex and not-always-edifying reality of life in the disaster zone. And that makes it the best film I’ve seen on the topic—and I’ve seen dozens.”

Writing for Reverse Shot, Ela Bittencourt looks back on the highlights of this year’s FIDMarseille.

Goings On

New York. La Chinoise, “Jean-Luc Godard’s explosive 14th feature film (one of no less than three Godard masterpieces that were released in 1967), which Pauline Kael called ‘a speed-freak’s anticipatory vision of the political horrors to come,’ is getting a 50th anniversary re-release at the Quad Cinema in New York,” writes Adrian Curry, introducing a collection of posters that have appeared over the year for the film. The new 2K restoration is screening from today for a week.

Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s Mister Universo (2016), opening today and running for a week at Anthology Film Archives, “carries a dedication to those who have lost their job because of digitalization,” notes Nick Pinkerton, writing for Artforum. “These are the people that Covi and Frimmel gently recommend to a viewer’s attention in their warm and worthy film, which I recommend to yours.”

Chicago. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are on the cover of this week’s Reader, and Steve Gadlin talks with them about the Tim and Eric 10th Anniversary Awesome Tour, which pulls into town for three performances starting tonight.

Also in the Reader, J. R. Jones recommends Claude Sautet's “fascinating” Les choses de la vie (1970), which “ponders no less than the curse of free will in a world governed by chance.” With Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider.

And the new Cine-List is out.

In the Works

The Independent Filmmaker Project has announced that over over 145 projects currently in development—feature films as well as television, digital and app-based series—will be taking part in IFP Week, running from September 17 through 21 in New York. Among them:

  • Franka Potente’s Home, “the story of someone willing to take on the full consequences of his gruesome past—no matter what it costs.”
  • Paul Harrill’s Light from Light (working title): “In East Tennessee, a single mom and amateur ghost hunter must enlist her teenage son to investigate a grieving widower’s farmhouse.”
  • Stephen Cone’s Nudes, in which “famous photographer moves back to her small South Carolina town and promptly launches a nude series, providing a much-needed jolt to the sleepy community and causing uneasy ripples in her estranged family.”
  • Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky’s Turquoise: “Following the tragic death of his older brother, 13 year-old Antoine and his family retreat to a seaside town to grieve. When Antoine falls quietly in love with an enigmatic older girl, obsessive feelings of paranoia and jealousy are aroused in the boy’s mother.”
  • Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher’s Untitled Devil Project, produced by Charlotte Cook: “A town becomes a microcosm for the complexities and contradictions of society’s divides. Evangelical Christians and Drag Queens alike dismantle stereotypes to explore the meaning of belief.”
  • Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert’s documentary Watermelon Thump Queen: “In the ‘toughest town in Texas,’ a high stakes election plays out as seven high school girls compete to become the next Watermelon Thump Queen.”

Features

“Kevin Spacey is playing writer Gore Vidal in a new Netflix original biopic, Gore, which is in production in Italy,” reports Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. Michael Hoffman (The Last Station) is directing the film set in the 1980s.

“Two-time Cannes Palme d'Or winning Serbian director Emir Kusturica will make his next movie in China, and it will be based on works 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.” Vladimir Kozlov has more in the Hollywood Reporter.

“Anne Hathaway has come on board to star in the independent science-fiction thriller O2,” reports Variety’s Dave McNary. There’s no director yet, but there is a screenplay, and it made the Black List last year. In the story by Christie LeBlanc, “a woman wakes up inside a cryogenic chamber with no memory of how she got there while the air in the chamber begins slowly running out.”

Series

As noted yesterday, Confederate, the series just greenlit by HBO that’s set in the United States of an an alternate universe in which southern states have seceded and southerners still own slaves is already, shall we say, controversial. In fact, as Dave Itzkoff puts it in the New York Times, it’s “provoked a passionate outcry from potential viewers who are calling out HBO and the creators over how they will handle this volatile mixture of race, politics and history. Several historians and cultural critics are also skeptical about whether the Game of Thrones team, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, are the right people to address the subject and if it should be attempted at all.” For Vulture, Josef Adalian talks with the creative team, who’s fully aware that they’re dealing with “weapons-grade material.”

David Cronenberg’s 2014 novel Consumed, “a mind-bending psychological thriller that follows two journalists who set out to solve the cannibalistic murder of a controversial Parisian philosopher,” is being developed as a series for AMC. Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva has details.

“Michael Shannon is set to join Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore in Amazon and Weinstein Co.’s new untitled drama series from David O. Russell,” reports Variety’s Justin Kroll. “The project is being described as a mafia crime series; details beyond that, however, are vague.”

For the New York Times, Brook Barnes reports from the set of Amazon Prime’s The Last Tycoon, “the latest adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel about Old Hollywood.” Premieres one week from today.

Obit

“Pino Pelosi, a former rent boy convicted in the 1975 murder of writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini, died of cancer in a Rome hospital aged 58 Wednesday night,” reports ANSA. “Pelosi confessed to murdering Pasolini the day after his death on November 2, 1975 but several years later retracted his confession, fueling conspiracy theories that the iconic leftist gay novelist, poet and filmmaker had been assassinated by political opponents. Pelosi was found guilty in 1976 of murder along with unknown others; the court ruled he was not alone.”

Listening

The new Talkhouse Podcast (51’13”) features Darren Aronofsky and Alejandro Jodorowsky in a “wide-ranging conversation that takes in the challenge of making art within the Hollywood system, the ability of films to heal, the vulgarity of Trump and life’s big questions—death, God, aliens, the universe—and Jodorowsky also fulfills a longheld dream of the Black Swan director’s by reading his tarot.”

On Episode 81 of The Director’s Cut, Christopher Nolan talks with Edgar Wright about Baby Driver (33’20”).

On the latest episode of The Close-Up from the Film Society of Lincoln Center (72’41”), Christopher Nolan talks about Dunkirk and Gillian Robespierre, co-writer Elizabeth Holm, and stars Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn discuss Landline.

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