Goings On: Demme, Lupino, and More

The Daily — Aug 2, 2017

“Jonathan Demme loved people,” begins Matt Prigge, writing for Metro US. “There are villains in his movies—most notably that charming aesthete Hannibal Lecter, who loved people, too, only as food. And his biggest hits were about strife: the hunt for a serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs [1991]; the battle against discrimination in Philadelphia [1993]; familial wounds in Rachel Getting Married [2008]. . . . But throughout all of these films runs a boundless curiosity in people, good or bad, in the dregs or doing just fine. When he left us in April, at the age of 73, he robbed the cinema, and the world, of one of the great, goofy humanists.”

“The party line is that Demme lost something after Silence of the Lambs (for which he took home a Best Director Oscar), morphing himself into a prestige filmmaker whose idiosyncratic character was dulled,” writes Keith Uhlich in the Village Voice. “Yet that’s to ignore something as achingly heartfelt as Beloved (1998; August 14)—a confrontational, uncompromising adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel about the literal ghost of slavery, starring a tremendous Oprah Winfrey—as well as the gleefully anarchic Franco-cinema valentine The Truth About Charlie (2002; August 9). In this feminized remake of the Audrey Hepburn–Cary Grant vehicle Charade (1963), an effervescent Thandie Newton [above] and a hilariously out-of-his-depth Mark Wahlberg—another of Demme’s lovestruck male goofballs, like Daniels in Something Wild or Matthew Modine’s Michelle Pfeiffer–smitten G-man in the splashy gangster film send-up Married to the Mob (1988; August 5)—succumb to the multicultural pleasures of modern-day Paris. It’s a place where danger, fine dining, and Agnès Varda lurk around every corner, while Charles Aznavour himself might provide an impromptu hotel room serenade.”

The BAMcinématek series Jonathan Demme: Heart of Gold opens on Friday, August 4, and runs through August 24.

More Goings On

New York. The Elephant in the Room: The Films of Alan Clarke is a (mostly) free series screening at Anthology Film Archives from Friday through August 20.

Georges Rouquier’s Farrebique, or the Four Seasons (1946) and Biquefarre (1983) screen tonight and tomorrow at Anthology. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody: “With its grand cinematography, its built-in social science, and its sense of montage, Farrebique most closely resembles a film by Eisenstein; it’s almost like a work of Soviet silent cinema without the ideological obligations and overlays, in which actual social science takes the place of political dogma.”

“We’re still waiting for the sparkling, swift-witted romantic comedy that fully captures the choose-your-own-adventure immediacy of sex and dating via the likes of Tinder or Grindr,” writes Guy Lodge in Variety. “On the esoteric end of the spectrum, however, a trail has been elegantly blazed by 4 Days in France, a sly, sexy and strangely disarming cruise along the queerer backroads of rural France that marks an intriguing debut for writer-director Jérôme Reybaud.” More from Melissa Anderson (Village Voice) and Mike D’Angelo (A.V. Club). Opens Friday at the Quad before heading to the Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts in Los Angeles on August 11.

The Quad, by the way, is also presenting Think Pink: Seven Clouseau Comedies from Friday through August 9.

“The latest domestic study from Lina Rodriguez (Señoritas) tenderly circles an absence,” writes Alan Scherstuhl in the Voice. This Time Tomorrow “presents a series of sharply observed moments in the life of a middle-class Bogotá family . . . Halfway through the film, we discover that something awful has happened to this family, and suddenly frames that have been alive with three characters now seem depleted with only two. This Time Tomorrow’s significant power comes from watching the survivors slowly fill the screen—and their lives—back up again.” More from Guy Lodge (Variety) and Ethan Vestby (Film Stage). Opens Friday at the Metrograph.

From tomorrow through Sunday, the Museum of the Moving Image is presenting Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) as part of its See It Big! 70mm series, on through August 27. At Sloan Science & Film, Sonia Shechet Epstein writes about “a landmark moment for Kubrick’s conception of HAL,” the room-sized computer who’s actually the “nefarious star” of the landmark film.

Frederick Wiseman’s Law & Order (1969) screens Saturday and Sunday as part of the Metrograph’s series Now: Films That Inspired the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time. “In classic liberal newsgathering style, Wiseman is neither pro- nor anti-cop,” writes Cosmo Bjorkenheim at Screen Slate.

“The world of the living recently lost George A. Romero, the father of the living dead as we know them today,” writes Chris Shields. The Crazies (1973) “allows us to see Romero’s style and craftsmanship unobscured by the long shadow the Dead films cast.” This afternoon and Sunday as part of Future Imperfect: The Uncanny in Science Fiction, running at MoMA through August 31.

Los Angeles. Jordan Cronk writes up the highlights for the Hollywood Reporter:

  • On August 10, Jackie Raynal will be at Cinefamily for the opening of The Zanzibar Films, a series running through August 31 and presenting work made in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s “in a largely improvisational, experiential fashion, closer to the mode of the avant-garde than anything resembling proper narrative.”
  • “In conjunction with the publication of Charles Taylor’s new book, Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ‘70s, the UCLA Film and Television archive are presenting a selection of the forgotten and underappreciated genre films reassessed by the author.” Friday through August 26.
  • Jean-Pierre Melville at 100 runs from Friday through August 13 at the Egyptian. “Screening on a combination of digital restorations and 35mm prints, the series highlights many of Melville’s beloved crime and noir films.”
  • “On Aug. 6 at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, Los Angeles Filmforum presents what is in all likelihood the city’s first retrospective program of films by the seminal Canadian experimental filmmaker Joyce Wieland.
  • And Japanese Arthouse Classics screen at the Aero Theatre from August 24 through 26, “none too obscure but exceedingly rare to find screening on film prints in Los Angeles.”

Tough Guys Finish First: A Robert Mitchum Centennial is on at the Aero from Friday through Sunday, and Susan King talks with film historian and author Joseph McBride about “one of the perfect antiheroes.”

Chicago. Mario Bava: The Baroque Beauties of Italian Horror opens Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center and runs through August 29.

Toronto. The TIFF Cinematheque retrospective Ida Lupino: Independent Woman opens Friday and runs through September 2. For the TIFF Review, Jesse Wente writes about The Filmakers, the independent production company she set up in the late 1940s with her husband at the time, Collier Young. “At first intended to supply Lupino with the kinds of roles she had been missing out on at Warners, The Filmakers soon grew into something much more ambitious.” She would become “the most prolific female filmmaker of the era.”

London. On the new BFI Podcast, Henry Barnes discusses Basil Dearden’s Victim (1961) with Simon McCallum, programmer of the BFI's Gross Indecency season, running through August 30 (23’25”).

Berlin. The Arsenal’s Andrei Tarkovsky Retrospective opens Monday and runs through August 22.

Wrocław, Poland. The seventeenth T-Mobile New Horizons Films Festival opens tomorrow and runs through August 13. At Little White Lies, Matt Thrift has his eyes on a few highlights of the lineup and, at Cineuropa, Dorota Hartwich spotlights the Polish Days program.

Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Curtocircuíto, whose fourteenth edition runs from October 1 through 8, has announced that it will present retrospectives of work by F. J. Ossang (Dharma Guns) and Teddy Williams (The Human Surge).

Melbourne. For the Guardian, Luke Buckmaster has picked out ten highlights lined up for the Melbourne International Film Festival, opening tomorrow and running through August 20.

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