New York. The Elephant in the Room: The Films of Alan Clarke, a retrospective at Anthology Film Archives, opens today and runs through August 20. “Films like Elephant, Christine, and Contact, all of which play on this series’ opening night, are as formally and politically audacious as the work of Jean-Luc Godard, Peter Watkins, Chantal Akerman, or the duo of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet,” argues Steve Erickson in Gay City News. “Indeed, Akerman seems like a clear influence on them, but she did not share Clarke’s interest in machismo and bloodshed. . . . I think Christine is the clear masterpiece among them and one of the greatest films ever made about heroin addiction.”
“While Christine follows characters who internalize violence, Elephant explodes it outward into a dialogue-free passion play of Ireland’s then-contemporary Troubles,” writes Dylan Pasture at Screen Slate, noting that both were “made, amazingly, for British television . . . and while it is certainly not the easiest double feature of the summer, it’ll probably be the best TV you ever watch in a theater. And it’s free!”
And here’s one from the archives: Dan Sallitt discusses Christine (image above) in a 2013 episode of The Cinephiliacs.
Jérôme Reybaud’s 4 Days in France opens today at the Quad. “Because the movie is a) French b) features gay men, 4 Days has garnered comparisons to Alain Guiraudie,” notes Filmmaker’s Vadim Rizov, but: “What Reybaud’s shooting for is closer in spirit to the lower-key likes of Martín Rejtman’s films—in which intersections between strangers redirect the film from one character to another, following tangents that build to no rising arc—or Kleber Mendonça Filho’s capacious Neighboring Sounds and Aquarius, which regularly break for anything of interest regardless of whether it advances the central narrative.” Lina Rodriguez’s This Time Tomorrow (2016), opening today at the Metrograph, “is a super-solid piece of slow cinema . . . Though it ventures outside, Tomorrow is as firmly rooted in a carefully demarcated domestic space as France is perpetually itinerant, and it’s utterly convincing in its constructed observations.”
Los Angeles. “Although obscure in this country, Joyce Wieland remains a towering Canadian artist whose work encompasses several media,” writes Nathaniel Bell in the LA Weekly. “As an avant-garde filmmaker of the structural school, her technique included the physical manipulation of film stock, and her themes reflected a strong feminist consciousness. In one of those felicitous twists of fate, she married Michael Snow, another master experimentalist, and lived with him in New York throughout the 1960s. Los Angeles Filmforum handpicked some of Wieland's best short films for a rare retrospective, offering local audiences a chance to get familiar with her work.” Sunday at the Egyptian.
Bell also spotlights Opening Wednesday: The Shadow Cinema of the 1970s, a series at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater sparked by Charles Taylor’s new book. He’ll be there tonight, chatting with Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times, and then the series will roll on through August 26.
Bell recommends, too, catching the films screening in conjunction with the California African American Museum exhibition Center Stage: African American Women in Silent Race Films, on through October 15.
Austin. The Film Society is presenting Eric Rohmer's Moral Tales each Sunday through the end of the month. With Bette & Joan running all month as well, programmer Lars Nilsen writes an appreciation of Bette Davis; Dark Musicals of Bob Fosse are screening on the weekends; this Saturday night, it’s Alê Abreu’s Boy and the World (2013); and Thursday sees a screening of Edmund Goulding’s Grand Hotel (1934).
Boston. “Legendary wild man Robert Mitchum would have turned 100 years old this Sunday, and lord only knows how he would have celebrated,” writes Sean Burns for WBUR. “But it’s been a Mitchum party all summer long at the Brattle Theatre, with Mondays and Tuesdays (through Aug. 29) devoted to their Robert Mitchum Centennial Tribute.” And “anyone in Boston will tell you there’s one Mitchum performance that towers over the rest, and it’s in a movie the Brattle almost wasn’t able to present. ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle has been a notoriously difficult film to screen for many years,’ says Ned Hinkle, creative director of the Brattle Film Foundation. ‘Given its status as one of the greatest, most authentic Boston films ever made, I just couldn’t conceive of doing this program without it.’” Tonight through Sunday.
Little Rock. “Inspired by Richard Linklater’s work for the last thirty-two years with the Austin Film Society, writer-director Jeff Nichols (Loving, Midnight Special) is launching a similar nonprofit cinephile organization in Arkansas,” reports Anne Thompson at IndieWire. The Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS) will open with Premiere, an event featuring David Lowery (A Ghost Story) and Adam Driver at the Ron Robinson Theater in the Little Rock River Market. Premiere happens from August 24 through 26.
Toronto. “Crime movies, film noirs in particular, have always spoken to me deeply,” writes filmmaker Simon Ennis for the TIFF Review. “It’s the alchemy that’s created when heavy artifice and style meet emotional truth that I’m drawn to most. When it works, there’s nothing more powerful, but getting there means walking a very fine edge. And nobody ever walked that edge better than Ida Lupino. In fact, she danced on it.” The TIFF Cinematheque retrospective Ida Lupino: Independent Woman is now on through September 2.
San Sebastian. Barbara Albert’s Mademoiselle Paradis, Matt Porterfield’s Sollers Point, and James Franco’s The Disaster Artist are among the titles announced today as the San Sebastian Film Festival unveils the competition lineup for its sixty-fifth edition, running from September 22 through 30.
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