Goings On: Gotta Light?

On Film / The Daily — Sep 1, 2017


New York. “A film series dedicated to one episode of a television series is—without going overboard—fairly unprecedented,” writes Jeremy Polacek for Hyperallergic, previewing Gotta Light?, the Metrograph series built around Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return, now on through Monday. “Metrograph deserves some real credit for making this series happen. Within a short, two-month window, they put together arguably the best ‘if-you liked-“Part 8”-then-you-should-see-this’ list and then got ahold of the prints, many of them 35 mm and 16 mm.” At Screen Slate, Chloe Lizotte recommends the shorts program Operation Crossroads; its “theme is apocalypse—atomic, spatial, psychological, or some combination of the three. The arc of the program gradually melts conventional perception, almost physically rearranging your particles until you’re finally ripped apart.”

Prick Up Your Ears, Stephen Frears’s 1987 biopic of the English queer playwright Joe Orton (played by a young Gary Oldman), offers a 1980s view of the repressive 1960s, kind of like how Todd Haynes’s Far From Heaven (2002) offered a 2000s view of the repressive 1950s,” suggests Cosmo Bjorkenheim at Screen Slate. “The difference in permissiveness between the period of production and the period portrayed is much starker in the latter (Dennis Quaid’s closeted suburban husband being forced into ‘rehabilitation’ therapy), since Frears clearly had to ‘use shorthand for the dirty bits’ (as the secretarially trained Orton actually did in his diaries). The result is a cautiously salacious film that winks at you over every naughty remark and erotic image, suggesting that coded subtlety was still as indispensable in 1987 as it had been in 1964.” More from Joshua Encinias at the Film Stage. The week-long thirtieth anniversary run at the Metrograph begins today.

Nicolas Roeg was a cinematographer before he was a director, and the partial retrospective of his work now underway at the Quad Cinema is wisely including two classic films highlighting his lens work,” writes Glenn Kenny in the New York Times. “John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd is a sweeping, picturesque period romance,” while “Richard Lester’s 1968 San Francisco tale of doomed love in San Francisco, Petulia, would prove a more decisive influence on Roeg’s own directorial signature, particularly in its pointed, non-linear editing.”

Stand in the Stream, the title of Stanya Kahn’s recent hour-length video, has taken on an extra layer of associations in the final two weeks of its exhibition at MoMA PS1,” writes Amy Taubin for Artforum. “So has the opening image of a woman in a heavy-duty military-like jacket and helmet, standing, her back to the camera, on a beach next to some kind of motorized, perhaps amphibious vehicle. I think I’ve seen something like it on TV today, ferrying stranded Texas flood victims to shore. Or maybe not.” Through September 10.

Nick Newman spotlights more goings on in the city at the Film Stage.

Los Angeles. In the LA Weekly, Nathaniel Bell recommends Jacques Becker’s Le trou (1960), now at the Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre for one week, Vincente Minnelli’s Cabin in the Sky (1943), screening at LACMA on Tuesday, and a screening at the Academy of To Sleep with Anger (1990) preceded by a lecture by James Naremore, author of the forthcoming book Charles Burnett: A Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge; Falling James opts for Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singin' in the Rain (1952) at the Hollywood Bowl with an orchestra performing the score live; and Siran Babayan notes that the Long Beach Qfilm Festival is on from Thursday through September 10.

Chicago. “Alex Cox’s Walker (1987) tells the true story of William Walker, an American colonel who led an invasion of Nicaragua in the mid-1850s and ruled the country for two years,” writes Ben Sachs, introducing his interview with Cox for the Reader. “Cox and screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer present this historical episode as a nightmarish comedy, advancing a farcical tone that mocks Walker’s hubris and, by extension, the manifest destiny that’s guided American missions in other countries for the past two centuries.” Cox will be at the Music Box next Friday on the occasion of the presentation of a 35 mm print.

Cambridge. On Wednesday, the Brattle will present G.W. Pabst’s Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), followed on Thursday by William A. Wellman’s Beggars for Life (1928), both starring Louise Brooks. “These two films are different in many ways,” writes Thomas Gladysz, “but share a few similarities below their surface. Essentially, in each, Brooks plays a vulnerable young woman who is sexually assaulted, and is then ‘cast out’ as a consequence. Made worlds apart (though not in time), these two films reflect not dissimilar attitudes towards women and women’s sexuality.”

Telluride. One of the highlights of this year’s Telluride Film Festival, opening today and running through the holiday weekend, will be Cotton Club Encore, a longer cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 film. IndieWire’s Anne Thompson listens to Coppola explain why he’s spent half a million dollars of his own money to put it together.

Toronto. “Dan Gilroy’s legal thriller Roman J. Israel, Esq. starring Denzel Washington will make its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, completing the event’s Special Presentation lineup.” Anthony D’Alessandro has more at Deadline.

London. The full program for the sixty-first BFI London Film Festival, running from October 4 through 15, is now online. 242 features and 128 short films from sixty-seven countries.

Starting Sunday, and on through September 24, Close-Up presents work by Ruth Beckermann, who “has been creating essay films and documentaries for forty years and is well known internationally as one of Austria’s most courageous and spirited filmmakers. This program explores the work of a director equally suspicious of closed narrative forms and linear views of history and memory.”

UK. London Symphony, which director Alex Barrett calls “a poetic journey through the life of a city,” begins rolling out across the UK on Sunday. In the Guardian, Phil Hoad finds that it “harnesses the city’s human element—more so than other globalized-London portraits such as Finisterre or Julien Temple’s documentary London: The Modern Babylon—in service of a cheeky formalism.”

Venice. The festival’s on and the first reviews of Lucrecia Martel’s Zama, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, and Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, among others, are coming in. David Bordwell’s sent a dispatch noting that two topics have dominated discussion during the opening days, Netflix and virtual reality. And Kristin Thompson writes about MoMA’s new 4K restoration of Ernst Lubitsch’s Rosita (1923) with Mary Pickford. It “may not be among Lubitsch’s greatest films, but it is charming both in itself and as a display of Pickford’s talents.”

Santander, Spain. The Filmoteca de Cantabria presents Cineinfinito #24: Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub on Wednesday.

For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.