New York. We opened yesterday’s entry on goings on here and there with a round on MoMA’s series Strange Illusions: Poverty Row Classics Preserved by UCLA, currently running through October 28. We need to again today, because Farran Nehme Smith has written up an overview for the Village Voice: “A director on Poverty Row, wrote Dave Kehr in 1990, labored on films ‘in the absolute certainty that no film critic would see them, no sophisticated public would encounter them, and no financial reward whatever would accrue to their auteurs.’ That is precisely why, Kehr added, ‘there are few tributes to the indomitability of the human spirit more moving than that of the artistically ambitious Poverty Row picture.’” Twenty-seven years on, Kehr is now the curator who’s put this series together. And its “most socko opening belongs to [John Reinhardt’s] High Tide [1947; image above], which begins with a car wrecked in the surf on the Pacific Coast highway. Leaning back in the front seat is none other than Lee Tracy, whose character apologizes to his companion that his back is broken and that paralysis is gonna make it hard to lend a hand. On the sand next to the car is the detective played by Don Castle, who’s comparatively mobile, or would be, if his leg weren’t pinned under the car. And the tide is coming in. Which leaves plenty of time for a flashback . . .”
Also in the Voice, Bilge Ebiri: “George Harrison himself reportedly said that as the Beatles ended the group’s spirit was caught by Monty Python. In their own way, the Pythons, too, transformed pop culture forever, taking a beloved form and exploding it in such ways that all who came afterwards had to reckon with their legacy. The six-man comedy troupe accomplished this not just through their TV show (Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which ran from 1969 to 1974) but also through their film work. That spirit lives on in The Ministry of Silly Films: Monty Python and Beyond, the Quad Cinema’s twelve-title retrospective, which features movies the Pythons made both together and separately.” Today through Thursday.
And Ren Jender argues that “NewFest, the New York LGBTQ film festival that begins its 29th annual run this week . . . , continues to provide, in films from the past and current ones that delve into it, a perspective of the community’s history that still never makes its way to the multiplex—or Netflix.” Through Tuesday.
Ben Kenigsberg in the New York Times on the BAMcinématek series Black Skin, White Masks: Cinema Inspired by Frantz Fanon, running through Tuesday: “With a variety of styles and approaches, all the films in this program engage with the ideas of Frantz Fanon (1925–1961), the Martinique-born psychiatrist and author who became a forceful critic of colonialism and advocate for its overthrow.”
Los Angeles. AFI FEST, whose 2017 edition runs from November 9 through 16, has been rolling out announcements: Dee Ree’s Mudbound will be the opening film; the festival will close with the world premiere of Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World; and in between, there’ll be a Robert Altman retrospective. The lineup for the New Auteurs and American Independents programs have been unveiled as well.
“Film Independent has finally succumbed to the challenges of mounting a world-class film festival in the summer,” writes IndieWire’s Anne Thompson. “After twenty-three years, the [LA Film Festival] is moving from June to September. The next installment, in continued partnership with L.A.’s Arclight Cinemas, will be held September 20-28, 2018.”
“If you live in the United States, it’s easy to miss the global feature animation boom happening right now,” writes Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew. Animation Is Film, the new festival opening today and running through Sunday, “aims to change the perception of feature animation in the United States, by giving a platform to all of the exciting work that is being produced in other parts of the world, notably Europe, Asia, and South America.”
Boston. “For those of us who can’t wait until April for another Independent Film Festival Boston, the third annual IFFBoston Fall Focus once again brings to the area a sampling of local premieres hand-picked by program director Nancy Campbell during her travels to film festivals all over the world,” writes Sean Burns for WBUR. “This year’s mini-fest begins Sunday and runs through Thursday at the Brattle Theatre, showcasing seven characteristically eclectic features over four evenings.”
Austin. Darren Aronofsky joins Barry Jenkins as a SXSW Film 2018 keynote speaker. The 2018 edition runs from March 9 through 17.
Busan. “This was always going to be an odd edition of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF),” writes Liz Shackleton for Screen. BIFF’s “persecution by South Korea’s former right-wing government has been well documented; festival chiefs Kim Dong-ho and Kang Soo-youn said they would step down at the end of this edition; and the festival is still reeling from the death of deputy director Kim Ji-seok, who was responsible for Asian programming. Outside the film world, political tensions continue to rumble away on the Korean peninsula . . . Despite all the obstacles, the organizers of BIFF, and accompanying industry platform Asian Film Market, managed to pull off a relatively successful if low-key edition of the festival.” Reporting for the Japan Times, Philip Brasor agrees that the twenty-second edition, wrapping tomorrow, “seemed to be in better shape this year.”
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