David Bordwell’s new book, Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling, is out, and we’ll be hearing more about it soon. For now, though, New Yorkers will want to know that Bordwell’s coming to town, specifically to the Museum of the Moving Image, where he’s organized a series bearing the book’s title. Otto Preminger’s Laura (1944) screens Friday. On Saturday, it’s Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and Preston Sturges’s Unfaithfully Yours (1948), and then on Sunday, Sam Wood’s Our Town (1940) and William Dieterle’s Portrait of Jennie (1948).
“I’ll be giving a talk before Three Wives and will hang around for conversation and book-signing afterward,” notes Bordwell. And: “Four of the five screenings command 35 mm prints! If you’ve only seen Our Town in the horrendous public-domain video versions, you’re in for a treat, because it looks (and sounds) superb in 35. Then again, there’s that tidal-wave ending to Portrait of Jennie, a force of nature on the big screen.”
More Goings On
New York. A new 4K restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice (1986), scanned from the original camera negative, is screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center through Thursday and then at the Quad from Friday through October 31. “Tarkovsky’s final film, among his closest to perfection, is a traversal of agonies, exploring the savage compromises and bargaining that make up life and death,” writes Vanessa McDonnell at Screen Slate.
“Hou Hsiao-hsien has become something of the art house–film gold standard worldwide in the last few decades, building one of the world’s most rigorous and beautiful oeuvres, and schooling us all on slow-cinema eloquence, long-shot heartbreak, and stories you have to decipher, teasing them out from the messiness of life,” writes Michael Atkinson in the Village Voice. “It seems like we still underappreciate him. . . . Daughter of the Nile (1987) is typically underseen; now perfectly restored, it’s a quintessential modern family tragedy we walk into like uninvited and invisible guests.” Opens Friday at the Quad.
Ruthless (1948), screening Thursday as part of MoMA’s series Strange Illusions: Poverty Row Classics Preserved by UCLA, is “a small picture with great sentiment directed by Edward G. Ulmer,” writes Caroline Golum at Screen Slate.
“Jem Cohen is a filmmaker’s filmmaker, in the way that, say, James Salter and Grace Paley are writers’ writers,” notes the Paris Review. At National Sawdust+ on Thursday, “as part of our celebration of Sam Stephenson’s new biography, Gene Smith’s Sink, we will premiere Cohen’s new short film, Chuck-will’s-widow, based on a chapter in Stephenson’s book. It’s September 1961, and W. Eugene Smith has recorded, with the myriad reel-to-reel tape machines set up in the ‘jazz loft,’ a mysterious mimic of a Southern swamp bird, whistled five stories down on the sidewalk of Sixth Avenue’s desolate flower district in the middle of the night.”
“In Voir la mer (To See the Sea), the French conceptualist artist Sophie Calle takes over the site of advertising—and even flirts with its vocabulary—by showing films of people having a metamorphic encounter on the digital billboards that line Times Square,” writes Aruna D’Souza at 4Columns. “It is lovely, moving, and—like so much of Calle’s work—troubling in its over-investment in the lives of others.” Every night from 11:57 to midnight through October 31.
With Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting on view at MoMA PS1 through March 11, Joyce Beckenstein talks with the artist for Hyperallergic about her painting, installation, performance, film, and video art.
Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky (1977) “is one of his best films, a charming and cynical fantasy warped by his trademark wide-angle lenses and canted frames,” argues Patrick Dahl at Screen Slate. “It’s more biting than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and funnier than Brazil (1985). The film’s silly, cynical gags form a perfect tonal bridge between his work with Monty Python and the dystopian films for which he’s best known.” It screens Wednesday at the Quad as part of the series The Ministry of Silly Films: Monty Python and Beyond.
The BAMcinématek series Holy Blood: Mexican Horror Cinema opens Friday and runs through November 2.
Los Angeles. From Friday through Sunday, the UCLA Film & Television Archive presents the series Hirokazu Kore-eda: Cinema from the Outside In, but a couple of events happen in the run-up. Kore-eda will be at the Ray Stark Family Theatre at USC on Wednesday for a screening of Nobody Knows (2004) and at the Downtown Independent on Thursday when Acropolis Cinema presents After Life (1998).
AFI Fest has announced that Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, and Scott Cooper’s Hostiles will be this year’s Centerpiece Galas. The 2017 edition, running from November through, will also feature a tribute to Errol Morris following a screening of his six-parter, Wormwood.
Austin. “Lou Diamond Phillips. Keenen Ivory Wayans. David Fucking Simon. Okay, that last one wasn't actually three names, but you get the idea. The Austin Film Festival is here, starting Thursday,” writes Josh Kupecki in the Chronicle, “and they have curated one of the best lineups in their 24-year run.” Through November 2.
Cambridge. From Friday through November 26, the Harvard Film Archive presents The Legends of William Wellman. Haden Guest: “This retrospective gathers together a series of Wellman’s lesser-known films, balanced by his recognized classics, to sketch a composite portrait of a studio filmmaker equally adept at bold action-driven narrative and a kind of subtler, understated emotion and meaning.”
Toronto. “Now rightfully regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers to ever emerge from Hong Kong,” writes Shelly Kraicer for the TIFF Review, “Johnnie To is a complex and seemingly contradictory artist: an action-film director whose most famous and popular works at home are his comedies; a maker of entertainment movies whose films regularly play in the Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto film festivals; a savvy commercial entrepreneur whose spare, minimalist, densely structured films are celebrated by scholars around the world.” Johnnie To: Expect the Unexpected opens Thursday, with To himself introducing The Mission (1999), and runs through December 28. On Friday, To will also introduce Election (2005) and Election II: Harmony Is a Virtue (2006).
Montréal. The exhibition Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours will be on view at DHC/ART from Wednesday through March 11.
UK.Africa’s Lost Classics is a program of twenty-four films traveling to festivals of African cinema through mid-November. “Let’s put this bluntly,” writes Mark Cousins for Sight & Sound: “you don’t know cinema if you don’t know African cinema.”
London. The Sight & Sound Deep Focus season Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama is on through November at BFI Southbank. Mikio Naruse’s Wife (1953) will not be part of the program, but you’ll want to read Brad Stevens’s piece on one of his all-time favorite films nonetheless, even if only to set the mood.
On Friday at Close-Up, “Sixpackfilm’s deputy director Gerald Weber presents two programmes celebrating the Vienna based archive’s phenomenal collection of Austrian experimental film and video.”
Berlin. The Arsenal’s series Female Gazes from Georgia - Contemporary Documentaries runs from Wednesday through October 31 and, from Thursday through October 31, Film:ReStored_02: The Festival of Film Preservation “presents digitized films from seven decades of German film history, accompanied by presentations, and progress reports dedicated to questions surrounding the digitization of film heritage.”
For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.