Straub-Huillet and More Hong

The Daily — Nov 17, 2017

G rasshopper Film has posted Ted Fendt’s essay on Moses and Aaron (1974), Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s adaptation of Arnold Schoenberg’s unfinished opera: “Straub and Huillet’s brilliance—and a fundamental aspect of their method of adaptation—is to allow the contradictions of their source texts to remain not reconciled. Through their presentational, analytic method, they make the contradictions more palpable. . . . Unresolved tensions abound in their work, gradually extending into a great array of diverse and contrasting accents, colors, shadow and light, and costumes. This is what is radical in Straub and Huillet’s cinema and why their films are so rejuvenating, why they make us see anew.”

Yesterday’s roundup opened with Darren Hughes’s interview with Hong Sang-soo for the Notebook. Today we have another one, Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s for the Village Voice. “I don’t go to church or accept any established religion,” he tells her, but I just said to myself, ‘Why not? I want to talk to him or her.’ . . . I always had an inclination to talk to God, but as I grew up, I learned to negate the falseness of the establishment. I’m directly talking to someone, and it feels so natural. Why should I give up this natural desire?”

Writing for VCinema about two of the three films Hong’s put out this year, Claire’s Camera and The Day After, Rowena Santos Aquino finds that “what seems to be of the utmost interest for Hong is exploring how people, particularly artistically inclined ones, deal with such disruptions and how they access a different aspect/understanding of themselves and reality that they had not known about in the course of that disruption. Even more compelling about these two films is the way they take up that elusive process of bridging one’s subjective reality and physical reality prompted by a disruption—itself provoked by misperception. In Claire’s Camera it is through photographs, while in The Day After it is through words/writing. While both are structurally intricate, the tone of performance and philosophical inquiry is deceptively light-hearted in the former and highly strung in the latter.”

Julia Yepes talks with Philippe Garrel and finds him “personable, generous, and pragmatic—that is to say, just the opposite of what you might expect from an artist who is known for his heart-wrenching masterpieces about searching, anguished people like I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar (1991) and Emergency Kisses (1989).” And he tells her: “I’m creating work to stand up for women. The fact that my movies are more successful now than they were twenty or thirty years ago, a lot of it is attributable to women having responded positively to the movies. There’s a female fan base.”

Also at Vague Visages, Jeremy Carr on Erich von Stroheim’s Greed: “Like it or not, this 1924 masterwork, a summit of silent cinema and one of the most remarkable films ever made, will relentlessly assume the stirring position of brutal, uncomfortable and painfully poignant sincerity.”

Cineuropa’s posted Nicolas Gilson’s conversation with Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne about Rosetta (1999), the film that won them their first Palme d’Or (the second was for L'enfant [2005]). Jean-Pierre: “For us, cinema is a type of living matter, and there comes a point where you feel like it’s coming to life.” Luc: “When we start to feel like what we’re shooting is a copy of something else, or that we’re thinking about another film, or that ours is becoming a replica, we stop.”

For the Notebook, Kiva Reardon writes about Ildikó Enyedi’s My 20th Century (1989) and On Body and Soul (2017). “One of her earliest features and her latest, both use a playfulness—and most certainly are earnest—in their examination of the condition of human connection.”

“We can have $20m to make a film, but we’re still going to approach it like we have forty bucks because that’s how we’re wired to make something and I don’t think that will ever change.” That’s Josh Safdie, talking to Hermione Hoby in the Guardian. His and Benny Safdie’s Good Time opens today in the UK.

Writing for the Metrograph, Jon Dieringer, editor and publisher of Screen Slate, looks back on a brief stint in Los Angeles: “In the mornings I’d go carousing for the city’s best pancakes, and every night I’d see one or two movies in the theater, more on weekends. Retrospectives of Roberto Gavaldón and Nagisa Oshima made huge impressions. One night, at the Hammer Museum, artist Francesca Gabbiani curated one of the most inspired programs I’d yet seen: Dudley Murphy’s phantasmagoric silent dance films; a 1928 German smut film depicting a ritualistic satanic orgy; Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother; Carl Dreyer’s macabre, state-sponsored road safety film They Caught the Ferry; and Federico Fellini’s eerie, high-octane masterpiece Toby Dammit. The selection was conceptually brilliant, playful, transgressive, sophisticated, and unpretentious—a formative moment in terms of my thinking about the relationships between narrative, experimental, sponsored, and orphaned films.”

For Sight & Sound, John Bleasdale reports on the recently wrapped first edition of the Pingyao International Film Festival, founded by Jia Zhangke and co-organized with Marco Mueller. “Hailing from nearby Fenyang, Zhangke has overseen the renovation of a disused factory into state-of-the-art screening rooms, cafes and lecture halls. The programme itself mixes the best of international festival fare with upcoming Chinese talent and a Jean-Pierre Melville retrospective. Zhangke told me: ‘We only have about 40 films here whereas other festivals might have 400. We don’t want quantity; we focus on quality.’”

Goings On

New York. “Twenty-five years after it was released into theaters, in November 1992, Spike Lee’s epic masterpiece Malcolm X feels like a righteous time-traveling troublemaker pushing eerily prescient buttons for maximum effect,” writes Odie Henderson for the Village Voice. “Were it released today, the right-wing of the Twitterverse would almost surely call for a boycott of Warner Bros., considering, among other things, that the movie begins with one of the most unapologetic political statements in studio cinema history. During the opening credits, footage of the Rodney King beating is juxtaposed with an American flag that suddenly bursts into flames. As King’s assault escalates, the flag burns into the shape of an X, the surname of the movie’s controversial hero. Lee puts the viewer immediately on notice: This material will not be handled with kid gloves.” Screens tomorrow at BAMcinématek.

In the New York Times, Ben Kenigsberg spotlights four series: Generation Wealth at Anthology Film Archives through November 30; The Lost Years of German Cinema, 1949–1963 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center through Thursday; Rialto Pictures: 20 Films for 20 Years, through December 29 at the Museum of the Moving Image; and running at the Quad Cinema through Tuesday, Screen Play: The American Film Theatre.

Regarding that last one, for the Notebook, Adrian Curry takes a close look at the artwork created for the American Film Theatre. The Cinebills in particular are examples of ’70s-era design at its best.

On Monday, Light Industry presents George Cukor’s It Should Happen to You (1954) and Robinson Devor and Michael Guccione’s Angelyne (1995), introduced by Naomi Fry: “For all its stupidity, its compromises, its falsity, there is something true and steadfast about the pursuit of fame.”

Los Angeles. On Monday, Diego Rísquez will be at REDCAT to present his “trilogy about the real and mythical histories of the Latin American continent.”

Louisville. Bruce Conner: Forever and Ever is the Speed Art Museum’s first exhibition collaboration between its Contemporary Art and Film departments. Through March 2.

Berlin. The third part of the Arsenal’s retrospective Harun Farocki: Year by Year / Side by Side is on from Monday through November 30.

Melbourne. On Monday, Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin will be at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to present a talk with clips, I furrow my own film: Isabelle Huppert as Screen Actor.

In the Works

Quentin Tarantino has selected Sony Pictures as the financier and distributor of his next, ninth feature, reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. “The film is set in Los Angeles in the late ’60s and early ’70s, with Tarantino hoping hard that Margot Robbie will play the role of Sharon Tate. Just about every studio in town except Disney chased it . . . Tarantino has had conversations with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio for the two main lead male roles. It is unclear if all three will be in the movie, or two of them, when Tarantino begins production next year.”

“George Clooney is set to star in and direct Catch-22, a six-part limited series based on Joseph Heller’s novel,” reports Denise Petski for Deadline. Luke Davies and David Michôd are co-writing and executive producing, and the project “is eyeing an early 2018 shoot.”

Michelle Williams is “in talks” to join Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal in Luca Guadagnino’s (Call Me by Your Name) Rio, written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke). Variety’s Justin Kroll: “The film follows a financial reporter (Gyllenhaal) who travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit a wealthy friend (Cumberbatch), only to get sucked into a plot to fake his friend’s death.”

Also, “John Turturro, Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Holland Taylor, and newcomer Caren Pistorius have joined Julianne Moore in FilmNation’s re-imagining of Sebastian Lelio’s critically acclaimed 2013 film Gloria. . . . Lelio will direct and also penned the adaptation of the script for the new film, which is currently in production.”

IndieWire’s Zack Sharf notes that in a recent Yahoo Entertainment interview, Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) spoke a bit about what he’s called “the project of my life,” a new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. “David Lynch did an adaptation in the ’80s that has some very strong qualities. I mean, David Lynch is one of the best filmmakers alive, I have massive respect for him. But when I saw his adaptation, I was impressed, but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I’m trying to make the adaptation of my dreams. It will not have any link with the David Lynch movie. I’m going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it.”

Ivan Reitman directed Bill Murray in Stripes in 1981, and now he’s set to direct a half-hour comedy series—without Murray—based on the hit, reports Emily J at the Tracking Board.


On the new Talkhouse Podcast (48’42”), Sam Esmail, creator of Mr. Robot, and Mark Frost, co-creator with David Lynch of Twin Peaks, talk “about the unique circumstances under which Twin Peaks: The Return was conceived and made, the story behind Episode 8 (one of the great hours of TV in recent memory), the polarizing second season of Mr. Robot, pushing the boundaries of what TV can be, and much more—including insights into projects that Frost and Lynch worked on that sadly never came to fruition.”

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