Hertzfeldt, Mekas, and More

Don Hertzfeldt “has created a singular universe of stick figures in crisis,” writes David Ehrlich, introducing his interview for IndieWire. “One of life’s few perfect things, World of Tomorrow [2015] is as mordantly funny and existentially fraught as anything Hertzfeldt has ever made, but also vibrant and joyful where his previous films were waiting to die. . . . Now, after secretly toiling away in his Austin studio for the better part of three years, Hertzfeldt returns with World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts.” Ehrlich asks him about “the process of making a sequel to one of the most beloved sci-fi stories of the 21st century, the challenges of directing a star who may not fully understand that she’s in a movie to begin with, and what the future might hold for the World of Tomorrow cinematic universe.”

Reverse Shot’s symposium on time continues with Andrew Chan’s essay on Jonas Mekas’s As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000): “Few films have so poignantly embodied André Bazin’s notion of cinema as ‘time mummified,’ as a thing that lives and breathes and dies. But what perversity compels a filmmaker to hold his audience captive for five hours, only to apologize at every turn about how empty-handed he’s leaving them? And what ultimately makes us stick around?”

The Paris Review has posted Robert Storr’s 2009 interview with Yvonne Rainer: “One of the things that drew me to film was framing the possibilities for a very exact framing of the body.” Further in, Rainer discusses her 1985 film The Man Who Envied Women: “I began collecting clips from Hollywood movies in which women were complicit in being demeaned or objectified by men. These clips became the backdrop for the main character, who was in some kind of therapy, and they became his cultural unconscious.”

At Vulture, Kevin Lincoln suggests that The Girlfriend Experience, created, written, and directed by Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz and based on executive producer Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 film, “has become something of a cinematic universe,” now that the second season is split into “two entirely new narratives.” And “there’s a good chance that one character stands out most of all: Paul, the first john who hires Bria (Carmen Ejojo) after she flees to a small New Mexico town to escape her criminal ex. . . . Even among our best character actors, it’s hard to think of many who could pull off the part—which makes it all the more remarkable that the guy who does is Harmony Korine.”


For the BFI, Samuel Wigley writes about one “great film noir for every year” from 1940 through 1959.

And at Vague Visages, contributors write about their “favorite neo-noir films.”

Steve Gravestock, senior programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival, presents his list of the “107 Best Canadian Films” at the Toronto Film Review.

The Washington Post has selected its ten best books of 2017.

In Other News

“I was sexually accosted by the renowned ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch, who is credited with having invented a better way to look at Africans.” In a moving piece for Hyperallergic on sexual abuse in the art world and, in particular, university art departments, Coco Fusco tells her story. “Since I didn’t cooperate, he became antagonistic during the ride back, deriding me as naive, grabbing at me while he drove and eventually tearing my shirt before I opened the car door at a traffic light and ran off.” But that wouldn’t be the end of it.

As noted a few days ago,Cinefamily, which the Los Angeles TimesMark Olsen’s called “one of the best known spaces for repertory and independent film exhibition in the city,” has officially shut down in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against some of its executives. “I yield to no one the moniker ‘cinephile,’ and having written about local film culture in Los Angeles since 2003, I am admittedly disappointed to see any rep house shut down, but what was Cinefamily really?” asks Doug Cummings. “It was the fanboy equivalent of a repertory house, which is why I for one was not surprised to hear that it sexually discriminated against female employees. Some of the films it showed were important contributions to film culture, but a lot of what it showed was simply pop culture ephemera and trash cinema, served with a dose of self-flattering, MST3K-style irony and casual indifference. . . . This year, there has been a welcome groundswell of attention addressing the culture of sexual abuse and discrimination in the media industry. Let’s hope the demise of Cinefamily also triggers a dialogue about what it means to be cinephiles, to creatively engage our cultural heritage and contemporary mediascape and promote its dissemination in meaningful, intergenerational, politically empowering ways.”

AFI Fest has announced the winners of its audience and jury awards. We’ve been tracking coverage of this year’s edition here.

Goings On

New York. From Tuesday through December 10, Anthology Film Archives presents Throw Away Your Books: The Films of Shūji Terayama. “Though his accomplishments as a filmmaker alone would secure him a place of importance in the history of twentieth century culture, Terayama was above all a radically multi-disciplinary artist, with his volcanic output encompassing work as a poet, photographer, playwright, essayist, and songwriter, not to mention as a commentator on boxing and horse racing! His astonishingly productive and multi-faceted achievement calls to mind that of Pier Paolo Pasolini or of Rainer Werner Fassbinder; like Fassbinder, his career is all the more inconceivable given his early death in 1983, at the age of forty-seven.”

Los Angeles. On Tuesday, “LACMA continues its three-week hat tip to Latin movie star Lupe Velez with Mexican Spitfire [1940], the second and most profitable of the B-comedies in which she stars as a mercurial Mexican bride,” writes Nathaniel Bell in the LA Weekly.

At Flavorwire, Jason Bailey samples art from Crazy 4 Cult 11, an exhibition “featuring frisky artistic interpretations of Willy Wonka, Beetlejuice, Pee-Wee Herman, Bill & Ted, and many more.” On view now at Gallery 1988.

In the Works

Adam Driver, Laura Dern, and Scarlett Johansson are lined up for Noah Baumbach’s next project, reports Variety’s Justin Kroll. “Plot details are unknown at this time, but Baumbach is preparing to write and direct the film. Netflix, who is handling the distribution of The Meyerowitz Stories, is handling financing and distribution of this movie as well.”

Also, Claes Bang, star of Ruben Östlund’s The Square, will play a villain in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, an adaptation of David Lagercrantz’s novel, the fourth in the Millennium series and the first not to be written by Stieg Larsson. Kroll notes that Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe) will direct. “Claire Foy is set to star as Lisbeth Salander and Blade Runner 2049’s Sylvia Hoeks is on board as Salander’s twin sister.”

“Fabrice du Welz is set to direct Adoration, the third opus of a trilogy comprising The Ordeal which played at Cannes’ Critics Week and Alleluia which played at Directors Fortnight,” reports Variety’s Elsa Keslassy.Adoration follows Paul, a twelve-year-old boy who lives with his mother, a nurse working at a mental institution in the middle of a forest. While visiting his mother at the clinic, Paul crosses paths with Gloria, a schizophrenic teenager, and falls in love with her to the point that he decides to help her escape at all costs after she commits a crime. The pair embarks on a trip across the Ardennes woods which will reveal the extent of Gloria’s dangerous madness and Paul’s devotion to her.”

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) will executive produce and star in Burn, based on the forthcoming book by A. J. Wolfe to be adapted by Fredrick Kotto, “the former detective-turned-screenwriter,” reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. The story “follows the incredible true story of a Northern California detective who destroyed a cartel while keeping his undercover life secret from his family.”


Die Welt reports on the passing of Erika Remberg at the age of eighty-five. European Film Star Postcards notes that “Remberg appeared in thirty-one films between 1950 and 1970, but we want to remember her as lovely Laila.” Rolf Husberg’s Laila (Make Way for Lila, 1958), the third film in the series, was shot by Sven Nykvist, who, of course, would become known for his work with Ingmar Bergman. Remberg is most often remembered for her ferocious love affair with a young Klaus Kinski, her marriage to Gustavo Rojo, and her appearance in Radley Metzger’s The Lickerish Quartet (1970). Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen has stories to tell.

Ann Wedgeworth, who appeared in Jerry Schatzberg’s Scarecrow (1973), won the National Society of Film Critics’s Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in Jonathan Demme’s Citizens Band (1977), won a Tony in 1978 for best actress in Neil Simon’s Chapter Two, and played Aunt Fern in Herbert Ross’s Steel Magnolias (1989), was eighty-three.


Guest co-hosts Carol Borden and David Rodgers join Mike White in the Projection Booth (82’53”) to discuss Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure (2015) with Mermaid Cindy and John Athanason.

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