Before turning to the cities, we have a bit of festival news. The Locarno Festival, whose seventy-first edition will run from August 1 through 11, has announced that its “major Retrospective will be dedicated to three-time Oscar winner Leo McCarey (1898–1969), a director who left his indelible mark not only on comedy (with Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers and Harold Lloyd) but also on classic drama” with such films as Make Way for Tomorrow (1937; image above) and An Affair to Remember (1957).
“While a humanist impulse is evident throughout his career (as Jean Renoir put it, ‘no Hollywood director understands people better’), it’s hard to define McCarey’s touch,” writes Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian in the Notebook. “Unlike Lubitsch, his presence evolves in a more subdued way, so that the mise en scène, though precise like clockwork, doesn’t let you hear it ticking. At the forefront in every film by McCarey is the actor, a mirror image—sometimes direct, sometimes distorted—of the viewer.”
The International Film Festival Rotterdam has announced that it’ll be hosting Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “unique one-off project” SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL: “During the first week of the festival, the Staalzaal of WTC Rotterdam will be converted into an immersive film experience that functions as a temporary hotel. In this dormitory—beds, hammocks, showers and breakfast included—hypnagogic images will be projected around the clock. Guests who stay overnight and daytime visitors alike are transported to Weerasethakul’s preferred plane of existence: one where sleep and film, ghosts and imagination, the past and the present collide.”
The IFFR’s also added twelve new films to the Voice section of its 2018 lineup:
- João Canijo’s Fátima
- Alexey Fedorchenko’s Anna’s War
- Valeska Grisebach’s Western
- René Hazekamp’s Gangway to a Future
- Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage Coda
- Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze’s Birds Are Singing in Kigali
- Lee Kwangkuk’s A Tiger in Winterby
- Eddie Martin’s Have You Seen the Listers?
- Takaomi Ogata’s The Hungry Lion
- Olivier Peyon and Cyril Brody’s Latifa: A Fighting Heart
- Jacopo Quadri’s Lorello and Brunello
- Yang Ya-Che’s The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful
IFFR 2018 is on from January 24 through February 4.
New York. Roman Hollywood: American Movies Go to Italy is on at Film Forum through December 21 and it’s “a big and varied series,” writes Farran Smith Nehme for Film Comment, “but it’s the movies made from the early 1950s to just barely into the Kennedy era that have always fascinated me the most . . . Giving buttoned-up Americans a thrill was pretty much Rossano Brazzi’s job description for several years,” and he appears in Jean Negulesco’s Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), “a three-girls movie, a recurring Hollywood structure that had a particular vogue in the 1950s.” In Joseph Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Ava Gardner “plays Spanish dancer Maria, whose spectacular beauty propels her to great stardom via the friendship of Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart, in a performance so unobtrusive that not everyone appreciates its greatness). But her eventual downfall comes—wait for it—via Rossano Brazzi (him again?) as Italian Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini. Brazzi’s quiet, self-hating yet sadistic delivery of the count’s speech about why he cannot consummate his marriage with Maria may well be his finest acting moment of the decade.”
“I doubt that anyone involved in the making of Richard Kern’s short films in the 80s and early 90s thought that the results of their efforts would screen at the Museum of Modern Art one day,” writes Dana Reinoos. “But at the end of a truly exhausting year, these films are a necessary, uncomfortable kick in the ass—the cinematic equivalent of spitting in the eyes of the people in power.” A second program of these shorts screens on Saturday and again on January 3 as part of the series New York Film and Video: No Wave–Transgressive, which in turn, accompanies MoMA’s exhibition, Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983, on view through April 1.
Also at Screen Slate, Cynthia Lugo: “The period that Michelangelo Antonioni spent making documentaries at the beginning of his career is often overlooked, yet one cannot overestimate their impact on shaping his approach to cinema and on the formation of his visual style. MoMA’s selection of early documentaries (as part of its ongoing Antonioni retrospective) offers a rare opportunity to see these obscure works in 35mm, a repertory experience not likely to be repeated in the near future given the difficulty of locating subtitled prints.”
Cambridge. A print of Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) “was one of the last to be struck in the Technicolor imbibation process (also used by The Wizard of Oz, another famously colorful film about witches), and so its colors pop off the screen in a way that feels curiously alien,” writes Michael Roberson. “This has contributed to Suspiria’s status as a cinematic experience like none other, a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Lawrence of Arabia that begs to be seen on the biggest screen available. But Suspiria’s status as one of the most visually sumptuous of all horror films belies its pure, terrifying hostility.” The week-long run at the Brattle of the fortieth anniversary restoration begins Friday.
And as it happens, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) screens at the Brattle on Saturday, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Arthur C. Clarke. And, focusing on a scene with Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood), Christian Gay wonders, “Is HAL fascinated with Lockwood’s muscular young body, which he himself can never possess?”
London. On Sunday, Close-Up presents In Memoriam: Frans Zwartjes, a program of eight short films. “Best known for his experimental shorts produced in the 1960s and 70s, Zwartjes was goth before there was such a thing (which the culture has since determinedly undermined). He was the first artist to unlock the potential of the selfie (which the culture has since determinedly undermined), and he was the precursor to the Fassbindian approach to ‘family’ filmmaking (which the culture has since determinedly avoided). Susan Sontag called Zwartjes ‘the most important experimental filmmaker of his generation,’ and he has been either cited or ripped off whole-sale by a generation of artists and filmmakers since.”
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