Before looking ahead to some of this week’s highlights city by city, we have some festival news to see to. The Venice International Film Festival has announced that Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) will preside over the International Jury during its seventy-fifth edition running from August 29 through September 8.
And the sixty-eighth Berlin International Film Festival opens on Thursday and runs through February 25. The image above is a detail from one of three covers designed by Guy Maddin for the Berlinale Forum program, which features a pretty spectacular magazine. What’s more, that magazine is online. Here, links from the authors’ names will take you to their articles, while links from film titles will take you to the festival’s page for the.
- Philipp Stadelmaier writes about Ruth Beckermann’s The Waldheim Waltz (click the title to see Karin Schiefer’s interview with Beckermann), Marie Wilke’s Aggregat (Birgit Kohler interviews her), and Kristina Konrad’s One or Two Questions (interview with Konrad and René Frölke; James Lattimer also interviews Frölke), all of which “use cinematic forms to reproduce democratic processes.”
- “The Image Pit,” a short piece by Serge Daney, is presented in English for the first time in conjunction with the Forum’s presentation of Julien Faraut’s In the Realm of Perfection.
- In 1997, Ulrich Gregor, co-founder of the Forum with his wife Erika, spoke with Hong Sangsoo, whose Grass premieres in this year’s edition.
- Ute Holl: “‘Marxism—only theory of politics which designed a mechanism capable of changing itself—as in the concept of the withering away of the state,’ is what Maya Deren wrote down somewhat offhandedly in her notebook on 3 February, 1947.” And the theme of this year’s Forum Expanded is “A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself.”
- Cristina Nord writes about “multiple combinations of documentary and fictional forms” in relation to several films that have screened in past editions of the Forum.
- “So let us speak instead of filmosophy,” writes Jean-Luc Nancy following a chat with Ayreen Canastas and Rene Gabri: “just as philo-sophy is the discursive love of sophia, filmo-sophy is the love of sophia in the form of a film. What is sophia? It’s precisely that which (like many things) becomes what it is based on the love it receives.”
- “I had no interest in ‘pink film,’ it just entered my life somehow,” says Keiko Sato, president of the production company Kokuei. The Forum notes that she uses the the male pseudonym Asakura Daisuke “to disguise the fact that she is a woman working in the male-dominated industry.” As “A Pink Tribute to Keiko Sato,” the Forum will present Masao Adachi’s Gushing Prayer (1971), Atsushi Yamatoya’s Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands (1967), and Masayuki Suo’s Abnormal Family (1984).
- Anna Hoffmann and Hanna Keller talk with filmmaker Tatjana Turanskyj, who “showed two very formally and thematically unusual feminist films at the Berlinale Forum (The Drifter, Forum 2010 and Top Girl or la déformation professionnelle, Forum 2014).”
- The magazine features an excerpt from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s bestselling novel Shaihu Umar, which was adapted in 1976 by Adamu Halilu.
- The Otolith Group’s video installation The Third Part of the Third Measure “creates an encounter with the militant minimalism of avant-garde composer, pianist and vocalist Julius Eastman,” and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung writes about “Eastman’s practice through various prisms.”
And the Forum’s asked directors who’ve shown their work in previous editions, “what happened in the meantime?” Answers come from Ted Fendt (Short Stay, 2016; Classical Period, 2018), Guy Maddin (with Evan and Galen Johnson: Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton, 2015; The Forbidden Room, 2015; and now, The Green Fog, proceeded by their ten-minute short, Accidence), Jumana Manna (A Magical Substance Flows into Me, 2016; Wild Relatives, 2018), Ghassan Salhab (The Valley, 2014; As Far As Yearning, 2017, co-directed with Mohamed Soueid), Melanie Shatzky and Brian M. Cassidy (Francine, 2012; Interchange, 2018), Deborah Stratman (The Illinois Parables, 2016; Optimism, 2018), and Midi Z (City of Jade, 2016; 14 Apples, 2018).
More Goings On
Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006) is a “nearly wordless, dreamlike drift through Kuala Lumpur, and a violent, political look at a multiethnic city suffocating both literally and metaphorically,” writes Jeva Lange at Screen Slate. Artist and filmmaker Tiona Nekkia McClodden presents the film tonight at the IFC Center as part of the Queer|Art|Film series.
On Wednesday, MoMA wraps its series You Are Now One of Us: Film at Club 57, presented in conjunction with the exhibition Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983, on view through April 1, with Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). Jon Hogan: “Guest curator and former Club 57 performer John ‘Lypsinka’ Epperson explained that the regulars’ appreciation for Plan 9 grew out of their appreciation for surrealism. ‘Ed Wood was an accidental surrealist,’ Epperson recalled in an email to Hyperallergic. ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat was a frequenter of Club 57 for a while and then turned his back on it, saying he was tired of “bad” stuff. It’s surprising he couldn’t see the surrealism there.’”
Rochester, New York. Light Industry co-founder Thomas Beard will be at the Eastman Museum on Thursday and Friday to introduce programs of films by Stan Brakhage and work that inspired him. The occasion, of course, is the republication of Brakhage’s 1963 book, Metaphors on Vision.
Los Angeles. Daïchi Saïto will be at REDCAT tonight as Los Angeles Filmforum co-presents for a presentation of his work in Super 8, 35 mm, and 16 mm.
San Francisco. Remembering Abbas Kiarostami: A Tribute to His Life and Legacy happens Saturday evening at San Francisco State University and features a conversation between Kiarostami’s son, Ahmad Kiarostami, and Hossein Khosrowjah.
Also on Saturday, SF Cinematheque presents The Nation’s Finest: Sports, Art and the Moving Image at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Chicago. “Two established masters no longer with us—Harun Farocki and Abbas Kiarostami—and two talented newcomers—Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas—have work showing this week at two venues,” writes Patrick Friel at the top of this week’s Cine-List. “All of their films explore, either in form or content, the ways in which media and technology affect the world around us.” Block Cinema will present work by Farocki on February 22 and March 1 and 8 and short films by Bresnan and Lucas on Thursday. Kiarostami’s 24 Frames is on at the Gene Siskel Film Center through Thursday.
Houston. With Immortality for All: A Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism, artist and e-flux Journal editor Anton Vidokle “explores Cosmism’s influence on the twentieth century and its relevance to the present day. He scans Siberian, Kazakh and far-northern White Sea landscapes for Cosmism’s influences in the remains of Soviet-era art, architecture and engineering, and reimagines a Moscow museum as a cosmist mausoleum.” Saturday through March 24 and June 1 through August 11 at the Blaffer Art Museum.
From the entry on 1940 from e-flux’s “Timeline of Russian Cosmism”: “The movie director G. V. Alexandrov (1903–1983), one of the creators of sound cinema, publishes an article entitled ‘The Cinema of the Future’ in the newspaper Izvestiya. In his opinion, the movie theater of the future will have no screen. Rather, it will be like a planetarium, and cinematic works will be projected onto the walls and the ceiling. Alexandrov forecasts a wide variety of applications for stereo imaging (at that time research into the creation of this technology was being actively pursued in the USSR), and he asserts that in the future, new technologies will make it possible to record on film not only images and sounds, but also smells: ‘The music of aromas is a new power for the artist of the cinema.’”
Also in the new issue of e-flux Journal, Robert Bird: “The role of Soviet cinema was not only to broadcast model-thinking and model-making to far-flung populations; it also participated directly in modeling the new world that it was called to propagandize, most directly in miniaturized sets that allow for special effects. Special effects based on scale models make possible moving photographic documentation of worlds that have never and could never have existed.”
Portland. The forty-first Portland International Film Festival opens Thursday and runs through March 1.
Paris. From Wednesday through March 4, the Cinémathèque française will present a retrospective of work by Tod Browning.
Berlin. Light Movement 27: Luke Fowler is a program of 16 mm films to be projected tomorrow at Spectrum.
Vienna. Man Ray, an exhibition presenting “150 keyworks from all over the world, including painting, photography, objects, works on paper, collages and assemblages and experimental film,” opens Wednesday to remain on view at the Kunstforum Wien through June 24.
Brussels. On Saturday, filmmaker Sarah Vanagt will be at Cinema Galleries to present Sabzian’s inaugural State of Cinema address and F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) with live musical accompaniment by Seppe Gebruers.
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