Goings On: Farrokhzad, Wenders, and More

On Film / The Daily — Mar 19, 2018

New York. On Friday and Saturday, Anthology Film Archives pairs Forough Farrokhzad’s The House Is Black (1962) and Abbas Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us (1999). As Jeva Lange notes at Screen Slate, House “was shot at a leper colony over just twelve days, and folds in Farrokhzad’s poetry with the camera’s unflinching portrait of the afflicted,” and while its champions call it “a deeply humanist film (‘a woman’s gaze is always what is needed to determine the precise distance from suffering and ugliness that one must take without falling into complacency and without pity,’ offers [Chris] Marker), others will claim the use of the leper as metaphor is exploitative. No one was more aware of this perennial conflict of documentary filmmaking than Farrokhzad, who adopted the son to two lepers at the colony after making her film. The Wind Will Carry Us, which takes its name from a Farrokhzad poem, likewise probes the power dynamic between a documentarian and her subject—or in Kiarostami's case, between the Iranian New Wave artist and his nonprofessional actors.”

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (1972) plays on at Film Forum through March 27, and Artforum has now made Amy Taubin’s piece on the five-episode mini-series available to nonsubscribers. At the time, “producing a TV series for a mainstream audience was the most radical move he could make. . . . Eight Hours has more than enough cinematic pleasures, engaging characters, and narrative surprises for the most discerning of binge viewers.” More here.

Also at Film Forum, the Michel Piccoli retrospective rolls on through Thursday. “In many of the roles he plays, Piccoli works simultaneously at two levels of the character,” writes Chadwick Jenkins at PopMatters. “The outer sensibility exudes a kind of savoir-faire and self-possession. In most situations, Piccoli’s characters appear to know how the world operates and they move fluidly within it. But the inner sensibility of these characters is another matter altogether.” In Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt (1963), Piccoli’s Paul “wants to maintain self-control but because so much of his identity is wrapped up in having his wife’s affection, her disillusionment with their marriage threatens him with utter collapse.”

With ¡Sí Se Puede! Pioneers of Chicano Cinema, running through Thursday, BAMcinématek is presenting “a wide swath of work, from initial, scrappy shorts documenting communities ignored by Tinseltown to box office hits of the Nineties that took the industry by storm long before #OscarsSoWhite ever steered watercooler conversation,” writes Monica Castillo in the Village Voice.

Ongoing: Pacino’s Way at the Quad through March 30.

Chicago. The European Union Film Festival is on at the Gene Siskel Film Center through April 5, and contributors to the Cine-List have written up a few highlights.

Philadelphia. Frankenstein is the theme of the third annual Bioethics Film Festival presented over three evenings by the University of Pennsylvania at International House. All three screenings are followed by discussions with Penn faculty. The festival opens tomorrow with James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), followed by Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (1974) on Wednesday and the “Final” 2007 cut of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) on Thursday.

Austin. As Richard Whittaker notes in the Chronicle, CinemaTexas was the programming unit of the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas. “This wasn’t some small film club. From the early Seventies to the mid-Eighties, UT’s Jester Auditorium was packed for 16 mm screenings—sometimes twice nightly—of classic, underground, subversive, landmark, and ignored movies.” And “a core part of the learning process was the Program Notes: free handouts with credits and reviews, but also an article, written to give detail and context to what was being shown.” From Thursday through April 22, marking the publication of CinemaTexas Notes: The Early Days of Austin Film Culture, AFS Cinema will present CinemaTexas Rewind, a series highlighting “a handful of the hundreds of movies lovingly examined, dissected, and explored, with introductions by some of the authors of those original pieces.” More from AFS programmer Lars Nilsen.

Meantime, the updates to the entry on the winners of the SXSW Film Festival awards keep coming in.

Cambridge. On Friday, the Harvard Film Archive launches a retrospective that will lead up to Wim Wenders delivering two of this year’s Norton Lectures. Carson Lund: “The director’s trail of disciples includes such figures as Jim Jarmusch and Aki Kaurismäki, but his signature—that wistful disposition that’s rooted in a hyper-awareness of history’s echoes in the present and a concern for the material degradation of art—continues to be inimitable. It’s a trademark most easily attributed to his groundbreaking films of the seventies, but it’s really one that threads through his entire eclectic body of work.”

Boulder. From today through Friday, the International Film Series at the University of Colorado presents a five-film retrospective of films by Terrence Malick on 35 mm. “The use of voice-over, specifically how it morphs from memory (Badlands) to allegory (Days of Heaven) to omniscience (The Thin Red Line and The New World) to prayer (The Tree of Life), is by far one of Malick’s most recognizable traits,” writes Michael J. Casey for the Boulder Weekly.

Toronto. In February, Agnès Varda delivered two Norton Lectures, and, starting Thursday, TIFF Cinematheque will present Radical Empathy: The Films of Agnès Varda, a retrospective programmed by the editorial board of the feminist film journal cléo. The series runs through April 17.

London. BFI Flare, London’s LGBTQ+ film festival, opens Wednesday and runs through April 1. Programmer Zorian Clayton previews selections focusing on trans experience,Alex Davidson revisits “some of the best Latin American gay, lesbian and trans films from years past” and ten “great Scandinavian LGBTQ+ films,” and Emma Smart presents a “short history of lesbian vampires on screen.”

This year’s Essay Film Festival opens on Wednesday at the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image with an opening lecture delivered by Laura Rascaroli and a screening of Pietro Marcello’s The Mouth of the Wolf (2009). On Thursday, the festival moves to the Institut français du Royaume-Uni for a screening of Nicole Védrès’s Paris 1900 (1948), a film that “draws on footage from over 700 films to chronicle Belle Epoque Paris from 1900 to 1914,” followed by a Q&A with Bernard Eisenschitz and Michael Witt. On Friday, it’s back to Birkbeck for the symposium “Contextualising the Films of Mani Kaul” followed by screenings at the ICA. The festival runs through March 29.

Emplacing is a program at Close-Up on Thursday that considers “the relation of artist-filmmakers to urban and public space and the architectural endeavor. Featuring seven films by London-based artists, exploring the built, the un-built, the destroyed and overlaps between the architectural and filmic vision.”

Ongoing: Tacita Dean at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.

And ongoing around the world are the special series and screenings celebrating the centenary of the birth of Ingmar Bergman. Track #Bergman100 goings on here.

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