Schanelec, Dosunmu, and More

On Film / The Daily — Apr 6, 2018

Angela Schanelec’s films “represent the most innovative use of ‘conventional’ editing in narrative cinema since Pialat who, along with Bresson, has been a clear influence,” writes Michael Sicinski for the Notebook. “Schanelec’s contribution is what we might call the ‘epistemological ellipsis.’ Just as Schanelec’s characters are frequently experiencing some crisis of knowledge or identity, the director uses editing to disorient the viewer, withholding the typical cues of space, time, or identity that we have come to expect from the cinema. That is, we are not simply watching stories about individuals in confusing circumstances. We, the audience, are undergoing such circumstances ourselves, on our side of the epistemic divide.”

“It's not news that orientalism exists, but it still seems like news to many that there's anything wrong with it, or that there is, indeed, a difference between, say, objectifying homage and legitimate cultural exchange,” writes Alison Willmore at Buzzfeed. “The most telling thing about the conversations that have followed the release of Wes Anderson's latest film, Isle of Dogs—a movie that, whatever you think of it, is inarguably about Western assumptions about Japan—is the gap between the thoughtful and measured criticism (much of it from Asian American writers) and the outraged, outsized response to that criticism online.”

For the fourth year in a row, Filmmaker’s Vadim Rizov surveys the previous year’s theatrical releases “shot, either partly or in full,” on 35 mm. “If the number of films originating on 35 has remained more or less consistent the last three years, they fall into an increasingly limited number of categories: auteur films by directors too old or stubborn to change and with the clout to follow through on that; period pieces; and enormous blockbusters. . . . What’s different about 2017 is the (slight) uptick of movies originated on either 16 mm or 35 mm that were also projected on 35 mm, an option that seemed to have gone away entirely a few years ago.”

Also writing for Filmmaker, Matt Lynch grants that “torrent trackers may not be the best model available: If nobody’s getting paid then nobody’s getting paid. So, that’s just one major issue. But as a crowd-sourced and -funded endeavor they’ve remained remarkably sustainable and continue to grow. One of these days, it or something very much like it might be the only real video store left.”

And more from Filmmaker: Pamela Cohn tells us how pitch forums are working these days, particularly for nonfiction projects.

At Bright Lights, Graham Daseler explains—at considerable length—what a grip does.

“Vigilante movies feed on and foster paranoia and instability,” and Ryan Gilbey’s sketched a brief history of the genre for the New Statesman.

Interviews

Introducing his interview with Andrew Dosunmu for the Village Voice, Bilge Ebiri grants that the new film, Where Is Kyra?, “doesn’t necessarily have the surface vibrancy of Mother of George [2013], but it’s just as visually sophisticated—a stylized, nightmarish portrait of poverty and aging in New York, with a career-best performance from Michelle Pfeiffer.” Ebiri talks with Dosunmu “about his work, his approach to image and sound, and where he finds his inspirations.” Djibril Diop Mambéty and Luchino Visconti, for example.

Christopher Nolan was in Mumbai with Tacita Dean a few days ago for Reframing the Future of Film 4 and the Deccan Chronicle nabbed a chance to talk with him. “I have had the pleasure of watching [Satyajit] Ray’s Pather Panchali [1955] recently, which I hadn’t seen before. I think it is one of the best films ever made. It is an extraordinary piece of work. I am interested in learning more about Indian film industry and that is the reason why I came.”

For Slant, Steve Macfarlane talks with Lynne Ramsay about You Were Never Really Here, the first film she’s shot with digital equipment: “I had the discipline that comes from shooting film. I don't cover, you know?”

“I trust them immensely,” BPM (Beats Per Minute) director Robin Campillo tells Manuela Lazic at Little White Lies, and he’s talking about his actors. “Because they know they’re being observed for who they really are, they can be a lot more generous with me.”

Paul Thomas Anderson comments on the camera tests made for Phantom Thread

Film Comment’s Violet Lucca talks with Lola Arias about her first feature, Theatre of War, which “brings together British and Argentinian soldiers who fought in the Falklands War in 1982 to discuss and reenact their experiences.”

For Vague Visages, James Slaymaker talks with Caveh Zahedi, whose “work is at once formally ambitious, deeply intimate and bitterly funny, blurring the line between fiction and documentary, public and private, empathy and exploitation.” The second season of The Show About the Show is due later this year.

In Other News

Karina Longworth has announced that her widely beloved podcast You Must Remember This will return on July 3. “From that date on, there will be new episodes almost every week for the rest of the year.” Longworth has been working on a book that’ll be out in the fall.

The EYE Art & Film Prize 2018 has been awarded to Francis Alÿs. The previous winners have been Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, and Wang Bing.

From Catherine Grant comes word that all University of California Press journals will be freely accessible online throughout April. And that includes Film Quarterly.

In the Works

Steven Spielberg and Stephen King have come very close to collaborating over the past few decades—several times, it turns out—and Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican talks with both of them to find out why nothing’s come together yet. One possibility still: The Talisman, “a fantasy quest through a monstrous alternate dimension that King co-wrote with Ghost Story author Peter Straub.” Says Spielberg: “I’ve owned the book since ’82, and I’m hoping to get this movie made in the next couple of years. I’m not committing to the project as a director, I’m just saying that it’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last thirty-five years.”

Steven Soderbergh, evidently a big fan of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, “is currently shooting his second iPhone movie, the NBA drama High Flying Bird starring André Holland, and in the autumn, he will direct a film about the hot-button Panama Papers scandal,” notes James Mottram during the course of his interview with the director for the South China Morning Post. And that much we knew. This, though, is new: “Beyond that, he has got another six-hour series in the works that was written by Lem Dobbs, a Soderbergh regular who penned three of his best films: Kafka, The Limey, and Haywire.” And that’s evidently all we know about the series for the time being.

“Annette Bening, Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, and Jennifer Morrison are all in talks to star in a CIA drama tentatively titled The Torture Report, which will be written and directed by The Bourne Ultimatum and Contagion scribe Scott Z. Burns,” reports Amanda N’Duka for Deadline. The back story: “Back in December 2014, the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee released a 500+ page report detailing shocking accounts of extreme interrogation tactics performed on detainees, which was employed by the CIA post 9/11 during the war on terror.”

Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, Fahrenheit 451) will write and direct a feature adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel The White Tiger for Netflix, reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. “The novel focuses on the murderous rise of a Bangalore driver who climbs from the bottom of India’s caste society to become a chauffeur and successful businessman.”

Also, “Focus Features has acquired screen rights to the upcoming Kevin Wignall novel To Die in Vienna, and will turn it into the Jake Gyllenhaal star vehicle Welcome to Vienna. “Gyllenhaal will play Freddie Makin, a civilian surveillance contractor who for the past year has been watching Jiang Cheng, a Chinese academic.” And someone’s trying to kill him. Gyllenhaal’s Makin, that is.

Amy York Rubin will direct Gay Kid and Fat Chick, which has been written by Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade), reports Variety’s Dave McNary. “The story centers two high school outcasts, Maggie and Alex, who decide to bring justice to victims of torment and bullying by dressing up as ‘The Beaver’ and ‘Gold Bitch,’ and violently punishing whoever is accused of bullying their classmates.”

“Netflix has given a series order to a dark comedy from writer Liz Feldman and executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay,” reports Joe Otterson for Variety. “Titled Dead to Me, it is about a powerful friendship that blossoms between a tightly wound widow and a free spirit with a shocking secret.”

“Amazon has given the green light to Lorena, a four-part documentary series about the notorious case of spouses Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt, with Jorden Peele (Get Out) attached to executive produce,” reports Deadline’s Denise Petski.

Obit

“Susan Anspach, the radiant and rebellious actress who personified the 1960s-into-the-’70s counterculture in films like Five Easy Pieces [1970] and Blume in Love [1973], as well as in the stage musical Hair, died on Monday,” reports Anita Gates for the New York Times. After Hair, her first film role was in Hal Ashby’s The Landlord (1970), and she appeared in Play It Again, Sam (1972) “as Woody Allen’s blatantly critical ex-wife.” NYT film critic Vincent Canby “was a fan of Ms. Anspach’s. Writing about Montenegro, a low-profile 1981 comedy set in Sweden, in which she played a bored American wife raucously trying to find her true self, he described her as ‘one of America’s most daring and talented actresses and who has yet to land a film role that shows her off to full advantage.’ Some would argue that she never did.”

With yesterday’s passing of Cecil Taylor at the age of eighty-nine, “it could be argued that jazz has lost another titan,” writes Kevin Le Gendre for Jazzwise. “But the pianist was never defined by the word ‘jazz,’ let alone music in the broadest sense. Taylor wrote poetry, often disarmingly abstract . . . Furthermore, there was a deep fascination with choreography and movement, which coalesced with his commitment to spoken word and music in both humorous and engaging ways.”

Listening

Filmwax Radio host Adam Schartoff talks with Lynne Ramsay and with Joe Berlinger, who’s curated “Crime and Punishment,” a strand at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival currently running in Durham through Sunday (64’60”).

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