Cannes Brouhaha and More Goings On

The Daily — Apr 9, 2018

The retrospective of work by Lucrecia Martel at the Film Society of Lincoln Center will be the first of many around the country and abroad in the coming weeks, so we’ll take a closer look in a separate entry on Wednesday.

And then on Thursday, the Cannes Film Festival will present the lineup for its seventy-first edition running from May 8 through 19. There may be a little more suspense than usual in this year’s announcement. Netflix could well fire back at Cannes’ decision to ban its films from the Competition by pulling every title it’s submitted. Naturally, no one outside the streaming giant and the festival can be sure which titles are at stake here, but gleaning from stories by the Hollywood Reporter’s Gregg Kilday and Kim Masters and, at Vanity Fair, Rebecca Keegan and Nicole Sperling, there may be at least five:

  • Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind, shot over forty years ago and now in the final stages of completion
  • Morgan Neville’s They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, the documentary that would have and may still accompany The Other Side of the Wind, presumably in the Cannes Classics program
  • Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which, as Rodrigo Perez writes at the Playlist, “follows a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City, but also depicts the Corpus Christi Massacre, in which student demonstrators were killed by elite Mexican soldiers”
  • Paul Greengrass’s Norway, about the July 22, 2011 attacks conducted by a right-wing terrorist
  • Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold the Dark, based on William Giraldi’s 2014 novel about “a wildlife naturalist who is summed to a remote Alaskan village to investigate the murder of a young boy by a rogue wolf,” as Vikram Murthi reported for IndieWire last year

When Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected premiered in Competition last year, French filmmakers and unions kicked up a storm and, as THR’s Rhonda Richford reports, “the festival has changed the rules to require theatrical release in France.” General Delegate Thierry Frémaux told the French magazine Le film français that “when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused.” Hence, this year’s ban.

“With the fest director putting the final touches on the schedule that will be unveiled next week, the situation at the moment is considered delicate, with conversations taking part between the festival and the streaming service in an effort to resolve the impasse,” write Kilday and Masters.

They’ll have to get creative if they’re going to find a way around what’s known in English as the “media chronology law” in France, which keeps films off of DVD or Blu-ray for four months after a theatrical release—and off of streaming services for three years. How long such a model can possibly remain sustainable is one question. An “industry source” talking to Keegan and Sperling about Netflix’s threat to pull everything has another: “They are weaponizing Cannes. What are these people to do? The studios aren’t funding these movies. It’s not like [filmmakers] are choosing Netflix over a 2,500-screen release.”

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn has reached out to these filmmakers. Frank Marshall, a producer overseeing the completion of The Other Side of the Wind, tells him that “we are collateral damage if they decide not to go.” And Saulnier tells Kohn: “It’s a shame, I think [Hold the Dark] could’ve caused a stir.” At the same time, though, “who the hell wants to be booed at the first presentational credit of your film, especially when it’s disparaging the entity that made the film possible in the first place? That’s where I’m a fierce defender of Netflix.”

More Goings On

New York. Kenji Mizoguchi “is the rare artist whose career boasts peak after peak, but the new 4K restoration and re-release of Sansho the Bailiff, alongside A Story from Chikamatsu [image above] (both from 1954), may almost be too much to handle,” writes Jaime N. Christley for the Village Voice. “To give you an idea, imagine if Stanley Kubrick released a second movie in 1975, within a few months of Barry Lyndon, and it also happened to be pretty terrific.” Both are screening at Film Forum through Thursday.

Kazuo Miyagawa: Japan's Greatest Cinematographer celebrates the man who worked not only with Mizoguchi—and shot both Sansho and Chikamatsu—but also with Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, and Kon Ichikawa. The series runs from Thursday through April 29 at MoMA and from Friday through April 28 at Japan Society. Hiroshi Inagaki’s The Rickshaw Man (1943), screening Thursday at MoMA and Saturday at Japan Society, “remains the superior showcase of his gifts,” argues Patrick Dahl at Screen Slate. “Every frame is simply gorgeous.”

Robert Bresson’s The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962) screens tonight as part of Woman, Warrior, Saint: Joan of Arc Onscreen, the series running at the Quad through Thursday. “Bresson’s interest in the odd passion of youth continues and possibly peaks with his depiction of Joan,” writes Chris Shields at Screen Slate. “Since his first feature film, Angels of Sin, the filmmaker saw the ability of the young for connoting spiritual intensity on screen. His country priest is somewhere in his twenties, Mouchette is a child, and The Devil Probably focuses on young radicals. By one account these are youth films. Not just pop predicated on the narcissism of youth seeking to stultify and advertise, but work so in step with a zealot’s quiet madness they become dangerous.”

Also at Screen Slate, Jon Auman suggests that “history has been kind” to Michael Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf (1941), “seeing it praised as a sharper and more coherent critique of class relations than it was initially given credit for.” Tomorrow, “a ‘complete uncut pre-release version’ plays at Film Forum, offering another occasion for its reappraisal.”

Tomorrow evening at Light Industry, J. Hoberman will project three 16 mm prints: Jean Negulesco’s Calling All Girls (1942), George Waggner’s Red Nightmare (1962), and Oscar Micheaux’s The Girl from Chicago (1932). “I’m more an accumulator than a collector, having amassed a sizable amount of books and DVDs thanks to my various gigs. How I wound up with these three films—pretty much the extent of my ‘collection’—is something of a mystery, even to me.”

“Narrated in its English version by German cult actor Udo Kier,” Rüdiger Suchsland’s Hitler’s Hollywood (2017), screening at Film Forum from Wednesday through April 17, “is a spine-chilling, yet also dreamy, 100-minute succession of scenes from Nazi-era movies, which emerge as precious historical documents and mirror the main obsessions of the regime,” writes Simone Somekh for Tablet. “From the fascination with youth—see the scene of a child who receives Hitler’s Youth uniform as a gift from his friends, his face lit in enthusiasm and emotion—to the almost erotic fascination with death, often portrayed as heroic, glamorous, dramatically exaggerated.”

The eleventh Orphan Film Symposium will take place from Wednesday through Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image. “Scholars, archivists, curators, media artists, preservationists, collectors, and other enthusiasts will explore a variety of neglected works and moving image artifacts.”

Guitry Gang: Three Films by Sacha Guitry, currently running at Spectacle represents “little more than half of his cinematic output” for 1936. “Although the sparkling days of Guitry’s pre-War Paris are but a distant memory, we can still cherish this trio of fripperies and the rosy-cheeked, winking time they represent.”

For Craig D. Lindsey, writing for the Village Voice, the highlight of the Metrograph’s Grace Jones series is Wednesday’s mixed program that “includes A One Man Show, the performance art–heavy concert film she did in 1982 with graphic-designer/photographer/former-lover Jean-Paul Goude, as well as clips of her music videos and TV appearances throughout the years. . . . She basically got the outré ball rolling, unnerving the fuck out of white people, black people, and little boys during the know-your-place Eighties, so future artists—black or white, male or female—could take more unorthodox, uninhibited, creative chances.”

For the New York Times, Melena Ryzik talks with Grace Jones and with Sophie Fiennes, director of Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, who tells her that “Grace is always living the limitless possibilities of being—the possibilities of every moment, that you could live it more extremely,’ Ms. Fiennes said, adding, ‘I always remember when she saw the film, she stood up and said, “I love the smell of your film.”’ Ms. Jones also taught her how to hula-hoop.”

Back in the Voice, with the Alamo Drafthouse retrospective Frank Henenlotter: NYC Exploitation Legend on this month, Simon Abrams talks with the man himself “about the Times Square of his youth, his unabashed affection for bad movies, and his years-long work with Something Weird Video, a home video label devoted to unsung, batshit cult films.”

Los Angeles. Noir City: Hollywood opens at the Egyptian on Friday and runs through April 22. Susan King: “Presented by the American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation, the festival is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, and to honor this milestone, each film in the series is set in the City of Angels. Fans of retro Los Angeles will get plenty of glimpses of downtown’s seedy Bunker Hill and the original Angel’s Flight, as well as many other pockets of the city.”

Two programs of films by Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on Vision and Selected Songs, will screen on two consecutive nights, Friday and Saturday, at the Billy Wilder Theater.

Chicago. This week’s Cine-List features Alexandra Ensign on Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? (1972), screening Wednesday at the Northbrook Public Library, Kyle Cubr on Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Man from Planet X (1951), presented tomorrow by the Chicago Film Society, and more. Plus the new Cine-Cast has contributors discussing highlights from this month’s calendar (60’00”).

On Friday, the Film Studies Center and Channels: A Quarterly Film Series present a free screening of two 3D films by Blake Williams, Red Capriccio (2014) and PROTOTYPE (2017).

Berkeley. As part of the retrospective Bergman 100: The Silence of God, running through May 9, BAMPFA is also presenting Bergman 100: The Silent Years through May 6. “Viewers more familiar with Bergman’s later works will find this series a revelation,” writes Frako Loden at Eat Drink Films. “I should have known, but didn’t, that he went through a lot of stylistic experimentation in the post-World War II era. Here are echoes of German Expressionism, Duvivier (whose career Bergman once said he wished he had), Clair, Carné, Rossellini, even Hitchcock . . . he played with the very best.”

Denver. “Since 2011, Women+Film has celebrated women both in front and behind the camera, and this year’s festival is back to ring the bell,” writes Michael J. Casey for the Boulder Weekly. “From the opening night documentary, RBG, about the famed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to the ethereal closing night film, The Sounding, and everything in between, Women+Film is an essential festival for Centennial state moviegoers.” From Tuesday through Sunday.

Boulder. Casey will be moderating this year’s Ebert Interruptus during the Conference on World Affairs running from today through Friday. “For those who haven’t been to an Ebert Interruptus, it’s a pretty simple format,” Casey explains. “On Monday, we’ll watch [George Miller’s] Mad Max: Fury Road [2015] without stopping and then on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we’ll watch the movie again, only this time we’ll go through it shot-by-shot, talking about whatever comes to mind.” Filmspotting’s Josh Larsen will be hosting. And then on Friday, Pixar’s Danielle Feinberg will talk about how she and her team lit Lee Unkrich’s Coco (2017).

Toronto. “Focusing on local, national and international contemporary moving image culture, Images Festival continues to present vanguard projects across cinematic, exhibition and live platforms.” The thirty-first edition opens Thursday and runs through April 20. That trailer, by the way, was made by Basma Alsharif and Nour Mobarak.

London. Amy Simmons for the BFI: “With his powerful turn in Tony Richardson’s Look Back in Anger (1959) currently back on the big screen as part of our celebration of Woodfall Films, we pay tribute to ten of [Richard] Burton’s best.”

Paris. The Cinémathèque française’s Rainer Werner Fassbinder retrospective opens on Wednesday and runs through May 16.

La Berlinale à Paris, a selection of films that screened in the Forum and Panorama sections of this year’s festival in Berlin, will happen from Wednesday through Friday and then from April 24 through 27.

Berlin. Both Achtung Berlin and ALFILM, the ninth Arab Film Festival Berlin, open on Wednesday and run through April 18.

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