• [The Daily] In the Works: Zürcher, Bellocchio, and More

    By David Hudson

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    Sabzian alerts us to two new images from Jean-Luc Godard’s Le livre d’image posted by Casa Azul Films, which tells us that we can expect the film some time this year. Ioncinema’s Nicholas Bell is hoping to see it in the lineup that the Cannes Film Festival will be announcing tomorrow.

    The Playlist’s Charles Barfield passes along word from Michelle Buchman that Paul Thomas Anderson has quietly directed Adam Sander’s Netflix comedy special. And that seems to be all we know about that for the time being.

    Ramon Zürcher, whose first feature, The Strange Little Cat, was a critical favorite in 2013, is currently developing Das Mädchen und die Spinne (The Girl and the Spider). The synopsis (my translation) via Blake Williams:

    Lisa is moving. Upheaval all around: Her mother flirts with a handyman. An eccentric woman seems to be preparing for a glamorous event. A family next door returns from vacation. And a girl documents the adventurous day. As boxes are transported, walls painted white, and furniture is assembled, underlying problems in need of fixing are revealed, a to-do list expands, and desires and needs flair up . . . A tragicomic catastrophe film. A poetic ballad about change and transience. After The Strange Little Cat, this is the second part of a planned trilogy about human togetherness.

    Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket) is “in advanced development on a limited TV series about the 1978 kidnapping and assassination of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by Red Brigades terrorists,” reports Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. “The show is titled Esterno, Notte in Italian, which translates as ‘Exterior, Night.’ This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Moro kidnapping, which ended tragically with the Christian Democrat politician’s bullet-riddled body found in the trunk of a parked car in downtown Rome. Italy reeled from the killing.” Bellocchio has dealt with this series of events before, most famously in Good Morning, Night (2003; image above) and in his 1995 documentary Broken Dreams.

    “As Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante finalizes post-production on drama Tremors, the follow-up to his Berlin Silver Bear-winning debut Ixcanul, he’s also prepping his next feature, La Llorona (The Weeping Woman),” reports Martin Dale for Variety. Starring Ixcanul leads Maria Mercedes Caroy and María Telón, it’s “about the Guatemalan genocide, the mass killings of Maya civilians during the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), for which Guatemala’s former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt was tried and convicted in 2013, but whose sentence was then annulled in the same year.” Meantime, Bustamante is also producing projects by other Guatemalan filmmakers (Dale reports on two in the works) and he’s “set up a sixty-seater non-profit cinema, La Sala de Cine, in the Centro Cultural Asturias, in Guatemala City, which organizes free daily sessions of independent films.”

    Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman has a release date: August 10. As Anthony D’Alessandro notes at Deadline, the film is “based on Ron Stallworth’s real life as Colorado Springs’s first African-American police officer who went undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Unbelievably, Detective Stallworth (John David Washington) and his partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) penetrate the KKK at its highest levels to thwart its attempt to take over the city.”

    Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Zawe Ashton, Natalia Dyer, Tom Sturridge, and Billy Magnussen are joining Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in Dan Gilroy’s as-yet-untitled project for Netflix, reports Variety’s Justin Kroll. “For Gilroy, Gyllenhaal, and Russo, this marks a reunion after teaming up on Gilroy’s directorial debut Nightcrawler, which earned Gilroy an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. The plot follows big-money artists and mega-collectors who pay a high price when art collides with commerce.”

    Also, “TriStar Pictures has landed the rights to The Toymaker’s Secret, the highly coveted spec from Annihilation and Ex Machina scribe Alex Garland.” Paloma Baeza will direct “the story of an American family who moves into an old Victorian house in London and begins to believe it might be haunted.”

    Guillaume Canet has been shooting Nous finirons ensemble (We’ll End Up Together) with François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte, and Benoît Magimel since March 22, reports Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa, where he notes that “the story kicks off seven years after the events of Little White Lies [2010]. After parting ways, the group of friends reunites for a surprise birthday party organized for Max (Cluzet).”

    Also at Cineuropa, Vittoria Scarpa talks with Michael Winterbottom about Greed—not Erich von Stroheim’s 1924 silent classic, but rather, the project Winterbottom developed with Sacha Baron Cohen, who has since exited:

    The film is a satire about a billionaire who made his fortune in the clothing industry and accumulates a great fortune, but then experiences a major crisis. In order to mask any potential inferred misfortunes, he organizes a sumptuous feast in the Mediterranean, inviting all his friends and dressing as an emperor—some gladiators also make an appearance. A tragic end awaits him, but one that is nevertheless somewhat fortunate for the rest of us. Beyond a few references and inspirations, it's entirely a work of fiction. I hope that the audience, upon seeing this film, will reflect on how enormous the disparity between the rich and the poor is today. We all know that the items of clothing we buy in department stores, owned by a billionaire with numerous yachts, are packaged in countries like Sri Lanka using underpaid labor. But it's still a funny film, I don’t really believe in thesis cinema.

    Winterbottom’s also working on The Wedding Guest, “an on-the-road film set in India starring Dev Patel.”

    Gurinder Chadha has begun shooting Blinded by the Light, “a hybrid musical rooted in the British tradition of quirky comedies,” reports Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione. “It’s based on the memoir Greetings from Bury Park by journalist/broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor which chronicles his experiences as a British Muslim boy growing up in 1980s Luton and the impact Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics had upon him. And, evidently, The Boss is OK with that.”

    Tiffany Haddish is busy. At the A.V. Club, Danette Chavez lists the many projects she’s about to executive produce and/or star in.

    Ben Falcone will direct his wife, Melissa McCarthy, in Super-Intelligence. The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit: “McCarthy will play Carol Peters, a former corporate executive whose earnest yet unfulfilled life is turned upside down when she is selected for observation by the world’s first super-intelligence—an artificial intelligence that may or may not take over the world.”

    The AP’s tweeted a clip in which Daniel Craig confirms that he’ll play James Bond for the fifth time in the franchise’s twenty-fifth installment. Asked if Danny Boyle will be directing, Craig simply smiles and says, “We’ll see.”

    Apple has snapped up an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation as a television series written by David S. Goyer, who wrote Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and Josh Friedman, who wrote Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, report Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. and Nellie Andreeva. “Originally published as a short story series in Astounding Magazine in 1942, Asimov’s Foundation is the complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.”

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