We’ve spent much of this week mourning our losses: actors Rip Torn and Valentina Cortese and distributors and programmers Ben Barenholtz and Milos Stehlik. Sadly, we need to add two more names. Freddie Jones, a major performer in British theater and television, will be known to most cinephiles for his work with David Lynch, and particularly for his relentless turn as the sadistic freak-show owner in The Elephant Man (1980). “I loved, loved, loved Freddie Jones,” Lynch tweeted on Wednesday. “Man-o-man will he be missed.” Meantime, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson have posted a remembrance of Edward Branigan, a close friend, fellow scholar, and “an ambitious, highly original film theorist.”
This week’s standouts:
- Last Friday saw the conclusion of one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken devoted to the analysis of a single film. Australian writer and podcast host Blake Howard spent nearly two years discussing Michael Mann’s Heat, the 1995 crime thriller with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, one minute at a time. That’s 170 episodes of One Heat Minute. Guests have included filmmakers, critics such as Manohla Dargis and Bilge Ebiri, and two authors of books on Mann’s work, Niles Schwartz and Nick James, the outgoing editor of Sight & Sound who’s turned the tables today and interviewed Howard. Appearing on the final episode is none other than Mann himself, who not only talks about the film but also about the novel he’s been writing with Reed Farrel Coleman, a Heat “sequel/prequel.”
- The new issue of Senses of Cinema, featuring articles on films by Richard Linklater and Takeshi Kitano and interviews with RaMell Ross and Sergei Loznitsa, opens with a robust dossier on the work of Peter Strickland. His four narrative features—including Berberian Sound Studio (2012), starring Toby Jones, son of Freddie, and In Fabric (2018), now playing in the UK and heading our way soon—“are little spheres of influence,” write dossier editors Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and John Edmond, “spheres of logic that marry fecund dialogue and audiovisual atmosphere with field recordings and realistic performances as if moiré of pearl congealed around a nasty bit of grit.”
- Filmmaker editor Scott Macaulay has been poking around in the magazine’s archives and posting some of his best finds. Freely available to us now are two of his interviews conducted with Abel Ferrara in the 1990s and his chat with Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman about Being John Malkovich (1999). With the program dedicated to the work of Pedro Almodóvar currently running on the Criterion Channel, we’re naturally especially drawn to Peter Bowen’s and Adam Pincus’s conversations with the Spanish filmmaker.
- Srikanth Srinivasan is back. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, for many of us active during the heyday of blogging about movies a good number of years ago, Srinivasan, often simply known as “Just Another Film Buff,” was an invaluable contributor to the virtual scene. He’s returned with the intention of presenting a complete English translation of Piges Choisies: De Griffith à Ellroy, a collection of critical writing by filmmaker and Cahiers du cinéma contributor Luc Moullet. See, too, Srinivasan’s recent entries on Corneliu Porumboiu’s Infinite Football and Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book.
- In 1979, the Iranian Revolution brought to an end “one of the most thriving film industries in the Middle East, a cinema of song and dance, sex and seduction, violence and vengeance, which combined the western genres with local flavor,” writes Ehsan Khoshbakht in the Guardian. For four years, Khoshbakht, one of the directors of Il Cinema Ritrovato, has been working on a documentary about this forgotten chapter of film history. Filmfarsi will see its world premiere during Cinema Rediscovered (July 25 through 28), Bristol’s festival of new digital restorations, rare celluloid prints, talks, and walking tours.
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