New Film Comment, Cineaste, Nang

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory (2019)

September finds us back at our desks, where we discover that the editors of a good number of film journals and magazines have spent their summer vacations putting together their latest issues. Before we move on to some of the better-known titles, we need to begin with Nang, the beautifully printed magazine devoted to Asian cinema. Davide Cazzaro, the publisher, and Ben Slater, the author of Kinda Hot, a book on the making of Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack (1979) in Singapore, have coedited “Ten Years After,” a special online issue dedicated to the memory of Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc.

Tioseco was a widely published Filipino Canadian critic and professor who founded and edited Criticine, a vital online publication back in the mid-2000s when blogging was the bright new hope of film criticism. Slovene critic Bohinc, who wrote and argued about cinema just as passionately, was an editor for the Slovenian film magazine Ekran. Together, they were, as Slater writes in his introduction, “icons of a romantic, young, intense cinephilia.” They were murdered on September 1, 2009, in the Philippines. Nang’s special issue features one key article by each of them, two remembrances, and in the spirit of Tioseco and Bohinc’s collective project, twenty-seven new pieces by emerging writers. Cazzaro and Slater have asked them “to write with love about what they have watched over the last decade of Asian cinema,” and you’ll find work here on films by Hong Sang-soo, Johnnie To, Bi Gan, Lee Chang-dong, Sandi Tan, and probably more than a few directors whose names aren’t yet immediately familiar.

Film Comment, in the meantime, looks ahead to the New York Film Festival, and we’ll be taking a closer look at that special section as the NYFF’s fifty-seventh edition draws nearer. The new issue also features Soraya Nadia McDonald suggesting that Blumhouse Productions has played a crucial role in the current “renaissance in black horror, due in large part to the coronation of Jordan Peele, the writer-director of the Blumhouse-produced Get Out and Us, as the nation’s latest heir to the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock. Blum and Peele serve as twin ambassadors for the idea that wide-release horror is and can be more than just B-movie schlock, and that horror films by and about minorities need not be niche.”

Eric Hynes talks with Julia Reichert about American Factory, the award-winning documentary she’s made with Steven Bognar. Reichert has been chronicling blue collar struggles for over forty years, and Hynes sees this new film as “both an apex of her practice as well as a departure, attempting to craft a fair, balanced, and dexterous narrative of the entire ecosystem of the factory without forsaking the filmmakers’ underlying values or ultimate loyalties.” Chloe Lizotte reviews Tigers Are Not Afraid, in which Mexican writer and director Issa López “thoughtfully weds magic realism to horror tropes,” and Abby Sun considers the unusual structure of Philippe Lesage’s Genesis, named one of Canada’s top ten films of last year by the Toronto International Film Festival.

Film Comment also carries on pulling up gems from its archive, including, most recently, Harlan Jacobson’s 1988 conversation with Martin Scorsese about The Last Temptation of Christ and a dispatch from Edith Laurie from the 1962 edition of the Venice Film Festival in which she offered first impressions of Vivre sa vie (“the best of its genre and the best of Godard”), Lolita (“popular with Stanley Kubrick fans and those who haven’t read Nabokov”), Pasolini’s Mamma Roma (a “mixed reception—with much strongly-expressed indignation”), and La commare secca, Bertolucci’s debut feature, made when he was “a skimpy twenty-one.” As it happens, a new restoration of La commare secca is screening in Venice this year.

An audiovisual essay by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin

Aside from a few select excerpts from the print edition, Cineaste is for the most part announcing the arrival of its autumn 2019 issue with a cluster of online exclusives. Michael Sandlin reviews Michael Anderson’s The Quiller Memorandum, “which was as defiantly anti-Bond as you could get in 1966,” and David Sterritt revisits Douglas Sirk’s The Tarnished Angels (1957), which “works far better as a movie than Faulkner’s potboiler [Pylon, 1935] does as literature.” Alongside interviews with filmmakers Camille Vidal-Naquet (Sauvage), Roberto Minervini (What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?), and Jay Stern (Say My Name), Cineaste has also posted Declan McGrath’s conversation with director Tsai Ming-liang and actor Lee Kang-sheng about how they’ve influenced each other’s ideas and working methods over the course of a collaboration that dates back to their first meeting in 1991.

This month’s Brooklyn Rail features an essay by artist Anthony Hawley on Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) and escaping “the claustrophobia at the heart of the American dream.” In the film section, Madeline Whittle talks with Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor about her third feature, Too Late to Die Young (2018); Matt Turner writes a glowing review of artist Lucy Parker’s “long in-the-making feature film about blacklisted construction workers in Britain,” Solidarity; and Micah Gottlieb tells the story behind Celebration, a film commissioned in 1998 and then suppressed until 2015 by Yves Saint Laurent’s partner, Pierre Bergé. French documentarian Olivier Meyrou’s film is “a real-life zombie movie,” writes Gottlieb, “a late ’90s vérité portrait of a living legend refashioned into a scrappy, thoroughly contemporary collage of deference and decay.”

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