Did You See This?

“What Cinema Is For”

Garrett Bradley’s America (2019)

A whole lot of bibliophiles—and probably a good number of cinephiles as well—are responding with mixed feelings to yesterday’s announcement that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 has been awarded to Olga Tokarczuk and for 2019 to Peter Handke. Scandal kept the committee from selecting a winner last year, which is why we have two new laureates this year. In the case of Tokarczuk, the Polish writer whose 2009 novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was adapted into Spoor by Agnieszka Holland in 2017, the news has been greeted with unadulterated ebullience. Her translator, Jennifer Croft, celebrated in a post for the Paris Review yesterday, and for more on Tokarczuk, her writing, and her activism, see Ruth Franklin’s recent profile for the New Yorker.

Peter Handke, the Austrian novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and director, is another matter altogether. His support for the far-right Serbian nationalist leader Slobodan Milošević has been widely condemned, and PEN America has issued a statement protesting the committee’s decision to reward “a writer who has used his public voice to undercut historical truth and offer public succor to perpetrators of genocide.” At the same time, as Sian Cain reports for the Guardian, even Handke’s harshest critics are quick to recognize the brilliance of his early work, which includes collaborations with Wim Wenders ranging from The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1972) to Wings of Desire (1987).

On a brighter front, we have a bit of festival news to catch up with:

  • King Vidor, the director of such Hollywood classics as The Crowd (1928), Duel in the Sun (1946), and War and Peace (1956), will be the subject of a retrospective at the seventieth Berlinale in February.
  • Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Frances McDormand, Philippe Garrel, Nathalie Baye, and our own Peter Becker will be among the many guests at this year’s Festival Lumière, which opens tomorrow in Lyon.
  • In the run-up to its fifty-seventh edition opening on October 24, the Viennale has been posting images, statements, and stories that directors have passed along as well as brief interviews. Would you have guessed that Angela Schanelec is a fan of Bohemian Rhapsody?
  • Pamela Hutchinson has been posting daily dispatches from this year’s Pordenone Silent Film Festival, which wraps tomorrow.
  • DOC NYC has announced its biggest lineup yet. Over three hundred films and events are scheduled for the tenth edition running from November 6 through 15 and dedicated to the late D. A. Pennebaker.

On to this week’s round:

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