With the addition of seventeen features, the official selection of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is now complete. The competition expands to twenty-one titles, five of them directed or codirected by women. That’s still a long way from gender parity, but it’s also the closest Cannes has ever come.
- For Metrograph’s Journal, Tom Paulus takes a deep dive into the intellectual currents surging through a loosely connected band of French filmmakers in the wake of May 1968. There are rich passages in this not-so-brief history on Marguerite Duras, but Paulus focuses primarily on Jacques Rivette and his engagement with the work of such diverse figures as Howard Hawks, Hungarian filmmaker Miklós Jancsó, and the Living Theatre. One source of inspiration during the making of Out 1 (1971) was Shirley Clarke, whose films—The Connection (1961), The Cool World (1963), Portrait of Jason (1967)—“often seemed like rehearsals rather than finished films, with the handheld camera, the frequent zooms and out-of-focus shots, the voice of the filmmakers heard offscreen, and the changing of the film reels happening on camera (in Jason), constantly signaling ‘roughness’,” writes Paulus. In an episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps dedicated to Clarke, “we recognize a typically shy Rivette among the guests in Clarke’s New York apartment, sitting next to Yoko Ono!”
- Paulus is a coeditor at photogénie, and the Brussels-based online film journal has just launched a new site with a new issue devoted to exploring a few of the radically different ways filmmakers have employed absences of sound. Among the French Impressionist directors of the 1920s—Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac, Marcel L’Herbier, Louis Delluc—“none made more melodious silence than Dimitri Kirsanoff,” writes Cláudio Alves. In The Shining (1980), Stanley Kubrick cranks up the “crescendo of menace by coupling it with silent sequences to set a completely deranged tone,” writes Ioanna Micha. The issue also features Anuj Malhotra on Peter Hutton, Ruairí McCann on Artavazd Pelechian, and Ed McCarry on Jacques Becker’s use of moments of “dead time” in which “the many secondary individuals who people the margins of his films percolate up and glow with unusual luminosity.”
- In Jake Hannaford, the aging director hoping to mount a comeback in Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind—shot in the 1970s but not completed and released until 2018—there’s a bit of Welles; more than a little of John Huston, who played him; plus a dash of John Ford and a hint of Raoul Walsh. But Hannaford was mainly modeled on Ernest Hemingway, whom Welles had met in 1937. Massimiliano Studer has been digging into the Welles archives at the National Cinema Museum of Turin to learn more about Crazy Weather, an unrealized screenplay Welles wrote with his partner, Oja Kodar. Once again, we find a character based on Hemingway. Studer offers up a few choice bits from the treatment in Bright Lights Film Journal: “For good old Jim, Spain is granddaddy’s land. The clock stopped here somewhere in the middle of a Victorian novel.”
- Tomorrow evening, the UW Cinematheque in Madison will wrap its tribute to the late Jean-Paul Belmondo with a free screening of Alain Resnais’s Stavisky (1974). Belmondo plays Serge Alexandre Stavisky, a financier John Bennett describes as a “Ukraine-born embezzler who charmed his way into the bosom of France’s political and cultural elite” in the 1930s. Stavisky features a score by the late Steven Sondheim that “replicates the breeziness of Charles Trenet’s easy, bouncy popular music of the ’30s and ’40s while often furnishing agitato undertones that betray the untenability of Stavisky’s elaborate lifestyle. At other times, Sondheim’s score swells and crescendos at dramatic moments with an auditory lushness that pairs perfectly with extravagantly adorned mise-en-scène.” Let’s mention here that See It Big: Sondheim, a series at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, is running through May 1.
- Many were hoping that, despite his repeated denials, David Lynch would have a new movie at Cannes. Paste’s Brianna Zigler explains why she’s convinced that he’s up to something. In the meantime, Screen Slate editor Jon Dieringer and film archivist John Klacsmann talk with sound and music supervisor Dean Hurley, who worked with Lynch on Inland Empire (2006), and last week, Filmmaker’s Erik Luers spoke with editor Duwayne Dunham, who directed several episodes of Twin Peaks (1990–1991) and edited Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), and Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). At one point, Dunham recalls, “we had two separate cutting rooms set up, one for Twin Peaks and one for Wild at Heart. The rooms were right next to each other and we were editing both projects simultaneously!”