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“I’ll Die of Love”

Donatas Banionis in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972)

The second edition of Prismatic Ground, a festival roving the intersection between experimental and documentary film, is currently running through Sunday at the Maysles Documentary Center, the Museum of the Moving Image, Anthology Film Archives, and—for those not in New York—online. At Filmmaker, James Hansen offers a guide to this year’s “sprawling and wildly ambitious” selection, and so do Liam Kenny at Ultra Dogme and Chris Shields in the Notebook. Founder and curator Inney Prakash has been talking about making the festival freely accessible worldwide, a few highlights from the program, and much more with Screen Slate editor Jon Dieringer, film archivist John Klacsmann, and filmmaker Caroline Golum; and with Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute.

On the Criterion Channel, you’ll find selections from last year’s first edition, and below, a few items that have caught our eye this week.

  • No one has taken the assumption that Solaris (1972) is Andrei Tarkovsky’s answer to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) nearly as far as Brian D. McKenna. “Besides attributing an increased sense of conscious agency to Tarkovsky as an artist and theorist,” writes McKenna in the new double issue of Offscreen, “a closer reading and more dialogic interpretation of Solaris’ intertextual relationship to 2001 reveals an alarming level of simultaneous and sequential audiovisual conversation occurring on a scene-for-scene (often shot-for-shot and sometimes frame-for-frame) basis.” McKenna’s deep dive is accompanied by a forty-two-minute audiovisual essay. The new Offscreen also includes more on both Tarkovsky and Kubrick as well as articles on Clint Eastwood, Andrey Zvyagintsev and Kirill Serebrennikov, and the late Nick Zedd, the filmmaker and tub-thumper for the Cinema of Transgression of the 1980s.

  • The spectacular cover of the new Artforum features an image from Sovereign Sisters (2014), a short, silent, black-and-white film from the Otolith Group, a collective founded in 2002 by London-based multidisciplinary artists Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. Many of their films “work to unleash the subjunctive force-potential created among novel concatenations of sounds, voices, and images,” writes Ed Halter. “In this, they follow the primary lessons that Marker, Godard, and other radical filmmakers took from the Soviet cinema of Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein, and Esfir Shub, which is that film has the ability to envision a new reality—and to produce new thought—through reediting imprints of the physical world.” The new issue offers more on the Otolith Group from Tobi Haslett as well as Erika Balsom on Austrian filmmaker Ruth Beckermann and Peter Lunenfeld on City of Cinema: Paris 1850–1907, an exhibition on view at LACMA through July 10.

  • The lineup for this year’s BAMcinemaFest, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual showcase of truly independent film from around the world, includes Andrew Infante’s Ferny & Luca (2021), “a Gen Z rom-com set in Brooklyn.” In the new Brooklyn Rail, Nic Yeager writes about four Brooklyn-based short films that screened at SXSW in March, flaunting “an irreplaceable artistic ingenuity that flows out of this borough.” This month’s issue also features pieces on Jonas Mekas, Kinuyo Tanaka, and Rhayne Vermette’s Ste. Anne (2021) as well as Akané Okoshi on Tayo Giwa’s The Sun Rises in the East, an hour-long documentary on The East, “a Brooklyn-based organization founded in 1969 by Black people committed to self-determination, social justice, and diasporic world-building.”

  • A massive text and a program opening tomorrow at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin and running through May 27 will complicate common perceptions of the New German Cinema of the 1960s and ’70s. Sabzian is currently rolling out new translations of “Straschek 1963-74, West Berlin,” a collagelike essay by filmmaker and theorist Günter Peter Straschek that, as Julian Volz writes, “provides unique access to the film-aesthetic and -theoretical debates and practical-political discussions of a generation of filmmakers who were to fundamentally renew filmmaking in Germany, and whose political and formal experiments made the preceding generation of Oberhausen Manifesto filmmakers look staid.” And Casually at the Abyss, a retrospective curated by Marco Abel, salutes the New Munich Group that, between 1964 and 1972, included such filmmakers as Rudolf Thome and Klaus Lemke, who were identified with an “aesthetic left” that lost its “battle” with the “political left” and were consequently “almost necessarily erased from German film history.”

  • Through May 15, New York’s Metrograph is presenting All Them Witches, Gaspar Noé’s selection of films that inspired Lux Æterna, his 2019 film starring Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg as versions of themselves on the set and behind the scenes of a production going terribly awry. For Metrograph’s Journal, Jérôme Momcilovic talks with Dalle about working with Claire Denis, Jacques Doillon, Marco Bellocchio, Nobuhiro Suwa, and Abel Ferrara—and about the frustrating mix-up that led to her missing out on a chance to be directed by Aki Kaurismäki. “To me, acting is like going into a trance,” says Dalle. “It’s real incarnation. If I’m asked to die of love, I’ll die of love.”

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