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Koji Yakusho in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997)

This week gave us our first sneak peeks at another marathon awards season. Michelle Williams will be honored with a performer tribute at the thirty-second Gotham Awards ceremony on November 28. When the European Film Awards are presented in Reykjavik on December 10, Marco Bellocchio will receive an Award for European Innovative Storytelling for Exterior Night, his five-and-a-half-hour miniseries on the kidnapping and assassination of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.

Bellocchio grappled with the event in his 1995 documentary Broken Dreams and again in his 2003 feature, Good Morning, Night. “It’s clear that this historical moment has haunted Bellocchio, known to have made Marxist movies at the beginning of his career (and even voicing the President in his buddy Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò), and his mostly literal retelling focuses on the trauma of failure,” writes Zach Lewis at In Review Online. Exterior Night is “not a political thriller (though abrupt Morricone-like strings accent shocking events), but a slow-motion funeral for left-leaning politics in Italy.”

The Cinema Eye Honors 2023 Legacy Award will be presented to Crumb, Terry Zwigoff’s 1995 portrait of underground comics artist R. Crumb, on January 12. “I’m glad to find out you don’t have to be dead to receive this award,” says Zwigoff. On to this week’s highlights:

  • The new Halloween-themed issue of Caligari opens with Maggie Hennefeld, cocurator of the Cinema’s First Nasty Women project, on “hypnosis, hallucination, and hysteria” in the cinema of the silent era. In excerpts from The Cinema House and the World, Serge Daney reviews David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980) and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), and in an audiovisual essay, Chloé Galibert-Laîné discusses the terror Daney felt watching—and listening to—Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960). Editor Jonathan Thomas talks with photographer and filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George, Where Is Kyra?); with the curators behind Phantoms of the Night: 100 Years of Nosferatu, an exhibition on view in Berlin from December 16 through April 23; and with special make-up effects artist Howard Berger about working with David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, and Paul Thomas Anderson, for whom Berger made Dirk Diggler’s giant wang in Boogie Nights.

  • Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997) is “one of the most unnerving features of its era, and maybe of all time,” writes Adam Nayman at Gawker. “Kurosawa is the great modern filmmaker of contagion, be it chemical, biological, or intellectual; he’s fascinated by how and why things spread, and how outbreaks can, in increments, precipitate a new reality.” Cure is “structured around a series of gory crimes that, depending on how you look at it, are either acts of submission or resistance to Japanese society. The brilliance of Kurosawa’s direction is how it lets us see both perspectives, superimposed over each other at once—a crime scene bloodstain pattern analysis that’s also a thesis paper.”

  • As Chris Fujiwara writes here in the Current, Cure “establishes what would later become familiar hallmarks of J-horror, as the cycle of Japanese horror films around the turn of the millennium came to be known.” The biggest J-horror hit by far was Hideo Nakata’s Ring (1998), which was based on Koji Suzuki’s novel about a cursed video tape that dooms anyone who watches it. Gore Verbinski directed an American remake in 2002, and The Ring “might even be considered a classic of millennial horror,” writes Beatrice Loayza in the New York Times. “There’s a random element to the film, a loss of control and disruption of balance that makes it work,” Verbinski tells Loayza. “There’s no moral explanation or sense of one person deserving it over another. It’s scary when a belief system collapses, it leaves you in this existential free-fall.”

  • It’s been an amazing week at Film Comment, where deputy editors and podcast hosts Devika Girish and Clinton Krute have spoken with Jerzy Skolimowski about EO and with Phoebe Chen, Molly Haskell, and Kelli Weston about the highs and lows of this year’s New York Film Festival. The rest is all highs: Savina Petkova’s interview with Unrest director Cyril Schäublin, Blair McClendon on Claire Denis’s Stars at Noon, Jamsheed Akrami on Jafar Panahi’s No Bears, and Emerson Goo on Edward Yang’s A Confucian Confusion (1994). For Yang, writes Goo, Taipei “held hidden and fascinating potentials, chances to reinvent oneself in a pressure chamber where people excitedly whiz about like molecules.”

  • Lilo & Stitch, the 2002 animated feature that Christopher Sanders and Dean DeBlois wrote and directed for Disney, is “so wonderfully strange that it’s hard to believe it ever got made,” writes Bilge Ebiri. For Vulture, Ebiri has put together an engaging oral history of the film’s making and the community that took shape in and around the Florida studio far and away from Disney HQ in Los Angeles. “That studio,” says Sanders, “was like what Disney studios was back in the ’30s, back in the ’40s—young artists who were hungry, who were driven, who wanted to prove themselves, and who were immensely talented.”

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