Did You See This?

So Many Great Interviews!

Carl Franklin at work on One False Move (1992)

For the first time since the 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike in May, representatives from the WGA and the major studios and streamers will meet today to discuss reopening negotiations. The studios still aren’t talking to SAG-AFTRA, though, and as long as that union’s 160,000 striking performers refuse to promote the films they’ve already appeared in, studio executives seem to prefer delaying the release of such anticipated titles as Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers and Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things—and maybe even such heavyweights as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two and the next Aquaman movie as well.

The delays would empty theaters just as audiences have proven over the past two weeks—since Barbenheimer weekend, in other words—that they’re eager to go to the movies again. “Corporations are no strangers to fiscal myopia,” writes the New Yorker’s Inkoo Kang, “but the ways in which the studios are currently squeezing out profits—nickel-and-diming much of their labor force to the edge of financial precarity while branding their output with the hallmarks of creative bankruptcy—indicate a shocking new carelessness.”

The festivals forge ahead, though, and Toronto has spent the week adding titles to its lineup. Ten world premieres, including Kristoffer Borgli’s comedy Dream Scenario, starring Nicolas Cage, will compete in the Platform program, and the Discovery and Midnight Madness sections will feature new work from Harmony Korine, Molly Manning Walker, Patricia Arquette, Larry Charles, and Weston Razooli. Two of this year’s Tribute Awards will go to Pedro Almodóvar—whose short western, Strange Way of Life, will open in New York and Los Angeles on October 4—and to Spike Lee. Toronto’s forty-eighth edition will run from September 7 through 17.

On Thursday, the great composer and conductor Carl Davis passed away at the age of eighty-six. He won a BAFTA for his music for The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), and in 2015, he looked back on working with director Karel Reisz. His most celebrated works are the scores he wrote for silent films, including his first, which was for the 1979 revival of Abel Gance’s Napoléon (1927) supervised by Kevin Brownlow. You can hear his work on our releases of the Harold Lloyd comedies Safety Last! (1923), The Freshman (1925), The Kid Brother (1927), and Speedy (1928).

Angus Cloud was only twenty-five when he died on Monday. He was cast practically out of the blue as Fezco, a compassionate drug dealer, in Sam Levinson’s hit teen drama Euphoria. “Cloud gave this complicated role a wounded majesty,” writes the New Yorker’s Naomi Fry. “Fez was a man of few words, and the actor’s performance had a consistent stillness to it; his limpid, gentle gaze often did the talking for him.”

This week’s highlights:

  • The new Senses of Cinema opens with a dossier on the queer film festival circuit that includes essays on Giuseppe Patroni Griffi’s Il mare (1962), Harry Kümel’s Daughters of Darkness (1971), Bruce LaBruce’s Hustler White (1996), and Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy (2014). There are interviews with Laura Citarella (Trenque Lauquen) and Christoph Hochhäusler (Till the End of the Night), festival reports, book reviews, and a new addition to the Great Actors collection: Barbara Stanwyck.

  • Claire Simon, “a prolific creator of documentaries and fictional narratives that blur the boundaries between those two modes, has made a career out of turning the experiences of ordinary people into epic tapestries of human life,” writes Beatrice Loayza in a profile for the New York Times. Simon calls Frederick Wiseman “my great master,” and reviewing Our Body, which opens today at New York’s Film Forum,Darren Hughes writes at the Film Stage that the film “does function, à la Wiseman, as a study of an institution—in this case the various units of a public Parisian hospital where women receive all manner of care, including treatment for pregnancy, fertility, gender transition, cancer, and end-of-life needs.” Simon is “primarily interested in the strange, beautiful, holy machinery of bodies,” and what sets Our Body apart from Wiseman’s work is that it is “very much a first-person film.”

  • Ira Sachs’s “dramas have balanced their slender narratives with richly resided-in evocations of people and milieus, surveying the uneasy and often breakable bonds between lovers, companions, and kin,” writes Matthew Eng for Reverse Shot. “But Passages is the first of Sachs’s films whose leanness feels effectively and exhilaratingly taut.” Franz Rogowski plays Tomas, a volatile director who’s married to Martin (Ben Whishaw) but strikes up an affair with Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos). IndieWire’s Anne Thompson asks Sachs how he feels about the NC-17 rating, and he notes that the MPA Code is “an extension of the Hays Code, which was written by the Catholic Church. I will say, I prefer the pre-Code movies, and I want to be a part of that history.” He tells Steve Erickson at the Film Stage that he wanted to be “as free as possible in the images I created. To do that, I had to go back in time and watch Pasolini, Chantal Akerman, Taxi zum Klo, and Fassbinder.”

  • “There’s scripts sometimes that you read that just jump off the page, that have a texture that’s tactile—something about it where you can almost smell it, taste it, where it has a feel.” Carl Franklin tells Scott Tobias at the Reveal about reading a screenplay by the then-unknown Billy Bob Thornton and his creative partner, Tom Epperson; spending six weeks in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, shooting One False Move (1992) with Thornton, Bill Paxton, Cynda Williams, and Michael Beach; and the day he realized that this movie was going to sell some tickets.

  • More interviews! It’s been an amazing week for them. For the Believer, Melissa Locker talks music and movies with Jim Jarmusch. SQÜRL, the band he formed with Carter Logan, has a new album out, Silver Haze, and Sally Potter’s got one, too, Pink Bikini.Olivia Treynor asks her about it for Document Journal. At RogerEbert.com, Marya E. Gates talks with Morrisa Maltz and Lily Gladstone about The Unknown Country and with Fran Rubel Kuzui about her newly restored debut feature, Tokyo Pop (1988). And Nick Newman catches up with Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, The Box) for the Film Stage and with Steven Soderbergh (Full Circle, Command Z) at Polygon.

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