Did You See This?

To Hear Them Tell It

Jean Eustache and Maurice Pialat

Here comes the long Labor Day weekend, so let’s open this week’s round of highlights with a few recommendations for listening on the go.

  • Not too long before he died in 2018, Stan Lee told Daniel Raim about the never-realized sci-fi project that he and Alain Resnais dreamed up together. Sean Howe, the author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, has unearthed Lee’s recording of one of his first meetings with Resnais in 1969. At the time, the French director was planning to make a film about the Marquis de Sade. “Will this be a ‘sexy’ movie?’ Lee asks. Resnais says it was too early to tell, but he predicted that once the film was made (it never was), it would fall on “the mysterious side of sexy.”

  • Writers on Film host John Bleasdale calls his conversation with Molly Haskell “one of the best episodes I’ve done,” and he’s not wrong. Haskell, the author of the groundbreaking 1974 book From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies, is currently working on a memoir and tells Bleasdale that when she started out in the 1960s, “film wasn’t taken that seriously, so women at newspapers got to write about it.” She’s recently been leafing through Favorite Movies, a 1973 collection that she and her husband, Andrew Sarris, contributed to. Philip Nobile, the editor, wondered why the tone of so many of the critics of the day was so “vituperative,” and Haskell is pretty sure that it was Manny Farber who replied, “Because they’re all assholes.”

  • Classics of the New Millennium is a series of discussions Ty Burr has been conducting in which a guest critic talks about a single film with him for a little under an hour. On the latest episode, the New York Times’s Manohla Dargis says that she’s reluctant to call any film a masterpiece, but if she were to drop the m-word on a movie made in the past twenty-three years, it would most likely fall on Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007). Burr’s past guests include Wesley Morris (Spike Lee’s Inside Man, 2006), Justin Chang (Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, 2018), Odie Henderson (David Fincher’s The Social Network, 2010), and Dana Stevens (Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 2007).

  • Life in Film: A Babette Mangolte Retrospective opens at New York’s Metrograph on Sunday, and for the Journal, Corina Copp talks with the cinematographer and filmmaker about her collaborations with Delphine Seyrig, Chantal Akerman, Marcel Hanoun, and Yvonne Rainer and about her own features and documentations of such American avant-garde works as Bob Wilson and Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach (1976). For Mangolte, “what I see is really what fills my life. If I can make images which I can still look at forty-one years later, then I’m really happy. I can be only happy. My films still interest me a long time later.”

  • Writing in the New York Review of Books about the traveling Jean Eustache retrospective, James Quandt contends that the director’s “realism was vehement even at its most lyrical, in the service of examining his ravaged life with merciless accuracy. ‘The films I made are as autobiographical as fiction can be,’ he claimed, and his confessional autoportraits—particularly [The Mother and the Whore (1973)], which he initially celebrated as a ‘heartbreaking and funny self-analysis’ and later complained was too intimate—often contradict one of his aesthetic dictums: ‘One must respect what one films.’ Only Eustache’s friend and fellow cineaste and autodidact Maurice Pialat equaled his determination to employ the cinema to harrow a self he constantly reproached and sometimes despised.”

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