The week began with news of the passing of Sandra Milo, whom most remember as Carla, the lover of Marcello Mastroianni’s Guido in Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963). Milo first appeared in comedies alongside Alberto Sordi and Totò before Roberto Rossellini cast her in Il generale Della Rovere (1959), and she played an actress dating Jean-Paul Belmondo’s gangster in Claude Sautet’s Classe tous risques (1960).
- The final issue of Cinema Scope is up in its entirety, and it’s so loaded it’s almost as if it were designed to remind us how much we’ll miss it. There are interviews with Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Evil Does Not Exist), Alex Ross Perry (Videoheaven and Pavements), Rodrigo Moreno (The Delinquents), and Dimitris Athiridis, whose fourteen-hour-long exergue – on documenta 14, slated to premiere in Berlin, promises to be “one of the best films of 2024,” according to editor Mark Peranson. This issue also features an excerpt from Thom Andersen’s forthcoming book, “which I have called ‘a continuation by other means of my 2003 video essay Los Angeles Plays Itself’”; remembrances of Terence Davies and Vincent Grenier; and much more.
- Before Martha Coolidge directed Valley Girl (1983) with Nicolas Cage and Rambling Rose (1991) with Laura Dern, she made a wrenching hybrid film about a traumatic episode in her own life. In 1962, when she was just sixteen, she was raped. A new 4K restoration of Not a Pretty Picture (1976) opens at Anthology Film Archives, and in the New York Times, J. Hoberman observes that it’s “at once an autobiographical documentary, a Pirandellian psychodrama, an acting exercise, a personal exorcism, and a powerful political tract.” Michele Manenti, herself a victim of sexual assault, not only plays young Martha but also discusses the experience with Coolidge on camera. At 4Columns, Erika Balsom places Not a Pretty Picture within its historical context, and for Filmmaker, Erik Luers spoke with Coolidge about the film’s revival late in 2022.
- On Tuesday, New Yorker editor David Remnick announced that Justin Chang, who’s been with the recently troubled Los Angeles Times for nearly eight years, will become the magazine’s new film critic. Anthony Lane “will be widening his lens,” which is to say, he’ll be writing as a critic at large. Chang, who serves on the New York Film Festival selection committee and as chair of the National Society of Film Critics, starts his new job on February 12. In his latest LAT review, he writes about Lila Avilés’s Tótem, in which a seven-year-old girl wanders a house bustling with preparations for what will likely be her terminally ill father’s last birthday party. “It takes a confident storyteller to avoid the trap of overexplanation, to give us only a partial glimpse of her characters’ lives,” writes Chang, “and these narrative elisions have the effect of deepening rather than undercutting the story’s realism.”
- In 1999, Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel met on the set of Diane Kurys’s Children of the Century, fell in love, had a daughter, and then parted ways after a few years. Now they’re starring together in Tran Anh Hùng’s The Taste of Things as a cook and a gourmet who have been gently fanning the flames of a slow-burning affair for twenty years. Vulture’s Rachel Handler, who calls the film “a lush, mouthwatering, often erotic visual feast,” is among the many who are more than a little curious: How on earth did that go? So she asked. The frank and engaging conversation rolls along pretty well until Binoche and Magimel hit a bump, the question of whether or not their daughter should have tackled the role of Hamlet at the age of eighteen—or if she even wanted to in the first place—but by the end, they’ve agreed that they must work together again.
- The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge is launching a yearlong celebration of Columbia Pictures’ hundredth anniversary with Jean Arthur, Sweetness with Spine, a series of eleven films running through Thursday. In Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Arthur is “the quintessential Hawksian woman, sexy in a way that’s tougher than you without compromising her femininity,” writes Sean Burns for WBUR. Howard Hawks, “a filmmaker who knew a good thing when he saw one, trusts Arthur enough to allow the movie’s emotional resolution to play out entirely on her face. It’s a declaration of love disguised as a flip of a two-headed coin.”