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Living Memories

Chantal Akerman, detail from a portrait by Philippe Chancel courtesy of Bozar

The past couple of weeks have brought some pretty intriguing updates on projects many of us have been anticipating. The one we’re likely to see first is Kinds of Kindness, in which Yorgos Lanthimos will tell three stories with members of the cast—Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, and Hunter Schafer—appearing in each. Set for release on June 21, Kinds of Kindness looks like a prime candidate for Cannes.

Stone will join Joaquin Phoenix, Pedro Pascal, and Austin Butler in Eddington, Ari Aster’s next project for A24. Qualley and Alwyn last appeared together in Stars at Noon (2022), and Claire Denis tells Screen’s Ben Dalton that a screenplay and financing are just about set for The Fence. Set on a construction site in Africa, the story will focus on three men and a woman, and when Dalton asks if she plans to shoot this year, Denis replies, “I guess; in the meantime, I’m doing something else, so I don’t know.”

Joachim Trier is definitely planning to shoot Sentimental Value this year. Written by Eskil Vogt and starring Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World), the story has two sisters dealing with their estranged father after their mother passes away. Richard Linklater is evidently already shooting Nouvelle vague (working title?) in Paris. Zoey Deutch looks set to play Jean Seberg. Isabel Sandoval (Lingua Franca) will shoot Moonglow next month, and she says it will be a “1960s romantic noir set in Manila in the vein of In a Lonely Place and Casablanca.

Noah Baumbach has put together quite the cast for his as-yet-untitled project for Netflix: George Clooney, Adam Sandler, Laura Dern, Billy Crudup, Riley Keough, Jim Broadbent, Lars Eidinger, Stacy Keach, Emily Mortimer, Alba Rohrwacher—and Greta Gerwig. Paul Thomas Anderson’s next movie doesn’t have a title yet, either, but it does have a release date: August 8, 2025. In IMAX theaters. With a cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Regina Hall, Teyana Taylor, Wood Harris, Alana Haim, and Chase Infiniti.

Here’s a sampling of recent writing that’s caught our eye:

  • From this week through July 21, Brussels is celebrating the legacy of Chantal Akerman with screenings, talks, publications, and other events anchored in a major exhibition at Bozar and a full retrospective at Cinematek.Sabzian has put together a trilingual collection of texts by and about Akerman, including Gerard-Jan Claes’s fresh translation of Jacqueline Aubenas’s 1995 “bio-filmography”; individual pages on forty of Akerman’s films; and a tribute to Akerman written just weeks after she died in 2015 by Claire Atherton, a filmmaker and editor who worked closely with Akerman for more than three decades. “Chantal’s cinema never explains, it questions us and confronts us with ourselves,” wrote Atherton. “This is why it is so powerful and alive.”

  • High Times has republished an interview from its August 1983 issue in which Michael Wilmington draws stories of the emotional—and at times, physical—abuse Rainer Werner Fassbinder inflicted on his casts, crews, friends, and lovers from Dieter Schidor, a prolific actor and occasional director and producer. Schidor produced Fassbinder’s final film, Querelle (1982), and while he’s forthcoming when it comes to the horror stories, he’s also eager to leap to Fassbinder’s defense. “Even though he was totally amoral,” says Schidor, “there could be moments when he would be of such tenderness, and you would feel he would be the only person in your life (more even than your mother) that would understand you, exactly, and you would trust him, completely. But then it would happen that, two weeks later, he would totally use that.” But: “I loved him . . . And for me, personally, he was the most lovable and exciting and haunting and despicable and wonderful person I have ever known in my life.” Which was tragically short. AIDS took Schidor in 1987, when he was only thirty-nine.

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus, directed by the late composer’s son, Neo Sora, and opening today at Film at Lincoln Center, is “an intensely moving experience,” writes Alissa Wilkinson in the New York Times. Opus is a “meticulously designed” record of a final solo performance of twenty pieces on piano. The last soundtrack Sakamoto worked on was for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster, which opens today in the UK. “When we found the town where we were going to shoot Monster, it had this big lake,” Kore-eda tells Lillian Crawford at Little White Lies. “I looked at the lake and I thought that this is where the film is going to start and there’s going to be a fire. There’s going to be these red fire engines, and there’s going to be Ryuichi Sakamoto’s piano music . . . He couldn’t really speak by that point, so it was all done in writing. It was a precious experience.” Kore-eda is currently editing a seven-episode series, “a very samurai story,” and he tells the Guardian’s Xan Brooks that he aims to eventually shoot a feature based on his father’s experiences as a prisoner of war in Siberia.

  • The program of films by Bertrand Tavernier on the Criterion Channel has prompted Jonathan Kirshner to write in the Boston Review about Tavernier’s 1992 documentary on the aftermath of the Algerian War. With The Undeclared War, Tavernier “sought to breathe life into a largely nonexistent national conversation about the blood-soaked military conflict that the French government refused to call a war, in a land that it refused to recognize as a colony.” More than thirty years on, The Undeclared War “remains a remarkable film—and not only for its evocation of current conflicts, from Gaza to Ukraine. Its 247 minutes, cut down from nearly fifty hours of footage, move briskly and build momentum and even suspense . . . What stands out in a viewing today are not the details of a distant conflict but the universality of the horrors of war: the cycles of utter barbarity and retribution on all sides, the massacre of the innocent, and the enduring consequences.”

  • The new Yale Review features an essay by Phillip Maciak on Steven Spielberg, “the premier dad auteur of American cinema” and “one of the greatest popular critics of the failures of dadly masculinity in the twentieth century.” Spielberg is “not just an ambivalent avatar of the dad culture he grew up with. Instead, his films have helped invent the ‘dad’ as we know it.” Maciak briefly outlines how the rise of the sitcom accelerated the replacement of the Victorian patriarch with the domesticated dad before turning to the films Spielberg made when he was estranged from his own father and those he made after they reconciled. “And then he met Tony Kushner.”

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