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Did You See This?

The Endless Cycle

Barbara Steele and Mario Pisu in Federico Fellini’s (1963)

In the Los Angeles Times, Carlos Aguilar recommends a few movies to catch before this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival wraps this weekend. In other festival news, Karlovy Vary (June 28 through July 6) has rolled out two competition lineups and a selection of special screenings, and Claude Barras, the director of the animated features My Life as a Courgette (2016) and this year’s Savages, will receive the Locarno Kids Award in August.

This week’s highlights:

  • Novelist, poet, and literary critic Garth Greenwell saw La chimera a few weeks ago. It was his first encounter with the work of Alice Rohrwacher, and ever since, he’s been “a little obsessed,” watching all of her films and revisiting “some of her influences: Fellini, Rossellini, Pasolini.” Rohrwacher’s first feature, Corpo celeste (2011), is “one of the great films I’ve seen,” and there’s a moment in it that’s “incarnational in the way great art is incarnational: finite flesh being made impossibly infinite, invested with transcendent spirit. It feels miraculous to me, it fills me with wonder.” In the new Film Quarterly, Emma Wilson suggests that Rohrwacher’s “reluctance to be labeled a woman director, and refusal of bracketing, need not distract from the distinct, full-throated critique of patriarchy and of machismo, in Italy and beyond, present in all her films but most forcefully in La chimera.

  • Daniel Riccuito has recently been sprucing up his old site, the Chiseler, with a mix of new writing and republications, including appreciations of Robert Mitchum, Lon Chaney, Marx Brothers straight woman Margaret Dumont, and director William Dieterle. There’s also a short and lovely piece from Barbara Steele, who looks back on the time she returned to the Cinecittà studios in Rome to reunite with Federico Fellini on Casanova (1976) more than a decade after they’d worked together on (1963). “‘Barberini, I have this wonderful role for you, of a Venetian alchemist who cures men of their impotency with bells, potions, and songs.’ Then he says . . . ‘something between a witch and an empress’—I was enthralled.” But then someone stole footage from Fellini—and Pasolini as well—“and they eliminated the entire Venetian sequence that I was in.”

  • With Samsara opening today, Jordan Cronk talks with director Lois Patiño for Metrograph Journal about working with two cinematographers on the film’s two parts—Mauro Herce for the first section set in Laos and Jessica Sarah Rinland for the second, which takes us to Tanzania—and conceptualizing the bridge between them, which runs for several minutes during which viewers are asked to close our eyes. “Samsara is a film about death and rebirth, the endless cycle of life and consciousness,” writes Michael Sicinski for Reverse Shot. “In order to achieve this loose narrativization of the Buddhist belief in circular time, Patiño temporarily assumes three external, preexisting cinematic forms: we could reasonably call them ‘Apichatpong,’ ‘Sharits,’ and ‘Sissako.’”

  • The BFI’s Sam Wrigley recently took the Eurostar down to Paris and met Claire Denis at the Hôtel du Nord for a wide-ranging conversation that touches on her encounters with Mati Diop, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rivette, and Jean-Luc Godard as well as her first feature, Chocolat (1988). “It’s a different me, but it’s also not so different,” she tells Wigley. “Each film brings to the other. It’s not like one, then another, then another. It’s like a continuum of worries. I think the only thing that changes in a life is things like the death of a father, the death of a mother, or having cancer then getting out of it. But with film, it’s like the same road: different movies, but the same worried mind.”

  • The Harvard Film Archive is still ironing out a few kinks in its new feature, Conversations, a collection of pre- and post-screening introductions and Q&As, but the roster is astonishing. Along with the aforementioned Alice Rohrwacher and Claire Denis, we also find Agnès Varda, Elaine May, Hong Sangsoo, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Alice Diop, Monte Hellman, Leos Carax, William Friedkin, Terence Davies, Pedro Almodóvar, Tsai Ming-liang and Lee Kang-sheng, Jonas Mekas, Whit Stillman, Lav Diaz, Laura Citarella and Mariano Llinás, Angela Schanelec, Wang Bing, Želimir Žilnik, and many, many more.

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