The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of July 13
The only links page that matters… except for all the others.
B. Kite and Kent Jones continue their discussion on Bresson, still from different viewpoints but enthusiastically agreeing that whatever labels you slap on the director only prevent you from engaging the genuine, irreducible strangeness of his films. Also at Film Comment, the Trivial Top 20 tallies the filmmakers who have most often directed themselves, surely the only category of human behavior in which Woody Allen and Sammo Hung could wind up in a tie.
Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato having wrapped, the festival dedicated to rediscovery is now itself the subject of retrospectives. Girish Shambu (along with his typically fine selection of links) and Sight & Sound’s Geoff Andrew eloquently repeat much of what’s been praised elsewhere—Walsh, Grémillon—while Kristin Thompson charts her own path, hunting down screenings of Ivan Pyr’ev and sketching out some intriguing thematic connections among a disparate collection of post-Wall-Street-crash movies.
Rounding up some recent blog posts and Variety columns, Andrew O’Hehir suggests that the movies’ long adolescent phase may finally be drawing to a close. Which willfully optimistic tea-reading perhaps only shows you how strong the lure of happy endings can be.
Peter Cook’s marvelous selection of cinema’s 50 greatest matte paintings reminds you how many histories there are in an art as collaborative as the movies, and that however many masters’ names you’ve memorized there’s always more—Albert Whitlock, Matthew Yuricich, Walter Percy Day, Emil Kosa—to be learned. First posted in May, but just spotted and passed along by Movie City News.
Plenty of other directors besides Sam Fuller might have thought to promote White Dog by pretending to interview the titular star of the movie; what nobody but Fuller could have done is slam that charmingly cock-eyed gimmick right up against a bitter, impassioned cri de couer against racism. The 1982 article is posted at Criterion’s website, as are a collection of behind-the-scenes photos.
“If there is a Siodmak touch, it is the sinister dance that the sarong-wrapped dictator of Cobra Island performs for her ecstatic subjects, who greet her writhing with an unmistakable version of the Nazi salute.” Previewing a Robert Siodmak retrospective, J. Hoberman considers how the director’s self-consciousness as an exile and a Jew brushed against and transformed Hollywood schlock.
Tom Chiarella is maybe guilty of some overwriting in his Esquire profile of Morgan Freeman; but he was observant enough to notice how his subject is slyly “a bit imprecise in his storytelling, anyway, on the structure and history of his family, but highly precise on all matters livestock,” so let it slide.
“As much as I like Science Fiction, I think my future is still really stuck in the past.” Interviewed by Katie Kitamura, Apichatpong Weerasethakul describes the increasing political engagement of his movies, and his ventures into other media and venues.
“There were so many shocking things, I mean, of course the rape. But my shoulder being out of place. Their stomachs were turned by that” “A lot of reasons to get sick in this movie.” Kim Morgan makes the most of the ten minutes she gets to spend with the cast of Deliverance.
“Am I so unpresentable? Do my manners disgust you? Does my speech bore you? If you find me so unbearable, forgive me for having imposed myself on you for so long.” Shooting down once more the Meme That Wouldn’t Die, the Siren reminds us there was nothing wrong whatsoever with John Gilbert’s voice; and he had bigger things to worry about regardless.
At NewMusicBox, Isaac Shankler takes note of the avant-garde roots that inform Ennio Morricone’s composition.
The program for Metropolis‘s 1927 London premiere, presented by Laura Massey, is nearly as impressively outsized and ambitious as the film itself, offering production photos, testimonies from the filmmakers, a comparison of von Harbou’s novel and screenplay, and the amusing discrepancy (on successive pages, no less) as to whether the film employed 1,000 or 6,000 Bald-headed Men.
“Dry your eyes, baby; it’s out of character.” Among Hitch’s other prodigious talents, Tom Shone figures him for the canniest underminer of celebrity image the movies ever had.
Video: The premiere of the BFI’s new restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s first feature film, The Ring, goes live on the Web at The Space on Friday, July 13. And it’s free (though it may not be available in all areas). Via The Alfred Hitchcock Geek.
Oscar and Emmy award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, the tough guy character actor who earned his Academy Award playing the quiet, lonely Brooklyn butcher Marty, passed away this week at the age of 95. His career spanned over sixty years, where escaped being type-cast as thugs and villains, thanks in part to Marty and his sixties sitcom McHale’s Navy. He worked until the end and his final film, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez, will be released later this year. Ronald Bergan at The Guardian and more remembrances are collected by David Hudson at Fandor. Turner Classic Movies has scheduled a tribute for July 25 (replacing their regularly scheduled programming) featuring 10 films and a “Private Screenings” interview with Mr. Borgnine.
Isuzu Yamada, the celebrated Japanese actress who starred in films by Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Akira Kurosawa, died at the age of 95. She is probably best known to American audiences for the “Lady Macbeth” role in Throne of Blood and the wife of the gang boss in Yojimbo. In 2000, she won the Order of the Sacred Treasure, the highest cultural award in Japan. She was the first actress ever so honored. More from David Hudson at Fandor. Criterion has posted a small photo gallery.
Richard Zanuck, producer of Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy, and most of Tim Burton’s recent features, and son of 20th Century Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck, died Friday, July 13, of a heart attack. He was 77. Few details at this time. A few more at The Wrap.
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid in collaboration with the editor of and contributors to Parallax View.