The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of July 20
The only links page that matters… except for all the others.
Seattle screenings and cinema events are surveyed at Parallax View here.
“The broad panorama will now give way to separate action on each of the three screens, making possible extraordinary juxtapositions of images. Every symbol becomes palpable. The cinema enters a new era; from the melodic, it becomes the symphonic.” Jon Boorstin does what he can with those feeble substitutes, words, to capture the sweep of images and “pure emotion” of Abel Gance’s Napoleon. Also at the LA Review of Books, Jacob Mikanowski leaps off from a review of Geoff Dyer’s Zona to marvel at the career of Tarkovsky, an oeuvre “both extremely diverse and radically consistent. His films span a number of genres, and belong to none.”
Filmmaker Magazine has once again done the spadework for you and posted its annual list of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Actually 37 this time around, as permanent collaborations and collectives become more a part of the movie-making landscape.
“Meanwhile, Tim took me over to his car, opened the trunk, and pulled out a bottle of vodka and a Styrofoam cup. He poured the vodka to the very top. Keep in mind I was 14 and a total lightweight. I was not a big drinker. I downed the cup, just gulped it right down. Then he poured another cup, a second one, and I gulped that one down. Tim then got me a beer from the crew and said, ‘Drink this as fast as you can.’” “I don’t remember doing that, but it sounds possible.” The great Over the Edge gets the oral history treatment from Vice’s Mike Sacks.
“Stylization suits film noir, is even necessary to it, because noir is about subjective, interior states. Expressionism literally brings the inside to the surface; as in dreams, people in film noir move through worlds distorted by their own fears and desires.” Imogen Sara Smith on how Robert Siodmak found the perfect genre for his unabashed flourishes to become the hallmarks of a master filmmaker.
“And I know if I can make you smile by jumping over a couple of couches or running through a rain storm, then I’ll be very glad to be a song and dance man. And I won’t worry that the Pittsburgh Pirates lost a hell of a shortstop.” Forget the final dismissal; that athleticism—explosive, low-to-the-ground, happily erotic—was both the key to Gene Kelly’s dance and, as Dan Callahan ably demonstrates, the somewhat prickly defense he fashioned against those who’d snicker at men prancing around.
Larry Cohen’s memories of working with Bette Davis on her last picture—the ill-fated Wicked Stepmother, which set she left four weeks early—might be a touch self-serving. But his portrait of Davis rings true (Cohen’s eye for the telling detail no doubt sharpened by years of button-pushing, low-budget filmmaking) and reminds you she was no slouch in that department herself.
Marco Bohr offers an interesting read of Jia Zhangke’s Still Life as a Brechtian exercise in distancing effects, from the sci-fi elements to a sly quote of the playwright’s The Good Person of Szechwan. Via Adrian Martin.
In advance of the upcoming screening series at Temenos, Rebekah Rutkoff looks back at the inspiration behind experimental filmmakers Gregory Markopoulos and Robert Beavers’s idealized, dedicated festival and the unique opportunity it provided Markopoulos to construct his “monumental final film,” Eniaios, its 100 separate segments gathered in 22 cycles of three to five hours apiece.
Darius Khondji’s magnificent sense of shadow and gloom—which has led him to float helium-filled mattresses to block out Milan’s sunlight, and cover 400 window panes at Versailles with black plywood—can be traced back to a childhood love of monster movies, the cameraman informs The Times’s Elaine Sciolino.
There’s plenty of interesting tidbits scattered throughout Daniel Kellison’s interview with Michael Keaton—how the former Michael Douglas’s first thought for a stage name was Michael Jackson, that his favorite filmmakers are the Dardenne brothers—but my prime takeaway is the same as everybody else’s: Obama’s right, the guy should make more movies.
In the course of writing up Errol Flynn’s Against All Flags, John McElwee happened to get into the story of Flynn’s lost picture Hello, God, mentioning there’s not even any production stills from the movie (Sherry Jackson, a young co-star in the picture, once owned two), but if his readers happened to turn up one to send it in. Whereupon someone did. A minor bit of movie history, no question, but rescued from oblivion nonetheless.
Some behind the scenes photos diminish the magic of movies; in the case of the Retronaut’s gallery of production shots across a decade of Godzilla movies, the crew setting up miniature cities, the monsters leaning in for instruction from their suddenly evenly-sized directors, the charm and wonder only increase.
Celeste Holm, who won an Academy Award for Gentleman’s Agreement and had a long, and healthy career in Hollywood, on television, and on Broadway, passed away at the age of 95. Ronald Bergan at The Guardian, plus Playbill remembers her stage career.
William Asher, longtime TV director and godfather of the beach movie phenomenon (Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini) and producer of Bewitched, died at the age of 90. Dennis McLellan at Los Angeles Times.
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid in collaboration with the editor of and contributors to Parallax View.