The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of December 7
The new issue of Scope is highlighted by Rachel Lister’s fine article on Nicole Holofcener (.pdf warning), which picks up the common critical assessment that her films work like short stories and runs with it, adducing mission statements from writers such as Raymond Carver, Grace Paley, and (most appositely) Lorrie Moore to show how closely Holofcener adheres to a short-story, as opposed to novelistic, approach. Passed along by Film Studies for Free.
“I was 27 and I had to make up for all the lost time in the displaced persons’ camp, so I started absorbing everything. I went to the cinema every day. I was so hungry for culture, for stimulation. It was all about grabbing the time, doing something after so many years of doing nothing.” Jonas Mekas made up for his lost time with a vengeance, as Sean O’Hagan’s interview/career profile for The Guardian makes clear. Part of the cause for the article is Mekas’s retrospective at London’s Serpentine Gallery, samples of which are viewable at their website.
MUBI’s Tony Scott salute continues, with ten more appreciations of an oeuvre that can’t be faulted for looking and sounding like everybody else.
Appropriately, the New York Times Magazine’s Hollywood issue opens with A. O. Scott sounding the latest death knell to the “death-of-cinema” complaints. Scott’s less persuasive arguing this was the “Year of Heroine Worship,” but Tierney Gearon’s playful, spangling photos of actresses who made a splash in 2012, from Emmanuelle Riva to Rebel Wilson, helps brings the argument home.
It’s not Eric Hynes’s fault if his appreciation of Max von Sydow’s career sticks mostly to the highlights; covering 63 years and nearly as many phases (with only the slightest signs of slowing down), it’s a life’s work hard to imagine any article encompassing.
There are many sights to see in Berlin; David Bordwell covers one of any filmlover’s crucial destinations in a visit to the Babelsberg Studio, former home to Murnau, Lang, and so many, many more.
Speaking of cinematic tourism, Brian Darr of Hell on Frisco Bay notes an unfortunate renovation has occurred at 900 Lombard, obscuring Scottie Ferguson’s apartment. Which opening, in pleasingly associative, Sans Soleil fashion, leads him to a charming anecdote from Tom Luddy about working with Chris Marker.
David Cairns’s Shadowplay is hosting his annual Late Show Blogathon, dedicated to films made at career’s end. Some interesting subjects this time out, with Phoebe Green praising Marcelle Romée’s work in Litvak’s Coeur de lilas; Stacia of She Blogged by Night paying such close attention to the forgettable racing drama 10 Laps to Go she not only finds much to praise in Marie Prevost’s final performance but sad evidence of the alcoholic star’s weight loss; and Cairns himself doing right by cult auteurists everywhere in crediting all the good stuff in Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb to Seth Holt—even the scenes shot after he’d died.
“I’m just telling my story the way I’m telling it. I’m putting it in a spaghetti Western framework and highlighting the surreal qualities inherent in the material. I’m highlighting them mythically and operatically, and in terms of violence and gruesomeness, with pitch-black humor. That’s all part of the spaghetti Western genre, but I’m doing it about a section of history that couldn’t be more surreal, bizarre, cruel or perversely comedic when looked at from a certain view. They go hand in hand.” Like most of his interviews, Quentin Tarantino’s conversation with Playboy’s Michael Fleming leaves wide-open whether he’s the most or least self-aware auteur we’ve got.
“The thing is, once again, the men who know film can’t speak the language of strikes and the men who know strikes are better at talking Oury than Resnais or Barnett. Union militants have realized that men aren’t equal if they don’t earn the same pay; they’ve got to realize now that we aren’t equal if we don’t speak the same language.” Godard, of course, in a long 1967 Cahiers du Cinéma interview (originally published in English the following year in Film Quarterly), discussing La Chinoise and working out his cinematic loves, his political ideals, and the troubled relationship between the two.
Fandor will be spending the next few months republishing the hardly authoritative but pleasurably argued contents of Scott Smith’s 1998 book The Film 100, cataloging the “most influential” figures in cinema’s history. They seem to be going about this piecemeal; scroll down the master list to see who’s posted each day.
“I think part of the reason ideas haven’t come in is that the world of cinema is changing so drastically, and in a weird way, feature films I think have become cheap. Everything is kind of throwaway. It’s experienced and then forgotten. It goes really fast. And you have to do those things you are just in love with.” A brief—four questions, four answers—interview with the Hollywood Reporter gives the clearest sense yet we’ve seen the last of David Lynch in movie theaters.
“It’s a grubby, violent, dangerous world. But it’s the only world they know.” Mark Fertig concludes his ranking of the best neo-noir posters with his top 15, his typically insightful comments illuminating not only the myriad design choices but how those designs reflect some fundamental breaks between this generation of hard men walking lonely streets and their predecessors.
Admitting he needed some humane, scrappily communal images to photograph before beginning his embed with soldiers in Afghanistan, Time’s Omar Mullick found his subjects in a Karachi movie theater, with drug dealers lining the hallways and enthusiastic patrons jumping up to join the dance onscreen.
Video: “He’s seen the movie.” “Not everything.” “Well, we…we don’t have everything.” Henry Jaglom has posted 22 minutes of Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind (and, tacked on at the end, about 10 of Natalie Wood that are irrelevant). This isn’t all new—we’ve seen Jaglom’s angry debate with Mazursky before—but a big chunk of it is. Whatever you think about what Welles was up to, that’s enough to confirm that should we ever finally get to see this thing, it’ll go down at a minimum as one of John Huston’s triumphs. Spotted by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.
The Festival of the Archives, which opened Thursday, December 6 with a screening of the new 4K restoration of Lawrence of Arabia, continues through Sunday at the Uptown. Events range from screenings of restored prints of All About Eve and To Kill a Mockingbird to The Terminator and Alien to Creature From the Black Lagoon in 3D. There are also a couple of free events: “Restoring Star Trek: The Next Generation” on Friday is a presentation about the digital remastering of the TV (and prologue to the double feature of the TV episode Space Seed and the feature film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn later that evening), and The Making of Olympia on Saturday, a rare 1937 behind-the-scene documentary directed by Riefenstahl’s technical assistant Rudolf Schaad. Full schedule and ticket information here.
Grand Illusion’s annual run of It’s a Wonderful Life begins today and runs for the next three weeks until Thursday, December 27. It’s the 42nd year for this tradition and once again they have secured a good 35mm print. There are also a bunch of oddball Christmas anthologies running this weekend. Showtimes here.
Mekong Hotel, a short feature by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, plays through the week at Northwest Film Forum, with Weerasethakul’s short film Sadka.
Screen Style, Seattle’s first-ever fashion film series, is a four-film series curated by Seattle Met style editor Laura Cassidy, playing at NWFF this weekend. It opens with Purple Noon, the first screen version of Patricia Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Schedule here.
“The End of the World as We Know It,” an apocalypse film festival, begins at the Uptown on Wednesday, December 12 with 2012 and Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (screening with Chris Marker’s short La Jetee) and plays through Thursday, December 20, with an Armageddon or two every night. Full schedule here.
The annual Critics Wrap at the Frye Art Museum, hosted by Magic Lantern curator Robert Horton and featuring local critics Jim Emerson, Kathleen Murphy, and Andy Wright, is Thursday, December 13. Tickets are free but seating is limited. Details here.
Then, the very next night, is NWFF’s monthly Framing Pictures. It’s 5pm on Friday, December 14 and its free. Not too early to mark your calendar for it.
Also opening this week: Lay the Favorite from director Stephen Frears with Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall, The Comedy (at SIFF Film Center), Dutch coming-of-age drama North Sea Texas (Harvard Exit), the Chinese war drama Back to 1942 (Pacific Place), and the South Korean romantic fantasy A Werewolf Boy (Alderwood Mall).
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries and Seattle Screens curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.