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by Bruce Reid

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of April 27

The only links page that matters… except for all the others.

Seattle screenings and cinema events are surveyed at Parallax View here.

“She knows the score…She’s someone who was abused. I could identify with her. I never could identify with any other white movie star. They were always white people doing white things.” Jacqueline Rose, in a beautifully written article that sniffs out more connections than most books on the subject, finds Marilyn Monroe the perfect embodiment of mid-century America—not the one we dreamt on movie screens, but the sometime cruel, confused one most pretended wasn’t happening.

Director Saba Sahar and crew

Onscreen, Saba Sahar is “a kind of superhero, doing kung fu high-kicks in traditional dress, carrying victims to safety over her shoulder or riding a motorbike with no hands while firing a gun.” Behind the scenes, Afghanistan’s first woman director is far more impressive, as Jenny Kleeman’s profile attests.

“I always presume every movie I make is my last. My career is very smoothly in decline, each movie making half as much as the prior one.” Todd Solondz, interviewed at the Sarasota Film Festival by David Carr, on the business end of things, working with actors, and how he stole a key scene in Welcome to the Dollhouse from North by Northwest. Link via Movie City News.

“Defended by the left-wing press as well as the Surrealists, L’Âge d’or became a cause célèbre, but Buñuel was not there to soak up the attention: he was in Hollywood.” Reviewing Román Gubern and Paul Hammond’s Buñuel biography The Red Years, J. Hoberman tracks the contradictions of the director’s peripatetic pre-war decade. Noted by Mubi.

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of April 20

The only links page that matters… except for all the others.

Seattle screenings and cinema events are surveyed at Parallax View here.

Who created that greatest of silent icons, The Tramp? Surviving recollections from Chaplin and Sennett mostly stake their claim each against the other, but John Boorstin points out it’s no stretch at all to infer considerable credit should go Mabel Normand’s way.

From the oeuvre of "the elder, least pretentious, and most consistently amusing Anderson of the current director trifecta"

The new issue of Cinema Scope salutes 50 directors under 50 years old; their website is offering a sample of 20 sharp, compact appreciations of filmmakers ranging from Jia Zhangke to Maren Ade to “the elder, least pretentious, and most consistently amusing Anderson of the current director trifecta.”

Time Out didn’t fool around compiling their list of the 100 best horror films, polling a murderer’s row of 126 experts (the Cs alone offer up Roger Corman, Antonio Campos, Alice Cooper and Coffin Joe) and writing up the results with good observations and considerable brio. Which allows for some admirably off kilter selections, though lest you think this lineup differs radically from other such, the accompanying interview is still with William Friedkin. Noted by David Hudson.

The New York Film Academy may be a barely credible institution, but they know an opportunity when they see it. Thus their series of classes in the blossoming film community of Nigeria. Become the Dream, as the bodyguards’ t-shirts urge.

Revisiting The Devil, Probably, Dennis Lim assigns the same uncompromising nihilism that ensured the film’s relative obscurity to the draw it has on its partisans. Link, one of several of interest, via Girish Shambu.

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of April 13

The only links page that matters… except for all the others.

Seattle screenings and cinema events are surveyed at Parallax View here.

She Who Is Called Feather Meets He Who Is Called Chance

“She Who Is Called Feathers manifests the most dazzling changes in raiment.” David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s mock exegesis on Rio Bravo isn’t just a delightfully sustained gag, but a vessel for several profound interpretations of the film, including a deconstruction of some song lyrics that is, keeping with their conceit, revelatory.

A father’s haunting anecdote about the moral confusions of living in a nation under occupation kicks off what is shaping up to be a lovely project from Vermillion and One Night’s Murderous Ink: a survey of Japanese films from 1949 that the writer digs his way into by scratching at items ostensibly in the margins. Thoughts on the superstitions around Crepe Myrtle and the rareness of tomatoes expand a grief-ridden scene from Kurosawa’s Stray Dog; and Ozu’s Late Spring and Tadashi Imai’s Green Mountains become two more stops in Japan’s ongoing anxieties over women riding bicycles.

Your latest round-up on the hazards and economic hardships of switching to digital projection comes via the L.A. Weekly.

The article above opens with a discussion of Christopher Nolan’s recent screening for fellow filmmakers of a sequence from The Dark Knight Rises, in an attempt to proselytize for the benefits of 35mm over video. Nolan discusses the subject, as well as his directing style (which, surprise, is highly pragmatic and orderly) with the DGA’s Jeffrey Ressner. Link via Movie City News.

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of April 6

The only links page that matters… except for all the others.

Seattle screenings and cinema events are surveyed at Parallax View here.

Watching Monica watching us

Issue two of the feminist film journal Joan’s Digest has arrived, keeping up the high quality of its debut. Among the highlights, Miriam Bale charts an unacknowledged genre, the “persona-swap” film, named for Bergman of course but ranging from Hawks to Rivette to Schroeder; Camila de Onís poetically recalls being in swoon to Monica Vitti, trying to find a place for her infatuation outside the male gaze; and Abbey Bender cheers the unpretentious but unmistakable feminism of Seidelman’s Desperately Seeking Susan.

“A few years ago, I thought I might open a chain of eulogy stores where you could go in off the street and, for twenty bucks, they’ll tell you all the nice things they’re going to say about you after you croak. But I don’t want people to say wonderful things about me when I can’t hear them. Tell me now, while I’m still here.” The multilingual journal La Furia Umana takes Jerry Lewis at his word, making him the subject of their latest issue. Plenty of good stuff here even for those of you currently rolling your eyes, from Sadarshan Ramani’s tracing Lewis (and Tahslin) as inspiration for King of Comedy‘s Rupert Pupkin; Steven Shaviro’s closely observed defense of Smorgasbord‘s (aka Cracking Up) “therapeutically purging” humor; and if you missed it the first time around (2003, in The Believer), B. Kite’s magisterial The Jerriad: A Clown Painting, one of the finest bits of writing ever done on Lewis, not least for its succinct delineation of an essential opposition: “Buster makes extraordinary feats look incredibly easy. Jerry makes mundane activities seem extremely difficult.”

The timing for such celebration, of course, is that The Kid just celebrated his 86th Birthday. Publicly, in fact, with Richard Belzer as MC and an audience Q&A that went pretty much the way you think it did. J. Hoberman fills in the details.

Related, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s latest film books roundup and recommendations introduced me to the blog of Tashlin biographer Ethan de Seife, who’s posted a sharp look at the ambiguities—cultural, racial—of the music selections in The Girl Can’t Help It.

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