Posted in: by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Links

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 11

‘The Big Racket’

After a sensible warning against film critics drawing too many real-world implications they barely understand from movies that maybe have politics less on the brains than they’d like, Nick Pinkerton proceeds to a fine analysis of 1970s Italian politics based on Anthology Film Archives series The Italian Connection: Poliziotteschi and Other Italo-Crime Films of the 1960s and 70s.

“What makes Landis the artist tolerable is the sense that on some level Landis the moralist sees what he has done and will not let himself off the hook, even if the world (and Landis the survivalist) have managed to do just that.” Steve Johnson may be straining a bit to read Burke & Hare as a confessional from its director, then again, as he points out, there’s always been a slippery relation between genre and personal expression in Landis’s films, and if any director has some confessing to do he’s the one.

English highlights from the new issue of the bilingual journal desistfilm include Claudia Siefen tracing Kore-Eda’s humanistic lens back to his documentaries, patiently observed encounters with schoolchildren and sufferers of AIDS and amnesia; Adrian Martin, as part of a dossier on diary films, praising the ground broken by David Holzman’s Diary and the delicate absence of the filmmaker in Naomi Kawase’s Like Air/Embracing; and Craig Baldwin, interviewed by Mónica Delgado, talking about the many ways outsider perspectives get homogenized. (“Not only the commercial world, but also the academy, and the Art world itself, try to “recuperate” and co-opt many of these alternative gestures, and so it is difficult to stay out of the vortex that draws Difference and Otherness into the black hole of their illusion.”) Via David Hudson.

Bong Joon-ho and production designer Ondrej Nekvasil discuss with Mekado Murphy the thinking behind two of Snowpiercer’s most striking cars: the cramped rear-compartment hovels and, several cars up but worlds away, the airy swimming pools.

A sketch of the pool car in ‘Snowpiercer’

Michael Pattison describes his visit to Fårö for the annual Bergman Week film festival, from the mandatory 3-mile bike rides to access wi-fi to the quite Bergmanesque moment he was attacked by birds. (If you’re objecting that’s more Hitchcockian, you’ve forgotten all those sinister Voglers pecking at Bergman’s heroes.) Via Criterion.

“I heard Warren say those lines with a passion and exposure I’d never heard from him before. I ran back to the set. ‘That’s it, Warren,’ I said. ‘Don’t do anymore.’ I was so moved. While he appreciated my reaction he went on to do 100 or more takes, until the exposed Warren was tamer, more acceptable to him. Goldie, who had to do the scene off-camera with him for 100 takes, went outside and threw up when the scene was over.” An excerpt from Lee Grant’s new memoir details the making of Shampoo, hilariously chronicling Warren Beatty’s arrogant assertions that he understands women even as Grant swoons to his efforts. (Dolly Parton, effortlessly perfect as always, did not.)

When visiting a film festival on a press pass, you could write about the movies, sure. Or you could fill us in on “lunch at Bertino: prosciutto e melone, straw and hay with sausage sauce, tagliatelle with ragu”; a party thrown by Moët & Chandon (“the champagne was chilled and tasty, the asparagus risotto delicious and the delicate desserts delightful”); and an opening night spread including “everything from roast beef, aspic and deviled eggs to tongue-melting fresh sword steaks grilled on demand.” David Bordwell shares some of his favorite lifestyle and culinary reports from Cannes and Karlovy Vary.

Don Cheadle as Miles Davis

“At the end of the day, the quote I use is ‘In the land of ideas, you are always renting.’ The landlord can always go ‘Bye!’ If you’re not humbled by that then you’re an idiot and you will fail. You will fail. The process of discovery or coming up with an idea is so resistant to formula.” Who’d have guessed that Steven Soderbergh’s greatest art would turn out to be talk? Another of his delightful, wide-ranging conversations—on TV vs. film, the hassle of importing liquor to the states, and how one asshole can ruin everything—this time with Mike Ayers.

“Miles’ life could be a 10-part miniseries on PBS—it can’t be done in five minutes. I don’t know how you do that about someone who was relevant in music for 50 years and give it any sort of importance. It needs to be more of a movie that he would want to star in. Miles Davis was the star of his own story.” Don Cheadle explains to Nina Terrero the appeal and the hurdles of bringing Miles Davis to life on the screen. A good exchange, but worth even more than the article’s 2,759 words:  the first image of the actor in character, looking for all the world like jazz’s War Machine.

“You are going to get robbed and raped and beaten. It’s just part of the game. There are a lot of sharks in the water. But even something that you finance yourself…. Even then, at the end of the day, you feel like “The Old Man and the Sea” with Ernest Hemingway, where he catches a big fish and by the time he gets it into shore it’s just a head, because all the sharks were in there biting the hell out of it.” A pair of short interviews with Mel Gibson at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival—Leo Barraclough for Variety and Nick Holdsworth for The Hollywood Reporter—add up to a portrait of an independent spirit so rare in the movie world it would be easy to admire except for, you know, the rest of it.

Tampa Theatre in Tampa, Florida

“I grew up doing gymnastics, track, competitive cheerleading, volleyball—all kinds of sports. Plus, I’m the youngest, so my brother and sister would often do things like put me in a cardboard box and throw me down the stairs; I was kind of a crash test dummy. As soon as I saw Tomb Raider growing up, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s gonna be me.” Bilge Ebiri interviews three stuntwomen—Janene Carleton, Kristina Baskett, and Katie Eischen, quoted above—about trusting their coworkers, training the stars they’ll be subbing in for, and whether anyone still leaves them starstruck.

Photographs of old movie palaces too often seem to come in one mode: weathered and weary, the abandoned buildings’ decay saddening even as it fans our own nostalgia. The Gothamist’s gallery of New York’s Loews Canal Theatre offers a fine example of the style. But sometimes past beauties live on to modern days, which make Stefanie Klavens’s vibrant, glowing photographs of theaters—some now live performance spaces, some still screening films—a refreshing change of pace. David Rosenberg offers a selection and interviews the artist. And while the photos Mitch O’Connell took in the projection booth on the day in 1989 that Chicago’s Woods closed show a rundown, last-legs business, there’s at least a messy vitality to the workspace, making its own distinction from trendy ghost town ruins. All via Movie City News.

Dickie Jones explains it all to Mr. Smith


Dick “Dickie” Jones, the child actor of dozens of films through the thirties and forties, appeared in small roles in such films as Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), where he gave James Stewart the lowdown on D.C. At age 13 he became the voice of Pinocchio (1940) in the animated Disney feature and Henry Aldrich in the radio series The Aldrich Family, and as a young man played the sidekick to The Range Rider and the star of Buffalo Bill, Jr., two western TV shows of the 1950s. He passed away this week at the age of 87. Actor Jim Beaver provides the mini bio at IMDb.

Actress Rosemary Murphy had a long career on stage and screen. She played the supportive neighbor in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), earned three Tony Award nominations, and won an Emmy Award for playing Sara Delano Roosevelt in TV movie Eleanor and Franklin (1976), a role she reprised in Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977). She died this week at age 87. Margalit Fox at The New York Times.

British film composer Ken Thorne scored many of Richard Lester’s films, including from It’s a Trad, Dad! (1962) and Help! (1965) to Superman II (1980) and Superman III (1983). He won an Oscar for scoring the adaptation of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1967), another Lester-directed film, and scored the cult comedy The Magic Christian (1969). He was passed away this week at the age of 90. Brenda Gazzar at Los Angeles Daily News.

The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.