“Nobody’s more responsible for the final outcome of the recording than Harry, just as nobody was more responsible for the final shape that The Conversation took than Murch. As an editor, he magicks emotional tone out of thin air.” Charles Bramesco plunks for alternate authorship of one of Coppola’s masterpieces, finding The Conversation’s themes so tied to the play of editing, and its technique on that score so masterly nimble, why not credit it to Walter Murch? Staying at The Dissolve, Judy Berman considers the factors that made Dogme 95 so congenial (as these things go) for women directors. (“In keeping with Dogme’s declaration that genre movies were “not acceptable,” each [woman-directed Dogme film] also flagrantly subverts the conventions of romantic comedy—the genre that brought Bier to prominence, and the cinematic niche that simultaneously welcomes and traps women directors.”)
“As much as he has ever done before, in An Autumn Afternoon, Ozu explores the fluctuating roles in a family: who is in charge, who is subservient, who is the breadwinner, who is the dependent, and what is the proper, or the best, familial arrangement?” Jeremy Carr celebrates the familiar consolations of Ozu’s last film. Via David Hudson.
I’m assuming it’s the same Jeremy Carr who also writes up Some Came Running for Mubi, focusing on the “conflicting oppositions” between high and low, respectable and demimonde, that permeate the film and begin with its star.
“The Band Wagon was the Being John Malkovich-cum-Birdman of MGM musicals. It can be described as the intersection of stifling high aspirations (“Shut up in our little sweatbox of the arts”) with beautifully disreputable commercial instincts (“That’s entertainment!”).” And speaking of Minnelli, Howard Hampton finds his backstage musical the height of artifice and meta-commentary; then, in a personal coda, all the more moving because of it.
“The idea that two people can hold truths that contradict each other but are still true for them is where I find much of the energy of the narrative. I realized while working on the book that to write about my father, I needed to understand his truth, even as it contradicted my own. I needed to see the world through his eyes. The movie handles this in a less complicated way. In the movie, there is only one truth. The person on the other side of the argument is a liar.” Stephen Elliott describes the experience so many writers know well: Seeing the adaptation of your memoirs (in Elliott’s case, The Adderall Diaries) up on the screen and finding the results so far from the truth you start to wonder whether verisimilitude has any place in movies.
Paul Bond hangs out with the rival groups chiseling away and North Korea’s isolation by ballooning DVDs and USB drives containing edited versions of The Interview and Team America into the country. Or trying to; each of the groups’ well-publicized efforts gets stopped by South Korean officials, since why should only the movies be a bit of a ridiculous farce?
A pair of good interviews at Filmmaker Magazine: First, Michael Schultz talks with Jim Hemphill about his years of work on the stage, and how that prepared him for the challenges of filming Cooley High. (“They never officially gave us a green light. They couldn’t figure out if they really wanted to make the movie, and I said, ‘Look, this is Chicago. If we don’t go there and start shooting before winter comes, forget it.’ So we went to Chicago to set up an office and start casting before the studio gave us a green light, because we needed all these kids and didn’t have money to hire a lot of SAG actors.”) While Larry McConkey, Steadicam operator for Goodfellas’s Copa sequence, describes to Matt Mulcahey the mix of good planning and ingenious, improvised workarounds that created the legendary shot. (“We got to the kitchen and Michael Ballhaus said, ‘Marty, we have to go into the kitchen.’ Marty said, ‘Why would they go into the kitchen?’ And Ballhaus said, ‘Because the light is beautiful.’ ‘OK, we go in the kitchen.’”)
“And the process of shooting it was very intense and complicated because the film has to have a kind of zen vibe about it and the second you’re moving the camera, it’s like, in come the guys chucking down boards to move the dolly and a real frenzy of activity and then back to this quiet mode. And you’re absolutely right, that leans hardest of all on the actors.” Alex Garland’s making the rounds doing a good job talking up Ex Machina. With admirer Rian Johnson the discussion (quoted above) naturally focuses more on production methods. His conversation with Kyle Buchanan, on the other hand, sticks (somewhat defensively) to the film’s tricky portrait of gender—which of course necessitates heavy spoilers. (“In the case of Ava, you have a man who’s tasked with figuring out what’s going on in this thing’s head, and at a certain point, that’s exactly what he stops doing. Why does he stop doing it? And if he stops doing it, does the audience also stop doing it? Do men stop doing it, but women continue doing it? Or do both men and women stop doing it? Now, that’s what I’m interested in.”)
“I love filming the act of walking, because no preparation is needed. Just a little makeup for Hsiao-kang, and a red monk’s robe. We go to the location I have selected and begin to film. It’s like when a painter goes out to paint a still life. Have you ever heard of a painter planning or conceptualizing anything before going out to paint a still life? He paints what he finds and sees. Because the world is so full of wonders, one can never run out of subjects to paint. Why deliberately worry or challenge myself?” Interviewed by Nick Pinkerton, Tsai Ming-liang explains his openness to new modes of filmmaking and presentation—designing his newest movies for galleries or to be premiered on the Internet—in terms that never collapse to simple optimism over expanded options or nostalgia for a theatrical distribution that’s mostly passed him now. Via Mubi.
“I like to save money, I like to keep the costs down, but that’s mainly because I want to be able to make sure all the money we are spending is in the movie, it’s the part that’s up there, and nothing is wasted. As far as the movie making money, I don’t know how to influence that. I feel like there would not be much of a point in me saying, “Let’s do the movie this way, because it will be more popular.” You can’t guess.” Wes Anderson has a chat with The Talks.
Adrian Curry, invaluable curator of Movie Poster of the Week at Mubi, has a new tumblr dedicated to movie marquees, from the eye-catching spectacles of yesteryear to the pleasantly nostalgic sight of chunky red and black plastic letters announcing you can make your selection from Honeysuckle Rose, The Blue Lagoon, or The Shining.
An upcoming auction by Prop Store Collectibles will sell off 30 years’ worth of models, molds, and puppetry from Rick Baker; the catalog, available online or to download as a .pdf, is a treat to shuffle through, displaying Baker’s creations from Gremlins, Men in Black, Planet of the Apes, Gorillas in the Mist (so many, many gorillas in these pages) and most disturbing of all, the animatronic stand-ins from Baby’s Day Out. Via Rachel Handler.
Richard Corliss, Time magazine’s film critic for the past 35 years, passed away Thursday night at the age of 71, following a major stroke. Before Time, he wrote for National Review, SoHo Weekly News, and New Times, and in 1970 became the editor of Film Comment, a position he held for twenty years before passing the mantle on to Richard T. Jameson. At Time, Corliss also wrote about theater and television and penned numerous features and obituaries, but it was as the publication’s longest-serving film critic that he made his most indelible impression, penning over 2500 reviews. Richard Zoglin pays tribute to his colleague at Time and the magazine has selected 25 of Corliss’s most memorable reviews.
You may not remember ever seeing Italian-born actor and voice artist Robert Rietti on the screen but you have surely heard him. He was a career voice dubbing artist with a gift for mimicry who, among many others, supplied the voices of Emilio Largo (played by Adolfo Celi) in Thunderball (1965), Tiger Tanaka (Teturo Tanba) in You Only Live Twice (1967), and Ernst Blofeld (John Hollis) in For Your Eyes Only (1981). He dubbed Orson Welles in Treasure Island (1972) when Welles was unavailable for loop, Richard Kiel in Force Ten From Navarone (1978), and Robert Shaw in Avalanche Express (1979) when the actor died during production, and he voiced Number Two in a number of episodes of the Patrick McGoohan The Prisoner. Most of his work was uncredited but he has appeared as an actor onscreen as well, beginning as a child actor in the 1930s and later appearing in such films as The Hiding Place (1975), The Omen (1976), Never Say Never Again (1983), and Hannibal (2001). Mike Barnes at The Hollywood Reporter.
The 2015 edition of NFFTY, the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, plays through the weekend with numerous programs of shorts at SIFF Uptown, including collections of animation, documentary, and LGBT-themed pieces. It plays through Sunday, April 26. Complete schedule here.
Cinerama partners with the Seattle Art Museum for a special five-day showing of The Tales of Hoffman in its brand new 4k restoration, which was funded in part by Martin Scorsese and the Film Foundation. It plays through Tuesday, April 28. Remember, it’s reserve seating, so get pick your seats and get your advance tickets here.
Playing one show only for an early Saturday matinee this weekend is the newly restored Oklahoma! (1955), which debuted at the Turner Classic Film Festival last month. Advance tickets here.
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.