“So if a question that might have some pertinence for the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s, “Why do the French love Jerry Lewis”, can be superseded by a question pertinent to the next four decades, “Why do the French and the Americans love Woody Allen?”, the fact that the first question continues to get posed while the second question doesn’t isn’t because an answer to either question is self-evident. Perhaps even more to the point, why do the Americans love and hate Jerry Lewis?” It’s Jonathan Rosenbaum posing the question, so the well-reasoned answer involves class and capitalist forces, while getting at the heart of the slippery contradictions that lie under Lewis’s smooth, gleaming surfaces. Via Girish Shambu.
Satyajit Ray’s biographer Andrew Robinson recounts the making of Pather Panchali, which should have fallen apart a few times over from lack of financing but miraculously, and thankfully, never did.
Speaking of biographers, Simon Callow weighs in on Welles’s centenary as authoritatively as you’d expect, and throws in a great photo of Eartha Kitt resting on the director’s knee to boot. More to read from the NY Review, which has freed up from their archives a quartet of fine pieces, from writers including Gore Vidal and Joseph McBride.
“Throughout his filmography he’s continually drawn to performers like Chloë Sevigny, Asia Argento, Kim Gordon, and, most recently, Kristen Stewart—all women who have been construed by press and public as being aloof and reserved, “awkward” and rebellious for not conforming to the familiar archetype of the pleasantly conventional starlet. They’re all cast in roles of agency and mystique and typically dressed in monochromatic pantsuits and oversized sunglasses. They possess a steely, cool androgyny—exercising full control while still being undoubtedly stylish.” Mark Lukenbill highlights the actresses in Assayas’s films (while, fair enough, skipping over the ones that don’t) that embody the punk esthetic “living collage” of ripping apart dresses to make a pattern of your own.
Also from Criterion, Andrew Hussey visits Chanteloup-les-Vignes 20 years after La Haine was filmed there and finds many who remember the shoot fondly but agree what’s tearing the community apart now are factions Kassovitz (or pretty much anybody else in the 1990s) never touched upon.
Richard Brody considers Saul Bellow’s brief but thought provoking run as a film critic, which he characterizes as a debate with Manny Farber that hinged upon (returning to a theme from a few entries up), among other things, the legacy of Orson Welles.
If you’ve ever wanted to sip your undoubtedly artisanal ale amidst visual homages to Italian neorealism, Wes Anderson has you covered with Bar Luce, the Milan pub he designed. Margaret Rhodes has the details, from the furniture adopted from the short Castello Cavalcanti to the Steve Zissou-themed pinball machine. Via B. G. Henne.
“There was this unspoken agreement that films shouldn’t star human beings. They should star human beings whose souls are trapped in the bodies of smaller things, or bigger things. Souls trapped in fish; souls trapped in toys; souls trapped in cars. It’s just good storytelling.” Whatever genuine oral histories of Pixar are out there can’t be half as entertaining as Clickhole’s version.
“For me, a film is not written by the screenplay or the dialogue, it’s written by the way of the filming. The choices that you have to make between still shot or traveling shot, color or black-and-white, speedy way of acting or slow-motion or whatever, all these choices, and the lens you choose, and the camera you choose, and then the editing, and then the music or not, and the mixing—all these choices all the way through the film, all through the making of the film, that’s what cine-writing is. It’s like the style in a way. I never say ‘it’s well-written’ because I know then people think about dialogue. So, I say, ‘it’s well cine-written.’” Agnês Varda’s interview with Violet Lucca followed a screening of the director’s shorts, so the conversation touches on many of her lesser-known but still remarkable efforts.
“With my background—I think I’m a little different from some of the [action stars] you mentioned. I was never 100 percent committed to my career. A lot of these guys were smarter than me. They were more savvy with their career choices, and more driven. I was just kind of this guy who used to do engineering, then I was a fighter, then I came to be a movie star.” Smarter about the business perhaps, but Dolph Lundgren’s interview with Alex Pappademas has enough honest self-examination and such a keen eye for the telling anecdote—whether about Andy Warhol or filming in apartheid South Africa—to settle the disconnect some have discovering the blond beefcake has a master’s degree. Plus the excellent news he’s reteaming with John Hyams.
“How did you define [Mad Max’s] reality?” “All of the catastrophic events we read about in the news—economic collapse, power grids breaking down, wholesale climate change, some nuclear skirmish on the other side of the globe—as of next Wednesday, all of those things will have happened. Then we jump 45 years into the future.” George Miller’s brief interview with Logan Hill shows that when it comes to both giving his rousing adventures mythological heft and employing new technology to achieve his visions onscreen, the director runs rings around the George Lucases of the world.
“In my experience, we’re always playing a little bit younger than we actually are, which is kind of cool. Sometimes we get to play up.” “It’s like we get the chance to fuck over time. By doing film, we get the chance to stab it in the back.” One of the better recent pairings in Interview Magazine has erstwhile costars Tom Hardy and Matthias Schoenarts bonding over mutual distrust of journalists and method actors.
Adrian Curry’s annual round-up of Cannes posters earns a not-safe-for-work warning—not for Noe’s already notorious poster for Love (Curry links to it, but that’s playing out of competition), but the new, and fetching, Sorrentino.
Elizabeth Wilson, a longtime character actress with a career spanning more than 50 years, played Dustin Hoffman’s mother in The Graduate (1967), Ralph Fiennes’s mother in Quiz Show (1994), Bill Murray’s mother in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012), and most famously the office busybody in the 1980 comedy 9 to 5. She also had supporting roles in Picnic (1955), The Goddess (1958), Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), and Catch-22 (1970), among many others. On stage she won a Tony Award for David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones in 1972 and Obie Awards for Taken in Marriage (1979) and Anteroom (1986) and on TV she earned an Emmy nomination for the mini-series Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder (1987). She passed away this week at the age of 94. David Belcher at The New York Times.
The Seattle International Film Festival is now in full swing. Parallax View is rounding up the coverage 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.