“What kind of time machine is it that involves little more than covering the eyes? (To be precise, the hero was given some intravenous injections, too, but these served likewise to numb the senses, unraveling “the present and its certainties.”) My hunch is that covering the eyes and putting a record on may contain something of the time machine in and of itself.” The release of La Jetée’s soundtrack on a collector’s LP prompts Matthew H. Evans to a lovely exegesis of the bottomless philosophical meanings of memory in Marker’s half-hour short.
“Wise Blood sticks exceptionally close to the incidents and dialogue of its source. Its great faithfulness to O’Connor lies elsewhere, though: in the actors’ tactile realization of her characters, in the uncanny sense of being in a place that exists both in real time and outside of it, and in Huston’s determination to preserve the inexplicable mystery of Hazel Motes.” Stuart Klawans finds John Huston made just about every right directorial choice you could hope in the impossible task of adapting Flannery O’Connor to the screen—especially the proverbial 90% of the job that’s casting.
“In his late 20s, married, with a son, Fishburne initially thought Singleton was just hanging around to hear his stories about working with Spike Lee in School Daze. But then he approached Fishburne, saying, ‘I have a script I’m developing, and I really want you for one of the parts.’ ‘I said, “Slow down, stop, hold on. How old are you?” And he was like, “I’m 18.”’” Sam Kashner’s oral history on the making of Boyz N tha Hood captures how black actors were so excited over a script that covered unfamiliar territory (for Hollywood) with so emotion they lost all concerns about working with such a young director—and how white studio producers were completely indifferent till the good buzz kicked in. Via Longform.
“What I wanted to present with the character of Hulot was a man you can meet in the street, not a music-hall character—and I know what a music-hall character is, since I have been in the music-hall. For instance, if you invite Chaplin to a dinner you would be certain to have a genial clown who would turn to his wonderful tricks—after eating. With Hulot it is different. You may or may not wish to invite him for dinner, because he is a person.” Kino Slang reprints a 1957 interview in which Tati succinctly explains the difference between himself and Chaplin, and Hulot and the little tramp. Via Mubi.
“And who am I to judge? I still remember one night in 2011 when, eating dinner at a restaurant alone in a strange city, I watched a chunk of Erich von Stroheim’s 1919 film Blind Husbands on my fancy new phone, and had the shivery sense of stepping over a precipice into a new world whence I could never return. I may even have had a vision of the much-circulated video of David Lynch castigating iPhone ‘moviegoing’ from a few years back: ‘It’s such a sadness that you think you’ve seen a film on your fucking telephone…’” It’s a completely changed field for “movies”—in terms of viewing options, format, and even what counts as a movie—so, Nick Pinkerton argues, it’s overdue for a new critical language to match.
“I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I’m supersensitive and fragile. And I am supersensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. To do what I do, I have to remain open…. There’s a line in the show where someone says [of her Stranger Things character], ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh, you know, she’s crazy.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.’ Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?” Interviewed by Heather Havrilesky, Winona Ryder displays all the intelligence and unchecked emotion that first made her a star, coupled with the wisdom and thickened carapace that women in the movies must still unfortunately develop to get past the years of their enforced hiatus. Via David Hudson.
“When I’m on my own and I’m doing something for myself, I don’t do an outline. I build it, little by little, as I’m working on it. I think about it for like six months, and I’ll think, “Oh, that’s interesting here!” It’s going in a cool direction, but I don’t know in advance how it’s going to end. I like to have the freedom to see where it goes. I don’t like to cement myself into something. Sometimes it can take me a few years; it’s not an efficient way to work.” Neil McGlone talks with Charlie Kaufman about early influences, the difference between writing for other directors and for himself, and his desert island (video) disc, which choice makes perfect sense.
“Well, the film has a specific mood. Either you do it exactly the same way—in which case, it’s not a remake, it’s a copy, which is pointless—or, you change things and make another movie. In that case, why call it “Suspiria”?” Dario Argento talks with Eric Kohn about the mooted Suspiria remake, the ongoing frustrations of the movie business, and what his big mistake was on Dracula 3D (perhaps uniquely, he thinks it was paying too much fidelity to the source). Via Mike Vanderbilt.
“Nicolas is really collaborative—he’s not tutorial in any way—he has good ideas but he wants to know what your ideas and opinions are. He’s pretty much colourblind with certain things. ‘Nic, that’s just a ridiculous combination of colours!’ Wanting to put bright red on bright blue? No one can see that!” Will Perkins interviews designer Ben Ib and AllCity producer David Frost about coming up with the two most remarkable credit sequences of the year, the opening and closing titles for Refn’s The Neon Demon.
Daisy Woodward offers a small gallery of the Polaroids Gus Van Sant took of his auditioning actors, charming and intimate in their own right, now with the added patina of remembering that Keanu Reeves or Nicole Kidman, however lovely still, once looked so young and ready to conquer the world. Via Matt Fagerholm.
Adrian Curry offers some favorites from the work of Spanish poster designer and illustrator Macario Gómez Quibus—Mac, as he signs his artwork—a terrific collection which includes, in Curry’s ordering, back-to-back illustrations of Bardot (thickly brushed, sensual, fauvist) and Ben Gazzara (delicately lined chiascuro) that are about the best drawings I could imagine of either.
David Huddleston, the Big Lebowski of The Big Lebowski (1998), was also the mayor of Rock Ridge in Blazing Saddles (1974) and Santa Claus in Santa Claus: The Movie (1985). He appeared in Black Like Me (1964), the TV movie Brian’s Song (1971), and the westerns Rio Lobo (1970), Bad Company (1972), and Billy Two Hats (1974), was Elliot Gould’s editor in Capricorn One (1977) and the trial judge in the musical version of The Producers (2005). For the small screen he appeared in the TV shows Adam-12, The Waltons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Gunsmoke, King Fu, and Star Trek: The Next Generation and had recurring roles in Petrocelli, The Wonder Years, Gilmore Girls, and The West Wing. He passed away last week at the age of 85. Sam Roberts for The New York Times.
Seattle Screens, a survey of revivals, restorations, limited runs, and otehr releases outside of the mainstream, is on Parallax View here.