Posted in: by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Links, Obituary / Remembrance

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of June 23

“Though Le trou is remarkably more austere, it is still in the tradition of all of Becker’s previous movies, built as they are out of lost time. A constellation of glances, gestures, and acts of physical grace, the film is an unlikely blend of styles. If the overwhelming feeling is for the pleasure derived from the professional way Becker’s inmates treat their escape, there is also a flipside feeling of moments spent relaxing between key sequences.” Christopher Small burnishes the reputation of the still underrated Jacques Becker by the most direct means available to an auteurist cinephile: direct comparison (of three of Becker’s films) to Howard Hawks.

“Like Leos Carax, Jarmusch is a filmmaker of romantic and poetic fantasy conceits in which a certain nostalgie de la boue always plays a part. But unlike Carax, Jarmusch’s sense of fantasy is always grounded in at least a superficial sense of banal reality; even his century-old vampires occupy the recognizably mundane quarters of Detroit and Tangier. Paterson is of course less obvious as a fantasy than Only Lovers Left Alive, yet its utopian vision of small-town America as a friendly multiracial community in which every person appears to be some sort of artist is clearly sustainable only as a defiant poetic conceit that flies in the face of a Trump-led America, however gentle its multiple articulations might be.” Cycling through Jarmusch’s tendencies as a minimalist, fabulist, and poet Jonathan Rosenbaum places Paterson‘s everyday utopia in the director’s ouvre with his typical keen observation–barring the odd assertion that Rizwan Manji is Latino. Via David Hudson.


“Eleanor’s characters often illuminated aspects of womanhood that were deeply familiar and yet seldom depicted onscreen. She was especially shrewd at showing the innate defensive tactics that women use to protect themselves from men’s unwanted advances.” With the films of the Perrys enjoying a retrospective and commensurate reassessment, Paula Mejia hopes this time the essential contributions of screenwriter Eleanor aren’t overshadowed by director Frank.

“Quentin Tarantino’s movies have a lot of strong, female characters. There’s The Bride in Kill Bill, Shoshanna in Inglorious Basterds, the chicks that don’t get murdered in Death Proof. I find that a lot of movies have female characters. Have you seen a movie?” Ali Elkin catalogs mansplaining at its finest in her McSweeney’s piece “An Oral History of Quentin Tarantino as Told to Me by Men I’ve Dated”.

On the set of ‘The Beguiled’

“‘I feel like part of my role is to be protective,’ she says. ‘I’m also grateful to actors. They’re exposed—­they have to be vulnerable.’ Yet there’s no doubt that Coppola always gets what she wants, and she slyly admits as much. ‘Maybe it’s being not aggressive, and petite,’ she says. She is also, you suspect, adept at the fine art of asking people to help, instead of just ordering them around. She says that Bill Murray calls her the Velvet Hammer, which she loves.” Stephanie Zacharek’s fine profile of Sofie Coppola gets a lot of mileage from the supposed delicacy, even borderline inarticulateness, of the Beguiled director’s attempts to put into words things she feels intuitively. But Coppola’s more than capable of getting her points across when interviewed by Nicholas Rapold. (“I think that’s because in [Siegel’s film], it’s really the guy’s point-of-view. The soldier comes in, and it’s like a fantasy that turns into a nightmare. In this version, we connect to the—or, I mean, I’m connecting to the female characters. They’re not a mystery, they’re more human, and it’s about how their complexities are being torn between what they should do, and their desires. He’s more mysterious. It’s sort of the opposite look at the same story.”) While Saroya Roberts uses the fact that almost none of Coppola’s inner circle would talk to her for her own article to buttress her argument that the director’s nostalgia for a pre-adulthood femininity is equal parts autobiographical, radical, and surrenderingly insular. (“Coppola is as quiet in this photo as she is in real life. She is so soft spoken that her mother regularly had to strain to hear her when she was a teenager. And when her father commanded her to speak up on set, she did not. Neither do her heroines.”)

“In order to further reduce the risk of color taking over too much, we shot through a gray gauze, which cut the color down. People talk about delicate color or vulgar color, depending upon whichever end of the scale you lean toward. However, that camera will record whatever you give it, so it’s always a matter of taste. Some people think that because it’s a color picture, the girl’s got to wear a dress with flowers all over it, that’s nonsense.”  American Cinematographer has posted up an interview with Alfred Hitchcock conducted by (no joke) Herb A, Lightman on the eve of Torn Curtain. And it’s a sign of the director’s ability to integrate technical brilliance with moral and ethical force that even that film yields fascinating examples for Hitch to pontificate upon. Via Movie City News.

Bertrand Tavernier

“Let’s come back to the films. What is important is whether the film survives those fights. In many cases, it does. The polemics are not the subject of my film. My admiration is the subject. They gave me so much. They allowed me to stay alive, to have hope when I was sick or depressed. Those directors in the film themselves, sometimes fighting against censorship or the producers—if I’m able to make a film now, it’s because of their fight. That’s much more important than the fights between critics.” Discussing his documentary My Journey through French Cinema, Bertrand Tavernier talks with Steve Erickson about the forgotten French directors that preceded the New Wave, and the hypocritical self-promotion of the Wavers themselves.


John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen directed two of our favorite cultural underdog tales: directing Sylvester Stallone’s screenplay for Rocky (1977), for which he won an Oscar, and The Karate Kid (1984). Beginning as a cinematographer and editor, he made his feature directorial debut with Turn on to Love (1969) and grabbed attention with Joe (1970), starring Peter Boyle as a working class bigot, and Save the Tiger (1973), directing Jack Lemmon to an Academy Award for Best Actor. Other films include W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975) with Burt Reynolds, The Formula (1980) with George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, Neighbors (1981) with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, two Karate Kid sequels, and Rocky V (1990). He passed away at the age of 81. More from Mike Barnes for Hollywood Reporter.

Actor Stephen Furst will always be Flounder, the not-too-bright pledge in Animal House (1978), to generations of fans, but he also starred in the medical drama St. Elsewhere as Dr. Elliot Axelrod and in the cult science fiction series Babylon 5 as Vir Cotto. Between those gigs, he was a busy character actor in films and on TV, appearing in guest roles on Newhart, CHiPs, MacGyver, and Night Court, taking supporting roles in films like Scavenger Hunt (1979), Silent Rage (1982), and Up the Creek( 1984) with his Animal House co-star Tim Matheson, and in the TV movie The Day After (1983). He was in demand as voice actor for animated shows and directed episodes of Babylon 5 and a series movies made for TV (notably SciFi Channel) and video. He died at the age of 63 due to complications for diabetes. More from Jonah Engel Bromwich for The New York Times.

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.