Light Industry, known for its weekly events series, has invited a number of artists, professors and critics to deliver introductory remarks and remembrances.
French president Francois Hollande said in a statement that Marker's most famous film, La Jetée, “will be remembered by history," while the Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras told the French newspaper Le Monde Monday that Marker “was a profoundly honest man, both politically and cinematographically.” In an email, Karen Cooper, the director of Film Forum, where many of Marker’s films have been screened throughout his career, called Marker a "genius." “He was one of the first documentary-essayists who could make seemingly casual personal musings the subject of his movies," she wrote. "But what musings! Sans Soleil is but one example of his brilliance, originality, humor, and humanity. A great light has gone out.”(1)
The John Ford western was the inspiration for many other genres and subgenres, especially horror and science fiction.
So it's fitting that Quentin Tarantino has named his new homage to the spaghetti western Django Unchained, after Django's titular antihero. Like Tarantino's films and the spaghetti western genre in general, Django is pure pastiche, a hybrid genre film pulled together from various other generic tropes. Django, directed by Sergio Corbucci, is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy; it's a riff on A Fistful of Dollars, which in turn is a revisionist remake of Yojimbo, which is an homage to John Ford's westerns.
Celine and Julie is long and hard to explain; there's a murder mystery, time travel, sublimated eroticism, and not only a movie-within-a-movie, but then a late-game enactment of said movie-within-a-movie as a play-within-a-movie. Primarily, it's a tour de force of performance, sustained rapport, and sheer joy. It exists at that point where sophistication and silliness not only feed off of each other, but need each other. It is surprising, compelling, enigmatic, and, most of all, delightful as a film-viewing experience.(4)
Essential big-screen viewing for CinemaScope fetishists, Otto Preminger's 1958 film Bonjour Tristesse, screening this week at Film Forum, is one of late-classic Hollywood's most eloquent triumphs of mise-en-scène over source material. It's an experience that will make you wish you had the time, or the wherewithal, or the proper seaside location in which to be so properly and officially Sad.
Two more: Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 'High Times' pull Village Voice Media ads due to Backpage.com controversy
The Tribeca Performing Arts Center, which is run under the auspices of CUNY's Borough of Manhattan Community College, will no longer advertise with the company's namesake paper, The Village Voice, after this week. And Trans High Corporation, the parent company of High Times magazine, announced in a press release on Monday that it would "discontinue any advertising or promotional relationship with Village Voice Media due to their continued financial stake in Backpage.com."
Rethinking 'The Graduate's place as the defining film of '60s, and Ben Braddock's accidental rebellion
If, like me, you're the child of Boomers, Mrs. Robinson was an irresistible pop tune about an old lady long before Anne Bancroft polluted your mind. This distortion is telling; the idea of The Graduate was more important than the film itself, which wasn’t passed down. It became their movie, like Easy Rider, and I didn’t bother to watch it until college. Both of those films felt fiercely protected, somehow inviolate, wrapped up with a whole mess of concepts and feelings that don’t crop up in either movie. But The Graduate is useful when seen as a film that could only be made, or at least find a mass audience, right as American society opened up. It’s less radical than we want it to be in retrospect, perhaps, but then again, so was America then.(1)
Richter explains the images hung on his studio wall for inspiration. One is of a classical sculpture, headless and armless. He speaks of the brutality inherent in these ravages of time, and then examines a photo of the death camps, an image he notes as appearing remarkably serene until one examines it more closely. Such are the power of captured images, and images that recall a history that seems inherently personal for Richter. Yet in another scene, looking at family photos, he notes their inability to communicate a true past, to be whole documents, to fully mean something.
With a clutch of screenings, Film Forum makes a case for the switch from film to digital projection, and tries to soften the blow
"This is DCP," a set of screenings including such Film Forum perennials as The Red Shoes and Rear Window, was meant to encourage regulars that they wouldn't be losing anything with a switch to digital projection—the "DCP" stands for "Digital Cinema Package." This seems like precisely the kind of technological advancement that a venerable repertory house can be counted upon to stand against. Which explains the rather defensive language: "[W]e're more than ever committed to showing classic films on film," Film Forum reassures its patrons.(8)
In Bresson's hands, preparations for the prison break become incantatory, even trance-like. Instead of sinister shadows and deceitful crooks or looming guards, there's light, clarity, and community within the prison population. A Man Escaped an idealistic film. How many prison-break films can say that? Not only did the story resonate with Bresson—himself a former P.O.W.—but it also allowed for an intersection of spirituality and realism, two of Bresson's primary concerns as a director.
“Film noir” is an awkward genre. On one hand, its stylistic features are easily codified—a morally ambiguous hero caught in a bind, a femme fatale, labyrinthine flashbacks, and high-contrast black-and-white photography—prompting any number of homages and parodies, from Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. On the other hand, film noir is also something of a parasite, an atmosphere that invades otherwise innocent films and bends them to its generic will. Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) is one of the most beloved film noirs, not least because of its self-consciousness about the genre: is it a noir or a noir-ification of a gothic melodrama?(1)
Charlie Chaplin made The Gold Rush, which screens at Film Forum for a week starting this Friday, in 1925. This is just three years before he made The Circus, his influential, last totally silent picture. After The Circus, Chaplin would make sound a significant part of films like City Lights and Modern Times. Later, he focused on making talkies like The Great Dictator and Monsieur Verdoux.
Preet Bharara on a prosecutor's 'descent to hell,' and, unrelated, how prosecutors can seek higher office
On Tuesday evening, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara sat in the front row of a small auditorium at Fordham Law School for a screening of Sydney Pollack's 1981 film Absence of Malice.
In the movie, a federal prosecutor leaks news of a murder investigation to an eager young journalist played by Sally Field, who makes only a perfunctory attempt to contact the suspect, Paul Newman, before the story runs on the front page of the "Miami Standard." Newman, who is innocent, tries to fight back, in his steely Newmanesque way, against the paper and the government, as the report progressively ruins his life. Later, before Wilford Brimley comes in to set things straight, there are some questionable journalistic ethics, a suicide, and a handful of illegal wiretaps.
Bharara, who occassionally slips a movie reference into his press conferences, was at Fordham Law as a guest of the Forum on Law, Culture and Society's Film Festival, and, as you might expect, didn't much approve of the prosecutors' conduct in the movie.
"What people don't realize is, it's really hard to get a wiretap on someone's phone," said Bharara in a panel discussion after the film.
Each week, Capital's editors and writers will offer a list of the events, activities, releases and personal obsessions that we are looking forward to during the next week. Here is a list of our anticipations.(1)
Like many of today's action stars, the post–World War II actor Robert Ryan was defined by his physique. His sunken, beady eyes, pronounced brow and heavy bags under his eyes gave him a simian appearance. That animalistic quality is the cornerstone of Ryan’s aggressive persona. Like Humphrey Bogart, Ryan looks like a refined savage, one whose tendency to explode manifested itself in cutting one-liners, pensive squints or plain physical violence.