- Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, the first woman to be nominated for a directing Oscar (for 1975's Seven Beauties), died on December 9. After working as an assistant director for Federico Fellini on 8 1/2, Wertmüller went on to become a prolific and distinctive filmmaker in her own right, combining politics and sex and humor in films like The Seduction of Mimi and Swept Away. In an interview with Criterion, she stated: "I consider myself a director, not a female director. I think there’s no difference. The difference is between good movies and bad movies. We should not make other distinctions."
- The prolific critic and theorist bell hooks has died today. In addition to her many writings on the feminist movement and cultural politics, hooks was also an important media theorist. Her book Reel to Real: Race, Class and Sex at the Novies takes on films by directors like Spike Lee, Julie Dash, and Quentin Tarantino. She also coined the term "oppositional gaze," which describes the spectatorship of mass media by Black women, in her book Black Looks: Race and Representation.
- Sundance has announced its reduced 2022 lineup. The hybrid festival will take place in-person in Park City, online, and in arthouse theaters across the United States. The Berlinale has also released the first few titles of its 2022 lineup, which includes new films by James Benning, Darezhan Omirbayev, Éric Baudelaire, Lina Rodriguez, Ali Asgari, and more.
- The 2021 class of the National Film Registry is its most diverse yet, featuring a range of titles from Christine Choy's Who Killed Vincent Chin? and John Waters' Pink Flamingo to Gregory Nava's Selena.
- The trailer for Everything Everywhere All At Once, the newest film by Daniels (the filmmaking duo behind Swiss Army Man). The kung-fu sci-fi epic takes place in a "multiverse" threatened by an evil that only Evelyn (played by Michelle Yeoh!) can defeat. Also starring in the film are Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
- The newest trailer for Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Resurrections shows Keanu Reeve's Neo experiencing serious déjà vu, with footage from the last three films intercut with new scenes and characters that seem uncannily familiar.
- The action continues with RRR, the latest by Indian director S.S. Rajamouli (Baahubali). Set in the 1920s, the film follows two Indian revolutionaries who fight against the Nizam of Hyderabad and the British Raj.
- The trailer for Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Lingui, The Sacred Bonds, about a single mother and her teenage daughter in Chad who seek out an abortion.
- Narrated by Brad Pitt, the digital premiere of Terrence Malick's stunning documentary Voyage of Time will be streaming exclusively on MUBI in 4K on December 17.
- Over at Ecstatic Static, a program of eight films on landscapes by filmmakers Carla Andrade, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Jumana Emil Abboud, Lois Patiño, Malena Szlam, Maya Watanabe, Minjung Kim, Salomé Lamas.
- In a new profile from the New York Times, Pedro Almódovar discusses shooting during a pandemic and working with a 14-month-old actor, and confronting the legacy of dictator Francisco Franco in his new film Parallel Mothers.
- From Barry Jenkins to Annemarie Jacir, Time Out has asked the "coolest filmmakers on the planet" for their pick of the best movie theaters.
- The Guardian has published an engrossing profile of documentary filmmaker and writer Nina Gladitz, who dedicated her life to proving Leni Riefenstahl's complicity in Nazism.
- To celebrate Chris Marker's centenary, Chunking Books has published the first of many digital catalogs containing background context, insights, and various "ephemera" surrounding Marker's extravagantly large body of work. There is also a print version that has sold out, but will have another printing.
- In memory of the late Lina Wertmüller, we recommend reading Another Gaze's Lila Bullen-Smith on sex work and capitalist modernity in Wertmüller's Love and Anarchy. Samm Deighan of Diabolique also has an extensive two-part essay on Wertmüller's collaborations with her muse, Giancarlo Giannini.
- This year's Le Cinéma Club book club features film-related book recommendations from Arthur Jafa, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, A.S. Hamrah, Wes Anderson, and more.
- Henri De Corinth's essay on the first part of Denis Villeneuve's Dune compares the film to Soviet science fiction cinema, the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Antonioni, and other American studio blockbusters from recent years.
- Critic Phil Coldiron interviews artist Wayne Koestenbaum about his feature-length film The Collective, which was shot during the course of one afternoon at UnionDocs.
RECENTLY ON THE NOTEBOOK
- "This one’s unique in that the world it was finished in is substantially different from the world we all remember." Michael M. Bilandic introduces his film Project Space 13 is exclusively showing on MUBI in many countries in the series The New Auteurs, as well as in the series Anarchy in NYC: Michael M. Bilandic's Streetwise Cinema.
- To mark the release of Project Space 13, Josh Heaps reflects on the embrace of the internet in the films of Michael M. Bilandic.
- In an interview with Alex Broadwell, colorist Matt Wallach discusses the rarely-discussed profession and his work on films like No Time to Die, Blade Runner 2049, and Ad Astra.
- For The Deuce Notebook, Caroline Golum writes on Recession-era New Hollywood, 1930s period pieces that explored nostalgia, radicalism, and rapidly-shifting American life.
- Adrian Curry of Movie Poster of the Week has gathered several beautiful new Swedish posters for some timeless classics, from the NonStop Plakat Collection.
- Still on the search for holiday gifts? Our first-ever Notebook Gift Guide has got you covered with our pick of everything from coffee table books and career surveys to movie merch and prints.
- Following Thessaloniki International Film Festival's career retrospective, Yoana Pavlova surveys the work of Binka Zhelyazkova—who in 1957 became the first woman narrative filmmaker in Bulgaria.
- In an interview with Beatrice Loayza, Bruno Dumont discusses his media satire France.
- A spinning "still digital painting" by Ken Jacobs, entitled "Pandemic."
- Gaumont will be releasing Louis Feuillade's 1918 serial film Tih Minh on Blu-ray (with English subtitles) next month! (Via Michael Glover Smith on Twitter.)
- A video for The Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 experience, a free tech demo that showcases the new engine through stunning car chases across an expansive city, with appearances by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in virtual form.