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Daily Briefing. British TV, Polish Animation and More

Also: European films at Yale, low-budget exploitation in San Francisco, awards nominations, interviews and remembrances.
The DailyAnchorage International Film Festival

Craig Updegrove's designed the poster for the Anchorage International Film Festival, opening today and running through December 11.

"Peter Kosminsky has earned that rare accolade for a director of television drama: a retrospective at the BFI." In the Telegraph, Jasper Rees notes that Kosminsky is "a pretty much unique figure in contemporary television who has devoted his career to giving the powerful sleepless nights. Tony Blair's sofa cabinet all hated The Government Inspector. The NHS was excoriated in Innocents, his drama about Bristol heart surgeons. The MoD weren't big fans of his early documentary about the Falklands. Laws have been rewritten thanks to Kosminsky's zest for asking awkward questions in front of millions of viewers." Peter Kosminsky: Making Mischief opens today and runs through December 22. On a somewhat related note — it's about British television, anyway — for Film Quarterly, Mark Fisher looks back at Andrew Davies's A Very Peculiar Practice, a satirical series "set during the high pomp of Thatcherism" that ran in 1986 and 1988.

Remnants of Utopia: European Film, ca. 1975, a conference at Yale, happens today and tomorrow and Michael J Anderson's written up the films that'll be screening.

"The breathtaking elasticity of time and memory in Lewis Klahr's elliptical collage films is echoed in the title of his ongoing, open-ended digital-video series Prolix Satori," writes Kristin M Jones. Klahr will be at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for this evening's San Francisco Cinematheque presentation.

"For 25 years [Greydon] Clark was a prolific independent director, writer, producer, and even bit-part actor in the realm of low-budget exploitation movies designed for quick playoff in second-run theaters, graveyard-shift broadcast slots, and on rental shelves," writes Dennis Harvey in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "Most were retreads of well-worn genre trends, a couple outright imitations of recent hits; they rarely hit the radar of mainstream critics, let alone awards-giving bodies — not even the Golden Raspberries." Tonight, "he'll be at the Roxie for a Midnites for Maniacs tribute triple-bill featuring rare 35mm screenings of features long out of circulation."

Tonight through Sunday at Cinefamily in Los Angeles:

Reads. "Digital cinema is here." David Bordwell presents the first of a series of entries reflecting on how we got here and where we're going. Meantime, Dennis Cozzalio shows us how "fight to keep 35mm print production from disappearing continues."

Toby Lichtig reviews Timothy Corrigan's The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker for the TLS; and for the New York Review of Books: Russell Baker on Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar and Lorrie Moore on Werner Herzog's Into the Abyss.

Awards. "The Hunter and The Eye of the Storm lead the nominations for the inaugural AACTA [Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts] awards (formerly known as the AFI Awards), with 14 and 12 nominations apiece. Also scoring a hefty swag of nominations are Snowtown (10 nominations) and Red Dog (8). Those four films, along with Oranges and Sunshine and Mad Bastards, are the nominees for Best Film." The 500 Club has the full list.

"The Golden Satellites are the craziest awards group that no one celebrates for their crazy," writes Nathaniel Rogers. "Mostly, we suspect, because their crazy is so eternally undefined. They change their rules. They change their number of nominees. It's impossible to follow their logic from year to year and even within a year." At any rate, he's got this year's round of nominations, and they are indeed plenty.

Lists. Ben Sachs and JR Jones have begun counting down their top tens of the year in the Chicago Reader. Ben begins with his #10, Steven Soderbergh's documentary about Spalding Gray, And Everything Is Going Fine, "one of the director's most impressive formal achievements."

Adweek shows us the "10 Best Commercials of 2011."

Interviews. Anne Thompson's running Jacob Combs's translation of Jean-Paul Chaillet's interview in Le Figaro with Roman Polanski in which he says that he'd "love to make a film about aging that would take place before the war.  It would follow the stages in the life of a woman who would not have at her disposal the resources of today like cosmetic surgery, creams and pills."

And Sam Adams talks with Woody Allen for the Los Angeles Times.

In the works. Three alumni of The Wire, Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield), JD Williams (Bodie) and Hassan Johnson (Wee-Bay), are reuniting for An American in Hollywood, though, of course, they'll not be reprising the characters we know them best for. Jasmin has details at the Playlist.

Obits. "The production designer Syd Cain, who has died aged 93, was one of many behind-the-scenes professionals elevated to something like prominence by the worldwide interest in the James Bond films," writes Kim Newman in the Guardian. "An industry veteran who began work in British cinema as a draughtsman in 1947, contributing to the look of the gothic melodrama Uncle Silas, Cain is credited on a range of film and television projects, but remains best known for his work in various design capacities on the 007 series, from Dr No in 1962 to GoldenEye in 1995."

"Her mother was Loretta Young. Her father was Clark Gable." Paul Vitello in the New York Times: "Yet Judy Lewis spent her first 19 months in hideaways and orphanages, and the rest of her early life untangling a web of lies spun by a young mother hungry for stardom but unwilling to end her unwed pregnancy…. Ms Lewis, a former actress who died on Friday at the age of 76, was 31 before she discerned the scope of the falsehoods that cast her, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, into what she later described as a Cinderella-like childhood."

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Watching Spalding Gray try to charm one of the head nurses at the rehabilitation center he is staying at after his car accident – and failing (she wants no part of him, probably has no idea who he really is, his requests for an interview with her seem to strike her as a symptom of Gray’s aphasia) – is for me, one of the most upsetting moments in any movie I saw this year, along with some scenes from DYING AT GRACE.

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