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Daily Briefing. ECM Remembers Angelopoulos, Greenaway in Venice, More

Also: Protecting Germany's nitrate archives from the Explosives Act. The films that changed directors' lives. And more.
The DailyMusic for Films

Two days after we tragically, absurdly lost Theo Angelopoulos to a motorcycle accident late last month, ECM Records posted a remembrance I've come across just today, thanks to a pointer from Robert Koehler. In a text Angelopoulos contributed to the collection Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM, he wrote, "There are moments when you hear a piece of music, have a chance conversation with someone or read a text and you get the unexpected feeling of communication at a deeper level, of a common language. In Eleni Karaindrou, I found a musical language which seemed to come into being at the same time as the images in my films. Sounds that were mine before they were born. This is why the way we collaborate has — or at least I think it has — its special characteristics."

ECM founder Manfred Eicher said in a 1990 interview, "Angelopoulos looks at things in silence. His sense of time, the long shots and the images of Giorgos Arvanitis had a profound influence on me. I saw his films and wondered if it could be possible to achieve something comparably 'auratic' in music production."

In the works. Peter Greenaway and producer Kees Kasander are setting up a new adaptation of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, reports Geoffrey Macnab for Screen. Kasander tells him that it'll be nothing like Visconti's 1971 version: "It's partly shot in Venice. Most will be shot in a studio. This film is coming closer to The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover than any (other) films we have made so far."

In other news. "German film history's most precious treasures are kept in a bunker outside Berlin," reports Hilmar Schmundt for Der Spiegel. And since those treasures, countless nitrate films, are highly explosive, the Federal Archives "feels obligated to copy them onto newer acetate film and then destroy many of the originals. In particular, bulk film material such as weekly newsreels from the 1930s and 40s is handed over for disposal by companies that also specialize in clearing land mines. Only the most valuable works are returned to the storage facility after a copy is made." Emphasis mine. Historians are now fighting to protect all nitrate films from destruction.

Vienna. Breaking Ground: 60 Jahre experimentelles Kino aus Österreich opens today at the Filmhaus-Kino and runs through March 27. Overviews (in German): Christoph Huber (Die Presse) and Isabella Reicher (Der Standard).

New York. Godard's Vivre sa vie (1962) screens tonight at the French Institute Alliance Française and, writing at the L, Steve Macfarlane finds it to be "one of his most lonely and beautiful films."

The New Yorker's Richard Brody recommends the exhibition, Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting, on view at the Frick through May 13, noting that "the best source for, so to speak, a soundtrack to his images is the book by his son, Jean, the filmmaker, whose memoir Renoir, My Father is both one of the great literary portraits of an artist and a passionate resuscitation of a lost world."

The Film That Changed My Life

Reading. "The Film That Changed My Life by Robert Elder features interviews with 30 directors about the one film that inspired, influenced, or touched their personal lives or careers," writes Susan Doll at Movie Morlocks. "While the title evokes a rapturous experience in which the filmmaker suddenly realizes his calling after viewing a magical movie, the book works better as a window into the participants' own films. Chicago's Music Box Theater has programmed a series of screenings based on the book in which participants are invited to a Q&A with Elder to discuss their perspective after the film. The series was launched last summer by the infamous John Waters, who had selected The Wizard of Oz (1939) for the book based on one line in the original script: 'Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?' Waters claims that he repeats the line each night before he goes to sleep, 'like a prayer.'" A bit more on the book follows; then comes quite a bit more on Steve James and his choice, Barbara Kopple's Harlan County USA (1976).

Noir City impresario Eddie Muller tells the story behind Lang's Scarlet Street (1945) at Keyframe, parts 1 and 2.

DVD. Nathan Rogers-Hancock for Cinespect: "It almost seems to good to be true, but in 1969, Hugo Santiago, an Argentine expatriate who had been working as an assistant director to Robert Bresson, completed Invasion, a feature-length film whose scenario was written by Adolfo Bioy Casares (The Invention of Morel) and Jorge Luis Borges, and whose screenplay was written by Santiago and Borges. 'Lost' in the late 70s (stolen, we are told, by the Argentine military government then in power), and triumphantly restored in the late 90s, Invasion is now available in the form of a limited-edition French DVD, to the delight of apparently nobody, which is a shame; while so-called lost films are often disappointing, as are films of even the most distinguished literary pedigree, Invasion is a small triumph, a fascinating example of a once-dominant strain of art-house experimentation that includes everything that one might look for in such a 'forgotten' work." Invasion did screen in Toronto and New York last fall, but of course, news that it's available on DVD now (albeit not cheaply) is welcome news indeed.

Listening. David Foster Wallace would have been 50 today and Open Culture is highlighting its DFW Audio Project.

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Germans are…film-burning?
That “limited-edition French DVD” of Hugo Santiago’s Invasión looks suspiciously like the DVD published by the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). On the photo of the box I can even see the little MALBA logo in the bottom right-hand corner…which would make it an expensive limited-edition Argentine DVD.
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Apropos ‘The Film That Changed My Life’ … I shall shamelessly promote my new list ten films that saved your life here (still waiting for yours too, David ;)).
Wow, I hadn’t realized the project had moved right on along so quickly — I’ve got some catching up to do! Thanks, GD!
Thanks so much for the Karaindrou tip-off…her work for Ulysses’ Gaze is one of my favorite pieces of music ever.

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