Daily Briefing. Trailer for Wakamatsu's "Mishima"

Also: Saul Bass's sole directorial effort. Bertolucci in Melbourne. Berlinale 2012 retrospective. Elvis and Nixon and more.
David Hudson

"Dream death-match to be sure, but I just noticed Koji Wakamatsu is actually making a new film based on Mishima's life," wrote Sanjuro six months ago, sparking a discussion in the Forum. 11.25 Jiketsu no Hi: Mishima Yukio to Wakamonotachi, with Arata taking the lead and Terajima Shinobu (Caterpillar) playing Mishima's wife, "focuses on the events of November 25, 1970, when Mishima entered the Tokyo headquarters of the Japan Self-Defense Forces along with four members of his private militia, the Tatenokai," wrote Nicholas Vroman in May at Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow. "Seizing control of the commandant's office, Mishima delivered a rambling speech from the balcony hoping to inspire a coup d'etat. He then returned to the office and committed suicide." He also notes that Wakamatsu's been blogging throughout the production. And today, Wildgrounds has posted the first trailer (above).

"Eco Sci-Fi" is the theme of the October issue of Electric Sheep, featuring David Cairns on Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running (1971), Neil Mitchell on Richard Fleischer's Soylent Green (1973), John Berra on Jack Smight's Damnation Alley (1977) and Mark Pilkington: "Gonzo-entomology doc The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971) won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, despite being presented by an entirely fictitious, gleefully deranged mad scientist, Nils Hellstrom, who clearly can't wait to welcome our new insect overlords. On the other side of the Pacific, Colin Eggleston's haunting Long Weekend (1978) saw a self-absorbed suburban couple who behave inconsiderately on a beach holiday get their come-uppance from Mother Nature herself. Both of these are well worth seeing, but for sophistication, imagination and ambition, none can match Saul Bass's Phase IV. Famed as a graphic designer of posters and title sequences for the likes of Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho), Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus) and Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas), Bass only got one shot at directing a feature, and by all accounts didn't enjoy the process much, but the resulting film is a period masterpiece that is both a microcosm of contemporary progressive issues and a beautiful, intelligent science fiction film." And as Robert Barry describes it, the soundtrack would make for a fine addition to the hauntological library. Phase IV is screening at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on Thursday.

Today through Thursday at the Tate Modern: Feel Flows: The Films of Phil Solomon.

The new Fall 2011 issue of Filmmaker features three interviews — Jason Guerrasio's with Sean Durkin and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Zachary Wigon's with Lars von Trier (Melancholia) and Megan Hollaway with Todd Rohal (The Catechism Cataclysm) — and Holly Willis on film schools, Mary Anderson Casavant on this year's Independent Film Week, Anthony Kaufman on how micro-budget productions put the squeeze on their crews and Lance Weiler on working with 5th graders on Robot Heart Stories.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image's Focus on Bertolucci runs through November 8 and Christos Tsiolkas writes: "If the great utopian hopes of socialism, communism and revolution were to flounder and shatter in the face of the reality of 20th-century totalitarian history, Novecento still remains cinema's greatest realization of what that impossible dream might look like, what it might have been."

"The Retrospective of the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival has rediscovered a legendary German-Russian film studio: Mezhrabpom-Film and its German branch Prometheus wrote film history from 1922 to 1936." The program in February will be called "The Red Dream Factory."

Cary Elwes's directorial debut will be Elvis & Nixon, with Eric Bana as the King and Danny Huston as the president. According to Kimberly Nordyke in the Hollywood Reporter, the film "centers on a Dec 21, 1970, visit that Presley paid to Nixon at the White House. The meeting was initiated by Presley, who wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a visit and suggesting that he be made a 'Federal Agent-at-Large' in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Presley brought with him family photos and a Colt 45 pistol as a personal gift to the president."

In the Guardian, Anthony Hayward remembers Sue Lloyd, primarily known for her work on British television. "In 1965, Lloyd made her film debut as Michael Caine's girlfriend in the spy thriller The Ipcress File, which included a memorable seduction scene. She was also given equal billing with Peter Cushing in the horror film Corruption (1968). Selling a newspaper story about her affairs with Peter Sellers and Sean Connery later enabled her to buy a London flat." She died on Thursday at the age of 72.

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Koji WakamatsuElectric SheepSaul BassSean DurkinLars von TrierTodd RohalBernardo BertolucciDailyDaily BriefingColumns
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