Big one today. Let's begin with Movieline's ST VanAirsdale introducing his interview with Wim Wenders: "Until the End of the World was conceived over most of the 80s, filmed on four continents (including video smuggled out of China), and foresaw a future abetted by such diversions as mobile viewing devices, proto-GPS and a highly sought-after contraption that records images for the blind. Starring William Hurt, Sam Neill, Solveig Dommartin, Jeanne Moreau and Max von Sydow among an international ensemble of actors, the film also skyrocketed to a $23 million budget and found its distributors — including Warner Bros in the United States — requiring cuts that reduced it to barely a quarter of Wenders's original vision. Later locked in at just under five hours, it's the type of material that today would be a shoo-in for a cable miniseries that could probably win Emmys for everyone involved. Twenty years on, however, it's relatively lost to the mainstream, with Wenders's directors cut as yet unreleased outside two territories in Europe." STVA talks with Wenders about the film ("it's funny how science fiction eventually becomes reality"), its instant-classic soundtrack — and his love for Lou Reed and Metallica's LuLu.
In other news. "Yvonne Rainer stirred up debate last week when she lambasted performance artist Marina Abramović's plans to use human centerpieces for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's annual gala," reports Ann Binlot for Artinfo. "Rainer wrote a public letter to MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, declaring Abramović's An Artist's Life Manifesto to be 'grotesque' and 'exploitative' in its use of underpaid performers to create a queasy spectacle for wealthy patrons." In the letter, Rainer wrote that the rehearsal she saw was "reminiscent of Salò, Pasolini's controversial film of 1975 that dealt with sadism and sexual abuse of a group of adolescents at the hands of a bunch of postwar fascists. Though it is hard to watch, Pasolini's film has a socially credible justification tied to the cause of anti-fascism. Abramović and MoCA have no such credibility — and I am speaking of this event itself, not of Abramović's work in general — only a questionable personal rationale about the beauty of eye contact and the transcendence of artists' suffering." In the Los Angeles Times, Jori Finkel reports on Saturday's gala, talking with several of the performers and attendees — none of whom see where Rainer's coming from.
Reviews. Omer Fast's 5000 Feet Is the Best "is presented like a conventional big-budget Hollywood movie and has similarly high production values," writes Gemma Tipton for Artforum, but his "anti-narrative devices bring about an uncomfortable level of anxiety and perplexed anticipation as we are caught between our expectations of story and what is actually playing out on-screen."
Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady "is a movie that gives us Thatcher without Thatcherism," argues Xan Brooks in the Guardian. "The tone is jaunty and affectionate, a blend of Yes Minister and The King's Speech, fueled by flashbacks that bob us back through authorized history." Meryl Streep is, of course, "the one great weapon of this often silly and suspect picture. Her performance is astonishing and all but flawless." More from Baz Bamigboye (Daily Mail) and David Gritten (Telegraph). Back in September, AO Scott riffed in the New York Times on Thatcher as an "anti-muse."
Everyone's retweeting or reblogging the stunt Laura Kern's pulled off in the latest issue of Film Comment, so if you haven't seen it yet, you might want to have a look at it now.
DVDs. Chuck Bowen: Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game, "as Paul Schrader says in this Criterion edition's liner notes, represents all of cinema's possibilities in 106 minutes." Also in Slant, Budd Wilkins: "In Dirty Like an Angel, Catherine Breillat straddles the line between observational slice-of-life dramatics and the tumultuous sexual tug of war that dominates her subsequent body of work."
Crime Story: The Complete Series is out from Image Entertainment, and Tony Dayoub and Matt Zoller Seitz are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Mann's short-lived series at Press Play.
Awards. There are 45 contenders for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar and Jerry Beck has stills and links for each and every one of them at Cartoon Brew.
In the works. "The year 2012 looks like it will see an unprecedented rush of Korean directors working on foreign projects." At Korea Cinema Today, Ju Sung Chul checks in the progress of four of them:
- Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer. Based on French graphic novel set in a future when climate change has brought on extremely cold temperatures, wiping out much of humanity. Survivors board a train called Snowpiercer, but as supplies run out, all hell breaks loose. Park Chan-wook is a producer.
- Ryoo Seung-wan's The Berlin File. North and South Korean spies face off in Berlin. Ryoo: "I intend to make a realistic, fast-paced, Korean-style espionage action film about South Korean agents discovering North Korea's secret accounts and how political dynamics between the two Koreas get involved." Shooting's set to begin early next year.