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Jerry Schatzberg and a Few Lists

Jerry Schatzberg will be at New York's Film Forum this evening for a one-off screening of his 1969 debut feature, Puzzle of a Downfall Child. Following a Q&A, he'll sign copies of his new book, Women Then: Photographs 1954 - 1969.

"It was Schatzberg who took some of the most iconic photos of the young Bob Dylan (including the cover of the Blonde on Blonde album), as well as unusually candid, vibrant shots of other rock stars, actors, and models for the likes of Esquire and Vogue," wrote Scott Foundas in the Voice in 2008. Puzzle is "a jaundiced view of haute couture starring Faye Dunaway (in one of her best performances) as a former supermodel flashing back on a life filled with superficial glamour and busted-up relationships." The film "was embraced by European (especially French) critics and largely ignored or dismissed by American ones... But Schatzberg followed it up quickly with two films that, along with The Godfather, gave moviegoers their earliest glimpses of a diminutive New York stage actor named Al Pacino: The Panic in Needle Park, an unsentimental portrait of Manhattan junkies; and Scarecrow, one of those lyric stream-of-consciousness road movies that only the 70s seemed able to produce, with Pacino and Gene Hackman as two drifters traversing the highways and byways of the American West."

When The Cinematic Portraits of Jerry Schatzberg ran at the Harvard Film Archive last month, Gerald Peary noted in the Boston Globe that "European critics worship this film, awed by its self-conscious embrace of classic American cinema (scenes are shown from Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong movies, at least three shots pay homage to Citizen Kane), the experimental time structure, and Dunaway's expert portrait of a neurotic, self-flagellating drama queen."

Durga Chew-Bose recently spoke with Schatzberg for Interview and the filmmaker mentions that "one of the projects I'm working on now is again going to be a New York film." Also, "the person that discovered me, well, my film was in San Francisco, Pierre Rissient, and he saw Puzzle in some program and said, 'I don't want to see some bullshit film by a fashion photographer.' But there was nothing to do that day and he thought he'd watch only five minutes. He got hooked! If he hadn't gotten hooked, I might not be sitting here with you."

New York Magazine's "Year in Culture" issue features, among other top tens, David Edelstein's, and topping it is Debra Granik's Winter's Bone, "by leagues the best movie of 2010."

In Contention's Kristopher Tapley has the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association's awards: "David Fincher's The Social Network took the Film/Director/Screenplay trifecta, while Christopher Nolan's Inception was the big winner over all, taking four awards including Best Original Screenplay."

Jason Marshall has completed his countdown of the best films of 1937 with a review of the film that tops the list, Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow.

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