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Rushes: Agnès Varda, “The Dead Don’t Die,” What Is Machinima?

This week’s essential news, articles, sounds, videos and more from the film world.
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.
NEWS
Agnès Varda, 1921—2019.
  • Agnès Varda, vital initiator of the French New Wave, prolific auteur, nimble innovator, and constant inspiration as an artist and a person, has left us at the age of 90. "'In all women there is something in revolt which is not expressed,' Varda once said of her protagonist in Vagabond. Her films express exactly that sense of revolt, in both form and content." That's Christina Newland writing on Varda's cinema and its expression of the female experience for the New Statesman.
  • Though it was first premiered at Venice in 2014, Abel Ferrara's Pasolini (starring Willem Dafoe as the titular filmmaker, in his last days after the completion of Salò) will finally have its North American release on May 10. The premiere coincides with “Abel Ferrara Unrated,” an upcoming retrospective of Ferrara's works at the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Following a recent screening of High Life, Claire Denis stated that she is currently working on an adaption of Denis Johnson’s The Stars At Noon, with plans to star Robert Pattinson in the lead role. The novel follows an American journalist in Nicaragua with mysterious intentions.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING
  • The goofy first trailer for Jim Jarmusch's upcoming zombie comedy, The Dead Don't Die, features an ensemble of townsfolk (Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Selena Gomez, RZA, Rosie Perez, Tilda Swinton, Danny Glover, Iggy Pop, and many more) preparing for an invasion by the undead.
  • An intriguing, King of Comedy-inflected take on an infamous Batman villain is unveiled with this first trailer Joke, directed by Todd Philipps (The Hangover series, Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies).
  • Film Forum has released a trailer for the complete and uncut version of Francesco Rosi's Christ Stopped At Eboli (1979), which follows the exile of anti-fascist painter Carlo Levi and his entry into an isolated town of archaic traditions. Read J. Hoberman's review of the "immersive and engaging" film here.
RECOMMENDED READING
Agnès Varda in The Gleaners and I.
  • cléo editor Chelsea Phillips-Carr offers a holistic examination of the Agnès Varda's complex legacy, considering both her tender humanity and her political outspokenness, her feminist strides as well as her limited depictions of racial diversity.
  • In an interview with CinemaVitas, Lexi Alexander discusses "equitable cinematography," which aims to undo the normalized sexist practices in camera movement and framing, lighting, and work dynamics off-screen.
  • Gene Maddaus reports on the continued exploitation of the "grossly underpaid, overworked and easily expendable" janitors of America's movie theaters, and their legal battles against AMC, Regal Entertainment, and Cinemark.
Zora Neale Hurston's Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940.
  • An absolutely invaluable collection of "50 essential, underrated, and flat-out extraordinary films" by Black women has been compiled by Tribeca Film. The list, ranging from Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust to Zora Neale Hurston's Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940, also includes information on where to find the films, many of which are hard to find.
  • The controversy surrounding Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing's alleged tax evasion, subsequent disappearance, and eventual re-emergence is thoroughly outlined in an expansive piece by Vanity Fair.
  • "Machinima – a portmanteau of machine and cinema – [...] the process of using real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production [...] has existed for as long as in-game recording has been possible." Matt Lloyd Turner provides a historical overview of machinima, a democratic and independent form of filmmaking, for Sight & Sound.
RECENTLY ON THE NOTEBOOK
  • American director David Robert Mitchell talks with us about his fantastic noir vision Under the Silver Lake and his antihero's unhealthy voyeurism.
  • Robert Siodmak helped "reinvent the visual vocabulary of the American crime thriller," writes Christina Newland, in an overview of the visionary's career. Siodmak's Phantom Lady (1944) and The Killers (1946) are showing in March and April on MUBI in many countries around the world.
  • From Kids to The Beach Bum, Harmony Korine has been drawn to the freaks and outsiders of America. In the event of the former, Greg Cwik dives into the divisive auteur's chaotic artistic project.
EXTRAS AND RE-DISCOVERIES
  • In memory of Agnès Varda, revisit the Varda issue of cléo, featuring an interview with Varda herself.
  • Artist Matthew Woodson has crafted a new poster for Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo for Mondo.

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