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Rushes. Farhadi Not Attending Oscars, John Hurt & Emmanuelle Riva, Post-Sundance Travails

This week’s essential news, articles, sounds, videos and more from the film world.
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NEWS
John Hurt and Emmanuelle Riva
  • Currently, due to American President Donald Trump's executive travel ban, Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi cannot travel to the United States. But in a statement made to The New York Times, the filmmaker, who is nominated again this year for The Salesman, says he wouldn't attend even if granted an exception:
Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals.

However, I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences. 
RECOMMENDED VIEWING
  • Dustin Guy Defa is one of the most exciting young voices in American independent cinema. We saw and very much liked his new feature Person to Person at Sundance, but before you get a chance to watch it he has put online a great short film he made in 2016.
  • Hong Sang-soo's brief, mysterious trailers are always a pleasure, and the one for his new film, On the Beach At Night Alone, set to compete in the Berlin International Film Festival, is no different.
  • Of all the strange ups and downs of Josef von Sternberg's career, nothing is more unusual than his final film, Anatahan, shot almost entirely in a studio in Japan. This beautiful oddity has been restored and will soon be theatrically re-released.
  • Walter Hill's latest pulp thriller, a gender re-assignment revenge film, has gone through several name changes (we still liked it as Tomboy), but now seems to be called The Assignment. At Toronto, where we caught the film, our critic called it a "lurid fever-dream [that] unfolds like a lost Hong Kong thriller from the 80s."
RECOMMENDED READING
The Mortal Storm
  • Critic Fernando F. Croce's Film of the Day, Frank Borzage's great 1940 picture, The Mortal Storm, offers a prescient view of the American present through the past:
Soulful maiden (Margaret Sullavan) positioned between militant fiancé (Robert Young) and pacifist veterinarian (James Stewart) provides the pivotal image, romance during the regime of systematic thuggery turns out to be the ultimate rebellion. "In the service of your country, there are no human relationships." Deutschland viewed from MGM, 1933 viewed from 1940, a destabilizing studio evocation...
If we want to understand how film form and style work, we can’t neglect the nuts and bolts of moviemaking. In trying to achieve particular effects, filmmakers have created craft traditions, favored options bounded by loose limits. Mostly these traditions grow up intuitively, as solutions that just feel right. In any case, behind the cluster of preferred practices we can often find principles of design and execution that can be made explicit.
But what about the festival filmmakers whose works are lauded and distributed, but whose career paths are less charmed? After they’ve packed up their snow gear, there are tantalizing moments and deep frustrations. Many go on what’s known as the “water bottle tour,” meetings with development executives and agents in Los Angeles (where you’re more likely to leave with a bottle of Evian than a production deal). Most don’t have new scripts ready, a huge impediment, said the producer Anne Carey.

Then they struggle against the industry’s narrow expectations. 
RECOMMENDED LISTENS
  • One of motion pictures great soundtracks, Angelo Badalamenti's score for David Lynch's maligned but brilliant Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, is now available on vinyl.
  • Below, at Studio 360 Martin Scorsese's editor Thelma Schoonmaker talks about her process from Raging Bull to Silence. Extra bonus: the discovery of footage of Marilyn Monroe's famous skirt-blowing scene from The Seven Year Itch that was shot on location in New York (a reshoot in the studio was used in the final picture).

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