On the occasion of Spike Lee's latest release, BlacKkKlansman, reports have surfaced stating that the filmmaker was paid $200,000 to "help develop a public awareness campaign that would aim to strengthen the partnership between the [New York Police Department] and the communities it serves."
Wes Anderson's follow-up to the Japan-set Isle of Dogs will be a musical in post-WWII France, according to a report by French publication Charente Libre.
The first teaser trailer of Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, his first film since Gravity in 2013. Set in a tumultuous era of political transition in early 1970s Mexico, the semi-autobiographical film boasts lush black-and-white cinematography by Cuarón himself. Roma will have its world premiere at this year's Venice Film Festival, and will continue onto the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.
Green Room director Jeremy Saulnier returns with Hold the Dark, the chilling tale of a lost boy killed by a pack of wolves, and the retired naturalist (Jeffrey Wright) who accompanies the boy's forlorn mother (Riley Keough) in avenging his death, setting into motion a chain of violent events. Hold the Dark will premiere at TIFF as well, and will be released worldwide through Netflix on September 28.
For Them., writer Sasha Geffen identifies a commonality between Ari Aster's latest Hereditary and "society’s moral panic surrounding transmasculine people." Aster's film, Geffen explains, takes for granted that "masculinity exists and femininity exists," and engages in images of gender dysphoria and a violent loss of bodily control: "When your essence clashes with your body it's a hell of a lot easier to change your body than it is to change your essence."
The singular Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty), who now directs HBO's "indescribable" Random Acts of Flyness, is interviewed by the Ringer's Alison Herman. Nance discusses the influence of late-night black variety shows Ossie and Ruby! and In Living Color, his collaborative relationship with independent filmmakers like Frances Bodomo, and video games.
From August 24 to 30, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will be screening a selection of shorts and features by the feminist and socialist experimental filmmaker Germaine Dulac. Film Comment's Michael Koresky has provided an insightful look into Dulac's Princess Mandane for his Queer & Now & Then column. The film, he writes, is "witty in the way in which it swiftly cuts down socially constructed notions of male power, and extraordinarily wise in the way it acknowledges how popular art perpetuates those myths—that fictions can guide, even control us."
In response to reports of Spike Lee's collaboration with the NYPD, Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley has written a "political critique of the content and timing" of Lee's BlacKkKlansman. Noting several changes that Lee has made to the story of officer Ron Stallworth, Riley argues that the film "[makes a] Black cop and his counterparts look like allies in the fight against racism."
Rebecca Hall's latest project is an adaptation of the novel Passing, about two light-skinned black women whose lives are changed by their decision to either "pass" or "not pass" as white. In light of this news, Janine Bradbury of The Guardian outlines the history of the "taboo film genre" of passing, once popular in the 1940s and 1950s, and its potential today: "[...] when the visceral experience of racism is as acute as ever and yet the bounds of racial identity continue to be tested, it will be fascinating to see how it appears on screen."
On his blog Kino Slang, critic Andy Rector has provided an English translation of an article by director Georges Franju (written in 1937, revised and published by Cahiers du cinéma in 1959) on Fritz Lang and his "obsession with the tribunal."
The latest issue of Film Comment includes a series of letters written by director Paul Schrader to his brother Len from the early 1960s and into the 1970s, during his time as a student at UCLA Film School and AFI. "Right now I’m meeting all sorts of important people," the young Schrader writes. "So that when I do have a good film I’ll know the right people to show it to."
RECENTLY ON THE NOTEBOOK
Kelley Dong provides a critique of Crazy Rich Asians, a film "encrusted in sparkling myths of Singaporean culture that are diluted to resemble a dupe of the pan-Asian experience," within the context of Asian-American cinema.
Jacques Prévert's screenplay for Les enfants du paradis, directed by Marcel Carné, 1945. I'm sure there's never been another screenplay like this, though perhaps Wes Anderson might attempt one... pic.twitter.com/XncLmV62ej
A belated congratulations to Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves, who report that their feverish wedding in the 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula was officiated by a real Romanian priest. Ryder claims that the marriage may have been legally binding this entire time, and Coppola supports her theory: “[...] When we were all done, we realised that Keanu and Winona really are married as a result of this scene." (This is almost certainly not possible, but still...)
An illustration of the world's "first public screening of a film" in 1895—a series of shorts by the Lumière brothers—has been deemed the world's first movie poster. Originally drawn by Parisian artist Henri Brispot, the poster will be up for auction on August 28, selling for £40,000–60,000 (~$51,000–64,000)
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