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Scorsese, Mundruczó, Buñuel, Jayasundara, More

Mark Kermode and Martin Scorsese had so much ground to cover in the 22-minute interview posted at the Guardian's site on Friday — Michael Powell and the 50th anniversary of Peeping Tom, Hugo Cabret and working for the first time in 3D — that a few of Scorsese's other current projects slipped by unmentioned. Writing up the interview for the Observer, though, Kermode fills in the gaps.

"In the wake of the success of Boardwalk Empire," he notes, "screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi has been hinting that a TV prequel to Goodfellas is also in the pipeline, a prospect which Scorsese admits 'is possible. I don't know yet. But we're talking to [Goodfellas producer] Irwin Winkler about it.' Meanwhile, Public Speaking, Scorsese's new documentary about writer and commentator Fran Lebowitz (hailed by some as a latterday Dorothy Parker) premieres on American television [tonight]. Having started her career as a columnist on Andy Warhol's Interview magazine and served as contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Lebowitz is captured in Scorsese's film in conversation at New York's the Waverly Inn and on the city's streets, holding forth on subjects ranging from gender, race, celebrity culture, smoking bans, and the election of Barack Obama. After which there'll be Living the Material World, a film about George Harrison, which continues Scorsese's longstanding interest in the much maligned rockumentary format that he helped pioneer."

Public Speaking, which begins its run on HBO tonight at 10 pm EST, is "an 85-minute-long stop by a rushing river of words," writes Matthew Gilbert in the Boston Globe. "Lebowitz's spigot is broken, if it ever existed. Sardonic, brash, she verbalizes her strong opinions about everything, including opinions. She doesn't bother writing them down anymore; the author of Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981) labels her decades-long writer's block a 'writer's blockade.'" For Ginia Bellafante, writing in the New York Times, the doc "perfectly captures the pleasure she takes in observing the world while subtly revealing the crippling dimensions of perfectionism, the outsize ego it requires to achieve a certain kind of creative failure."

 



More from Heather Havrilesky (Salon), Marshall Fine (Huffington Post), Troy Patterson (Slate), Rachel Shukert (Tablet), Hank Stuever (Washington Post) and James van Maanen. Melena Ryzik interviews Lebowitz for the NYT.

Dennis Harvey in the San Francisco Bay Guardian on, first, the state of Hungarian cinema: "A few features have broken out commercially in the last decade, like Kontroll (2003), Hukkle (2002), and Fateless (2005) — disparate films united in creating spectral, macabre worlds on the border of horror, whether set in a subway system, quaint village, or Auschwitz. But several emerging directors, far more influenced by such native auteurs as Miklós Jancsó and Béla Tarr than the borderless film education DVD and cable can afford, have so far proved too idiosyncratic to travel much beyond the festival circuit. A rare chance to see some of that work outside those confines can be had this week at the Roxie, which is hosting a short-run double bill under the umbrella Magyar Tales of Kornél Mundruczó. Protégé of epic-enigma engineer Tarr — whose exasperatingly slow creative process was one alleged factor behind the suicide of the producer fictionalized in this year's French drama The Father of My Children — sometime actor Mundruczó has written and directed several shorts and four features to date." Delta and Johanna screen today through Wednesday.

"Buñuel's Mexican period is often dismissed because his films from the era are studio genre products with minimal budgets and south-of-the-border stars, which could make them seem even more disposable than Hollywood B-movies," writes Marjorie Baumgarten in the Austin Chronicle. "A new five-film series, Luis Buñuel en México, presented by Cine las Americas and the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin, offers a taste of the range of Buñuel's film work in Mexico and handily dispels the notion that these films are of only incidental importance. Through studio projects, Buñuel, like many of Hollywood's most admired directors, was able to use conventional and prosaic story structures as anchors while simultaneously subverting their modalities and implied meanings." Five Mondays in a row, starting this evening.

"After years of civil war, it's a wonder there's a Sri Lankan cinema at all, much less the cleanly shot, deep-focus work of Vimukthi Jayasundara," writes Nicolas Rapold in the Voice. "After getting attention with a 2005 Camera d'Or win at Cannes for his debut, The Forsaken Land, the filmmaker follows up with an elliptical exercise in wartime atmosphere and concussed reality." Jeannette Catsoulis in the NYT: "Riven with violence and haunted by the dead and the missing, Between Two Worlds is a hallucinatory experience. The worlds in question could be a number of things — heaven and hell, peace and war, past and present; but in a film this vivid and this oblique, the cumulative thrust of the images is what pulls us through." Opens today for a week-long run at MoMA.





Steven Shapiro's Post Cinematic Affect is out; "I don't know if this book is the best one that I have ever written," he writes, "but I do think it is the best writing I have ever done on the subject of film." We saw a preview, you may remember, back in April in Film-Philosophy. Also out now from Zero Books is Carl Neville's Classless: Recent Essays on British Film. 3:AM reviews editor Max Dunbar has a couple of problems with the book and he's got a quote to illustrate at least one of them: "'Classless is more concerned with identifying the ideological character of recent British cinema, the ways in which it is tied into the dominant neoliberal orthodoxies of Blairism.' The whole book is written in this sub-Chomskyan style. The verbosity. The lumbering sarcasm. The giggling contempt.... Neville's condescension to the poor is matched by a condescension to the reader. After the fall of the markets, after the return of the aristocratic elite to power where it forces the rest of us to repent for the mistakes of the financial elite, does anyone still believe the myths of the end of history and the classless society and Cool Britannia that Neville works so hard to dispel?"

Via Adrian Martin, who, in the new issue of Filmkrant, wonders why we're so eagerly embracing the return of realism, comes news of a dossier on Chantal Akerman and Griselda Pollock's conversation with Laura Mulvey in the second issue of Studies in the Maternal.

"Taiwanese model turn actor Ethan Juan and the cast of Taiwanese movie When Love Comes had plenty of reason to celebrate Saturday night after emerging as the big winners at this year," reports Focus Taiwan. Adds the BBC: "The low-budget movie about the lives of four women beat Hong Kong martial arts epic Bodyguards and Assassins and China's Judge to win the top award." Here's a complete list of all nominees and winners.

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