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The Auteurs Daily: Ang Lee and Nick Ray

The Auteurs DailyEat Drink Man Woman

Most of the world does not live in New York City, but when any series opens there, the rest of us, whether or not we're able to see the films, are treated to the often-terrific criticism it occasions. Today sees the opening of Intimate Views from Afar: The Films of Ang Lee, running at the Film Society of Lincoln Center through August 11.

Is this really necessary, some have wondered out loud (well, via Twitter). For the chance to revisit the "Father Knows Best Trilogy" (Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman), yes, argues Andrew Chan in the L Magazine: "Time may have named Ang Lee 'America's Best Director' in 2001, but film snobs have since found it increasingly easy to dismiss the Taiwan-born filmmaker as an aesthetic conservative, especially after the excessive Oscar-baiting tastefulness and glaring lack of emotional commitment in Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution. For all his artistic and public reticence, though, Lee has never been a mere metteur en scène - and to see just how personal he can get with his perennial theme of individualistic desire butting up against socially enforced discipline, one need only turn to the three family comedies that jumpstarted his career."

Lee will be on hand at the FSLC to discuss Ride With the Devil with James Schamus on August 10; his Taking Woodstock opens August 28; and he heads up the International Jury in Venice from September 2 through 12. Larry Rohter profiles him for the New York Times.

Film Forum's Nick Ray retrospective runs on through Thursday and, as you've no doubt seen, Evan Davis has been writing a remarkable series on each of the films here in The Auteurs Notebook. More overviews: Bruce Bennett (Stop Smiling), David Fear (Time Out New York), Eugene Kotlyarenko (Interview) and Nicolas Rapold (L). Last night, Michael J Anderson posted an entry on Wind Across the Everglades, Party Girl and The Savage Innocents; a couple of weeks ago, J Hoberman had a very fine piece on In a Lonely Place in the Voice; and last summer, Not Coming to a Theater Near You ran its special feature, "The Mystic: The Films of Nicholas Ray."

The next "Daily" may not appear until Monday, so be sure to follow the news and such via @theauteurs - again, via your own Twitter account, the web page or its RSS feed. [Update, 3/8: The full news feed is now going on @theauteursdaily (RSS feed); a few of the bigger stories of the day + The Auteurs-specific announcements will still be tweeted via @theauteurs] And last night, Alejandro Adams (@AlejandroAdams) got in touch with an excellent suggestion. If you appreciate the news and tips but not the overload, you might consider TweetDeck, with which you can organize the accounts you follow. Alejandro tells me he's got one column set aside exclusively for @theauteurs. I'd just add that if you're not at all interested in tweeting yourself but in following others, you can do much the same with any number of RSS feeds from Twitter accounts in your reader.

The image, by the way, comes from Eat Drink Man Woman.

An “aesthetic conservative”, quelle horreur! That’s probably why I like Lee so much. (I’m an admitted aesthetic reactionary. Really. Says so right on my blog.)
Thanks for the shout-out, David.
I don’t begrudge any opportunity to see such films on the big screen, but the Lee retrospective sounds suspiciously like an excuse to hype Taking Woodstock. I wish the Ponyo promo efforts here in Los Angeles had sparked a proper retrospective. What wouldn’t I give to see Miyazaki’s greatest hits projected?

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