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The Noteworthy: "88:88", The Films of Joaquim Pinto, Photogénie #2

A sneak peak at "Inherent Vice", James Gray on "Apocalypse Now", The Miracle of "Love Streams", and more.

Edited by Adam Cook

  • Above: a sneak peak of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, via our Tumblr.
  • A wealth of content from the Melbourne International Film Festival's newly launched Critics Campus has been published here and here.
  • For Rolling Stone, filmmaker James Gray writes on Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now on the occasion of its 35th anniversary: 

"The film is indeed self-consciously mythic, and with its transcendent imagery, it enters the cosmic realm. Captain Willard is an enigmatic hero, and we need the narration (written by Dispatches author Michael Herr) to help us know him. Surely the man has his dark side: he kills a wounded Vietnamese woman and hacks Colonel Kurtz to death. But by the end, Willard retains enough of his soul to protect the innocent, childlike Lance (Sam Bottoms), and here we see that the human connection endures. The film's experience expands in this moment, becoming vast and uncanny — yet familiar. Apocalypse Now does not alienate us or deconstruct itself. In fact, it welcomes us in. We all but participate in the strange water skiing and surfing obsessions and the hallucinatory Playboy Bunny show. We take macabre pleasure at witnessing the chaos at Do Long bridge. And of course, we are utterly thrilled by Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) and his amoral attack on the village — a justly famous set-piece, scored to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," that compels us even as we shrink from it. We become complicit in darkness, and this is perhaps the film's greatest coup."

  • Above: the trailer for emerging Canadian filmmaker Isiah Medina's 88:88.
  • In Adult Magazine, Durga Chew-Bose writes on "The Miracle of Love Streams":

"A plotless film affords all its room to its characters. They come and go, or reversely, overstay their welcome. Misfortune and calamity have tremendous leeway in a Cassavetes film, endowing characters with control (or a well-exercised lack thereof) over the story’s temper. As a consequence, there rarely is consequence. Meaning trumps conclusion and the story bares itself in fragments because there’s no alternative——someone’s always interrupting, everyone gets in everyone’s way, and in what Ventura calls “the neighborhood bar that is the cinema of John Cassavetes,” you’re usually being offered a drink. Cassavetes’ films linger and meander, linger and meander. “I never know what I’m going to do, that would be boring,” he tells Ventura on the set of Love Streams. “The way we make pictures anything can happen.” Film, like love, is for Cassavetes the act of not knowing. Yet his insistence that he is rudderless, that he doesn’t know how to keep shooting, is wonderfully at odds with his certainty of what this whole film is about."

 

  • Max Nelson has written a piece on "The Films of Joaqium Pinto" for Film Comment:

"From the start of his career as a director, Pinto had a remarkable ear for the rhythms of the natural world, and a skill at timing his movies to beat in step with their settings. (It’s the movement of the sea, more than the actions of any of the film’s characters, that sets the pace of Tall Stories.) It’s equally striking, re-watching Pinto’s earlier films from the vantage point of his later nonfiction work, how much of a natural he once was at staging confrontation scenes, first squeezing them dry of any melodramatic excess, then slowly embellishing them with revealing, superfluous gestures: a word left hanging, an involuntary movement of the hand, a sharp casting down of the eyes."

  • More from Film Comment: R. Emmet Sweeney files a piece for the "Rep Diary" on Victor Schertzinger's Forgotten Faces. 
  • Above: the second issue of Photogénie has dropped online, and features pieces on Lav Diaz, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and the Romanian New Wave, among others.
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum has shared the introduction to his 1993 book, Placing Movies: The Practice of Film Criticism

"The mortal intricacies of the surgical theatre and the laboratory work on which it depends are the centerpiece of Steven Soderbergh’s TV series “The Knick,” set in a downtown Manhattan hospital in 1900. Soderbergh (who does his own camera work) films it thrillingly, but his greatest inspirations unfold the details—intellectual and physical, analytical and gory—of medical practice. Closely bound to the show’s unstinting view of scientific progress is the bureaucratic wrangling—in effect, the backstage business—that makes stunning medical productions possible. Clearly, Soderbergh and the screenwriters, Jack Amiel, Michael Begler, and Steven Katz, did their historical research. But, for a real-life, “Knick”-like account of the grim spectrum of sickness in turn-of-the-century New York that pierces the screen of dramatic artifice and shows the sort of visionary practicality that it took to change things, there’s a very worthwhile read: “Fighting for Life,” the 1939 autobiography by S. Josephine Baker (1873-1945), which was reissued last year by New York Review of Books Classics."

  • Via The Criterion Collection, "The Genius of Gena Rowlands".
  • For his home video column in The New York Times, J. Hoberman writes on the Italian omnibus film, Love in the City.
  • In Sight & Sound, David Thomson asks, "Can even small, apparently insignificant, details – such as whether a character is left-handed – affect how we read a film?"
  • For Fandor, Kiva Reardon drops some science on the ABCs of Claire Denis' Trouble Every Day.
  • In Adult Magazine, Durga Chew-Bose writes on "The Miracle of Love Streams":

"A plotless film affords all its room to its characters. They come and go, or reversely, overstay their welcome. Misfortune and calamity have tremendous leeway in a Cassavetes film, endowing characters with control (or a well-exercised lack thereof) over the story’s temper. As a consequence, there rarely is consequence. Meaning trumps conclusion and the story bares itself in fragments because there’s no alternative——someone’s always interrupting, everyone gets in everyone’s way, and in what Ventura calls “the neighborhood bar that is the cinema of John Cassavetes,” you’re usually being offered a drink. Cassavetes’ films linger and meander, linger and meander. “I never know what I’m going to do, that would be boring,” he tells Ventura on the set of Love Streams. “The way we make pictures anything can happen.” Film, like love, is for Cassavetes the act of not knowing. Yet his insistence that he is rudderless, that he doesn’t know how to keep shooting, is wonderfully at odds with his certainty of what this whole film is about."

  • Above: Hossein Eidizadeh has a survey of Mike Figgis' history with different art forms.

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