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The Noteworthy: "Something Necessary", Aleksei German (1938-2013), Sallitt & Cairns, 7th/11

A special MUBI screening of _Something Necessary_, films by Cairns and Sallitt, a new issue of The Seventh Art, Bordwell on Richie + more.

Edited by Adam Cook


  • Just in time for Kenya's national election this weekend, MUBI will be specially showing a new film, Something Necessary (Judy Kibinge, 2013), produced by Tom Tykwer, about the country's last elections, in 2007. Something Necessary premiered in January at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and will be free to watch globally on MUBI for 24 hours starting Sunday, March 3.
  • Russian filmmaker Aleksei German has passed away at the age of 74. We've shared one of our favorite scenes of his and would like to point to a piece we published by Maxim Pozdorovkin last March, occasioned by the traveling retrospective of German's work.

    • We are terrifically happy for and proud of David Cairns—Notebook columnist of The Forgotten and author of the Shadowplay blog—who has just seen the premiere of his new film co-directed with Paul Duane, Natan, at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. The documentary is on Bernand Natan, a lost figure in the history of cinema, as the wonderful trailer above delightfully insinuates. Eagle-eyed Notebook readers will recall that Cairns wrote a series of Forgotten articles on films produced by Pathé-Natan.
  • A new Kickstarter to add to your radar: Brigitta Wagner is launching a campaign for Rosehill, "a film about friendship at tertiary life starring acclaimed actress-filmmaker-performance artist Josephine Decker and New York actress and improviser Kate Chamuris". The Rosehill team is looking to raise $15,000 by March 31st.

  • Above: It's Jonathan Rosenbaum's 70th birthday, and our own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with the help of Kevin B. Lee, has directed a short film for the occasion. Happy birthday, Jonathan!


"What was his life about? The public dimensions involved, of course, his status as unofficial spokesman, principal gaijin, the gatekeeper and guide to anyone interested in Japan. He hosted grad students as genially as he played tour guide to Truman Capote and Susan Sontag and Jim Jarmusch. I don’t know of any other situation in which an American (from Lima, Ohio, no less) became the spokesperson for a foreign culture. From the 1950s into the 2010s, in a stream of writings and lectures, he interpreted how the Japanese lived, worked, thought, and created. Although he wrote about everything from landscape to tattoos, he became best known as the supreme expert on Japanese cinema."

  • Above: via BlackBook, one of two behind-the-scenes videos of Terence Malick's To the Wonder. You can find the second part here

"What is in your opinion your personal contribution to film art?

Porterfield: Tough question! I think I am trying to create a body of work that reflects some diversity in styles and themes. And I want to show the diversity of the American middle class. If I could wish for audiences to walk away from my films with something, it would be a sort of openness to the world, to the subjects of the film, to divergent narrative films and formal devices. I am trying to open myself up to the world. If my films can do that to any small extent then I’d be happy."

  • Above: Ang Lee gets the post-Oscar munchies for In-N-Out Burger. It may have been another irrelevant edition of the awards, but at least we got this picture. For the full list of winner click here.
  • Writing for his blog, Girish Shambu explains his history with "Teen Films":

"I can trace my enduring fascination with teen films back to a specific moment in my personal history: when I moved to the U.S. in my early twenties to go to graduate school. When I arrived here, I had seen almost no teen movies, in any language, but as soon as I encountered my first examples of the genre (Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jonathan Kaplan’s Over the Edge, Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia, Brian De Palma’s Carrie), I was instantly captivated. As a young immigrant fashioning a new life in a land whose strangeness and otherness simultaneously attracted and disoriented me on a daily basis, I resonated deeply with the doubt, anxiety and excitement of teenage life as represented in these films."

  • Thanks to Serge Daney in English, we can now read Daney's 1987 piece for Libération entitled Towards Screenisation:

"If the channel hopper was honest, he’d say this: as soon as his eyes leave the television screen, they dive into the greenish darkness of the electronic type writer, where what he will write will inevitably appear. In other words, he moves from a screen to another, from one with flickering images to another with scintillating letters. Television is not only a smaller cinema, it is the intermediary stage between the theatre screen and the household (and now utilitarian) screen."

  • Above: via Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil, production stills (more here & here) from Aleksei German's final unreleased film, History of the Arkanar Massacre.

From the archives.

  • Ang Lee picked up his second Oscar for Best Director last Sunday; after his first win in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain, he wrote a small essay about his unlikely journey to success.
Very much looking forward to seeing Natan.
Very happy to see my film Natan mentioned cheek by jowl with Aleksei German – I’ve only recently seen Khrustalyov! My Car! but within thirty minutes of starting to watch it I knew he was one of my favourite directors. Sad though it is to only discover this as he’s leaving the building.

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