- Sundance has wrapped up and the awards have all been handed out. Among the big winners is Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale (pictured above). By the way, check out Michael Nordine's festival report for Cinema Scope.
- Berlin has finally unveiled their jury, which in addition to Wong Kar-wai, the previously announced president, will include: Susanne Bier, Andreas Dresen, Ellen Kuras, Shirin Neshat, Tim Robbins and Athina Rachel Tsangari.
- It sounds like it won't be a long wait to see Paul Thomas Anderson re-team with Joaquin Phoenix; the actor will be taking the lead role for Anderson's next film, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice, which Robert Downey Jr. was originally thought to be attached to.
- Jonathan Rosenbaum was interviewed by Brazilian newspaper Estado de Minas last summer about Charlie Chaplin and film criticism, and is now sharing the transcript on his blog.
- Above: the trailer for Matt Porterfield's I Used to Be Darker, which debuted at Sundance to critical acclaim and will soon be continuing its festival run at the Berlinale.
- Slavoj Zizek has chimed in on the Zero Dark Thirty debate with an indictment of its immorality, directly responding to Bigelow's own published statement:
"Really? One doesn't need to be a moralist, or naive about the urgencies of fighting terrorist attacks, to think that torturing a human being is in itself something so profoundly shattering that to depict it neutrally – ie to neutralise this shattering dimension – is already a kind of endorsement.
Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?"
- This one is spreading pretty rapidly, and for good reason: Mary Kaye Shilling's interview with Steven Soderbergh is one of the better recent ones on record (though I recommend you keep your eyes here on the Notebook...). The director expounds on the direction he's taking his career, the state of movies and his reworking of Kafka:
"Well, I’m remaking—it’s been a long process—but I’m overhauling Kafka completely. It’s funny—wrapping a movie 22 years later! But the rights had reverted back to me and Paul Rassam, an executive producer, and he said, “I know you were never really happy with it. Do you want to go back in and play around?” We shot some inserts while we were doing Side Effects. I’m also dubbing the whole thing into German so the accent issue goes away. And Lem and I have been working on recalibrating some of the dialogue and the storytelling. So it’s a completely different movie. The idea is to put them both out on disc. But for the most part, I’m a believer in your first impulse being the right one. And I certainly think that most of the seventies directors who have gone back in and tinkered with their movies have made them worse."
- Above: via Letter to Jane, David Bowie & Catherine Deneuve on the set of The Hunger. Photo by Tony Scott.
- The International Film Festival of Rotterdam is under way (our man on the ground, Daniel Kasman, has already published some coverage). To get you started with related writings, check out this year's edition of "Slow Criticism" at De Filmkrant, led by editor Dana Linssen:
"The idea was to bring film critics from all around the globe together with premieres from the International Film Festival Rotterdam from countries that were as far away from their current location as possible. ¡Vivan las antipodas! so to say. Since film critics are always traveling, in real life or their minds, we had to cheat a little, many people took detours, most of us crossed time zones, if only in the many nocturnal emails we exchanged to make it all happen."
From the archives.