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Undercurrent, "M," Frazetta

The Auteurs Daily

"Started in 2006, [Undercurrent], a labor of love for its founder Chris Fujiwara, remains in many ways a quintessential small magazine, posting only one or two issues a year, yet still enriching the world of film criticism," wrote Paul Fileri in Film Comment a couple of months ago, and now, #6, a special issue on film festivals is up at FIPRESCHI's site. But first, note the new translation of Olivier Assayas's 2001 talk on Guy Debord.

"A Retrospective on Japanese Retrospectives" is the title of Aaron Gerow's opener. Jon Jost and David Sterritt look back on how festivals have changed over the past few decades. Amir Muhammad recalls attending festivals with the late Alexis Tioseco. Lulu Ratna considers local festivals in Indonesia.

Three anthologies are reviewed: Sabrina Marques on Cem Mil Cigarros: Os Filmes de Pedro Costa, Dianne Daley on Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chris Fujiwara on On Film Festivals. Also: Fujiwara on the "Ethics of Film Criticism," Fernando Martín Peña on the discovery of the complete Metropolis, David Sterritt on Peter Bogdanovich's Targets, Paola Casella on Matteo Garrone's Gomorra, Julie Banks on Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Distant and Yvette Bíró on Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control.

 

MORE ISSUES


"To celebrate the publication of the 52nd issue of the Millenium Film Journal, which has the theme 'presence,' there will be a screening of classic and modern underground films that have been curated by Jessica Ruffin and Grahame Weinbren." Mike Everleth has the full lineup. May 15 in New York.

Exposed Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera is an exhibition at the Tate Modern open from May 28 through October 3. TATE ETC "brings together a selection of photographers, film-makers and writers to explore how familiar themes of eroticism, fame and conflict continue to pose the question: who is looking at whom?" Also in the new issue: John Waters interviews Lily van der Stokker.

The June issue of the Walrus is out and up and includes Adam Nayman on Vincenzo Natali's Splice, "very much its own creature," though it'll inevitably be viewed in the context of Canadian auteur tradition.

 

DVDS


"In Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt," begins Dennis Lim for the Los Angeles Times, "when the filmmaker Fritz Lang (playing himself) meets Brigitte Bardot's character, she sings the praises of his 1952 Western, Rancho Notorious. Lang is appreciative, but he begs to differ. "I prefer M,' he says. Lang regarded M, which opened in 1931, just two years before he fled Nazi Germany for a long if less storied Hollywood career, as his greatest achievement. Judging by its regular placement on all-time-best lists, many critics concur."





Chris Cabin for Slant: "Having seen it through two previous, gorgeous DVD transfers, Criterion has now released the quintessential edition of Fritz Lang's inscrutable masterpiece on Blu-ray, beautifully capturing both sound and image and affording a bevy of extras to detail the rich backdrop of the film's production and initial reception."

Michael Atkinson reviews California Dreamin' for IFC: "Cynical and grim as the movie is, this is not the grueling Romania of The Death of Mr Lazarescu or 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days — [Cristian] Nemescu was a satiric entertainer, and the film embraces a broad-stroke sensibility halfway between Harold Ramis and ascetic arthouse." Also, Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro "is a palm-sized affair befitting an aging giant (think Kurosawa's Madadayo, or Bergman's Saraband), and the best of it oozes with Coppola's bear-sized passions, from Italian-style family psychodrama to experimental theater to Argentina to movies themselves — particularly Michael Powell's The Tales of Hoffmann, which is not only excerpted as a pivotal flashback, but then reinvented in a new, lovely, digitally-decorated ballet suite that punctuates the primary story."

Dave Kehr in the New York Times: "[E]ven artistically unambitious B's could possess the charm of speed and sassiness — qualities very much on display in The Torchy Blane Collection, a boxed set from Warner Home Video's burn-on-demand Archive Collection that unites all nine films in one of the most consistently engaging B series of the 1930s." More from Susan King in the Los Angeles Times.

Listening. Paul Matwychuk (The Moviegoer) and Heather Noel, who runs an independent video store in Edmonton, The Videodrome, have recorded their 15th episode of DVD Afternoon, a weekly podcast that goes live each Monday. This week they focus on Richard Linklater before turning to a roundup of other recent releases.

More DVD roundups. Sean Axmaker, Bryce Renninger (indieWIRE), Slant and Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail).

 

FRANK FRAZETTA, 1928 - 2010


"Frank Frazetta, the fantasy painter and illustrator whose images of sinewy warriors and lush vixens graced paperback novels, album covers and comic books for decades and became something close to the contemporary visual definition of the sword-and-sorcery genres, died Monday after suffering a stroke the night before," blogs Geoff Boucher for the Los Angeles Times. "He was 82."





Boucher's gotten in touch with Neal Adams, "perhaps the most celebrated living comic book artist," who "said he believed Frazetta was the rare individual who could bridge the vast gulf between fine art and pop illustration." John Milius tells Boucher, "Not that I could ever redo Frazetta on film — he created a world and a mood that are impossible to simulate — but my goal in Conan the Barbarian was to tell a story that was shaped by Frazetta and Wagner." And there's this from Guillermo del Toro: "He gave the world a new pantheon of heroes. He took the mantle from J Allen St John and Joseph Clement Coll and added blood, sweat and sexual power to their legacy.... He somehow created a second narrative layer for every book he ever illustrated."

"The popularity of Mr Frazetta's work coincided with the rise of heavy metal in the early 1970s," note Bruce Weber and Dave Itzkoff in the New York Times, "and his otherworldly imagery showed up on a number of album covers, including Molly Hatchet's Flirtin' With Disaster and Nazareth's Expect No Mercy. Last year, Kirk Hammett, the lead guitarist for Metallica, bought Mr Frazetta's cover artwork for the paperback reissue of Robert E Howard's Conan the Conqueror for $1 million."

Movie posters, comics, book and magazine covers, commentary and appreciations: Arbogast, Robert Cashill, Dennis Cozzalio, Joseph Failla, Lance Laspina (producer and director of the 2003 documentary Frazetta: Painting with Fire), Robert Newman, Peter Richardson, Bob Westal, Douglas Wolk and a lot of discussion at MetaFilter.

 

IN OTHER NEWS


Alex Ross's profile of film composer Michael Giacchino (Lost, Up) is accessible to New Yorker subscribers only, but all of us can listen (17'11") to Ross discuss the work and film music in general and/or watch a clip (3'22") of Giacchino at work.

For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @theauteursdaily (RSS).

Add Ralph Bakshi’s fantastic FIRE AND ICE to the list of major Frazetta collaborations…he was a pivotal force behind the creation of the movie. Check out his radical original poster art for it! http://www.ralphbakshi.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=383&fullsize=1

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