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Weekly Rushes. 27 January 2016

The Academy attempts a re-boot; pixel art “Star Wars”; the best non-fiction films of 2015; a new Woody Allen TV series; and more.
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.

NEWS
  • The big news in Hollywood is that "the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has approved a series of major changes, in terms of voting and recruitment, also adding three new seats to the 51-person board — all part of a goal to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. The changes were approved by the board Thursday night in an emergency meeting," Variety reports. A major step, certainly, but we've still to see what the results will be. And certainly Academy membership does little to alter what kinds of movies get produced and by whom.
  • Charles Silver, the head of the Museum of Modern Art's Film Study Center, passed away last week. IndieWire is running an homage by Laurence Kardish, a former MoMA film curator:
"Perhaps, and with good reason, there is no one in this world whose name appears more frequently in film books’ acknowledgements than the name of my former colleague and friend, Charles Silver."
  • David Cairns, our Forgotten columnist and the co-director of the great cinema documentary Natan, is looking for funding to finish a new short film, The Northleach Horror.
  • Deadline Hollywood reports Woody Allen is going to make a 6-part series for Amazon starring Miley Cyrus (!) and Elaine May (!!!) and set in the 1960s.
  • Have you checked our our Notebook entry for the Berlin International Film Festival's lineup? The Berlinale keeps announcing titles, and we've been updating the list. The upstart Berlin Critics' Week, now in its second year, has also finalized its program, which includes 88:88 and Cosmos.
  • We're avidly following David Hudson's roundups of news and reviews coming out of the Sundance Film Festival.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING
  • Our trailer for L.M. Kit Carson and Lawrence Schiller's cult documentary The American Dreamer (1971), starring Dennis Hopper. MUBI will be hosting the exclusive online premiere of the film in February.
  • A tantalizing clip of America's greatest film critic, Manny Farber, discussing a scene from Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday in the 2004 documentary On Detour.
  • Animated pixel art deaths from Star Wars.
RECOMMENDED READING
The documentary Of Men and War
  • We've shown the wonderful work of American independent documentarian Robert Greene before—Kati with an I and Actress—and we're also big fans of his column at Sight & Sound on documentary cinema. His "best of 2015 in nonfiction" entry is a must read for its observation, analysis and choices:
"The abundance of everyday nonfiction images seems to have warped reality itself, at least for me, and so I now find myself more demanding of the documentaries I consume (and make). Amidst this over-mediation, in a world where Shia Labeouf can stage something like #ALLMYMOVIES and get high fives, it seems crucial that we documentarians use the tools we have to interpret actual events and fabricate new ways of seeing from what we capture. It’s not enough to retransmit the world back to our viewers. Everyone does that already every day. Filmmakers need to push considerably past trying to reproduce reality and start using the elasticity built into the nonfiction form to decode and liberate truths from the noise of over-mediated experience."
The Happening
  • M. Night Shyamalan may have long fallen out of critical (and mainstream) favor, but there are several eloquent and stalwart fans. One of the most prominent is Ignatiy Vishenevtsky, who for the A.V. Club re-considers Shyamalan's The Happening:
"Patterned on the B movies of the early atomic age, the best of which could be sophisticated in everything except premise and acting (exception: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers), the movie swaps out radiation for climate change, but otherwise keeps to the template, complete with an ending in which a man in a suit explains everything that happened, but not really."
  • David Davidson's Toronto Film Review has posted two wonderful pieces on French critic Serge Daney over the last week, including a choice overview of a new book of "of Serge Daney’s last two years of writing, La Maison Cinéma et le Monde – 4. Le moment Trafic 1991-1992":
"Talks about the introduction of race and European style in some eighties American directors, for Daney, “Spike Lee is interesting because it’s someone who, against all expectations, has never renounced his political conviction. Jarmusch’s is a European cinema… Soderbergh, we don’t know yet. Sex, Lies, and Videotape was malin. But I don’t know how far he can take his project.”"
EXTRAS
  • One of several images of the Costa Concordia cruise ship—featured so prominently in Jean-Luc Godard's Film socialisme—after it spent two years submerged in the sea.
  • Alain Delon and Monica Vitti on the set of Michelangelo Antonioni's L'eclisse.

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