- The late summer film festival lineups are starting to be unveiled. Toronto, partially announced, already looks massive (highlights include new films directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Jonathan Demme, and, yes, Nick Cannon), San Sebastien has announced the 14 films in its New Directors competition, including Notebook contributor Gabe Klinger's sophomore film Porto, and the Venice Days unofficial sidebar of the Venice Film Festival has its full lineup online.
- Speaking of lists, Filmmaker Magazine has picked its "twenty five new faces of independent film."
- A petition has been posted online to save the historic RKO studio globe in Hollywood.
- The Criterion Collection has posted King Hu's notes made for the Cannes Film Festival screening of his prize-winning wuxia classic, A Touch of Zen:
But when I started working on the scenario, I discovered that translating the concept of Zen into cinematic terms posed a great many difficulties. Not long afterward, I made the acquaintance of an old man who was a devout Buddhist. He told me that Zen is something that can’t be explained but only experienced through wu (awakening to the truth). As for the innumerable books, in both Chinese and Western languages, that seek to analyze Zen using Western philosophical concepts, they are bound to confuse the matter. The only way to wu is through yu (example or analogy); that is why the Buddhist scriptures include a volume called Baiyu jing (Sutra of a Hundred Parables). Wu is not subject to logical analysis.
- Also at Criterion, scholar Tom Gunning's appreciation of Terrence Malick's The New World, out now from the company in three (!) different cuts:
Malick does not let us forget the horror of history: the gradual genocide of the Powhatan natives of Virginia began soon after the founding of Jamestown in 1607. The New Worldshows the beginning of this destruction, but Malick’s title offers more than bitter irony. The film unfolds as a Blakean epic, both personal and historical, of the journey from innocence to experience.
- Kino Slang has posted two essential translations into English of French critic and filmmaker Alexandre Astruc, famous for leading the charge for auteurism by creating the term caméra-stylo (camera pen), about two Westerns by Howard Hawks:
To kill, to shoot, to cool off, to disembowel one's fellow creature by firing at him point-blank with one or another popgun stuffed up to the muzzle with avenging gunpowder was, until now, a pleasure reserved for a small, privileged elite. It was like a lord's occupation, a profession carefully protected by a a kind of closed group. Lords and masters delightfully abandon themselves, romping joyously in the tall grass, searching for two-legged game, while a small group of non-violent people, slaves and concubines, cook and make tortillas while raking or hoeing rutabagas or manioc. Alas, alas! This division of labor may have seen its last days. In the latest film of Howard Hawks, Rio Lobo, with the long-lasting John Wayne, everybody, absolutely everybody, without differentiation of age, sex, or race, everybody able to move forward while brandishing a harquebus or a catapult, joins the shooting gallery.
- With the epic traveling Brian De Palma retrospective now in Toronto, Manuela Lazic has written an excellent analysis of Body Double, the master's comic blend of Vertigo and Rear Window:
In an unexpected and exhilarating music sequence where Jake plays a parody of his nebbish self accompanied physically and musically by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the director presents a need to “fake it ’til you make it” as absolute and inescapable. It is telling of De Palma’s joyful cynicism that this scene, an apotheosis of fakery and eroticism, is probably Body Double‘s most memorable.