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Weekly Rushes. Gene Wilder, Inverted "Vertigo," Antonioni in Japan, Movies Matter, Save Film!

This week’s essential news, articles, sounds, videos and more from the film world.
  • Gene Wilder, we'll miss you.  We have always had—and will always have—tremendous affection for the presence of this wonderfully funny, sweetly sorrowful actor.
  • The San Francisco Cinematheque is holding a fundraising auction, "an annual convergence of visual and media arts to support their 56th year of exhibiting innovative experimental moving-image art." You can bid online.
  • What is Japan 1984 – 7 Betacam Tapes? Celluloid Liberation Front writes at Sight & Sound about "never-before-seen video material shot by Michelangelo Antonioni in Japan." Watch it online at Belligerent Eyes through September 2.
  • With Bertrand Bonello's highly anticipated Nocturama set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Le CiNéMa Club is now streaming Madeleine Among the Dead, a 2014 "sketch" from the director: "Bonello wanted to tell Hitchcock’s Vertigo from the perspective of Madeleine."
  • The excellent documentary A Fuller Life, about legendary director Samuel Fuller, is purchasable through this website.
  • Frankly not our favorite confluence of auteur and advertising, but Spike Jonze's dance video for Kenzo is still worth a watch.
The industry shift from film to digital has been swift and dramatic and — despite the activist efforts of the high-profile likes of Christopher Nolan and the patron saint of preservation, Martin Scorsese — film on film has almost disappeared from theaters. Even features shot on film are digitally projected. (Almost all theaters worldwide are now digital.) Last year, I started following after Mr. Pogorzelski and Ms. Linville to understand the complexities of film restoration, largely because the medium is fast becoming a relic. More than 50 years ago, André Bazin asked “What is cinema?” But what is film?
But the emphasis on America obscures something significant. There are many places in the world where critics have hosted, introduced and discussed movies on TV. They automatically became much better known, and far more popular than their fellow, non-TV colleagues. Yet, when we evoke the 'most influential critics', we don't think of them, because they have already been folded into the exclusive domain of a particular nation's TV memories. And, just as they remain largely unknown to people within America, Ebert himself is just a vague name to many outside America, where his TV program never landed.
Orson Welles in his film The Immortal Story
  • The Criterion Collection has just released what probably will be the home video editions of the year, of Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight and The Immortal Story, his two last fiction features. Much hs been written about the former, but not so much about the latter masterpiece. Critic Jonathan Rosenbaum writes digs in:
Even for a director expected to do the unexpected, The Immortal Story was for many a disconcerting departure for Welles when it premiered theatrically in 1968, in terms of both its seemingly unadorned simplicity and the fact that it was his first released film in color, financed by French television. Although Welles shifted the story’s locale from Canton—as Guangzhou, China, was then known—to Macao and compressed or relocated a few of its narrative details, it generally adheres to the original with rigorous fidelity, including in its eerie and singsong repetitions of certain spoken phrases and the same embedded story about a sailor, as well as its meditative, almost ceremonial pacing, which suggests at times a hypnotic trance. 
Ultimately, democratic politics are a numbers game. Politics are what concern everyone, which is why “everyone” (i.e., those who create the “online chatter” and the “countless essays and arguments” by which Raftery measures importance) talks about politics. Art, by contrast, is what concerns one person, intimately. Culture is a matter of power; art is a matter of beauty. It’s also a matter of freedom—of spiritual freedom, of free-spiritedness—and so it’s also political, though not in any immediately recognizable way and, above all, not in any way that lends itself to the think-piece brand of discourse. The power of beauty, the impact of beauty on a single person, eludes discussion and invites silence, even as it incites something radically different from analysis: ecstasy. 
  • Isabelle Huppert, Marie-France Pisier & Isabelle Adjani photographed by Christian Simonpiétri
The Art and culture debate. Carl Andre put it more succinctly. 'Art is what we do. Culture is what is done to use'

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