From the Busan Film Festival comes word of new projects by Lee Chang-dong (who hasn't made a film since 2010's Poetry and will make "a mystery thriller"), Hirokazu Kore-eda ("a suspense courtroom drama"), and Hou Hsiao-hsien (executive producing a project for Taiwanese TV).
As you may know if you read the Notebook, we love the French New Wave's least known filmmaker, Jacques Rivette. News has come that his recently discovered and restored first three short films (which we raved about), as well as a number of his later movies, including Gang of Four and his two-part Jeanne le pucelle masterpiece, have been acquired for North American distribution.
The impact of the tumultuous Wajda style can be seen on the films of younger Polish directors, like Andrzej Zulawski and Agnieszka Holland, as well as on the recent Hungarian film “Son of Saul.” Martin Scorsese has also cited Mr. Wajda as an influence. But no filmmaker, not even John Ford, has ever been more steeped in his own nation’s history.
Was Hill influenced by Kurosawa when he made “Driver”? “Guilty,” said Hill. He had seen “Samurai” by that time. But “influence is everywhere” Hill argued. “Early in my career, people said I was influenced by Peckinpah; Peckinpah was always critiqued as influenced by Kurosawa; when you watched Kurosawa’s films, you understand how deeply influenced he was by John Ford.” And so on: “You cannot study John Ford’s movies without really feeling the deep influence of D.W. Griffith: Ford never got over Griffith. You cannot look at Griffith’s movies without seeing the ghost of Charles Dickens.”
Kelly Reichardt. Photo by Jack Davison for The New York Times.
While a lone man can be a hero — readily and right from the start — a lone woman is cause for concern. Despite their painterly settings and near-silent soundscapes, Reichardt’s films are animated by a sustained unease. The viewer anticipates a threat that could but never quite does progress to a state of emergency. A car crash produces no injuries. A nocturnal encounter with intoxicated homeless men does not result in sexual violence. An old man gives every indication he could die at any moment but does not. The menace is durational and transforms the audience into participants in a kind of endurance art. It’s the low-grade but unrelenting sense of hazard that is a woman’s experience of merely moving through the world, an anxiety so quiet and constant it can be confused for nothing more than atmosphere.
Throughout your films, you can feel the influence not just of cinema and literature but of painting too, particularly in the way you choose to photograph physical objects, which I find very beautiful. Their presence creates the sense that each character has accumulated a life. Somehow I become very literal, focusing on this page or this postcard or this painting up close, so you can see the paint on the painting. I like how cinema captures what’s photogenic in objects. It’s a bit fetishistic—maybe I get that from Hitchcock—but I like how cinema can turn a free-floating element into an object, an image. I also like to be a bit anti-museum, in the sense that we are handling these objects. We don’t have to have a diploma to do a Shakespeare film. It’s life, it’s there—we’re eating while we’re rehearsing and we’re messing up the words, but we’re doing it and it’s alive.
Night At The Crossroads resembles no other movie made before it: smoky, foggy, and visually very dark. It represents a key step between the detective film, which is supposed to be resolved logically, and the purely filmic thriller, which trades in atmosphere and seduction.
The great Greta Garbo will soon appear on the Swedish 100 kronor note—but to us, she's priceless!
Mondo's gorgeous fan poster for Mike Nichols' The Graduate. Via IndieWire.
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