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Weekly Rushes. Locarno Lineup, "Loving" Trailer, Gena Rowlands, Kiarostami Tributes

This week’s essential news, articles, sounds, videos and more from the film world.
  • The lineup for the 69th Locarno Film Festival has been announced, with new movies by Yousry Nasrallah, Matías Piñeiro, João Pedro Rodrigues (O Ornitólogo, above) and Axelle Ropert in the International Competition, short films by Thom Andersen and Jia Zhangke, and more.
  • "American Horror Story": Ezekiel Kweku's brief, moving and must-read analysis of trying to analyze the proliferating videos of deaths at the hands of the American police:
The postmortem, the part we’re going through now, is also tiring. The videos of the death go viral, everyone talks about how shocking it is, which really means how shocking it would be, in some other reality where this doesn’t happen often enough that it isn’t accidentally captured on camera several times a year. People will hope, either desperately or naïvely, that this will be the video that rouses America’s slumbering conscience, that this time changes will be made, that thistime the story is so clear-cut that justice will be undeniable.

What this misses, as many have pointed out, is that for these videos to prick the conscience, that conscience must already value the lives of those who are dying. 
Ehsan Khoshbakht: Abbas Kiarostami's impact on Iranian cinema was so colossal that almost swallowed up everything before, and to a certain extent after. For better or worse, Iranian cinema equated Abbas Kiarostami. It was good because it made Iranian cinema a global phenomenon. And not so good when it overshadowed other filmmakers and other existing modes of filmmaking in Iran. Can you think of any other filmmaker whose presence could have dominated a national cinema to such extent?

Jonathan Rosenbaum: As you know, I tend to view Kiarostami more in transnational terms. In terms of being identified with a national cinema from outside that particular nation, I suppose one could cite Satyajit Ray, Almodovar, Bergman, and Kurosawa, among others. But from a transnational perspective, I suspect that the only figure comparable to Kiarostami, both in terms of influence and in terms of stirring up controversies, would be Godard.
Chris Dumas: Well, I'd say that it requires re-thinking what it means to be a "political" filmmaker. Before 1960 or so, I suppose it meant that you made movies like Salt of the Earth  serious, sober melodramas about injustice. Now, after 9/​11, I guess it means documentaries, The Big Short or historical gestures like Selma. But in between, there was Godard, and the idea that cinematic form itself was political — the morality-of-the-tracking-shot idea. Godard made it okay to do political work inside the confines of genre, and that's the path that De Palma found
Michael Cimino on the set of Heaven's Gate
  • At the New Yorker, Richard Brody writes that Michael Cimino's "life work is a cinema of mourning, an art of grief, a nightmare of memory that finds its sole redemption in ecstasy—the heightened perception that transforms experience into a grand internal spectacle, which finds its embodiment in Cimino’s own profound visual imagination":
Of the American directors of so-called New Hollywood, Cimino was by far the most visually gifted. His films don’t have the deep historical layering or the self-punishing energy of Martin Scorsese’s work, or the operatic rhetoric of Francis Ford Coppola’s. They don’t have the referential wit, or the vanity, for that matter, of Brian De Palma’s virtuosic compositions. Cimino’s mighty and distinctive visual imagination is more than a way of presenting the action in his films; it’s the very source of his dramas. He is, in effect, a documentary filmmaker whose overwhelming sense of confectionery artifice—of screen-crowding and mind-catching detail, of choreographic turbulence and sculptural majesty—depends on his creation of a densely populated, deeply conceived, and meticulously realized world.
  • Ralph Bellamy. An actor you may remember, if you remember him at all, as the butt of jokes in Leo McCarey's The Awful Truth and Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday. For The Chiseler, Dan Callahan asks, "why is it whenever he’s on screen my skin starts to crawl, and why is it that I sort of enjoy the sensation?"
John did give the impression that it was spontaneous, that people were just making it all up. His pictures did look improvised. I think it’s because he gave the actors so much freedom. He gave them so much freedom that it felt like it was all happening around you, not like you were making a movie.

So if other people have used that particular style of working and cited John, I’m very pleased, because it means that what we were trying to do—make it look like it was all happening right in front of the audience—came off. 

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