- End of the year "tops" and "best ofs" are starting to appear online—well before many critics have seen many of the year's important films, we may add—and our favorite so far is Sight & Sound's poll for the best films of 2016. Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann deservedly tops the list, and aside from a few outliers (American Honey, Evolution), it looks pretty good from where we're sitting. Also just published are the the year's best movies as chosen by The New York Times: Manohla Dargis tops her list with Chantal Akerman's No Home Movie and A.O. Scott fetes Moonlight.
- The film world is just beginning to wrap 2016, and already we're looking at the next year: the Sundance Film Festival has begun announcing it selections, which we're gathering (and updating) here.
- We may all have too much to watch (or so it seems), but here is something very much worth prioritizing: the National Film Preservation Foundation has put online and made free 47 films in its "Treasures from American Film Archives" collection. It ranges from John Huston's classic WW2 documentary The Battle of San Pietro to beloved early silents like The Gay Shoe Clerk, bygone actualities (Interior New York Subway) to canonical avant-garde (Joseph Cornell's Rose Hobart).
- For RogerEbert.com Peet Golderblom has made a video essay matching Brian De Palma's inspirations from (and remixes and variations on) Alfred Hitchcock.
- Bias alert: A nice new trailer...from us. We're releasing Eugène Green's wry and charming The Son of Joseph in cinemas (this Friday) and on MUBI (on Christmas) in the United Kingdom, and have cut a new trailer for it.
- Over the last week you may have seen a flare-up over what may be considered an old (if essential) revelation: that for the film Last Tango in Paris Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci didn't tell actress Maria Schneider in advance about an abusive, violent sex scene until it was filmed, after which, in her words, she "felt a little raped, both by Marlon [Brando, her co-star] and Bertolucci." Slate has an overview not only on the disturbing original story, but also on the (re-)cycle of the news in online media:
It was literally impossible to do even the most cursory research of the film or its director without encountering this story. This isn’t a case of a woman’s account of sexual assault suddenly becoming credible when a man weighs in either: Bertolucci confirmed the story in multiple English-language outlets in 2013. So what happened this time? Has social media become more prone to outrage cycles?
- On his own blog, film critic J. Hoberman weighs in on "the entertainer," Donald Trump:
Donald Trump may also have a marker on Hollywood Boulevard but he is something else—Trump is not a movie star but a celebrity. Indeed, he is a creature spawned and nurtured by Hollywood’s successors, the cable news, reality TV, talk radio, and the social media that define our national discourse. Reagan filled that discourse with pleasing fantasies; Trump, thrived in a far shoddier information eco-system that was already polluted with lies and where his roustabout antics were taken for truth.
- There's a new edition out of Robert Bresson's slim but fantastic book, Notes from the Cinematograph (a must-buy for any cinephile—perhaps a stocking stuffer for a friend?), and Dennis Lim has a lengthy appreciation (and in fact, overview of Bresson's career) for Bookforum:
Many of Bresson's "notes" are mere sentence fragments: "Unusual approaches to bodies." "Not artful, but agile." Some, more carefully honed, resemble Zen koans: "Empty the pond to get the fish." Others take the form of concrete imperatives: "When a sound can replace an image, cut the image or neutralize it." There are kernels of pragmatic advice, as when he extols the value of the "small subject" that allows for "many profound combinations" (with bigger themes, "nothing warns you when you are going astray"). And befitting his taste for contradiction, there are paradoxes aplenty. "Put oneself into a state of intense ignorance and curiosity, and yet see things in advance," he writes, splitting the difference, as did many of his films, between chance and predestination.
- We never need an excuse to watch Lotte Reiniger's animated delight The Adventures of Prince Achmed, but Swedish psych rock outfit Dungen's new score for it has us eager to revisit that classic with this new sound. Somewhat confusingly, the album is called Häxan, and should not to be confused with the silent horror film of that title.
- Speaking of (listening to) soundtracks, musician Mica Levi, whose score for Under the Skin is without a doubt one of the best movie soundtracks of the last decade, has just recently scored Pablo Larraín's Jackie. You can listen to it on Spotify.
- The dubious but imminently enjoyable project of painting (in Microsoft Paint!) each shot of Blade Runner is currently in progress on Tumblr.
- Two great Japanese posters, courtesy of our own Tumblr: for Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter.