The Toronto International Film Festival has wrapped and its winners (such as they are) have been announced, including Damien Chazelle's La La Land (read our take) and Pablo Larraín's Jackie. Our full index of coverage, as well as our favorite films, can be found here—stay tuned for director interviews! Meanwhile, if you want the truly best and most comprehensive review of the many, many films that played in Toronto, we highly recommend Cinema Scope's coverage.
The trailer for a movie we hadn't realized existed: Costa-Gavras's Missing, Palme d'Or and Best Actor Winner—for Jack Lemmon—at Cannes in 1982. Also starring Sissy Spacek, the film is newly restored and ripe for our ignorant re-discovery.
Here's the trailer for the second American film this year based on the on-air suicide of Florida newscaster Christine Chubbuck in 1974. A doc/fiction hybrid by Robert Greene, Kate Plays Christine, came out earlier this year (read our article on it), and now Antonio Campos' fictional version starring Rebecca Hall is soon to be released.
The Criterion Collection has a new video essay looking at the storyboarding of the Coen brothers' Blood Simple.
The teaser trailer for Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, the follow-up to his debut, A Single Man. Our critic at Toronto wasn't a big fan of it: "From glassy Los Angeles atriums to a used wad of toilet paper, every element is glacéed with the slick polish of a magazine spread..."
And finally a dose of the mainstream: Robert Zemeckis' WW2 drama Allied—its trailers have been remarkably cryptic but the set-up reminds us of Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious, but starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.
Theatre admissions fall 45% over six years. Studio profits fall 80% over the same period. One-sixth of theatres close. Major overseas markets refuse to remit the earnings of Hollywood films. Audiences turn increasingly to other leisure activities. This was the state of the American film industry in 1953. The prosperous war years, culminating in the all-time admissions high of 1946, were over and the studios went into sharp decline. Thanks to the 1948 Supreme Court “Divorcement Decree,” the studios lost control of their theatres, relinquishing not only valuable showcases for their product but also millions of dollars of prime real estate. Yet as we know, 1953 didn’t end cinema, not even American cinema.
I want to celebrate the real, hard-fought triumphs of someone like Ms. DuVernay, who’s about to shoot a major studio movie and has a new television series in addition to her forthcoming documentary. At the same time, those achievements — and I think she would agree — shouldn’t be seen as representative of the situation for all female directors, specifically minority women. If anything, the industry needs exceptional individuals to help obscure just how bad things are. Exceptions do a lot of heavy lifting for us, as the theorist Utz McKnight argues. The success of individual blacks is seen as proof of racial equality, while, as Mr. McKnight writes, “the exceptional white racist is used to separate the existing racial white community from the onus of the past practices of Jim Crow.” The exceptional white racist — a neo-Nazi, for instance — becomes the emblem of hate, letting other whites off the hook, liberating them from the obligations of the past even as they benefit from racism and their whiteness. And because whites, after Jim Crow, turned to the government to take on problems of discrimination, the burden for change is on the government rather than on community.
There were colorful personalities hereabouts too, including a Milwaukee collector with a stupendous array of original Hitchcocks from the 1950s. Another Wisconsin collector, Al Dettlaff, discovered and jealously guarded Edison’s 1910 version of Frankenstein. I met a collector in remote Minnesota who had converted his garage for 35mm screening both indoors and outdoors. He could aim his projectors to shoot out onto the back yard for neighborhood shows (a popular pastime for collectors). During the snowbound winters, he could swivel the machines to shoot through the kitchen to the living room. I asked how his wife felt about sawing holes in the walls. He said: “She’s fine with it. She knows I can get a new wife a hell of a lot easier than an IB Tech of Bambi.”
...but the cinema poetry the two conjured up together remains an unsurpassed mixture. The question of authorship becomes irrelevant; each brought the best of himself, with Tourneur finding inspiration in Lewton’s high-poetic concepts and Lewton discovering in Tourneur an artist who could ground the producer’s most dematerialized ideas in specifics of light and shadow, movement and angle.
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