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Rushes. Greta Gerwig, Algorithmically Created Videos, Paul Thomas Anderson

This week’s essential news, articles, sounds, videos and more from the film world.
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING
  • A stunning trailer for the 4k restoration and re-release of Legend of the Mountain (1979), an under-seen, contemplative action masterpiece by Come Drink with Me and A Touch of Zen director King Hu.
  • For De Filmkrant, Notebook contributors Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin investigate in a new video essay the virtuous modulation to be found in Howard Hawks' and Barbara Stanwyck's talents in Ball of Fire.
  • Commissioned by Renzo, Le CiNéMa Club has premiered three inspired short films from Mati Diop, Eduardo Williams, and Baptist Penetticobra all loosely interpreting the theme "Inhabit the earth".
RECOMMENDED READING
  • In the event of Lady Bird's premiere, Vulture, The New York Times, and Interview Magazine provide us with three essential portraits of Greta Gerwig and her artistry.
  • Contrasting with our own positive review, Michelle Orange takes down Louis C.K.'s I Love You, Daddy for 4Columns:
  • "I Love You, Daddy seeks credit for its willingness to discomfit, to plumb the gray areas, to tell the uncomfortable truth, in C.K.’s description, “that you don’t know anybody.” But a cast of ciphers will never tell a human story—especially one about human unknowability—and life’s rich ambiguities will always elude a perspective confined, most evidently when it is trained on women, to binary extremes."
  • Ronan Farrow's pursuit of Harvey Weinstein continues with a New Yorker investigation into Weinstein's efforts to silence and spy on his victims.
  • You may know the brilliant crime films of Jean-Pierre Melville, like Le samouraï and Army of Shadows, but do you know about the director's experience escaping France during the Second World War and later joining the Resistance? Adrien Bosc's extensive biographical article for Tablet is a must-read.
  • We don't know much about Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread—beyond the recently released trailer and synopsis—so it's with hungry eyes that we devoured Entertainment Weekly's cryptic interview with the filmmaker about his new film:
Was reteaming with Daniel Day-Lewis something you’ve planned for a while?

It came about at my suggestion because I thought we did it well together, and we loved what we did before. I suppose there’s always the risk of trying to do it again, but it seemed crazy not to take the opportunity. I was actively pursuing that, saying, “We have to do this. We have to get back together and make a film.” I couldn’t quite tell you which came first. If you’re hoping for something, you can start to will it into existence. He was receptive to it, so that was a good start. Then the process of writing it was really the two of us together, quite honestly. I’d give him things as I was writing. Rather than go away and write a script and try to impress him, I was collaborating with him each step of the way as I was going, which was very helpful in terms of forming the story and the character. But also, it was incredibly practical for time [purposes] because it gave him time to prepare whatever he was going to have to learn how to do to play a dressmaker. It would not have been practical to write a script alone in my room and then hand it to him and say, “Oh, now we have to get started.” That seems crazy.
  • James Bridle writes at Medium on the dangerous new phenomenon of algorithmically created video content deceptively taking YouTube and its children's content by storm:
Here are a few things which are disturbing me:

The first is the level of horror and violence on display. Some of the times it’s troll-y gross-out stuff; most of the time it seems deeper, and more unconscious than that. The internet has a way of amplifying and enabling many of our latent desires; in fact, it’s what it seems to do best. I spend a lot of time arguing for this tendency, with regards to human sexual freedom, individual identity, and other issues. Here, and overwhelmingly it sometimes feels, that tendency is itself a violent and destructive one.

The second is the levels of exploitation, not of children because they are children but of children because they are powerless. Automated reward systems like YouTube algorithms necessitate exploitation in the same way that capitalism necessitates exploitation, and if you’re someone who bristles at the second half of that equation then maybe this should be what convinces you of its truth. Exploitation is encoded into the systems we are building, making it harder to see, harder to think and explain, harder to counter and defend against. Not in a future of AI overlords and robots in the factories, but right here, now, on your screen, in your living room and in your pocket.
  • We spoke to American independent filmmaker Stephen Cone (Henry Gamble's Birthday Party) this week on the occasion of a New York retrospective of his work and the release of his new film, Princess Cyd. Both The Film Stage and Filmmaker Magazine have also run terrific conversations with this gem of a director:
Filmmaker: I mean, you’re getting further into your filmography. I think I could blind ID your films visually or based on certain tonal, thematic and performance things. I think you seem a little resistant to having a codified visual style, but also, you’re building a toolkit, right?

Cone: I’m not resistant to it, and I hope with the internal rhythms and pacing and scenes of dialogue that there’s something underneath that’s hopefully feels distinct. But to your point: each of those films has a different cinematographer, but my conversations with them are largely the same—”I want to be striking and decisive but not showy.” Sometimes I wish they were messier. I used to show movies like Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train and A Christmas Tale to my DPs and be like “I want it to be this wild.” But no matter what you store away, you’re gonna make what comes from within. Before Henry, I would’ve probably balked at 2.35. Even that was me being, “Oh, just suck it up and do it.” Or the looking into the camera thing, or even the slo-mo in Henry. There’s no slo-mo in Wise Kids, so Henry was me dipping my toes in, and then Cyd in some ways was maybe me trying to split the difference a little bit? Like, go back to the gentleness and slow steady pace of The Wise Kids but keep trying new things occasionally. I’m not saying you’re being critical, I like what you’re saying and I’m okay with the fact that there’s no visual mark as of yet, but there’s never a single moment I’m not aware of visually what’s going on, and that I’m not thinking first and foremost of camera, but always in conjunction with performance. That’s something that I value very much and feel is very underrated about George Cukor, as opposed to like a George Stevens. Cukor knew exactly what he was shooting visually and it excited him, as opposed to someone more workmanlike like Stanley Kramer.
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted on his blog his foreword to a new collection of writing by one of America's greatest film critic, Dave Kehr:
For the range of films and filmmakers treated, the analytical tools employed, and the intellectual confidence and lucidity of the arguments, Kehr’s prose really has no parallels, which is why so much of it reads as freshly as if it were written yesterday.
EXTRAS
  • The first poster for Steven Spielberg's The Post.

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