Aleksandr Sokurov's Faust (2011).
The 12th edition of Film Comment Selects comes to the second half of the year’s shortest month! Sure to delight obsessive repertory film fiends and civilians alike, this 31-strong lineup boasts documentaries, festival rarities, good old-fashioned horror flicks, and one helluva triple-projection by J. Hoberman.
But where to begin? You could always stay on the safe side and catch stuff made by some established directors, perhaps part of the mini Jean-Pierre Gorin retrospective: Poto and Cabengo, Routine Pleasure, and My Crasy Life. We also have new films from Kore-Eda (I Wish/Kiseki), Sokurov (Faust), and Akerman (Almayer’s Folly/La folie Almayer). Or perhaps you’d like to pair your daring auteur with a recognizable actor, like Fassbinder’s first English-language melodrama Despair, written by Tom Stoppard? (With the premiere of James Franco and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private River, you’ve got a two-in-one.) We’ve also got memorial tributes to Bingham Ray with a screening of Mike Leigh’s Life Is Sweet, and to Ken Russell with the enfant terrible’s own 1980 fantasia Altered States.
For the more daring, there’s a swath of new releases from around the world, snatched from (comparative) obscurity by Film Comment’s editors and correspondents: Target/Mishen (Alexander Zeldovich) and A Stoker/Kochegar (Alexei Balabanov) explore the broken-down dark comedy in present and future Russia; Mortem (Eric Atlan) and Snowtown (Justin Kurzel) promise to thrill even the most hardened horror fans; Transfer (Damir Lukacevic) and Alps/Alpeis (Yorgos Lanthimos) reveal what happens when people are given the opportunity to literally escape themselves.
Even if you’re a well-traveled polyglot, there’s something new for you to learn: we’ve got All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, Adam Curtis’s (The Power of Nightmares, Century of the Self) latest documentary. If Curtis’s elegantly constructed cinematic essay on the link between Silicon Valley and Objectivism is too much of a bummer, there’s also Michael Glawogger’s Whores' Glory, a triptych about the mundane realities of sex work in the West and in the developing world. Similarly not your cup of tea? How about prog-rock gods Pink Floyd in their seminal rock-doc, Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii.
And, if you haven’t seen it yet, there will also be a screening of Margaret with the director and cast.
Film Comment Selects runs February 17 – March 1. For a full lineup and descriptions of the films, check out the official press release.