News to Me: Andy Warhol, a single Coen, and farewell to Agnès
1. Last week we learned about the sad passing of our beloved Agnès Varda. We’ve been celebrating much of her life over on Twitter, sharing interviews, reviews, and other anecdotes. Thankfully, Varda had much time to reflect on her long life and storied career, and with Varda par Agnès, she bids farewell: “Disappearing in a blur, I leave you.”
2. In Andy Warhol’s 1980 memoir, Popism, the artist describes his avant–pop sensibility: “That’s what so many people never understood about us. They expected us to take the things we believed in seriously, which we never did—we weren’t intellectuals.” Over at Cinema Scope, Phil Coldiron explores this idea in conjunction with one of Warhol’s most famous films, the eight-hour Empire.
3. With America perched precariously between a post–Paris Agreement and pre–Green New Deal environmental policy, the issue of climate change is being read into all aspects of public life. And though the film world may seem relatively removed from such matters, Olivier Dorlin’s “Towards an Ecological Cinema,” offers an overview of how the issue has been portrayed on screen.
4. Nadine Labaki has been named president of the jury for the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes. (Her film Capernaum was recently featured in our Imogen Sara Smith’s Phantom Light column.) Earlier this year it was announced that Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu will serve as Jury President, charged with awarding the Palme d’Or.
5. So much of studio filmmaking happens in the background, heard or seen without notice, filling the space, subtly articulating the scene. Over at The Freesound Blog, Craig Smith details his efforts to preserve the USC Optical Sound Effects Library—including raucous Western bar fights, courtroom crowds, a biplane crash-landing—which were otherwise bound for the dump.
6. Joel Coen is flying solo on his next project, an adaptation of Macbeth starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. Further details—including the reason for Ethan’s omission—are sparse, though it has been reported that the picture will be produced by Scott Rudin and distributed by A24. (Here’s hoping for something as psychedelic as Polanski’s take on the play.)
7. We’ve been writing and speaking quite a bit recently about Claire Denis, her filmography, and the upcoming release of her High Life. Denis will be live and in person at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on April 4 for an upcoming Film Comment Free Talk, joined by leading man Robert Pattinson. If you can’t make it (or simply can’t wait), check out this 2009 interview about White Material, by Film Comment contributor José Teodoro.
8. “I view the American South through the lens of what Balzac called ‘la comédie humaine’ … From bluesman James Thomas’s clay sculpture to [Fannie Bell] Chapman’s egg cartons, there’s enormous creativity embedded within the lives of each person with whom I worked, and I tried to reveal that raw power of in my films.” Over at BOMB, documentarian William Ferris speaks on finding his own voice through others. For an auditory sample of the filmmaker’s work, check out our playlist of Ferris’s recordings.
9. Ingmar Bergman was a man of many talents; among the least appreciated was his skill as a writer of prose. The Swedish Book Review recently featured a selection of the filmmaker’s work, including treasures pulled from the Ingmar Bergman Foundation’s archives, as well as a newly translated excerpt from Jan Holmberg’s book, The Writer Ingmar Bergman.
10. The Matrix turned 20 yesterday. To celebrate, Vulture put together this collection of 19 things the film predicted about the future, including simulation theory and the red pill.” And though the sci-fi revelation lends itself to many interpretations, MUBI’s Caden Mark Gardner breaks down one of the most pertinent in this piece: “Sensing Transgender: Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s The Matrix.”
We’ll leave you today with a short video essay on Varda and the human body, a brief tribute to the great artist’s anatomical eye.