News to Me: Bruno Ganz, Black Mother, Bing Liu, and Berlinale
News to Me is Film Comment‘s weekly, curated roundup of news, reviews, interviews, and ephemera from the world of cinema and beyond.
Black Mother (Khalik Allah, 2018)
1. Adrian Curry, our very own maestro of movie posters, has put together this touching tribute to the late Bruno Ganz. In that strange, heartwarming way particular to actors, Ganz will soon return—to the screen, at least—later this year in Terrence Malick’s Radegund.
2. The National Library of Jamaica has announced plans to open a new digital Reggae Film Archive. Over 200 films collected by the Reggae Film Festival are to be donated, along with contributions from Reggae Films UK archivist, Peter Gittins.
3. Coming in at No. 3 on our 2018 list of Best Undistributed Films, Black Mother is finally set to see a release thanks to Grasshopper Film. To celebrate, they’re making Khalik Allah’s previous film, Field Niggas, available to stream until March 7. (Fans of La Flor will be happy to know that Grasshopper have that covered, too.)
4. “More than disbelief, I felt envy when the director Bing Liu won an award at Sundance for Minding the Gap, a documentary set in Rockford, a city whose story I have tried—and failed—to tell. A documentary about skateboarding, no less. I grew up skating those streets.” Writing for The Paris Review, David Michael paints himself into the portrait of Rockford, Illinois, as one of Bing’s forgotten Lost Boys.
5. The National Film Board of Canada is capping off Black History Month with a selection of five films that fit the theme: “Black Canadian Youth: Boundless, Rooted and Proud.” Among them, Martine Chartrand’s Black Soul, a beautifully animated short-form voyage through black history and culture.
6. Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice is now available via Criterion, along with Dennis Lim’s essay on the perils of adaptation. Following a Visconti retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center midway through last year, we discussed the man and his many films on the Film Comment podcast.
7. The February issue of Cahiers du Cinéma features interviews with François Ruffin, Gilles Perret, Pierre Carles, and Florent Marcie—all filmmakers documenting the events of the gilets jaune (Yellow vests) movement. Over at Commune, a newly minted quarterly on culture and politics, Rona Lorimer diarizes her own experience of the events.
8. Currently available on Amazon, the Jordan Peele-produced Lorena revisits the notorious and manifestly Freudian events of 1993. Little more than a public punchline in its time, Moira Donegan recounts what has changed since, and why tragic stories like Lorena Bobbitt’s “deserve a media with an ear trained to hear them.”
9. Alice Rohrwacher is in talks to direct two episodes of The Story of a New Name, the second season of HBO’s Elena Ferrante adaptation, My Brilliant Friend. Rohrwacher took part in last year’s NYFF Directors Dialogue, where she discussed, among other things, the Film Comment favorite Happy as Lazzaro.
10. Carmen Gray highlights two standout Portuguese works from Berlinale: Carlos Conceição’s Serpentarius and Jorge Jácome’s short film Past Perfect. Both deal with themes of nostalgia and colonialism, “politically astute in their obsession with how we can position ourselves against the past, and how to navigate our fraught returns to its outposts.”
And finally, we woke up this morning with this song in our heads. Not sure why…