News to Me: Julie Dash, Terrence Malick, and Korean Cinema
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991)
1) Julie Dash is set to make her first feature film in 28 years, a biopic about civil rights activist Dr. Angela Davis. Shadow and Act reports that no cast has yet been announced, though filming is set to begin in June. Dash’s debut, Daughters of the Dust, was the first feature film by an African American woman to have a theatrical release, and on the film’s 25th anniversary, marked by a joint-effort restoration between Cohen Media Group and UCLA, Cassie da Costa spoke with the director about her book, teaching at Morehouse, and what it means to make history. (For a more recent da Costa, check out this piece on Brett Story’s The Hottest August, opening at BAM this week.)
2) Not long ago we mourned the passing of legendary Colombian director Luis Ospina. In his honor, MUBI has put together “a triptych of his films, a small sample of his genius,” featuring The Vampires of Poverty, A Paper Tiger, and It All Started at the End. Supplementing the event, FC contributor Ela Bittencourt penned this piece for MUBI Notebook, writing on Ospina’s unique mix of fact and fiction: “Urban legends are fabricated, but also have an organic mythical dimension; in this case, they consolidate the dreams and fears of Ospina’s generation.”
3) Gustav Deutsch passed away earlier this month, marking another tragic loss for the film world. The Austrian director was most famous for his Film ist series—“an attempt to define cinema through its own material, with and in the very flesh of images,” according to Livio Belloï. Over at The Daily, David Hudson has put together a comprehensive collection of writing on the artist, including work by Tom Gunning, Ed Halter, and J. Hoberman.
4) “Unlike Satyjit Ray, whose (undeniably beautiful) early narratives are immaculate constructions centred around the experience of childhood, and the backdrop of a home, Ghatak’s works reflect the fraught tumults of a nation at odds with itself.” Film at Lincoln Center’s Ritwik Ghatak retrospective came to an end last week. If you were unlucky enough to miss it, it’s well worth catching up on the FC podcast, where Devika Girish sat down with series programmers Moinak Biswas and Richard Peña. See also our recently-digitized 1997 essay by Jacob Levich, and this Frieze piece by Shiv Kotecha, quoted above.
5) Coming soon to Film at Lincoln Center is their retrospective on New Korean Cinema, focusing on films produced between 1996-2003. Two of Bong Joon Ho’s earlier films will be showing, Barking Dogs Never Bite and a 4K restoration of Memories of Murder. (Bong’s Parasite just won big at the 39th Korean Film Critics Association Awards—taking home prizes for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography.) This year marks the 100th anniversary of Korean filmmaking, began by Kim Do-san’s 1919 kino-drama The Righteous Revenge (a mix of cinema, live theater, and magic lantern work, inspired by the Japanese rensa-geki). For more Korean film history, head on over to the Korean Film Archive.
6) “The most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk.” In case you (somehow) missed it: Martin Scorsese recently took to the Times to clarify his statements on superhero non-cinema. And not for the first time—Scorsese has regularly turned to print to make his point, as in this 1993 piece, where he pushes back against the “dangerous,” “limiting,” and “intolerant” attitude towards Fellini, Bergman, and other international filmmakers. More NYT-Scorsese history: FC contributor Violet Lucca made her debut last week, writing on the “restrained genius” of Joe Pesci.
7) For Lit Hub, David L. Ulin travels through the many dark timelines of apocalyptic science fiction. Recalling his discovery of Chris Markers’ 1962 short La Jetée—“so deeply compelling, with its looping, circular approach to time and history”—Ulin looks at how our understanding of extinction has evolved alongside technology: “We live in a world where disaster is accretive, not the result of a single, signal event such as an exchange of ballistic missiles but instead a series of overlapping somethings that are, by turns, more all-encompassing and more indistinct.”
8) Two for the end-of list-lovers out there: The European Film Academy recently announced its nominees for this year’s European Film Awards. Budding young upstarts Pedro Almodóvar, Marco Bellochio, and Roman Polanski lead the pack, with Céline Sciamma the lone woman competing for European Director. And marking a decade in posters, FC regular Adrian Curry has chosen his best-of for MUBI Notebook, writing of his Number 1: “In my mind it doesn’t get any better than this.”
9) Continuing our trend of great content only available on Twitter: Another Gaze recently posted this piece-by-piece translation of an interview with Adèle Haenel, where the French actress speaks, after so much time, about her experience with on-set abuse. Emboldened by the MeToo movement in the States (though disheartened by the French reaction), Haenel states: “I’m very angry. But it’s not about me, about how I did or didn’t survive. I want to talk about a kind of abuse which is sadly commonplace and to denounce the system of silence and complicity which makes it possible.”
10) At the end of this week, the Museum of the Moving Image will begin Moments of Grace: The Collected Terrence Malick, leading up to the release of A Hidden Life (reviewed in our new issue by Sheila O’Malley). FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and MoMI’s Curator of Film Eric Hynes sat down to discuss the film following its debut at Cannes earlier this year. And way back in 1978, we sat down with Days of Heaven cinematographer Néstor Almendros (also known for his work on the French New Wave): “Terry wanted to keep shooting long after the sun had set. I told him he was like Joshua in the Bible, trying to stop the sun.”
We leave you this week with Luc Moullet’s charming short film Barres, a palate cleanser for anyone dealing with the current subway crackdown.