News to Me: Lucrecia Martel, Franco Piavoli, and Women Editors
Self-portrait of Joann Hogg in her flat (frame grab from Super 8), 1980, © Joanna Hogg
1) Lucrecia Martel, hard at work on her forthcoming film, Chocobar, recently spoke with MoMA’s Post from location: “Without a doubt, this is the most difficult thing I’ve done so far.” The film will be Martel’s first feature documentary, detailing the life of photographer and activist Javier Chocobar, who was murdered while protesting the rights of his indiginous community in Argentina (Martel told us her plans for the film back in 2018). Also answered in the Post interview: Martel’s Venice criteria. When asked what she would be looking for in competing films, she replied: “[Films] in which the veil is lifted for a second and you recognize the absurdity of the world.”
2) “To be a trans film critic is to face the fact that when you are published, your voice will often be characterized as invaluable in terms of perspective when given the platform to write.” Caden Mark Gardner takes on the “responsibilities of a trans critic” over at MUBI Notebook (calling back to Robin Wood’s now-famous essay of a similar name, originally published in our Jan-Feb 1978 issue). Using the recent release of Adam—“not a film I would implore people to see”—Gardner probes the expectations and realities of appraising trans cinema as a trans critic, of finding platforms and escaping pigeonholes, and of communicating “a singular perspective rather than a complete testament of an entire community.”
3) For NYRB, poetry editor Jana Prikryl writes on the career of Joanna Hogg, from Unrelated to The Souvenir (our May-June cover-film). One career move left unmentioned: A Nos Amours, a filmmaking collective founded by Hogg and Adam Roberts, dedicated to programming “over-looked, under-exposed or especially potent cinema.” Back in 2015, A Nos Amours completed their rolling retrospective of Chantal Akerman’s work, and now plan to release an accompanying handbook to commemorate the event. With a new foreword by Laura Mulvey, “the Handbook crucially bears witness to the effect that Akerman has had on the film community, from her earliest movies until her last.”
4) “Anything that comes along that is exciting, challenging—that fulfills some of the possibilities of creativity; of human or, for that matter, of rodent creativity. The job of critics is to discover that and to be able to make a case for it, for the public.” NYT chief film critic A.O. Scott recently sat down with On Being to talk Ratatouille and his affection for Anton Ego (noting that the film, at least in part, inspired his book Better Living Through Criticism). In further worth-listening-to news: FC contributors and Lincoln Center locals Michael Koresky, Dennis Lim, and Kent Jones provide a preview of the 57th New York Film Festival here.
5) 24 rare films from Republic Pictures are now available via Apple TV, including Alfred Santell’s That Brennan Girl and Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar. Paramount’s Andrea Kalas, Senior VP of Archives, enlisted the help of Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation to restore the films, with Scorsese introducing a selection of the new restorations at MoMA last year: “There are so many titles that have been overlooked or forgotten . . . I can promise you that you have some discoveries in store.” (For an in-depth history of how Republic Pictures “became its own realm of Americana,” get your hands on Imogen Sara Smith’s featured essay in our Jan-Feb 2019 issue.)
6) “I actually think people who are fans of Joan Didion are going to respond to this movie. It’s my LA but it’s not too far removed from Didion’s LA—the biggest difference is I think I’m more affectionate towards it than she is.” In an extensive interview for The New Beverly’s blog, Quentin Tarantino talks to Kim Morgan about his version of Hollywood. Also included: making Leo DiCaprio a Ralph Meeker fan, Burt Reynolds calling Brad Pitt “kinda pretty for a stunt guy,” and the decision behind each of Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood’s many needle drops.
7) For the first time in its 25-year history, Turner Classic Movies will be hosted by a black woman. Jacqueline Stewart, who made her debut on Sunday night, is a professor at the University of Chicago and author of Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity. She recently sat down with Tambay Obenson to talk about her new post and new perspective: “I think this is part of the invitation that TCM has given to me, to come and really talk about the challenging racial and gender questions that come up with some of these early films.”
8) Over at Criterion, Girish Shambu draws attention to Edited By, “Su Friedrich’s large and invaluable web resource devoted to women film editors.” Shambu further details the history of film editing, noting that, in its early days, the process of gathering the material and making literal cuts was as laborious as it was tedious: “Because ‘cutting’ was considered menial and monotonous work similar to knitting and sewing, it became common for young women with little or no professional training to be hired as cutters.” (If you enjoy Shambu’s deft detailing of cinema history: check out this piece from our Sep-Oct 2017 issue, covering a hundred years of immigrants on film.)
9) Two pieces of note recently popped up at Hyperallergic: Paul Farrell reviewing the recent archival documentary, Filmfarsi, so named for the term used to describe B-through-Z-movies aping the national style: “Gangsters, wrestlers, and machine-gun-wielding nurses lit up the screens of Iran—at Filmfarsi’s peak, around 43 million cinema tickets were sold annually in Tehran alone.” And the second, from Dana Reinoos, who labels Sarah Jacobson “one of the most tragic ‘What If’ stories in American film.”
10) Franco Piavoli is perhaps Italy’s best-known experimental filmmaker—earning praise from Tarkovsky, Bertolucci, and Brakhage (with his work combining stylistic elements of all three). In Nostos: Il Ritorno, one of his few features, Piavoli offers a poetic interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey, forgoing its epic narrative in favour of an epic scope of images. Cristina Álvarez López labels it a “film of forces” in her recent blog post: “A film of man and landscape that turns the adventure genre inside out while pushing it to the sublime.”
We leave you this week with the film in full: an odyssey of the moving image.