News to Me: Med Hondo, Claire Denis, and RaMell Ross
News to Me is Film Comment‘s weekly, curated roundup of news, reviews, interviews, and ephemera from the world of cinema and beyond.
Soleil Ô (Med Hondo, 1870)
1. “Our African films are underused and underdeveloped. We have good ideas but do not have a way of financing and distributing films. There’s no African movie industry that would allow us to produce our own image.” Legendary Mauritanian director Med Hondo passed away this week. Read his 1982 interview with Jump Cut here.
2. The Japan Society has announced their upcoming program, The Other Japanese New Wave: Radical Films from 1958-61, which aims to shed a light on lesser-known post-war filmmakers. On the subject of WWII Japan: check out this 1943 early-anime propaganda film, Momotarō no Umiwashi, wherein the bombing of Pearl Harbor (aka “Demon Island”) is told from a slightly different perspective.
3. In further programming news, BAM is boasting the largest Claire Denis retrospective in US history. Opening later this month, the program comes in anticipation of High Life, Denis’s latest release, which just so happens to be on the cover of our latest issue (read Nick Pinkerton’s feature here). And since you can never have too much of a good thing, here’s Film Comment regular Eric Hynes interviewing the director in 2012.
4. Who will love the movie-lovers? Christopher Bram tells the story of his own obsession with Pauline Kael, and how he and his partner paid a visit to her home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. (Perhaps cinephile-philia isn’t all that uncommon: Bilge Ebiri once wrote that a J. Hoberman review changed his life.)
5. For an insight into the many magics that makeup artists weave, The Makeup Gallery catalogues everything from old-aging to gender-bending. Featuring over 16,000 images of actresses transformed in myriad ways, if you’re struggling to figure out where to start, consider this list of the author’s favorites.
6. Craig Baldwin’s in New York and is making the repertory rounds. Catch him presenting RocketKitKongoKit tonight at the Metrograph (along with ¡O No Coronado! and a 16mm “Re-Mix”); or, later on this week, Baldwin has curated his own selection of “Other Cinema’s greatest hits” for UnionDocs, titled “FRISCO GRIT: CRIT-cum-WIT.”
7. A minor news item related to the ongoing cataclysmic generational split: The all-consuming Steven Spielberg has taken up arms against the all-devouring Netflix, reportedly asking that they be removed from Academy Award eligibility (referring to their cinematic distribution as little more than tokenism). This resource tracks the many filmmakers taking sides, including Sean Baker and Paul Schrader.
8. “Repeat after me: the God of the camera is a colonizer.” RaMell Ross, director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening, pens his own poetic manifesto for Film Quarterly. The essay, titled “Renew the Encounter,” comes as part of the journal’s “Eleven Calls to Action.”
9. Two wonderful conversations worth your attention: Sophie T. Lvoff and Chris Kraus, discussing the latter’s favorite French philosophers and the origin of Semiotext(e); and Yaniya Lee with Claire Atherton, who talks about her 30-year collaborative career with Chantal Akerman.
10. And finally, the theme song from Claire Denis’s High Life features leading man and Film Comment cover subject Robert Pattinson on crooning vocals. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on perspective), it’s not a cover of the Steve Winwood classic…