News to Me: Park Chan-wook, Kara Walker, and Kino Now
Bisbee ’17 (Robert Greene,
1) Over at Hyperallergic, Bisbee ’17 director Robert Greene recounts the past decade of documentary filmmaking. In an era “partly defined by the emergence of playful chimeras,” Greene tracks how the mode has evolved stylistically, technologically, and economically—including this year’s record-setting $10m deal for Knock Down the House. Ending somewhat imminently on the topic of truth, Greene writes: “The history of documentary is one long quest to define truth onscreen . . . It is a breathless hunt for authenticity in a medium that, like all modes of filmmaking, is inherently synthetic.”
2) Some more documentary history for your liking: n+1’s William Harris writing on the career of Anand Patwardhan. “Third Cinema’s revolutionary ferment had begun to expire by the time Patwardhan made his first film. But as an Indian documentarian in the ‘70s, he had his own battle to fight.” For a taste of the filmmaker’s work, In the Name of God (1992) is available via YouTube, a film “pulsing with drama, and a melancholic mix of terror and loss, unparalleled in Patwardhan’s work, or the cinema of many others.” (Something more recent: here’s Patwardhan talking about his 2018 film, Reason, and the rise of Modi.)
3) U.S. art-house distributor Kino Lorber have launched their own streaming platform, Kino Now. Rather than relying on a subscription model, films from the Kino catalogue are available to rent ($4.99) or buy ($9.99-19.99), with 600 titles currently at hand (that number, according to Deadline, is set to double by the end of the year). Kino recently snatched up a few NYFF favorites, including Martin Eden, Synonyms, and Bacurau, but for some older gems, check out K. Austin Collins on Kino’s latest box set, Ida Lupino: Filmmaker Collection.
4) Martin Scorsese recently sparked a fun and not at all infuriating conversation about what is and is not cinema—with superhero films falling firmly in the latter category. Scorsese continued, “the closest I can think of them . . . is theme parks.” But don’t reach for the clown make-up just yet, Scorsese has had plenty of positive things to say about filmmaking this year, including two conversations from last week: the first, a DGA discussion between Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, and the second, from the annual NYFF On Cinema talk with Kent Jones (more great NYFF content here). And an added bonus, from earlier this year: Scorsese speaking with mentee Joanna Hogg about her film The Souvenir.
5) A few weeks back we posted this interview with Leo Goldsmith and Gregory Zinman, both serving as “Experimental Film Consultants” on James Gray’s Ad Astra. This Saturday, October 12, the two will present a series of films used as inspiration for Gray’s visual style, including Stellar by Stan Brakhage, Let Your Light Shine by Jodie Mack, and The Invisible World by Jesse McLean.
6) Park Chan-wook is preparing to remake Costa-Gavras’s 2015 film, The Ax. In discussion with the Greek filmmaker at the Busan Film Festival last week, Park said, “I’ve not yet started filming, but I wish to make this film as my masterpiece.” Gavras, who owns the filming rights with his wife, will oversee the project as a producer. Park further expressed that he hopes to make the film in English, having most recently worked on the BBC adaptation of John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl.
7) Over at Frieze, Hilton Als writes on the films of Kara Walker, marking the occasion of the just-opened exhibition, “From Black and White to Living Color: The Collected Motion Pictures and Accompanying Documents of Kara E. Walker, Artist,” at the Sprüth Magers gallery in London. Als, who helped conceptualize the event, recalls the first time he saw Walker’s films: “they seemed to be excavated from some terrible part of a world where belief, that most common of human precepts, had been buried. They struck me as the loneliest movies I had ever seen.”
8) With the risk of curating the already curated: J. Hoberman has released a selection of October “films to see” over at NYRB. (And in case you missed it, check out our own monthly picks.) Staying true to his brand, Hoberman recommends the upcoming Museum of the Moving Image retrospective, “No Joke: Absurd Comedy as Political Reality,” beginning October 9. The lineup features oddities old and new, including Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux, Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, and an evening of Xavier: Renegade Angel with creators PFFR in person.
9) The Hollywood Reporter recently looked at an interesting development in copyright law, with a slew of iconic ‘80s franchises about to change hands. “In the late 1970s,” writes Eriq Gardner, “Congress amended the law to allow authors to grab back rights from studios after waiting a few decades”—that is, 35 years after publication. As a result, franchises like The Terminator (spawning five sequels and approximately $2B at the box office) are being reclaimed by their authors. (Notably, the recent Pet Sematary remake was something of a panic-move provoked by a notice from Stephen King.) Other franchises soon up for grabs: Predator, Beetlejuice, Die Hard, Nightmare on Elm Street, and apparently anything by King or David Mamet.
10) This week’s news ends on a sad note, as we mark the passing of Wayne Fitzgerald, the man who made an artform out of title sequences. In their obituaries, both The L.A. Times and World of Wonder quote an interview from our May-June 1982 issue, where Fitzgerald describes the time before title sequences were taken seriously: “You did an illustration, you put the name of the picture on there, you had about eight titles and it faded out, and you got on with the movie, and everybody sort of ignored it.”