News to Me: Rachel Morrison, Thom Yorke, and Jim Jarmusch
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
1. Rachel Morrison, who worked as the Director of Photography on Dee Rees’s Mudbound (becoming the first woman nominated for an Academy Award in that category), is currently eyeing her own directorial debut. Based on a script by Barry Jenkins, the film, tentatively titled Flint Strong, will focus on the life of boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and her quest for Olympic gold.
2. Cristina Álvarez López, a critic best known for her video essay collaborations with Adrian Martin, recently published this essay on Philippe Garrel’s Rue Fontaine (with the full film included!). Writing on the autobiographical aspects of the film, López unpacks Garrel’s relationship with Jean Seberg, citing this short piece by the director himself: “Like in Théophile Gautier’s Spirite, in which the woman who committed suicide appears in the mirror and leads the young man to death, Jean was calling me into the next world…” (Another great Garrel read: this interview with Leos Carax, recorded for Cahiers du Cinéma in 1984.)
3. Last week, Anthology Film Archives began their latest series, “Prison Images: Incarceration and the Cinema,” which runs through July 8. Featuring work by Bresson, Mekas, Farocki, Renoir, and several others, “these films make possible the consideration of the prison not as a mere site of confinement and punishment, but as a place in which to imagine a different kind of society, perhaps one in which the prison itself no longer exists”—or so says Leo Goldsmith for 4Columns.
4. Netflix recently announced an upcoming collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson and Thom Yorke. Though there’s little information about the film just yet, Anima is described as a “mind-bending visual piece” and “musical film,” set to be released on June 27 alongside Yorke’s accompanying album. The two have worked together a handful of times in the past, including this music video for Radiohead’s “Day Dreaming.”
5. Spike Lee’s breakout film Do the Right Thing has its 30th anniversary this year. To celebrate the occasion, BAM will be screening the film from June 28 onward with a brand new 35mm print. BAM’s senior repertory and specialty film programmer Ashley Clark—a regular guest on the FC podcast—wrote this piece on the film in 2013: “Lee’s masterstroke with Do the Right Thing was to deploy all the characteristics associated with an uncomplicated good time at the cinema—it’s funny, has an attractive cast and a marketable soundtrack crammed with popular hits—as a Trojan horse for incendiary political content.”
6. The Pauline Kael centenary continues with this piece by our own Farran Nehme, an insightful account of the critic’s life and legacy. Nehme points the reader to such classic essays as, “Why Are Movies So Bad?” (available here in The New Yorker archives), as well as the now-famous panning of Kael’s book, When the Lights Go Down, by Renata Adler.
7. Alessandro Rossetto has begun work on his second narrative feature, currently titled Effetto Domino. After a successful career in documentary filmmaking, Rossetto made waves at the Venice Film Festival in 2013 with his debut, Piccola Patria (reviewed in our Rotterdam roundup). Adapted from the novel by Romolo Bugaro, the director states that it “was the perfect story for taking and experimenting with new narrative forms, different from those used in Piccola Patria, even if there is a degree of continuity between the two films.”
8. Italy’s Il Cinema Ritrovato runs from June 22-30, and will this year feature a retrospective on the work of Henry King. To mark the occasion, Mubi has released this newly translated chapter from Peter von Bagh’s book, Cinefilia, covering a career “which started already when D.W. Griffith was directing The Birth of a Nation (1915) and ended around the time when John Ford finished The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).”
9. Le Cinéma Club continues its impressive return with the rare Chris Marker film, The Koumiko Mystery, in a newly restored edition. Filmed only a few years after Marker’s iconic La Jetée and shot on 16mm, the 46-minute short offers a character study of Koumiko Muraoka, “a charming, elusive and inquisitive young poet, raised in colonial Manchuria and educated at a French-Japanese school.”
10. “The problems of mass consumerism, the things that are woven into Romero’s films, have only gotten worse. They haven’t changed. So why would you need to push it?” Jim Jarmusch was recently interviewed by Vulture to talk about his new film, The Dead Don’t Die (but ends up talking about women in pop music, his distaste for Joe Biden, and his love of bad reviews). Our Digital Anthology of all things Jim Jarmusch is available here, complete with reviews for Broken Flowers, Ghost Dog, and Only Lover Left Alive, as well as interviews from 2009 and 1985.
We leave you this week with this brief interview with the inimitable Ms. Kael, who declares, “I’m disposed to like Prince, the 26-year-old pan-sexual star of Purple Rain, because he is, as a friend of mine put it, the fulfillment of everything that people like Jerry Falwell say rock ’n’ roll will do to the youth of America.”