News to Me: Susan Seidelman, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Stanley Kubrick
Smithereens (Susan Seidelman, 1982)
1) Isabelle Huppert was awarded the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo at the 25th Sarajevo Film Festival last week. The prize, which has also awarded to directors Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Pawel Pawlikowski, is in celebration of her outstanding performances in cinema. Huppert’s films are screening as part of a month-long retrospective at Amsterdam’s Eyefilm Museum.
2) Joanna Kulig, star of Paweł Pawlikowski’s black-and-white memoir-slash-meditation Cold War, will reprise her role as a singer in the Parisian club scene, this time on the small screen in Damien Chazelle’s The Eddy, a Netflix original series that extends the director’s musically-inclined repertoire. As for Pawlikowski, the director has mentioned an interest in adapting the transfixing odyssey of controversial poet-punk Eduard Limonov.
3) Ana Lily Amirpour debuted in 2014 with the genre-bending A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which Filmmaker Magazine described as an “Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western.” In an interview in 2017 with Film Comment, Amirpour said, “For me, making a film is this crazy, psychedelic, internal experience, and it takes a while to fully see what is going on.” She will return as writer-director on the ominous-sounding Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, about a girl with supernatural powers, named Lunatic, trying to make it on her own in New Orleans.
4) Artist Devin Kenny is hosting a film series in conjunction with his solo exhibit, rootkits rootwork, at MoMA PS1. Throughout August, Kenny has screened multiple documentaries on the nature of New York City, covering themes of race, class, gentrification, and history, which reappear in his multimedia experimental artwork.
5) Gabriel Abrantes, one half of the team behind Diamantino (2018), which screened at the 2018 Cannes Critics’ Week and opened the Projections section of the 56th New York Film Festival, is planning a horror film in his native Portugal. The director is also looking to expand his fantasy short, The Marvelous Misadventures of the Stone Lady, which premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of this year’s Cannes.
6) The seminal punk classic Smithereens (1985) by writer-director Susan Seidelman celebrates its 35th birthday this summer. The film recently screened at BAM as part of its Punks, Poets, and Valley Girls series (which we celebrated with a curated Film Comment playlist). Seidelman reflected on the making of the cult classic in Dazed; her follow-up, Desperately Seeking Susan, (1985) screens on August 30 as part of Film at Lincoln Center’s Make My Day: American Movies in the Age of Reagan series.
7) After her 2019 Berlinale selection Mr. Jones, which told the real-life story of the Welsh journalist who exposed the Soviet famine of the 1930s in the Western media, Agnieszka Holland continues her interest in European history in her upcoming projects. She just wrapped Charlatan, which profiles the life of Jan Mikolášek, a Czech healer with no medical education who helped scores of people during the wars of the 20th century, while Holland’s next project, announced at the Berlinale, is an eight-part television series on Napoleon.
8) After the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick almost directed his own take on the larger-than-life (or smaller-than-life?) legend of Napoleon. The keyword is “almost”—the aborted project left the director’s credits at lucky number 13. This purported “greatest movie never made” serves as the introduction for the ongoing exhibit at London’s Design Museum, covering the director’s life and works through a collection of photographs, interviews, films, and memorabilia. 2001 will get its own exhibition in early 2020 with an interactive exhibition and talk series at Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
9) Summer is coming to a close…and that means all the hype about the golden jubilee of the moon landing will soon be over. If you still can’t get over an event that already happened, here’s looking at the best and worst space films according to NASA. If you’re onto the next thing (here’s looking at you, Mars), look no further than Bollywood’s emerging sci-fi scene.
10) Roger Williams, the prolific Canadian-American animator behind such classics as Roger Rabbit, passed away last week. “He was — and this is not an exaggeration — the greatest animator in the world and had been for decades,” wrote Dan Schindel in Hyperallergic. We leave you this week with the opening frames of his most famous cartoon: