News to Me: Tarantino, Almodóvar, and If....
If…. (Lindsay Anderson, 1968)
1. Over at LARB, Alex Harvey commemorates the 50-year anniversary of controversial Cannes-winner If…. (which came in at number 15 on our 2009 list of the best Palme d’Or winners of all time). At the 1969 festival, director Lindsay Anderson was told by the British Ambassador that the film was “an insult to the British nation” and “must be withdrawn,” to which he replied, “it is an insult to a nation that deserves to be insulted.” More on iffy empires: NYRB recently published this article on Rudyard Kipling’s If—, describing the poem’s “tragic hubris.”
2. Just one year prior, in 1968, a teenaged J. Hoberman—self-described as a “serious pothead, occasional speed freak, and fanatical cinephile”—penned this piece on the New York Film Festival. Meant only to be distributed at his Harpur College Film Society’s fall presentation, the 10-page report is filled with the kind of cocksure takes only a young critic could write: “Remember that I said Griffith, Eisenstein, & Welles were the big 3? Well, add Godard & you’ve got the big 4—he’s that good. His 2 films screened were not only the best flix at the festival but the best films by any commercial film-maker since L’Avventura & Marienbad.”
3. To celebrate the forthcoming release of Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory, as well as several of the director’s films coming to The Criterion Channel, Filmmaker Magazine has made two interviews available online for the first time: the first, from 1999 and focusing on All About My Mother, and the second, from 1994, on Kika. (If the latter, on “the politics of gay cinema,” so entices you, check out this podcast from our most recent Film Comment Free Talk: Queer & Now & Then.)
4. HBO’s five-part miniseries Chernobyl has been making waves of late. For Jacobin, Aaron Giovannone writes that, although a “renewed interest in Chernobyl makes sense at a time when our present society also faces political instability and environmental catastrophe on an even larger scale,” it’s nevertheless important not to mistake “the show’s goriness for truthfulness” in an era of renewed Red Scare.
5. With the release of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, AMC theaters began their new mid-level movie incentive, AMC Artisan Films. THR writes that the “aim of AMC Artisan is to make small and mid-size [films] more accessible through aggressive promotion and consistent and convenient showtimes,” with a current slate that includes Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Riley Stearns’ The Art of Self-Defense (both reviewed in our latest issue).
6. Also in our latest issue: a review of the recently released Chantal Akerman memoir, My Mother Laughs, which Yonca Talu believes “is destined to take its place among literature’s most heartfelt accounts of the patient, unconditional love binding mothers and daughters.” If you can’t get your hands on the book just yet, check out this excerpt over at BOMB.
7. “Can the general audience relate to Shelley Duvall externally? Won’t the general audience back in Dayton, Ohio, think she’s kind of freaky and kind of spacey and kind of a weirdo?” Everyone’s favorite freaky, spacey weirdo turned 70 yesterday. To mark the occasion, Criterion’s The Daily reposted this 2011 piece by Michael Koresky. (Double dose: see also Koresky’s Queer & Now & Then column on The Shining.)
8. Some of Canada’s top filmmakers believe the National Film Board has lost its way creatively, with 250 industry members signing a letter of protest. The filmmakers allege that film budgets have fallen by 56 percent over the past 15 years, while spending on institutional, legal, and human resources within the institutions have increased by 45 percent during that time. A majority of the blame is angled at a management board bereft of filmmakers, and, in particular, Government Film Commissioner Claude Joli-Coeur.
9. “Disney’s depiction of love over the past decade might be a sign of what’s to come. Love is central to the fabric of society, so any change in its ideal will ripple through all sorts of human relations: between workers and bosses, between states and their citizens, between the ideals of modernity and those who are branded as ‘ethnic others,’ to name but a few.” Over at Aeon, Sophus Helle writes on the shift in film from romantic love to family—citing Lauren Berlant and Michel Foucault along the way.
10. With Brad and Leo gracing the Film Comment cover for the next two months, it seems only fitting that we mention Mr. Tarantino and his forthcoming Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. For the New Beverly cinema in California, Tarantino has programmed his own month-long ode to the Rick Dalton–style actors of the ’50s and ’60s. The director discusses the lineup here for the Pure Cinema Podcast.
We leave you this week with a now-famous Tarantino television interview, filmed for the release of Kill Bill. Asked by a critic, “Why the need for so much gruesome, graphic violence?” Tarantino responds on full blast: “Because it’s so much fun, Jan! Get it!”