May/June 1988

Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire, Elia Kazan's autobiography, George Harrison interview, Lana Turner, Hong Kong midsection (Jackie Chan, Tsui Hark, Chow Yun Fat), Robert Altman's Tanner '88, Berlin Film Festival 1988, hybrid documentaries

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A Wing and a Prayer
Turning his gaze upwards, Wim Wenders examines Berlin as spiritual condition in Wings of Desire, and discovers an angel with heart. Erstwhile Berliner Karen Jaehne annotates the introspective wunderkind’s meditation on miracles, economic and Otherwise, and finds the spirit willing and the flesh flush . . .

Legends
Elia Kazan takes a good look at himself and comes clean about doing the dirty in an autobio scrutinized by Pat McGilligan. Meanwhile, David Thomson delves into the multi-media murk surrounding Lana Turner, the less than perfect mother, and living legend turned movie financier George Harrison tells Elaine Dutka about the executive sweet life.

Midsection: Hong Kong Calling
Guest editor David Chute takes us to Hollywood, Hong Kong-style, where the bad guys still wear black and there’s no hommage, only plagiarism. John Powers provides the overview while Dave Kehr examines HK’s most popular export, king of comedic kung fu, Jackie Chan. Michael Singer profiles Chow Yun Fat, HK’s current movie idol, heartthrob and all things stellar. Cutting edge hyphenate auteurs Tsui Hark and Nansun Shui explain the pressures of the marketplace to Pat Aufderheide, and David Edelstein puts the HK ghost genre through its paces. Paul Fonoroff provides HK industry backstory. Phew.

Journals
Elliott Stein reports from the 5th Miami film festival on the excitement surrounding Nestor Almendros’ Nobody Listened, and Pat Aufderheide discusses the emerging aesthetic gene-splicing between fiction and documentary praxis, thrown into sharp relief the San Francisco film festival.

Marginal Thinking
At the 17th New Directors/New Films festival in New York, Armond White found cause to celebrate in a handful of musts that ably contextualized and pinpointed patterns of cultural subordination from Palestine to Montana.

Berlin Bits
Or: What We Did on Our Holidays, Part 367. But seriously, in between the whips and storm trooper boots, our intrepid editor/ tourist Harlan Jacobson caught a few flicks. Berlin itself may be one big movie but the real stuff was on the Berlinale festival screen. Amos Vogel was also on hand to assist in the search for intelligent life amidst the Western decadence and ideological austerity.

Askoldov the Right Questions
… but don’t expect any answers—at least not from pre-glasnost USSR film censors. Now that his Commissar has been unearthed, Alexsandr Askoldov is doing his bit for the Kremlin’s reformist crew. Anne Williamson and William Wolf offer their respective thoughts.

TV: Wannabe Prez
His iconoclasm pared down to the cathode tube flicker, Robert Altman shows why the revolution won’t be televised in his HBO series, Tanner ’88. We say: it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in. Richard T. Jameson looks on.

Soundtracks: Opera goes MTV
Ten directors from around the world are brought together to pull off the ultimate mission-to raid the temples of High Culture, kidnap the Aria of their choice, and shoot their way out. Not quite a dozen, but fairly dirty at times. Michael Walsh handles debriefing.

Letters
The return of the page that time forgot.

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