November/December 1987

Armond White on Cry Freedom, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, notes on The Blacklist, Jean-Luc Godard's jeans commercials, the Directors Guild royalties strike, the New York Film Festival at 25, Mary Lambert's Siesta

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Issue Details

WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART
Pity the poor heart that bleeds for black oppression: whites must figure in but had better not become the story. That’s just what happened in Cry Freedom, as Donald Woods ran away with Stephen Biko’s bio. Armond White, who won’t be coming to dinner at Sir Dickie’s, sees Attenborough’s South African sojourn as Apartheid cheek.

PARTY PU YI
The first rush of wonder from The Last Emperor came from the rushes and lasted nine minutes in preview at Cannes. Now the path of model man and metaphor, Pu Yi, transfixes the world. Tony Rayns enters the Hall of Supreme Harmony, as will you, and encounters Bernardo Bertolucci, who found billions of emperors inside.

NOTES ON THE BLACKLIST
It’s been 40 years since HUAC’s Hollywood witch hunt began. Here, Pat McGilligan rounded up the stories of artists—Bessie, Boretz, Dassin, Jaffe, Kock, et alia—who stood in harm’s way, cadged a chapter on Sam Omitz, and Jimmy Cagney from John Bright’s autobiography, and coaxed Joan Scott, to recall how she endured writing for Disney, man and mouse lord.

FESTIVALIANA
You think you have it hard—how’d you like to have to write something zippy to go in this space that commences with three files on the 25th NYFF, hah? So Stephen Harvey, Elliott Stein, and Harlan Jacobson are applying for the Federal Witness Protection program. Harlan Kennedy decamped (sort of) to Venice and Edinburgh, David Chute and Pat Aufderheide to Toronto.

JOURNALS
Trade wares: Godard needs Lear duds, a jeans-maker needs TV spots, they swap. Party fool H. A. Rodchenko explains it all. Seeing is being, notes Jan Stuart at N.Y.’s first Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival. And Michael Sragow Tellurides it like it is.

WHICH SIDE WEREN’T YOU ON?
Last July, the Directors Guild brought Hollywood to its noose—a strike by royalty against royalty over royalties lasting five minutes. Alex Gibney and Anne Thompson go to the videotape.

LAMBERT, SHEEPISH LION
What's better than an honorable failure? Why, a dishonorable one, of course. In Siesta, Gavin Smith demonstrates how ad-crafter Mary Lambert has a post-mod take on designer sex and death. Olé!

TV: ‘TRYING TIMES’
PBS imported the wild and woolly to create Trying Times, Tom Carson says. Then muzzled ’em.

BACK PAGE: QUIZ #28