Daily | Dreyer, Conner, Bergman
Plus: Women filmmakers are reinvigorating horror.
Touring the Archive of the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen, Ehsan Khoshbakht stops to take a close look at the architectural models for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). "The man responsible for the art direction of one of the most loved but also baffling films of the silent era was the German Hermann Warm, who had also designed the key film of art direction in cinema: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)," he writes for the Notebook. "The setting of the story was the Rouen Castle, an impermeable 13th century fortress where the trial and burning at the stake of Joan of Arc took place between 1430 and 1431. Dreyer, at the commencement of the production in 1927, insisted on absolute accuracy, almost a replica of the destroyed castle of which only one single tower had survived."
Writing for Rolling Stone, Phoebe Reilly notes that "the last few years have seen an exciting wave of horror films helmed by women who haven't merely joined the rank-and-file as encouraging statistics. Instead, movies like Jennifer Kent's The Babadook or Karyn Kusama's The Invitation have helped elevate the genre by opening it up to stories that unsettle audiences in new, different and unexpected ways."
Blue Underground has released Lucio Fulci's Manhattan Baby (1982) on Blu-ray and, writing for Slant, Budd Wilkins notes that it "owes a hefty debt to a heterogeneous handful of earlier horror films…. What sets Manhattan Baby apart from the pack is its jaw-dropping display of pop-art surrealism."
In Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula, David J. Skal attempts "to strip away all that we think we know about the author and his creation and reveal a darker truth beneath," writes Jonathan Barnes for the TLS. "In this, immersed in the lore of his subject, Skal proves to be an ideal guide: lithe, witty, eager to theorize."
The Guardian's Anne Billson describes how she was at first disappointed with Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), but then began to appreciate it "for what it was, rather than what it wasn’t," and has now fallen out of love with it again: "I became fed up with the ubiquity of the film’s tropes, the endless quotation and recycling, and started seeing its flaws again, particularly Kubrick’s contempt for his characters and his cruelty to women (you can see him bullying [Shelley] Duvall in the making-of documentary) and the underlying sense of an A-list director slumming it in a genre he essentially despises."
The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer writes up a list of the "10 Scariest Movies of All Time."
Park Chan-wook tells Interview's Emma Brown that "after I made Oldboy, I realized that the only character who is not privy to the entire truth in that film was the female character; she was the only female character in the film, and she was excluded from the truth. That made me so uncomfortable in such a big way that is spurred me on to developing Lady Vengeance. That was the genesis from which I went on to make other films with strong female characters. So to simplify things…, Oldboy was the moment when I turned into a big feminist."
Chances are, you'll have seen the clips from the short Errol Morris made for the Academy in 2002 in which Donald Trump talks about his admiration for Orson Welles's Citizen Kane (1941). At the Literary Hub, Anthony Audi argues that, "while Trump seems to think that Citizen Kane is about a great man who happened to fail—whose romantic relationships were less than ideal and whose political career never panned out—he overlooks that it is also, and more importantly, a condemnation of Kane’s character. He somehow misses the central narrative about a modern Faust—a man who, in pursuit of money, fame, and power, ends up losing his soul." And then Audi asks Morris what he thinks: "I have this concept based on possible revisions to the DSM V, the diagnostic manual for American psychiatry, and I was going to call it Irony Deficit Disorder: the absolute inability to appreciate irony on any level whatsoever, particularly when the irony involves oneself. Definitely a severe disorder. I would rank it well above paranoid schizophrenia, sociopathy and the like."
Kaleem Aftab chats up Alicia Vikander for The Talks.
IN OTHER NEWS
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has announced the nominations for the sixth annual AACTA Awards and, as Patrick Frater reports for Variety, Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge leads with thirteen.
"Emir Kusturica, the Serbian director who is a two-time Cannes Palme d'Or winner, will get the Russian 'Friendship' award under a decree signed by president Vladimir Putin." Vladimir Kozlov for the Hollywood Reporter: "Kusturica will be honored 'for significant input in strengthening friendship and cooperation between peoples and preservation and popularizing of the Russian language and culture,' reads the decree."
San Francisco and Los Angeles. The retrospective Bruce Conner: It's All True has left New York for SFMOMA, where it'll be on view from Saturday through January 22. "Conner is also the central figure in two recently published books," notes John Seed, writing for Hyperallergic. "The first, Bruce Conner: The Afternoon Interviews by V. Vale, is a compendium of previously untranscribed phone interviews from the late 1970s to 2005. The second, Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association by Anastasia Aukeman, provides a scholarly and engaging glimpse into the bohemian enclave that formed around the artist in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It presents a wealth of images, anecdotes, and facts that help resurrect the early history and accomplishments of artists and poets who thrived in the rich and tolerant atmosphere of the Bay Area, weaving their stories into the broader fabric of postwar American culture. Aukeman has also organized the group’s first show in nearly 60 years, The Rat Bastard Protective Association, at The Landing in LA." And that one's open through January 7.
Paris. The Satyajit Ray retrospective at the Cinémathèque française runs from Wednesday through December 14.
IN THE WORKS
Indiewire's Liz Calvario reports that "a previously unknown script written by [Ingmar] Bergman for a collaboration with Akira Kurosawa and Federico Fellini, titled Sixty-Four Minutes with Rebecka, will be turned into a movie by Swedish director Suzanne Osten." Written in 1969, Rebecka will premiere as a radio play on November 6, while the film is slated for 2018 as part of the celebration of the centenary of Bergman's birth.
"The leading role was supposed to be played by Katherine Ross," notes Nicholas Wennö, reporting for Dagens Nyheter, which is also running an excerpt from the screenplay. "For Suzanne Osten to take on a Bergman-script is an ironic event of truly cultural and historical dimensions. It’s no secret that these two Swedish heavy-weights were openly antagonistic toward each other, up until Bergman’s death in 2007." Says Osten: "The script is feminist, queer, homo erotic and anti-authoritarian. It’s an incredibly courageous, complex and radical script."
"Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is returning to television with a high-profile new series," reports Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. "After heated bidding between six entities, we have learned that the project has landed at The Weinstein Company and Amazon to air on the streaming service, in a $70 million commitment for eight-episode straight-to-series order…. After re-creating the 1960s in his iconic AMC series Mad Men, Weiner is turning his attention to present day with the untitled series, which we hear is contemporary anthology set in multiple locations worldwide. Weiner is creating, writing and executive producing. He also is expected to direct about half the episodes in the first season, we hear."
"The mysterious upcoming J.J. Abrams-produced film God Particle will be the latest movie connected to the producer’s cult hit Cloverfield," reports Matt Donnelly for TheWrap. "Abrams and studio partner Paramount Pictures are quietly developing more movies for the shared universe… Both parties hope to release a new film in the shared Cloverfield each year."
German actor and singer Manfred Krug, who'll most likely be best remembered for his lead performance in Frank Beyer's Spur der Steine (Trace of Stones, 1966), has died at the age of 79. Made by the East German production company DEFA, Spur der Steine screened for just three days before the government pulled it. Revived once the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the film is now a staple in surveys of East German cinema. Krug left the GDR in 1977 and scored several high-profile roles on West German television.
Film Comment digital editor Violet Lucca talks with Kristen Stewart about working with Olivier Assayas and Kelly Reichardt and with Chloë Sevigny about making her first short film, Kitty (40'15").
The Film Society of Lincoln Center's posted the "I Am Indie" discussion that took place during the New York Film Festival (58'51"). Indiewire's Eric Kohn "moderated a panel featuring actress and director Rose McGowan (Dawn), cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), Ira Sachs (Little Men) and Roger Ross Williams (Life Animated)."
Ron Howard is Marc Maron's guest on the WTF Podcast (115'29").
Illusion Travels By Streetcar #125: The Unedited Commentary Track: Father of the Bride (Vincente Minnelli; 1950) (99'17").