|The Look of Silence|
People who would have us believe that the masterpieces of direct cinema — and to be sure, there are masterpieces of direct cinema — would ask us to believe that if the camera is there long enough, the mother and the child will forget that the camera crew will behave as though it's not there. That's absurd. That's just idiocy. No one forgets the presence of the camera, no matter how long it's there. All documentaries are performance.
Hollywood loves to remake documentaries because “directors of docs are allowing so much drama to be put into their stories that you experience them like a narrative.” That’s a ridiculously redundant reasoning from Focus Features acquisitions president Lia Buman in a new Hollywood Reporter article on the subject. It got me thinking that this old list is due for an update and reposting. There are actually a few such projects coming out this year, more than usual, and that could be good for some of the other long-promised (or threatened) titles highlighted down below.
Cinema would be a very different place without seminal figures like Iris Barry, Pauline Kael, Laura Mulvey and Susan Sontag. This collection is a reminder of their importance but it also looks beyond them too. Asking 25 writers and curators to each nominate a female critic and choose a piece of their writing has amassed a surprising array of different voices: from 1920s teenage gossip columnist Nerina Shute to the first regular broadsheet female film reviewer C.A. Lejeune, Sight & Sound’s august editor of 34 years Penelope Houston, zombie-loving trade reviewer Marjorie Bilbow and the feminist activist and author bell hooks, as well as unlikely cinema analysts like novelist Hilary Mantel.
Wild—without question the book, and even if only derivatively of that, the film—is an epic of female genius. Why don’t we call it that? Of course this speaks to our culture’s myriad other problems of how to name women. Why do we call Mozart a prodigy and Beyoncé a pop star? Will we ever stop calling Hillary a bitch? And when the fuck will we get to call her President?
I enjoyed most working with Molly Parker. I think I could really choose any number of scenes that we’ve had an opportunity to work on together, but we have a couple of really nice moments this season. I probably most enjoyed working with her on one of the scenes where there’s something that happens to Remy, and he goes to, kind of to vent and talk to Jackie about what just happened. I just enjoyed working on that team; Robin (Wright) was directing. Molly is just so supportive and just wonderful as an actor. So anything that we get to do together, but probably especially acting.
[On Blue Velvet]: with stylistic richness and psychological complexity, it celebrates the horror of the mundane and is filled with reference to a kitschy and ironic ''50s' milieu. This incredible observation informed much of the 1980s and became an inspiration for the series and its attempt to equally revise our mythical perception of the period.
Taymor doesn’t hold Burton’s appeal to A-list talent, but she knows how to work with a proscenium arch. With a slow-burning movie career (Frida, Across the Universe), she’s nonetheless a visionary who reimagined Disney’s The Lion King and could reinvent the Oscars. Who cares if she created a kerfuffle with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark? That was Broadway, and Hollywood needs more of her risk-taking.
Video of the week:
Read anything good this week(ish)?
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