Film links for the new year

11th January 2020

John Wyver writes: for your consideration – a selection of recent cinema-related stuff that I have found engaging and enriching.

Newspaper women and the movies in the USA, 1914-1925: the great scholar Richard Abel writes for the Women Film Pioneers Project about women who wrote and edited film columns in the silent period; fascinating, with some lovely page grabs – including the Virginia Dale column above from the Chicago Tribune.

Forgotten by Fox – a lad insane: David Cairns begins a fortnightly series for Notebook celebrating Twentieth Century Fox and the Fox Film Corporation’s films – his opener is about the truly weird Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1917), which can be seen in a decent print here:

Luis Buñuel: eternal Surrealist: an immaculate Adrian Martin career overview for Criterion.

The ten best films of… 1929: Kristin Thompson with her annual ‘best of” list from 90 years ago – as rich and as surprising as ever.

[in]Transition – Montage reloaded: a hot-off-the-press edition of the videographic essay on-line journal ‘that examines the legacy of the Russian avant-garde and the pioneering masters of the Russian montage school.’ Essential for those interested in Eisenstein and his world.

Into the Archives: on Letters from Hollywood: a review by Chris Yogerst for Los Angeles Review of Books of Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking, edited and annotated by Barbara Hall and Rocky Lang: ‘a joyous collection that permits readers to experience the thrill of flipping through primary documents.’

All Federico Fellini’s films – ranked: Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian, to tie in with the current retrospective at BFI Southbank.

Lorenza Mazzetti obituary – a survivor from war-torn Italy who took Free Cinema to Cannes: a fascinating tribute to the Free Cinema filmmaker by Henry K Miller for Sight & Sound

Re-covered – The Sky Falls by Lorenza Mazzetti:… while Lucy Scholes for The Paris Review writes on Mazzetti’s 1961 novel Il cielo cade, translated into English, by Marguerite Waldman, as The Sky Falls (1962):

The Sky Falls is ripe for rediscovery, not least because recent years have seen significant efforts to restore Mazzetti’s place in the cinematic canon. It’s only fitting her equally audacious literary work be celebrated as well. 

Path of most resistance: the films of Laura Mulvey and (the late) Peter Wollen – in tribute: also from Sight & Sound, Oliver Fuke on the demanding, theory-soaked avant-garde glories of the 1970s and ’80s that were so much a part of making me a cinephile – here’s an extract from Riddle of the Sphinx (1977):

Martin Scorsese is letting go: a fine interview by Dave Itzkoff for The New York Times.

Knives Out and the revenge of the pretty good movie: the ever-reliable Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed News on ‘a pretty good movie that’s exceeding people’s expectations because their expectations for the movies are so damn low.’

Film after Auschwitz: on Václav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird: a complex but rewarding essay by Marta Figlerowicz for Los Angeles Review of Books on the new adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński’s book:

Reviewers have variously hailed this film as a tragic masterpiece, a tragi-comic masterpiece, and as an exercise in exploitative, aestheticized violence. At the Venice, Toronto, and London film festivals, some viewers demonstratively walked out of it. Among the film’s defenders, these walkouts sparked comparisons to Parisians’ philistine response to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913).

• … and finally, Leigh Singer’s terrific video essay for Sight & Sound on the evolution of the movie musical, with an introduction here.

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