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“My Work Has Always Inhabited That Liminal Space Between Desire and Compulsion”: Five Questions for Michelle Handelman On Her New Installation at signs and symbols

LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL

In its final week at Manhattan gallery signs is symbols is artist and filmmaker Michelle Handelman’s installation, LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL, a kind of remix of last year’s large-scale SFMOMA installation Hustlers & Empire for the smaller and more intimate studio space. The previous exhibition was centered around three archetypal characters — “real and imagined hustlers” drawn from three seminal works: Iceberg Slim’s Pimp (1967), Marguerite Duras’s The Lover (1984) and Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit (1968). This new exhibition focuses solely on a character inspired by Duras and the semi-autobiographical protagonist of her novel and performed by queer Latinx artist and activist Viva Ruiz. An excerpt from the show’s gallery notes: A mingling and suspension of perspective, of time and…  Read more

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Cannes 2019 Dispatch 3: Little Joe, Liberté

Emily Beecham in Little Joe

Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner made her English language debut with the UK-set project, Little Joe, taking up science fiction for the first time in her career after previously exploring horror and the period drama in Hotel (2004) and Amour fou (2014), respectively. In the film, Alice (Emily Beecham) works at a corporate biotechnology lab with a team of scientists who aim to develop new breeds of flowers that can, with their oxytocin-rich pollen, elevate people’s happiness, friendliness, and sex life—an evocative and typically rich concept for Hausner that still manages to be supplemental to her exquisitely detailed and precise mise en scene, wherein primary-colored clothing and purple-iced cakes pop against the cool Easter pastels of the immaculate green house facility.…  Read more

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IFP Announces 2019 Documentary Lab Fellows and Projects

Beba

IFP, Filmmaker‘s parent organization, has announced the 10 feature documentaries in post-production that will take part in its 2019 Documentary Lab, which begins today at the IFP’s Made in New York Media Center. They include films about Central American mothers searching for sons and daughters who vanished en route to the U.S., a man struggling to recover his life after being wrongfully imprisoned, and a group taking part in a year-long experiment simulating life on Mars. Commented IFP Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp, “The IFP Filmmaker Labs have a history of singling out unique voices and diverse approaches to storytelling from emerging filmmakers. This Lab aims to assist each team find the best path to reaching their goals within the rich —…  Read more

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Cannes 2019 Dispatch 2: Bacurau, Zombi Child

Bacurau

I didn’t attend Cannes in 2009, but what I’ve come to understand to be that year’s Official Selection highlight—namely, Alain Resnais’s delirious late masterpiece Wild Grass—is precisely the kind of movie I always long to experience, here or anywhere: a vision always blossoming, driving deeper into a world entirely of its own creation, ever-willing to swerve off-road to see where the unpaved path might lead. The scarcity of such work in cinema no doubt runs down to the roots of the industry, attributable as much to the fortress of protocols one must fulfill to get any given project off the ground, which privileges clarity, templates, and fundability—a diagnosis that would need far more paragraphs to unpack than this dispatch will…  Read more

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Put It In Writing: Living Through the Films of Abel Ferrara, Part Five

Mary

Evan Louison last wrote about Abel Ferrara for Filmmaker‘s 25th anniversary issue in his report, “Letter from Rome.” Given the assignment to interview Ferrara in conjunction with his month-long MoMA retrospective, Louison responded with a five-part personal memoir that tracks the impact of the director and his work on his own life. Check back each day this week for the next in the series, and read Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four. A Glorious Exile, a Spirit Returning to Form The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome, and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died. In an aeon I was released from a…  Read more

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Put It In Writing: Living Through the Films of Abel Ferrara, Part Four

Bad Lieutenant

Evan Louison last wrote about Abel Ferrara for Filmmaker‘s 25th anniversary issue in his report, “Letter from Rome.” Given the assignment to interview Ferrara in conjunction with his month-long MoMA retrospective, Louison responded with a five-part personal memoir that tracks the impact of the director and his work on his own life. Check back each day this week for the next in the series, and read Part One, Part Two and Part Three. On the Run and Playing a Dangerous Game “Hell is here and now, and so is the opportunity to know heaven. I you take the journey, you’ll come to a place called the holy void. The abyss. And you come to know the light.” — Harvey Keitel,…  Read more

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“Shows of Women Who Eat Bananas Seductively are Banned”: Shengze Zhu on Present.Perfect

Present.Perfect.

Before authorities cracked down in June, 2017, over 400 million customers watched live streaming in China, primarily on three internet sites: douyu.com; huya.com; and panda.tv. (According to Variety, panda.tv closed in March, 2019.) Live streaming in China resembles amateur YouTube broadcasts here, with a slightly different vocabulary. In China “anchors” host “showrooms,” or channels, and transmit “bullets” to their followers.  Documentary filmmaker Shengze Zhu (Another Year, 2016) screened hundreds of hours of footage for Present.Perfect. What starts as a survey of live streaming narrows down to focus on a handful of anchors, including a seamstress assembling underwear in a clothing factory; a dancer trying to build a career with street performances; an accident victim whose face has been disfigured in…  Read more

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“We Don’t Do Pickups, It’s Not Fair to the Actors”: Ritesh Batra on Photograph

Sanya Malhotra and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Photograph

Two strangers from different classes meet in Mumbai by accident in Photograph, an Amazon Studios release opening theatrically May 17. Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) scrapes along by selling snapshots of tourists. The middle-class Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) has her life planned for her: a course in accounting, followed by an arranged marriage. Through a familiar screwball-comedy twist, she agrees to pose as Rafi’s betrothed when his grandmother Didi (Farrukh Jaffar) visits. Photograph is not strictly a comedy, but more a study of two deeply unhappy people taking tentative steps out of isolation. Writer and director Ritesh Batra explores his characters with an empathy and insight unusual for mainstream Indian movies. While clear-eyed about social and economic issues, about class differences and cultural…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Image courtesy of Carolyn Funk

The 24 Films (More or Less) Shot on 35mm Released in 2018

For five years, I’ve been rounding up the previous year’s US theatrical releases of films shot, in whole or significant part, on 35mm—yes, this year’s tally is lower than any of my previous totals. The total number is unlikely to soar above 40 anytime in…  Read more

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Apr 24, 2019

Festivals & Events

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Tribeca 2019 Critic’s Notebook: Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, Rewind, 17 Blocks, All I Can Say

Now that every 10-year-old has a pocket-sized film studio and multiplex in their hands via the smartphone, and debates over the cinematic legitimacy of streaming platforms rage on, there’s a certain sweet nostalgia associated with dead formats of a less pixel-saturated age. VHS was perhaps…  Read more

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on May 7, 2019

 

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