Weekly Roundup: Diop’s close-up, Sontag’s debut feature, and Ozu’s silent gangster film

Your handy one-stop-shop for cinephile news, articles, and videos from the week that was.

By Josh Cabrita

News Roundup


The United States Justice Department announced this week that they will be asking a federal court in New York to do away with the Paramount Decrees, the antitrust laws which came into effect during the 1940s to prevent major Hollywood studios from controlling the exhibition business. (For an informed take on this debacle, I’d recommend consulting this Twitter thread by Derek Long, an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Illinois, and this one by Luci Marzola, a historian of silent film. Peter Labuza has also written extensively on the potential ramifications of this decision)

Long in creative gestation and production limbo, Abel Ferrara’s “exploration of the language of dreams,” Siberia, finally seems like it will be coming to fruition. This is in large part due to the financial support of Piano, a Mexican production-distribution house. Variety has profiled the company whose upcoming slate includes new work by Leos Carax, Mia Hansen-Løve, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, all of which should premiere sometime next year. You can see Ferrara’s latest, the highly autobiographical Tommaso (which features storyboards for Siberia), when it plays the Vancity Theatre in January as part of the Vancouver Italian Film Festival.

The European Film Awards have announced their annual slate of nominees and their first round of winners, with Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite sweeping most of the technical categories. Other notable nominees include Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory (coming to our Best of 2019 series), Marco Bellocchio’s The Traitor (coming to the Vancouver Italian Film Festival), and Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy (coming who knows when), which all earned four nods apiece.

Reading Roundup

Mad Max: Fury Road

With the end of the year approaching, many publications are releasing their lists of the best films of the decade. First up: The A.V. Club, whose pick for the number one movie of the 2010s you’ll find pictured above. 

Cinema Tropical, the leading distributor of Latin American films in the United States, has polled 97 international film festival and cinematheque programmers to compile their list of the continent’s ten best films of the 2010s. All of them have played at VIFF or the Vancity theatre during the last decade.

With Film at Lincoln Center’s Patricia Mazuy retrospective now underway, Evan Morgan has studiously chronicled the French director’s career for MUBI Notebook, discussing everything from her early days as an editorial assistant on Agnès Varda’s Vagabond to her most recent film Paul Sanchez is Back!. In Morgan’s summation, this presentation of Mazuy’s unfairly marginalized body of work is “among the most essential film programs of the year.”

“Diop, I quickly discovered, can conscript nearly anyone into a collaborative mode of speech.” For Vulture, Maya Binyam has written this extensive profile of French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop, whose “political phantasmagoria” Atlantics opens in select North American theatres last week. If you missed it at this fall’s VIFF, you can also check it out during our Best of 2019 series later next month.

For The Metrograph Edition, Adam Nayman analyzes cultural critic and art theorist Susan Sontag’s debut feature, Duet for Cannibals, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Viewing the film in relation to Sontag’s writing, Nayman concludes that it “invites our curiosity and scrutinizes our impulses,” making it “a worthy companion to Sontag’s criticism.”

Viewing/Listening Roundup

Speaking of Sontag’s debut feature: The Metrograph released this trailer for the film in advance of its re-release this week.

Yasujirō Ozu’s 1933 silent gangster movie Dragnet Girl will screen with a live score courtesy of Coupler as part of the Rio Grind Film Festival. Check out the trailer below.

In the latest episode of Frieze Magazine’s Bow Down: Women in Art podcast, Laura Mulvey offers valuable insights on the films of Chantal Akerman, whose feminist practice engages with some of the same concerns as Mulvey’s scholarship. Mulvey is best known for her landmark essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which helped coin the term “male gaze.”



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