Weekly Roundup: Varda by Sofia, the 100 greatest films directed by women, and Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters

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

By Josh Cabrita

The Piano

News Roundup

Film scholar and critic Jean Douchet passed away on Friday at the age of 90. Over at Criterion Daily, David Hudson pays tribute to “the Socrates of cinema,” discussing not only his relationship to French New Wave icons like Éric Rohmer, Jean Eustache, and Claude Chabrol (whose films he briefly appeared in) but also his legacy as a critic, including his numerous contributions to the famous French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma.

The BBC has polled 368 film experts (critics, journalists, programmers and academics) to determine the “100 greatest films directed by women,” the top choice from which you will find pictured above.

Reading Roundup

Varda by Agnès

“This scene inextricably ties us to the topography of Varda’s ethos; we are all at once significant and microscopic, unique and independent but indivisible through the humbling landscapes we will all inhabit one day. In death, we are all the same.” For MUBI Notebook, VIFF alum Sofia Bohdanowicz reflects on the final film by the late, great Agnès Varda. Varda by Agnès will screen at the Vancity Theatre from December 6 to December 12.

Over at Seattle Screen Scene, Michael Scoular surveys VIFF 2019’s crop of Canadian short films, arguing that a “broad and unpredictable program” like this one does not lend itself to easy categorization or evaluation. He “wants to say that this was a good year for the shorts selection,” but given the various traditions represented in the program, such sweeping statements would get us no closer to understanding these works and the myriad contexts they emerge from.

With Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters hitting theatres this week, Michael Koresky analyzes the director’s masterful student film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, which has been barred from public exhibition for years due to defamation suits and rights issues. Savvy browsers should have little trouble finding a copy, however.

Viewing/Listening Roundup

On the Film Comment Podcast this week, Amy Taubin interviews Todd Haynes about Dark Waters.They discuss the similarities and differences between this film and the rest of Haynes’ body of work and delve into some of the challenges of making political films today.

In a video essay for The Ringer, Adam Nayman provides a close reading of ten of Martin Scorsese’s career-defining shots.


In case you missed it: I wrote about the theological underpinning of The Irishman for the VIFF Blog. As of yesterday, the film has been available on Netflix, but if you have yet to see this late career masterwork, be sure to check it out on the big screen at one of our screenings throughout the month of December.

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