Weekly Roundup: Jia Zhangke’s film festival, the movie Disney wants you to forget, and the NYFCC winners

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

By Josh Cabrita

News Roundup

Uncut Gems

The New York Film Critics Circle has announced their annual slate of awards, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman has taken home the prize for Best Film. Josh and Benny Safdie, whose Uncut Gems plays Vancity Theatre from January 17 to 23, won Best Director while Parasite was named Best Foreign Language Film.

With awards season beckoning, the 2020 festival circuit commences. Sundance has unveiled their lineup for January’s festival, which will feature new work from directors Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Dee Rees (Mudbound), Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know), Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), and many more.

In a rare public appearance, Terrence Malick introduced a screening of his latest film A Hidden Life at the Vatican. According to The Film Stage, the director spoke about how he discovered the life of Franz Jägerstätter (the subject of A Hidden Life), a conscientious objector who refused to pledge allegiance to Hitler, and discussed his next project, The Last Planet, which “will convey passages in the life of Christ through representations of the evangelical parables.”

Reading Roundup

The Midnight After

Sight & Sound has released their 50 best films of 2019, with Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir at the top of the list. (You’ll find a couple of plum pull quotes from our own Year Round Programmer, Tom Charity.) Nine of their top twenty films play our Best of 2019 series later this month.

“This is a strange place to have a revelation.” For Filmmaker Magazine, Christopher Small describes his experience at this year’s Pingyao International Film Festival (which was founded by Jia Zhangke in 2017) and delves into the festival’s most exciting offering, a twelve-film retrospective of New Indian Cinema.

Over at MUBI Notebook, Sean Gilman writes about Hong Kong director Fruit Chan’s The Midnight After (VIFF 2014), the film that, for him, “has most defined this past decade.” It “isn’t just one of the great movies of the 2010s, or about the 2010s, it is the 2010s.”

“With true clarity of vision she presents a historical record that captures moments of resistance and a new paradigm for the future.” For the latest issue of Montecristo Magazine, DOXA Director of Programming Selina Crammond profiles 87-year-old Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obamsawin, whose latest film Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger won Best Canadian Documentary at VIFF 2019.

Viewing/Listening Roundup

Song of the South

In the latest season of You Must Remember This, a podcast exploring “the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century,” Karina Longworth delves into the story behind Disney’s Song of the South, a notoriously racist film that has been locked in the “Disney Vault” for decades. 

With Mati Diop’s Atlantics still in theatres (it plays our Best of 2019 series later this month), UniFrance has made the director’s 2009 short film Atlantique free to view until December 12.

Amazon recently released the trailer for Karim Aïnouz’s The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes earlier this year. If you missed the film at VIFF, you can catch it when it plays the Vancity Theatre from January 10 to 15.


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