Weekly Roundup: New Short Films by the Safdies and David Lynch, Serge Daney on Elia Kazan, and Senses of Cinema’s VIFF dispatch

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

News Roundup

Uppercase Print (Radu Jude)

• The Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild of America handed out their respective annual awards last weekend.The SAG’s major prize (Outstanding  Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture) went to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which became the first non-English language film to win the award, while the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures was given to Sam Mendes’ 1917. Commentators suggest the front runners for February’s Academy Awards have here been determined.

• The Berlinale continues to unveil their program (only the festival’s Competition lineup remains), and the Forum, a sidebar usually reserved for small-scale, independently minded projects, will feature new works by Radu Jude (Aferim, VIFF 2015), James Benning (Stemple Pass, VIFF 2017), and Raúl Ruiz, whose “latest” will mark the director’s second posthumous release after passing away in 2011 (the other being 2017’s The Wandering Soap Opera). Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft and Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century, which were both highlights from the Canadian program at last year’s VIFF, will receive their respective European premieres in the Forum.  

• The Sundance Film Festival begins today and the International Film Festival Rotterdam started yesterday. Over the next couple weeks, the Roundup will endeavour to compile the best, most level-headed coverage emerging from these festivals. 

Reading Roundup

Reverse Shot has begun counting down the best films of the decade. For the next 17 days, they will release one essay per day until reaching number one. Lawrence Garcia’s thoughtful dissection of Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret, number 20 on the list, is a great place to start.

Senses of Cinema has released their latest issue, which includes the annual World Poll, an 8-part extravaganza of thoughts and lists from the site’s editors, contributors, and readers. Another highlight of the issue: Berenice Reynaud’s annual VIFF report, which spans some 7000 words and is easily the most detailed and expansive dispatch from last year’s festival. 

Kino Slang has translated Serge Daney’s review of Elia Kazan’s The Visitors, which is based on the same New Yorker story that inspired Brian de Palma’s Casualties of War. Daney has myriad insights to go with his vitriol. You simply don’t find criticism like this anymore. 

• “The title of the Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming retrospective of queer cinema sounds like a declaration of sexual and intellectual liberation. Now we think as we fuck—which is to say, freely, outside norms, with mind and body conjoined in imaginative acts of desire, fantasy, pleasure.” Over at 4Columns, Erika Balsom discusses Now We Think as We Fuck, the MOMA’s provocatively titled program of AIDS-era films. Vancouver audiences will have an opportunity to see one of the highlights of the series, Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied, when it plays The Cinematheque at the beginning of February along with some of the director’s other notable works.

• “People are never what you expect them to be. They’re never just there as experts to deliver information. They’re there to have a conversation with, and to have an open-ended dialogue with.” Brett Story, the director of this year’s The Hottest August and 2016’s The Prison in 12 Landscapes, speaks to The Creative Independent about her aesthetic interests, creative process, and the political responsibilities of creating art.

Viewing/Listening Roundup

• Josh and Benny Safdie, whose Uncut Gems is now playing at the Vancity Theatre, have released a new short film, Goldman Vs. Silverman, featuring Adam Sandler and Benny Safdie in the respective titular roles.

• On Valentine’s Day, we’ll screen Francis Ford Coppola’s One From the Heart and Jean-Jaques Beneix’s Diva. To prepare for the occasion, why not listen to the former’s delectable soundtrack, which was written and performed by none other than Tom Waits? 


• Netflix subscribers have been rewarded with a new short film by David Lynch, titled What Did Jack Do? and featuring the cute little critter below. (And in case you missed it: The Cinematheque will be screening three episodes from the director’s crowning masterpiece, Twin Peaks: The Return, at the end of this week.) 

What Did Jack Do? (David Lynch)

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