Weekly Roundup: Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, Kirk Douglas in memoriam, and Uncut Gems’ technical innovations

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

News Roundup

• In case you live under a rock (or confined to a basement prison): the Academy Awards were this past Sunday, and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite was awarded Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Film. Almost unthinkably, it became the first non-English language film to claim the Academy’s most cherished prize. (On the eve of the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards also handed out their slate of awards, with The Farewell winning Best Film.)

Cahiers du Cinéma, the famous French film magazine, has changed hands, with its new owners wanting to “recover its central place in the community of French auteur cinema.” For some brief and insightful thoughts on what this might mean for the publication, check out Richard Brody’s thread on Twitter

Reading Roundup

• For Input, Charles Bramesco discusses the innovative use of new technology in the production of Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems. Because much of the film is shot in close-up using long lenses, “the margin of error [was] less than an inch.” Bramesco writes: “The combination of unpredictable choreography and a depth of field flattened by distance would’ve made focusing these scenes impossible. That is, if not for a focus-calibrating device called the Light Ranger 2, which has amassed a cult following among Hollywood’s camera crews.” 

• “We are more comfortable with the idea that a star like Douglas was capable of being both a great actor and a predator, an icon of noir and an emblem of the very behavior the genre sought to confront.” For Vulture, Angelica Jade Bastien eulogizes Kirk Douglas, who recently passed away at the age of 103, using the occasion to discuss how one might reflect on the legacies of old Hollywood actors whose artistic contributions might seem negligible in the face of their toxic behaviour. 

• Over at 4Columns, Nick Pinkerton reviews Cane River, the first and last film by Horace Jenkins, which was previously thought lost until a print was discovered at the DuArt Lab in 2013. “What Jenkins is after in his 1982 film is a more granular, micro regionalism, one that’s measured in acres, surnames, and property lines.” (Another Pinkerton piece to note: on Twitter, the critic released a thoughtful but less-than-enthused review of Parasite, which was set to be printed in a high-profile publication until it was killed for, shall we say, suspicious reasons.)

• For The Baffler, John Semley discusses the technical wizardry of 1917 while considering the history and politics of the long-take aesthetic. Semley writes: “In many cases, never more so than in 1917, there is a hollowness to the sense of technical achievement. It’s like making a whole song, or indeed a whole album, out of an extended guitar solo. Call it the Zappafication of cinema.” 

Viewing/Listening Roundup

• Wes Anderson’s new film The French Dispatch now has a trailer, and it’s about as delectable and sumptuous as you would expect. You can catch the film when it opens across North America on July 24.

• Christian Petzold (Phoenix, Transit) will premiere Undine, about the titular ancient myth, at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival.

Black Mother director Khalik Allah has released a “trailer,” actually a 7-minute clip, from his upcoming film. The film will premiere next month at the True/False Film Festival.

• After a one-year hiatus, the endlessly prolific Hong Sang-soo returns with The Woman Who Ran, which will premiere in Competition at Berlin in a couple week’s time. Here’s our first peek at the film.

• Matías Piñeiro, whose Hermia & Helena you may remember from VIFF 2016, will be competing in Encounters (a new section at this year’s Berlinale) with Isabella. Here’s the trailer for the Argentinian director’s latest.


At the Independent Spirit Awards, Adam Sandler addressed being snubbed from the Oscars with typical good humour. The loss is yours, Oscar.

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