Cine, TV y Música
Film Comment

Film Comment November - December 2014

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United States
Film Society of Lincoln Center

en este número

1 min.
terence davies

The world of Terence Davies is built on antitheses. One gathers as much from the titles of his six features and three shorts, which habitually juxtapose disparate notions or dimensions, either through conjunction (Of Time and the City), reflection (Distant Voices, Still Lives), or implication (The Deep Blue Sea). Michael Koresky’s study of Davies is above all attuned to the contradictions that define his life and inform his work, namely “beauty and ugliness, the real and the artificial, progression and tradition, motion and stasis.” A stylist of musical tableaux at odds with his medium’s commercial imperatives and a queer auteur estranged from his community for retrograde self-loathing, Davies finds himself exiled artistically to the margins of the margins—the origin point for some of cinema’s most eloquent treatments of identity. Koresky unpacks…

1 min.
“it’s the pictures that got small”: charles brackett on billy wilder and hollywood’s golden age

A favorite expression of Charles Brackett, the wordsmith who traded in a seat at the Algonquin Round Table for a studio desk in the Thirties, was “mirabile dictu.” After reading nearly 400 pages of his diary, his eagerness to relay events is duly noted. From the day Brackett arrived at the Hollywood haunts he’d read about in fan magazines back east, he chronicled his triumphs and failures in concise journal entries, which were safeguarded by his grandson and have now been released 45 years after the screenwriter’s death. Whether basking in a “day of rip-snorting work” or shaking off a “day of hell,” we are treated to the unvarnished analysis of a bemused onlooker. “We are not reading about a Hollywood celebrity,” notes editor Anthony Slide, “but, rather, a man…

1 min.
on set with john carpenter: the photographs of kim gottlieb-walker

In the mid-Seventies, Kim Gottlieb-Walker was a UCLA film grad turned photojournalist looking for a way into Hollywood. She took a job shooting stills for the swiftly forgotten Wolfman Jack comedy Hanging on a Star (78), but the script supervisor was Debra Hill, who was about to co-write and produce Halloween. Hill hired Gottlieb-Walker to take production stills on the horror classic, and she continued on in that role for the next four Hill-Carpenter productions: The Fog, Escape from New York, Halloween II, and Christine. On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker is a playful photography book that documents the slow professionalization of the whole ragtag Hill-Carpenter cast and crew. Gottlieb-Walker’s pictures exhibit an all-for-one vibe; the biggest star on the Halloween set was seemingly the Panaglide steadicam…

1 min.
the theory of everything

Director: James Marsh Country/Year: U.K., 2014 Opening: November 7 Where: Limited WHILE HIS IMPECCABLY STRUCTURED, almost ashamedly entertaining documentaries Man on Wire (08) and Project Nim (11) have proven him to be a storyteller of the highest order, James Marsh’s narrative films have tended to seem handicapped, for better and worse, by other people’s writing. Following two memorably grim procedural thrillers based on novels (Red Riding: 1980 in 2009 and Shadow Dancer, 12), his latest elegantly realizes Anthony McCarten’s adaptation of Jane Hawking’s memoir about her marriage to Nobel Prize–winning physicist Stephen Hawking. Considering the unconventional nature of Hawking’s life—the scientist, played by Eddie Redmayne, becomes progressively paralyzed by ALS yet still authors a number of groundbreaking papers and fathers three children with Jane (Felicity Jones)—it’s disappointing to see it slotted into the formulaic conventions…

3 min.
the imitation game

Director: Morten Tyldum Country/Year: U.K./U.S., 2014 Opening: November 21 Where: Limited BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH CULTISTS ASIDE, theatergoers who saw Derek Jacobi play Alan Turing in 1986 in Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code may balk at seeing a Hollywoodized biopic that covers much the same ground. Except for one crucial sleight of script, The Imitation Game largely replicates the structure of Whitemore’s play. Both cover Turing’s budding as a math genius and his love of his doomed soulmate Christopher Morcom at Sherborne School, his cracking of Nazi Germany’s Enigma ciphers at Bletchley Park during World War II, his complex relationship with a female fellow cryptanalyst, and the criminalization of him as an unashamed gay man that preceded his suicide in 1954. Although the BBC film of Breaking the Code was conventionally directed and its production values poor…

6 min.
the hardest-working man in movies remembering finland’s cinematic polymath peter von bagh (1943-2014)

LAST JUNE AT THE 29TH MIDNIGHT SUN FILM FESTIVAL, PETER von Bagh introduced the world premiere of his most recent film, Socialism, in the inimitable manner Finns have come to love over the last 50 years: “It’s always good for the guests of a film festival when its director is the one responsible for the worst work around.” Von Bagh’s expression was stern but his eyes were sparkling mischievously. He had done it again, the audience was in stitches, and the mood was now relaxed and joyful and the show could begin. Business as usual—with one exception: the surroundings. Normally, von Bagh screened his own works in the Midnight Sun Film Festival’s smaller venues. This time, it was playing in the biggest: 700 seats, all taken, with people outside trying…