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Film Comment March - April 2016

For over 50 years, an award-winning mix of international news, interviews, and critical reviews has kept Film Comment’s readers in touch with the state of movie art. Find out why Clint Eastwood, Steven Soderbergh, and Quentin Tarantino subscribe.

United States
Film Society of Lincoln Center
$7.90(Incl. tax)

in this issue

2 min
editor’s letter

A PICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL has been no stranger to the pages of this magazine— at least, the ones that come after the cover. His latest film, Cemetery of Splendor, had its premiere last May at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to screen in the New York Film Festival, before its arrival in U.S. theaters this March. With that theatrical release comes our very first cover featuring the filmmaker, who takes his dreamlike cinema into more troubled territory this time, subtly using the backdrop of his home country’s history. Violet Lucca interviewed Joe (the moniker he prefers) and writes about Cemetery of Splendor in this issue’s cover story. Beyond Apichatpong’s haunting work, the March/April issue features a kind of spotlight on acting through interviews with two distinctive talents, John Turturro (for his…

1 min
short ends

Road-trip maven Alexander Payne is set to direct an adaptation of “My Saga,”Karl Ove Knausgaard’s New York Times Magazine feature in which the writer retraces the routes of the Vikings across North America … Does Yorgos Lanthimos have something against animals? Next up is the psychological thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer ... Hirokazu Kore-eda has finished shooting another family melodrama, After the Storm …Tomas Alfredson has been filming the thriller The Snowman in Oslo, with Michael Fassbender as a detective investigating the disappearance of a local woman … Not so hot off the Sundance premiere of his fiction feature Ali & Nino, Asif Kapadia (Amy) will direct the fact-based drama Silver Ghost about automotive innovators Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce ... White God director Kornél Mundruczó has…

11 min
opening shots

STATE OF SIEGE This summer, Kathryn Bigelow will start shooting a film about Detroit’s 1967 riots from a screenplay by Mark Boal. After the overseas military engagements of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, the Oscar-winning duo are focusing on domestic disorder and systemic racism. Though the movie has been described as a crime drama, the subject promises controversy—as does the question of what perspective Bigelow will adopt in her famously in-the-moment filmmaking. Production is timed to a 2017 release, on the 50th anniversary of the so-called “12th Street Riot.” SELF-MEDICATING Our cover-story subject Apichatpong Weerasethakul is researching a new film centering on shamanic drug experience and Latin America. The science-fiction project—a genre the filmmaker once raved about in these pages—would build on some deep-held interests in healing and sickness, already on…

8 min
passion play

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT JOHN TURTURRO JUST TURNED 59. AN eye-blink ago, he was the new kid on the block in 1989’s Do the Right Thing, hanging around Sal’s doomed pizzeria, appearing as the quintessential Italian-American male who was either too scrawny, or goofy, or just wrong for the Mussolini or muscle archetypes. He’s there on the edges of The Flamingo Kid, To Live and Die in L.A., The Color of Money, and Hannah and Her Sisters. But in Five Corners, Tony Bill saw the dark side of Turturro, and he’s been mining it ever since as the quiet guy, Mt. Etna, who could go off at any moment and take down more than the corner where Ernest Borgnine—Turturro’s archetypal forebear—stood around as Marty. Turturro’s essential sweetness is always…

3 min

The astral sunset of orange hair, the mismatched pupils staring out from pools of azure eye shadow, the parted coral lips, all standing out against a skin tone a shade whiter than the allwhite background. If you had to find a single document to encapsulate the audiovisual phenomenon of David Bowie, you could do worse than the film clip for “Life on Mars?,” the roving, exploratory camera handled by Bowie’s official court photographer, Mick Rock. Bowie’s work in the musicvideo format spanned through the end of the Scopitone, the birth of MTV, the Vevo afterlife, and into his own postmortem. His first crack at it, if we don’t count hawking popsicles in a 1967 TV commercial directed by Ridley Scott, was a lo-fi sci-fi “Space Oddity” clip shot at the behest…

3 min
unsafe passage

Ostensibly a cinematic portrait of the Louvre, Aleksandr Sokurov’s Francofonia: An Elegy for Europe zeroes in on the drama of the museum’s survival during the Second World War, when Nazi officer Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich found bureaucratic ways to disobey his art-collecting superiors, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, and cooperate with museum director Jacques Jaujard to shield the museum’s paintings from Allied bombing and Nazi seizure. Yet a slippery disjunction between the film’s images (from the opening credits to deathbed photographs of famous Russian writers to scenes of a sea captain speaking on video-phone with the film’s narrator) and the willful, digressive voiceover sets Francofonia up as a detective story for viewers. The Louvre appears as treasure house, resurrection site, crime scene. Sokurov’s voiceover alternates fluidly between conversing with the sea captain,…