Walter Hill (48 Hours, Wild Bill) appeared at a Television Critics’ Association press conference to promote his upcoming AMC film Broken Trail, which debuts in July. The four-hour, two-part film stars Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church (who were also present) as a veteran rancher and his nephew. The characters drive a herd of cattle from Oregon to Wyoming, then get sidetracked into trying to rescue five immigrant girls who have been sold into prostitution.
Asked why westerns had nearly disappeared from popular culture—particularly on TV, where the genre is represented only by the occasional TNT movie and HBO’s Deadwood, for which Hill directed an Emmy-winning pilot—the filmmaker said, “You’d probably need a sociologist to answer that.” Then he took a shot at it.
“When I was a kid, there was a tremendous saturation of westerns on television,” said Hill.” “All things pass.”
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2. “Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit.” Nicholas Powers on the exhibit, now available for viewing at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn.
“A few of us went to the backside of the Mammy sphinx. A crowd milled around and lights flashed from their cameras. I was late for a meeting and going to leave when a white man kneeled and aimed his camera at his Asian-American friend, who made a goofy face under the giant buttocks. Something snapped. I strode to the front, turned around and yelled at the crowd that when they objectify the sculpture’s sexual parts and pose in front of it like tourists they are recreating the very racism the art was supposed to critique. I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes.”
3. “Fifty Years On, A Hard Day’s Night Is Still Revelatory.” Stephanie Zacharek reviews the Richard Lester film for The Village Voice.
“Let’s get the obvious bit over with: The early days of the Beatles, as reflected in Richard Lester’s ebullient shout of freedom A Hard Day’s Night, were all about the optimism of the early 1960s, a thrilling and energizing time when young people, and even some older ones, truly believed that the future held great promise. By the late ’60s, disillusionment had set in, and the Beatles broke up.”
4. “Reality Hunger.” Adam Thirlwell on Pasolini’s seductive utopian vision.
“Everything Pasolini did, he did as a poet. But what was it, precisely, that Pasolini did? Born in 1922, he began his career writing poetry in Friulian, his native language. Then he moved to Rome, where he wrote novels, this time exploring a dense Roman argot. And then came the movies of the ’60s and ’70s, including Mamma Roma, Teorema, and the trilogy of adaptations from Boccaccio, Chaucer, and the Arabian Nights, ending in his masterpiece of degradation, Salo. His atmosphere was constant scandal, and he added to that scandal with his essays in the high-end newspapers: small doses of acerbic thinking. But although he might have enjoyed using crazily various modes, he also had a certain style. In his movies, he loved fusing the hieratic with the everyday. And in his writing, too, he liked combining two things that don’t usually go together: a classical form or tone that could absorb its squalid subjects. His best poetry is a kind of diary written in long slabs and sequences—he called these poems poemetti, longer than a poesia, shorter than a poema—meditations on whatever he was thinking about, where the syntax is strung out along the terza-rima form (Dante’s meter!) in a papery festoon of thinking.”
5. “How Emily Gould Published a Novel, Lost Her Job, and Provoked Lena Dunham. In 1 Week.” Maureen O’Connor interviews the Friendship author.
“I don’t know if it’s for me to say. Chronologically, my work came first. But I can’t say if it had an influence. Judging from Jenni Konner’s and Lena Dunham’s responses, I think they really chafed at the implication. That didn’t feel great to me. I’m really into making sure the people I felt were antecedents to my work get a lot of credit and shout-outs. That’s what Emily Books is about. So that shocked me, and it wasn’t a response I was expecting from someone whose work I admire. I’ve always been a fan. That media trope of pitting women against each other when their work has any superficial similarities is not a cool thing to play into if you can avoid it. Why am I not being compared to men? Why am I not being compared to my fiancé, who wrote a book about completely similar characters, at a completely similar time of their lives, in a completely similar milieu? Femaleness is not incidental to my book, but I also don’t think that everyone who is female and writes about their life is in some way Lena Dunham–esque.”
Video of the Day: The shadows of Roger Deakins:
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