1. “Remembering Peter de Rome: the maker of gay erotica loved by Warhol, Gielgud and the BFI.” Made in an era when it was illegal to show homosexual acts, De Rome’s films offer a window into a time when the possibilities of a gay life without shame were just beginning.
“Peter de Rome was a short, twinkly-eyed and bespectacled old gentleman who died earlier this week just before his 90th birthday. He was also a pioneer in the field of gay film. Although the explicit nature of his work will put off many, there is real warmth and joy to it: the encounters he shows are neither smutty nor seedy, no less loving for their rawness or brevity. Casual does not equate to cold. De Rome’s films are, rather, intelligently wrought miniatures fully engaged with their subjects. His skill in storytelling and his joky surrealism mixed with bold sexuality has something of the richness of Cocteau (whom he adored) or the exuberance of George Kuchar. It has the passion of Kenneth Anger and the pop cultural sensibility of Andy Warhol. Having worked as a film publicist, with no technical training, he seems to have acquired his film-making skills by osmosis from his acquaintance with the likes of Alexander Korda, David O Selznick or Orson Welles. But his achievement is uniquely his own.”
2. “Richard Linklater on Boyhood, the Before Trilogy and the Luxury of Time.” Variety’s Justin Chang speaks with the filmmaker.
“If the Before movies are essentially Linklater’s riff on Rohmer, each one an endearingly loquacious two-hander played out against an idyllic Old World setting, then Boyhood is unmistakably his tribute to Truffaut, who directed perhaps the greatest movie ever made about restless youth, The 400 Blows. Similarly, the French master’s extended collaboration with actor Jean-Pierre Leaud as Antoine Doinel feels like an early template for what Linklater and Coltrane have pulled off here. To the uninitiated, those might sound like lofty reference points to attach to Linklater, a laid-back Austin native who goes by Rick and punctuates every other sentence with ’yeah’ or ’you know’; and who, during our interview, sometimes himself resembles an overgrown kid with his T-shirt, shorts and unruly mop of hair. But no one familiar with the filmmaker’s work would be surprised by his penchant for odd philosophical digressions or his aw-shucks erudition. It’s the same stealth intelligence at work in his movies, which often conceal an unusual narrative and formal ambition beneath their shaggy, unpretentious charms—a subversive streak that has set Linklater apart from some of his more bottom-line-oriented contemporaries.”
3. “A Woman Should Run for President Against Hillary Clinton. Or Many Women.” Rebecca Traister imagines an unpredictable presidential primary.
“But what if there were other women out there to shoulder some of that weight and contextualize these crucial conversations? Whether or not Warren, Gillibrand, or Klobuchar could topple Clinton, they could make sure that certain issues got talked about. John Edwards, before melting into the oil slick of his own loathsomeness, performed a real service, nudging Democrats in a direction they badly needed to go on poverty and the class divide (in advance of the Occupy movement, Dodd-Frank, and Warren’s rabble-rousing, no less). And he did most of that work as a candidate who in neither his 2004 nor his 2008 bids ever had a strong shot of winning the nomination. This time around, the Democratic Party would become a stronger party if it got to listen to Clinton argue paid sick days, reproductive rights, day care, and equal-pay protections with a few other women who know how serious and far-reaching these policy questions are.”
4. “Robert Gardner, 1925 – 2014.” Anthropologist, filmmaker, author and advocate of the avant-garde.
“I’ve only just now learned, via Patrick Friel, that the great ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner died this past weekend at the age of 88. ’The nonfiction films of Robert Gardner embody profound and significant contradictions,’ wrote Ed Halter in 2009: ’they are at once beautiful and unsettling, instructive and mysterious, brutally true and mythically transcendent. In 29 completed works, many surveying the daily life and rituals of societies from every inhabited continent, Gardner probes acutely at the delicate borders that have always defined documentary—the porous and slippery boundaries between objective facts and their subjective telling. In Gardner’s work, this dynamic is inextricably entwined with the relationships forged between the inhabitants of indigenous cultures and their Western visitors. He approaches the métier of ethnographic cinema through a poetic framework, bridging the fissures between science and art in anthropology, continuing and expanding the humanist tradition originated by Robert Flaherty.’”
5. “HBO’s The Leftovers a tour de force of devastation and grief.” Alan Sepinwall on how Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta brilliantly adapt Perrotta’s novel about a rapture-like event.
“[Peter] Berg has always been an expressionistic director, but usually in a jittery fashion that give his other films and TV shows (including both versions of Friday Night Lights) the feel of a documentary. The Leftovers is more classically composed, and yet it is every bit as much of an immersive experience as going to the football fields of Dillon, Texas. This show’s broken world is a hard one to shake off, and for me a hard one simply to step away from. In the age of second and third screens, social media and push alerts, it becomes difficult to sit through an episode of even the best shows on television without feeling the siren call of my inbox or my Facebook wall, yet I wanted to do nothing while watching each episode of The Leftovers (HBO made four of the first five available to critics) than to finish it—not to hasten the end of an unpleasant experience, but to keep from breaking the show’s emotional spell.”
Video of the Day: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon announce the return of Project Greenlight:
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