1. “Robert De Niro: Me & My Gay Dad.” The legendary actor shares the story of his father, an artist who struggled for recognition as the city changed around him.
“It’s been more than 20 years since Robert De Niro Sr.’s death from cancer, but his memory is fresh for his son, who has preserved his father’s final home and studio in New York City’s SoHo. Filled with books, paintbrushes, and hundreds of canvases, some of which he never finished, it looks like pop stepped away for a coffee and should be back to finish another still life before dinner. The loft remains a quiet shrine to an artist that few recognize, perhaps mistaking his figurative paintings for a late Matisse or another French master. ’It was the only way to keep his being, his existence alive,’ De Niro explains. ’To me, he was always a great artist.’”
2. “Between the Lines.” Nick Pinkerton on Anthology Film Archives’ Marcel Hanoun retro.
“A bridge between the New Wavers (Godard, Resnais) and the generation that followed (Eustache, Pialat, Garrel), Hanoun doesn’t strictly belonging to either—and his films dwell in neither/nor interstices. Like Une simple histoire, Carl Emmanuel Jung addresses one of Hanoun’s principle preoccupations, the dislocation between spoken language and what it represents—in the former case, the narration of the story which we see on-screen, in the latter, the dry recounting of atrocities that remain unseen. This, and other dialectics—subject and representation, reflected and reflection, performance and presence, black-and-white and color—are further explored in the quartet of seasonally-themed films that Hanoun completed between 1968 and 1972, films which represent the highest attainment of his art. These are works so richly ornamented with ideas, and so ripe with sensorial pleasure, that I can only hope to set down the basic facts about them here.”
3. “Favorite Hallucinations.” Did Chris Marker think history to be not only an infinite book but a sacred one?
“The problem with showing Marker in a museum is one of distraction, which is really a problem of time. Museum exhibitions of other filmmakers’ work—Jonas Mekas at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2012–13, for instance, or Chantal Akerman at Bozar in Brussels in 2013—have suffered from the problem too, but I sensed it more poignantly at Whitechapel. Time—especially, to borrow a phrase from Marker’s 1982 masterpiece Sans soleil (Sunless), the inability to ’repair the web of time,’ and the anguish of being caught in it—is so much the essence of his art. Yet a museum demands that the contents of an exhibition be comprehended spatially, as part of an array in three dimensions. You can devote however much time you want to the works there, unlike a film, which must be followed at a pace set by its director. And then always, out of the corner of your eye, another moving image beckons your attention away from the one you’ve just started to watch. A black-box theater with comfortable seats is the best way to see most films; at home, something of the same concentration can be mustered. But while milling around in a museum? Not likely.”
4. “The Erasure of Maya Angelou’s Sex Work History.” There’s a readon why you don’t know the author once worked as a prostitute.
“It comes to this: there is no way, in the minds of most people, to have worked as a prostitute and not be ashamed of it. Most people believe there is no way to have held this job (and it is a job), move onto other things, and not consider it a ’seamy life’ or ’shameful secret.’ To most people, there is no way a woman of Maya Angelou’s caliber could ever have performed as a sex worker. The idea just won’t gel for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the truth. Maya Angelou: Poet Laureate, Pulitzer nominee, Tony Award winner, best selling author, poetess, winner of more than 50 honorary degrees, mother, sister, daughter, wife, National Medal of Arts winner, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, consummate and powerful woman, artist, and former sex worker. Yes, the woman you love, the woman we all love, the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou was a sex worker and she proved, in her life and her stories, that there’s nothing wrong with it.”
5. “The Tenacity of Youth in Abbas Kiarostami’s Early Cinema (with Godfrey Cheshire).” Part one of Hello Cinema’s conversation with the Kiarostami expert about the filmmaker’s early work.
“For this two-part episode of the podcast, we had the opportunity to interview American film critic Godfrey Cheshire about Abbas Kiarostami’s early cinema. Godfrey, who previously chaired the New York Film Critics Circle, has written for a range of publications including New York Press, The New York Times and The Village Voice. His work in the early 1990s was monumental in introducing Iranian cinema to Western audiences and popularizing directors like Kiarostami. Like us, Godfrey is a huge advocate of Kiarostami’s early output, the films he made with Kanun (The Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults) before his proliferative success in the 1990s.”
Video of the Day: Jon Benjamin voices HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey:
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