1. “Roman Polanski Talks His Life and Career, Venus in Fur and Retirement.” Scott Foundas speaks with the legendary filmmaker.
“The story is a diabolically clever two-hander that Polanski adapted with the playwright David Ives from [David] Ives’ 2010 New York stage hit. ’I just thought it was a terrific text,’ says Polanski. ’First, the humor of it. But then the sort of anti-macho spirit of it, and the richness of the allusions.’ The director first read Ives’ play in his hotel room during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where his Oscar-winning 1979 Thomas Hardy adaptation, Tess, was being screened in a restored print. ’This might be up your alley,’ Polanski remembers his longtime agent, Jeff Berg, telling him. As it turns out, Berg was right.”
2. “Theses on the Dance Moves of Ilana Glazer.” Anne Helen Petersen and Phillip Maciak on Broad City
“Hannah and Ilana both have desires, of course, but Ilana doesn’t care what her desires look like. Girls is obviously after a type of realism that is not high on Broad City’s priority list, so, to some extent, the transgressive behavior Annie rightfully praises is not policed by society in the way it would be within the world of Girls. (Ilana should have been fired from her job multiple times, for instance.) But that’s not a blindness. If Girls is a show about the stinging reality of trying to get what you want, Broad City is about the sometimes painful thrill of wanting on its own. What the show sees is the grace and odd beauty of outlandish, directionless desire.”
3. “Darren Aronofsky’s Bible Studies.” Richard Brody on Noah.
“The story of Noah is, first of all, a near-apocalypse in which God kills off almost everybody, and the terrifying scale of divine wrath, along with the awesome burden of the few remaining people who confront it, must have had a shattering effect on the young Aronofsky. That vision of enormity—of divinity as monstrosity—comes through in the movie. And what about the holy man who is totally devoted to that God, and who actually hears the command of that God? The power of Noah arises from Aronofsky’s shuddering comprehension that the person who thinks he’s in touch with God is capable of anything. The movie stands on its head the Dostoyevskian dictum ’If God does not exist, everything is permitted.’ In Noah, the notion of God’s existence renders the natural order frenetically, jinglingly, miraculously disorderly, and it grants a true believer a free pass for whatever atrocity he believes he’s commanded to enact. Remarkably, in the movie’s crucial drama—Noah’s intention to end the human race by killing the offspring of his son Shem (Douglas Booth) and his daughter-in-law Ila (Emma Watson)—Aronofsky grafts onto the tale of Noah one of the most harrowing and morally troubling bibilical stories, Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It seems as if that tale in particular had been troubling Aronofsky since childhood, too.”
4. “Radiant at BAM.” Stephanie Zacharek on the BAMcinématek’s ’Blonde Venus: The Films of Dietrich and von Sternberg’ series.
“The pictures Josef von Sternberg made with Marlene Dietrich—seven in all, between 1930 and 1935—are often cited as examples of von Sternberg’s obsessive, controlling nature, evidence of his need to wrest a real live woman into his version of an ideal. But the truth of the Dietrich–von Sternberg relationship is of course far more complicated. If she was his protégé, his canvas, the focus of his unapologetic objectification, she was also his muse, and the degree to which she allowed herself to be molded was tied directly to her own ambition and self-confidence. Even when Dietrich was wearing a gown, she always wore the pants.”
5. ”American Blooger Trailer Goes Viral, Confuses Internet.” Documentary about bloggers makes actual bloggers laugh while scratching their heads.
“Filmmaker Christopher Wiegand promises to ’change the way we see an industry’ in a trailer for his upcoming documentary, American Blogger. But the industry isn’t exactly sure what to make of it. Inspired by his wife’s blogging, the first-time filmmaker set off on a trip across America to interview bloggers and profile their work in the field. But many bloggers have reacted somewhat harshly to the trailer’s unintentionally humorous voiceover, as well as the documentary’s apparent focus on overwhelmingly white female subjects.”
Video of the Day: The video for Lykke Li’s “No Rest for the Wicked”:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.