1. “The 25 Best Films Directed by Female Film Directors.” Over at Raindance, a thoughtful—if too-eager-to-be-inclusive (An Education? Really?)—ranking of the best films by female directors.
“Studies show that half of all film school graduates are women, yet only 5% of them are working Hollywood directors. This is not only a problem in Hollywood, but everywhere in the world. There’s prejudice and difficulties akin to them, common stories of declined financing help and even production interruptions due to certain chosen themes and subjects in their work. There are exceptions to the rule that are forgotten, and others that are now breaking through. Although many who are active today seek refuge in independent filmmaking, TV and online media, they are—increasingly so—receiving more attention. The current list gathers some of the most prominent female filmmakers in the history of film, and the movies that made them so inspiring.”
2. “ISIS Is a Disgrace to True Fundamentalism.” Slavoj Žižek pens on editorial on ISIS for The New York Times.
“The problem with terrorist fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending, politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority toward them only makes them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that they already like us, that, secretly, they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists of ISIS and those like them really lack is precisely a dose of that true conviction of one’s own superiority.”
3. “Bombast: Zeitgeist.” Nick Pinkerton on David Bordwell and his views of the critical-grind school.
“As it happens, I don’t need to strain myself too much to find a rejoinder to Bordwell, because Grantland’s Wesley Morris has already done the work. Reviewing the purported impersonating-an-officer comedy Let’s Be Cops, which was rather less-than-serendipitously released the week after the shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer, Morris begins: ’All movies choose their moment. It’s called a release date. Some moments, however, choose their movies. And it looks as if the moment has chosen Let’s Be Cops.’ In the piece that follows, very little attention is paid to the aspects of filmmaking which Bordwell suggests are fair game for critics: Plotting, ’point-of-view and exposition,’ generating ’sympathy or antipathy,’ ’character conflicts both external and internal,’ and the burning question, ’Does it accord with the sharply contoured plot architecture characteristic of U.S. studio filmmaking?’ I would argue that, nevertheless, Mr. Morris is serving us very well indeed as a critic here by dwelling on what Bordwell calls, in passing, the ’unintended consequences’ of filmmaking.”
4. “The Lowdown on Terrence Malick’s Three New Films.” Inside Indie has combed through interviews, movie and music blogs and unauthorized set photos to determine what we actually do know about the next wave of Malick’s output.
” It has been two years since production wrapped on Knight, which is not an especially long postproduction for Malick. Yet protege and member of the Malick inner circle A.J. Edwards revealed during the Berlin Film Festival that both films would premiere this year. Then earlier this summer, the film’s Italian distributor Ernesto Grassi stated that Knight would come out in limited release in the U.S. later this year. Possibly the biggest sign that Knight is nearing the finish line has come from the cast. As Martin Sheen, Rachel Weisz, Mickey Rourke, Gary Oldman and Billy Bob Thornton can all testify, there is no shame in ending up on the freewheeling Malick’s cutting room floor, but no one wants the embarrassment Adrien Brody experienced of promoting a role (The Thin Red Line) only to later discover that role has been cut or greatly reduced by Malick. So it was very revealing that in spring 2014, Knight of Cups’ supporting actors Manganiello, Banderas and Lucas giddily reported they had made Knight’s final cut. Banderas was even given set photos to approve, while Lucas said she was called in for an ADR session. Feeding the flame, Film Nation gave THR the first official photos from the film and revealed footage to foreign investors during Cannes.”
5. “The Heir’s Not Apparent.” Also in the Times, Randy Kennedy over the legal battle over Vivian Maier’s work.
“The story of the street photographer Vivian Maier has always been tangled—she worked much of her life as a nanny, keeping her artistic life a secret, and only after she died in 2009, at the age of 83, nearly penniless and with no family, were her pictures declared to be among the most remarkable of the 20th century. Now a court case in Chicago seeking to name a previously unknown heir is threatening to tie her legacy in knots and could prevent her work from being seen again for years. The case was filed in June by a former commercial photographer and lawyer, David C. Deal, who said he became fascinated with Maier’s life in law school and took it upon himself to try to track down an heir. He did so, he said, because he was upset that prints of her work—from more than 100,000 negatives found in a storage locker at an auction, containing images now possibly worth millions of dollars—were being sold by people who came to own the negatives but had no family connection to Maier, who spent most of her childhood in France and worked in Chicago, where she died.”
Video of the Day: The first full trailer for American Horror Story: Freak Show:
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