Once again, it's been a week since i've last blogged. It seems like everyone is slowing down; George Robinson remarks about this on his blog (where there are links to his very enjoyable interview with Ken Jacobs - the occasion was the week-long run of Ken's "Razzle Dazzle" at Anthology Film Archives last month, which i caught last year at the Tribeca Film Festival), and Anne Thompson is on vacation, so her blog (which can be found on the Variety website) is using stringers. But before that, Anne and various other staffers on Variety covered Comic Con pretty extensively. As usual, Anne brought up some valid points (which, ironically, were echoed last week on Dave Kehr's blog). It has to do with the lack of a female perspective in terms of criticism. (It's funny: this week, in The New Republic, Stanley Kauffmann writes an endnote to his column, where he praises Manohla Dargis for enlivening film criticism at The New York Times.) Is film criticism too much of a boy's-club? Does that condition how movies are reviewed? Not only that, but what movies get made.
Online, there was the transcript of a speech that Rose Troche gave at some event (it was a women's conference), where she talked about the difficulties of getting lesbian material produced. "The L Word" is currently in production on its final season, yet Showtime is not showing interest in trying to put on another gay ("Queer as Folk") or lesbian ("The L Word") show, even though those have proven to be so successful.
But in the last week, have been looking at a lot of stuff. Just to list some of the things i've watched: "Patti Smith: Dream of Life", the Albert Maysles-Kristin Nutilde documentary "Sally Gross: The Pleasure of Stillness", "Definitely, Maybe", the old Mervyn LeRoy "Moment to Moment", "I Dreamt Under Water" (a French film, a screener from TLA), went to a reading by Edgardo Vega and Liza Monroy at The Medicine Show (now located in the Ensemble Studio Theater building), "Bangkok Love Story" (a Thai film, and another screener from TLA), the 1949 French thriller "Une Si Jolie Petite Plage" (a real revelation, because this is one film, along with the Autant-Lara "Devil in the Flesh", which reveals why Gerard Philipe was a star, the way that "Four Daughters" reveals John Garfield), and "Les Tontons Flingueurs" (another French crime story, and one of those insanely arch comedies, the American equivalent would be something like "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"). Last night, i did something really stupid, i stayed up and watched "The Trouble With Angels" and "Where Angels Go... Trouble Follows", two movies in the last gasp of Rosalind Russell's stardom. She's actually not bad in those movies, not nearly as artificial as she is in something like "Five Finger Exercise" (which wasn't part of the TCM Star of the Month tribute) but she's a far cry from the fiercely all-out comedienne of "His Girl Friday" and "My Sister Eileen". Of course, i saw those films years ago (why?) and time hasn't really improved them. One horror: on IMDB, so many people have written in about how "The Trouble With Angels" is one of the best films about Catholicism that they know of... obviously, idiots who are too stupid to see a genuinely religious film such as Rossellini's "The Flowers of St. Francis" or Bresson's "Diary of a Country Priest" or De Sica's "Gates of Heaven" or Melville's "Leon Morin, Pretre"; if "The Trouble With Angels" is a genuine religious film, what about Leo McCarey's "Going My Way" and "The Bells of St. Mary's" or such malarkey as "Come to the Stable" (with Loretta Young and Celeste Holm as nuns).
But "Une Si Jolie Petite Plage" really is... it's not a masterpiece, but it is an exceptionally well-crafted thriller, and the screenplay is one of thsoe very carefully wrought numbers where everything turns out to reflect on the central theme, and all the stories wrap up in the end. In this, the screenplay is very much like Demy's screenplay for "Lola", where he has all these different stories, which may be the same story at different stages. But that turned out to be the real find of the French crime series at Film Forum.
Just finished watching that documentary from 1994, "Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed".