Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February 18, and it's been a week since i've posted anything. I have to say that i saw what i think is a great movie yesterday: Agnes Varda's "Les Plages d'Agnes". In many ways, it's like the sequel to her "Jacquot de Nantes" only she's the subject this time. It's a film which reminds you that there are few people who can make movies with the ease and skill and finesse of Agnes Varda. She has been a master filmmaker from her earliest days, with "La Pointe Courte", and she has gotten (if anything) more fluid in her off-hand mastery. From the earliest times in her career, she has made film essays, such as "L'Opera Mouffe" and "Documenteur", and here, she ruminates on her life and her career, giving glimpses into her work, going back to places from her childhood, from various films (including time spent in L.A. during the late 1960s and 1970s).

Of course, personally, Agnes Varda can be one of the most demanding people ever, but there's a warmth and charm to this film. She and her old friend Chris Marker have reached the point where they can just pick up a camera and make a movie.

After the movie, i was talking with some friends, and they were surprised that in "Les Plages d'Agnes", Varda admits that Jacques Demy died of AIDS, and how, when they were making "Jacquot de Nantes", his illness was never discussed because of the stigma at the time.

There's been a lot that's been happening in the film world. Two weeks ago, an urgent message was sent out by the Filmmakers Coop: it seems that Alanna Heiss had given the Coop an eviction notice (the Coop moved its office and archives into the Clocktower Building in 2000). It seems that when Alanna Heiss turned over P.S. 1 to MoMA, she did not give up the lease to the Clocktower Building. Now that MoMA forced her to retire as the Director of P.S. 1, she's taking her revenge on the Coop (which was brought in by MoMA's Department of Film). It's not resolved, but the city (specifically, the Department of Cultural Affairs) is working to ensure that the Coop has a place.

At the end of last week, it was announced that Mara Manus, the new Executive Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, had just fired about a quarter of the staff. Since it was never a big staff to begin with, that's a very big deal, and many people (like Sayre Maxfield and Joanna Ney) have been with the Film Society almost from the beginning. This is a terrible situation. Mara Manus is like a nonprofit corporate raider: she goes in to a place (like the Public Theater) and gets rid of the staff, and trims the budget, and then gets out.

Well, the last big piece of film news isn't so terrible, but it signals big changes: Geoff Gilmore has left the Sundance Film Festival to join the Tribeca Film Institute. It's expected that John Cooper will take over as the director of the Sundance Film Festival (at least, i hope so, John's been there for decades at this point) and Peter Scarlett will still be running the Tribeca Film Festival per se, but Geoff Gilmore's role is to build the Tribeca "brand" as it were.

Other movies seen over the last two weeks: Wajda's "Katyn", Jan Troell's "Everlasting Moments", Ferreri's "Dillinger Is Dead". And on TV, watched some things i'd never seen before; right now, i'm watching "Bonneville" with Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen. A few days ago, i finally saw "Last Summer in the Hamptons". I can't say i thought it was good, but there were fascinations, especially when someone like Viveca Lindfors was going all theatrical (which was all the time). But i still haven't been able to find a way into the Henry Jaglom aesthetic.

Today, watched the 1929 "Madame X" with Ruth Chatterton. Interesting to see.

Anyway, yesterday, on the way home, i started feeling sick, and i felt like i had twisted my ankle. Well, turned out to be gout, only this time in my right ankle. I couldn't get to Claire Denis's movie this morning. I'll go to the doctor's tomorrow (he doesn't have office hours on Wednesdays). But it's feeling better.

Now i'm watching the last part of the American Masters piece on Jerome Robbins. And there's Deborah Jowitt! And Jennifer Tipton!


Post a Comment

<< Home