Richard Brody on the final film of the late Agnès Varda, who died in March at the age of ninety:

“The sublime originality of the work and the life of Agnès Varda, who died in March, at the age of ninety, provides her last film, “Varda by Agnès” (screening October 9th and 10th), with both its subject and its form. It’s a personal journey through her career, centered on a series of public lectures, interviews, and conversations that mesh with clips from her work—museum installations and videos as well as movies—and with staged sequences that provide a theatrical context for her reminiscences and reflections. “Varda by Agnès” is a fitting valedictory work that, in its retrospective illuminations, nonetheless pushes Varda’s own aesthetic relentlessly forward: it’s an exemplary illustration of the very concept of the auteur, of the director as prime creator, an idea which—though she was never a critic and never advanced it in theory—her body of work exemplifies as strongly as anyone’s has done, now or ever.”

Source: The New Yorker.

Sofia Coppola behind the camera

The Directors Series begins reviewing the work of American filmmaker Sofia Coppola, taking stock of her early acting career and first forays into the world of directing. Cameron Beyl begins by recounting his encounter with Coppola’s first film:

“[T]he first film I ever saw from director Sofia Coppola was 2003’s Lost in Translation. I was captivated by the quiet sensitivity of her characters and the evocative melancholy of the Tokyo setting, and as such, I’ve come to regard her as an accomplished filmmaker with a uniquely sensitive worldview worth expressing.”

You can read more (and watch clips) over at Beyl’s excellent The Directors Series.

“Three very influential artists are partaking in the making of an upcoming Netflix miniseries. The first is Margaret Atwood, providing source material through her based-on-a-true-story crime novel, Alias Grace. The second is writer/director/actor Sarah Polley — known for her beautiful documentary Stories We Tell her odd, contemplative rom-com, Take This Waltz, and her Oscar nominated drama, Away From Her. According to Deadline, she’ll be writing and producing. And the third is American Psycho‘s Mary Harron, who’ll be directing.”

More at Flavorwire.

Now, you can download all 239 issues of the landmark UK feminist magazine free-of-charge. Source: Open Culture.

Source: Open Culture.

Brooks Barnes (The New York Times) reports that the British writer is to work with French filmmaker Claire Denis
Zadie Smith. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images.
Zadie Smith. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images.

Amid the superheroes, dinosaurs, cyborg assassins and male strippers of the summer movie season comes a drop of sustenance for the cinematic intelligentsia: the French director Claire Denis will make her first English-language film, and she is collaborating on its screenplay with the British novelist Zadie Smith.

Ms. Denis, perhaps best known for “Beau Travail,” a 1999 drama based loosely on a Herman Melville story, does not yet have a title for her new project. But the film will be set in space, according to Screen International, and Ms. Smith, the author of the acclaimed novel “White Teeth,” will help write the screenplay – her first such effort. [Read More]