Melissa Anderson

  • Olivier Assayas, Summer Hours, 2008, color film in 35 mm, 103 minutes. Production stills. Left: Lisa and Frédéric (Dominique Reymond and Charles Berling). Right: Adrienne (Juliette Binoche). Photos: Jeannick Gravelines.
    film May 08, 2009

    Family Plot

    AFTER THE FREAKY, FAR-OUT, FREQUENTLY DYSTOPIC PLEASURES of Olivier Assayas’s last three films—Connie Nielsen clad in leather fetish wear in the Hellfire Club in demonlover (2002), Maggie Cheung as a transnational rock star struggling to stay off junk and be reunited with her young son in Clean (2004), and Asia Argento diddling herself before jetting off to Hong Kong and intrigue in Boarding Gate (2007)—the director returns home for his twelfth fiction film, to a bourgeois French family trying to negotiate the past, present, and future, in the mournful Summer Hours. As in the triptych that

  • Left: Andy Warhol, Lonesome Cowboys, 1967–68, color film, 109 minutes. Production still. Photo: Paul Morrissey. Right: Andy Warhol, Harlot, 1964, still from a black-and-white film, 66 minutes.
    film May 04, 2009

    Out West

    “VACANT, VACUOUS HOLLYWOOD was everything I ever wanted to mold my life into. Plastic. White-on-white,” Andy Warhol writes of Tinseltown in POPism (1980). Obsessed with Shirley Temple as a child, Warhol continued his fascination with luminaries of the silver screen (the more tarnished their legends, the better) in his films, in the process creating his own stable of movie stars at the Factory—a reimagining of Hollywood archetypes on view in MoMA’s eleven-film series “The West: Myth, Character, and Reinvention by Andy Warhol.”

    In September 1963, Warhol, with his silent 16-mm Bolex in tow, took a

  • Left: Louise Bourque, Going Back Home, 2000, still from a color film in 16 mm, 1 minute. Right: Duncan Campbell, Bernadette, 2008, still from a film in 16 mm transferred to DVD, 37 minutes.
    film April 15, 2009

    Pie with Dignity

    NIBBLING ON FREE PIE at the 22nd Images Festival, Toronto’s annual springtime showcase of contemporary moving-image culture, I realized that I had never attended a series that combined solid programming of experimental film and video with such a gracious welcoming of artists and audiences. Most of the screenings were held, curiously, in the auditorium of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Queen Street West, giving the festival an occasional Titicut Follies–like ambience that simultaneously belied the actual calm and orderliness of the festival’s proceedings and underscored experimental

  • Left: The Dick Cavett Show, 1977–82, still from a TV show on PBS. Jean-Luc Godard and Dick Cavett. Right: Ira Schneider, A Weekend at the Beach with Jean-Luc Godard, 1979, still from a color video, 8 minutes. Both images from the DVD JLG in USA, 2009.
    film April 03, 2009

    Three American Movies

    “FILMS ARE THE ONLY THINGS by which to look inside people, and that’s why people are so fond of movies and why they’ll never die,” Jean-Luc Godard once said about the seductiveness of cinema. This maxim holds true of films about Godard himself, especially of the JLG in USA DVD, available in the current Film Issue of The Believer. Assembled by Jacob Perlin, a film programmer at BAMcinématek and founder of the Film Desk, a small distribution company, this fascinating anthology of Godard’s travels in America, spanning 1968 to 1980, consists of three short documentaries, a slide show, and an appearance

  • Left: Christophe Honoré, La Belle Personne, 2008, still from a color film in 35 mm, 90 minutes. Nemours (Louis Garrel). Philippe Garrel, Frontier of Dawn, 2008, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 106 minutes. Ève and Francois (Clémentine Poidatz and Louis Garrel).
    film February 27, 2009

    Louis, Louis

    JUSTIFIABLY FETING IFC FILMS for the second year in a row, BAMcinématek salutes the bold US distributor (you can thank IFC for bringing The Duchess of Langeais, The Last Mistress, and Che to theaters last year) with a seven-movie series, including weeklong runs of Philippe Garrel’s Frontier of Dawn and Christophe Honoré’s La Belle Personne. The two films are wildly different: Garrel, the dreamiest and most melancholy of the post–New Wave masters, introduces a supernatural dea ex machina, while Honoré’s work, loosely based on the seventeenth-century novel La Princesse de Clèves, plays like a

  • Left: Oscar Micheaux, Body and Soul, 1925, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 86 minutes. Reverend Isaiah T. Jenkins (Paul Robeson). Right: Oscar Micheaux and Leonard Harper, advertising poster for The Exile, 1931.
    film February 06, 2009

    Race Track

    AROUND THE TIME that the KKK rode to victory in The Birth of a Nation (1915), Al Jolson applied burned cork to his face in The Jazz Singer (1927), and scores of African-American actors bowed, scraped, shucked, and jived in Hollywood productions, an alternative cinema was thriving. Walter Reade’s thirty-five-film series “Faded Glory: Oscar Micheaux and Black Pre-War Cinema” pays overdue tribute not just to Micheaux, the pioneering African-American director, but also to his lesser-known contemporaries like Spencer Williams (who starred as Andy on The Amos ’n Andy Show) and Richard Maurice. All