Hot gossip of the day: via CRI, our beloved, eternally sunglassed Wong Kar Wai is planning on making a movie "based on moving true events in New Orleans when the city was attacked by Hurricane Katrina last year." He’s hoping to cast Adrien Brody as the lead, but Brody apparently wants to read a final script before committing, and as any WKW-phile knows, he’s shit out of luck if that’s the case.
Also, since this news first appeared in the mostly respectable Hong Kong paper Apple Daily, it probably shouldn’t be labeled as gossip, but this is the third project Wong has announced in recent memory (he’s still attached to "The Lady from Shanghai" with Nicole Kidman and that biopic of Bruce Lee‘s trainer, Ye Wen, with Tony Leung), and given his endearingly dawdling pace of production, we’re not going to hold our breath here.
In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling has a two-fer, reviewing Zhang Yimou‘s latest, "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles," a distinct departure from the florid wu xia films that have lately given him, for better or worse, international recognition. Schilling likes the film, and also has nothing but praise for "Gratitude," the latest from Jun Ichikawa, who also directed "Tony Takitani."
The award-winning director Aryan Kaganof shot the film entirely on Sony Ericsson W900i mobile phones in 12 days and is editing the 60 hours of footage, blown up to 35 millimetre, into a feature for distribution in May. Asked why he shot the film with mobile phone cameras, Kaganof answered: "Somebody had to do it."
At the New York Times, Ross Johnson chats with Timur Bekmambetov, whose hyped, then delayed Russian horror/fantasy blockbuster "Night Watch" is finally getting released in the US by Fox Searchlight on February 17th. We managed to see the film last week and will hopefully have a full review next, but wanted to say, while we enjoyed it quite a bit, it was also one of the most over-the-top displays of visual effects we’ve ever come across, not unlike having one’s head stuck in a blender filled with dozens of Aphex Twin videos and a handle of vodka.
Also at the Times, Dennis Lim writes that:
"Battle in Heaven," the second feature by the 34-year-old Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, is an anomaly among today’s explicit art films, which often deploy sex more as a stunt than a subversion. In the languid, graphic scenes of fellatio that bookend his movie, what is startling isn’t so much the frankness of the sex as the glaring disparity between the participants: Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz), the attractive young daughter of a general, and Marcos (Marcos HernÃ¡ndez), a homely, obese, middle-age man who is the general’s driver.
"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," by far our favorite installment of Park Chan-wook‘s celebrated and debated "vengeance trilogy," opens in the UK this week. At the Telegraph, Benjamin Secher interviews Park in his Seoul office.
Two vast noticeboards are nailed across its windows, keeping out most of the natural light. Sprawling across them, artworks, adverts and film posters jostle with snapshots of children, actors and naked women. It’s the kind of chaotic visual index that occasionally appears in films, adorning the walls of a serial killer’s hideout. And there in the middle, right above Park’s desk, is the familiar, doughy face of Tom Hanks.
Finally, at the Independent, Anthony Barnes reports that Robin Hardy, the director of the original 1973 "The Wicker Man," is so unhappy with Neil LaBute‘s upcoming US remake that he’s apparently called his lawyers in an effort to have his name removed from the production (he’s currently listed as a screenwriter).
+ Wong Kar-Wai to Do Hurricane Katrina Inspired Movie (CRI)
+ Master auteurs deliver classics on dealing with impending death (Japan Times)
+ The actors phoned it in… (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ From Russia, With Blood and Shape-Shifters (NY Times)
+ No Plot. No Professional Actors. No Holds Barred. (NY Times)
+ Magnificent obsessive (Telegraph)
+ Director to sue over Hollywood’s new ‘Wicker Man’ (Independent)