This week on IFC News:
Inspired (and impressed) by Manoel de Oliveira turning out the fine "Belle Toujours" at a spritely age 98, we take a look at how some of our favorite auteurs fared in their autumn years here. To avoid the excessive morbidness â€” which seems an impossibility now that we’re trying to sum up this piece â€” of forcing a blurby career retrospective on someone still around, we stuck to directors who were already dead. Huzzah! Here, on Samuel Fuller:
Though "The Big Red One" was hacked down to just 113 minutes, this version got a release and even played the Cannes Film Festival in 1980. Things went far worse for Fuller’s next project, "White Dog" the story of a German Shepherd who has been trained to attack African-Americans, and the man who tries to cure him. After protests from the NAACP, Paramount Pictures shelved the film completely. No one saw the movie for a decade. Fuller was devastated. In his autobiography, "A Third Face," Fuller described the experience of losing his film. "It’s like someone putting your newborn baby in a goddamned maximum-security prison forever," he wrote.
Reeling from the creative defeat, Fuller accepted an offer to work in Europe and pretty much left the country for good. He made a few films in Europe, including his last theatrical feature, "Street of No Return" in 1989, and kept busy making TV movies and writing "A Third Face." After his death in 1997, Fuller’s work returned to the spotlight. In 2004, film critic Richard Schickel oversaw a restoration of "The Big Red One" that included over a half-hour of new footage, and came, in Schieckel’s words, as close to recapturing Fuller’s original vision as was humanly possible. "The Big Red One" played Cannes again, to even greater acclaim.
Here is the complete line-up of the "31 Days of Movie Profanity" list that ran on the site all last month.
The story is a pretzel of a hundred movies â€” star-crossed lovers, embittered gunmen, a maiden facing an arranged marriage, tragic misunderstandings, bloodbrother betrayals, shoot-outs and corrupt villains. Frankly, Wisit’s cast is rarely up to the screenplay’s demands in any serious way, but they’re not asked to be: the drama, posed and mannered, is as rabidly earnest and drolly ironic as any film by Douglas Sirk, R.W. Fassbinder or Guy Maddin. (Here, when two gunfighters pledge loyalty to each other, they don’t just shake on it â€” they bleed into each others’ glasses of tequila, drink up and then dance.) It’s a one-of-a-kind movie, even (reportedly) for Thailand, a freaky gout of self-conscious retro-style.
On the podcast, we suggest some counter-programming for a few of this summer’s bleaker-looking blockbusters.
Matt Singer reviews "La Vie en Rose" ("Like most biopics of this ilk â€” those about tremendously famous individuals who did great things â€” the focus remains on big dramatic story beats rather than a coherent narrative as a whole") here and "Ocean’s Thirteen" here.
And Christopher Bonet has the line-up of what’s new in theater.