Thumbnails 9/28/18

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Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert

1. 

How Orson Welles’ ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ Was Rescued From Oblivion“: According to The New Yorker‘s Alex Ross.

“When Welles fans discuss the fate of ‘Wind,’ the name Oja Kodar inevitably surfaces, often in an unflattering light. A Croatian sculptor and actress, she co-wrote the script, had a lead role in the film, and—as the Welles scholar Jonathan Rosenbaum has established—directed three scenes of the film-within-the-film. She has been accused of holding up efforts to complete it, whether because of excessive demands or on account of a psychological block against seeing it finished. Yet she has artistic as well as legal authority over the work. In 2015, she made a rare public appearance at a Welles festival in Woodstock, Illinois. (The town was formerly the site of the Todd School for Boys, where Welles’s theatrical career began.) In an interview with Rosenbaum, Kodar made clear her profound attachment to ‘Wind.’ Now in her late seventies, she is a charismatic woman who speaks in a mixture of poetic flights and pungent aphorisms. She was born Olga Palinkaš, of Hungarian and Croatian parentage. Welles met her in 1961, when he went to Croatia to shoot his version of Kafka’s ‘The Trial.’ He named her his ‘present from God,’ and persuaded her to change her name; ‘Ko dar’ is Croatian for ‘as a present.’ She, in turn, coined the title of Welles’s final major film. In Woodstock, she told the story: ‘We walked in Cinecittà, which is a big Roman movie studio, and there was a set from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ from Zeffirelli, and the day was very, very windy, and Orson had on him his big black cape, and the wind went under that cape and opened it, and he looked like a giant bat.’ She went on to say, ‘He was more than human. He was an element of nature, he was wind.’”

2. 

Why Elaine May Is A National Treasure“: Forward‘s Carrie Rickey makes a convincing case.

“Even if you don’t recognize her name, your funny bone has been tickled by May, who has no equal as America’s most influential comedian. Her beneficiaries include everyone from Lily Tomlin to Tina Fey. ‘I don’t think it’s possible to overstate her influence on funny women,’ said Mark Harris, the film maven writing a biography of Mike Nichols. She has had an enormous impact on funny men, as well, most prominently Nichols and Woody Allen. Harris said, ‘The intelligence and precision and versatility she brought to Nichols & May influenced everyone who saw it, and I think that influence has been passed down the generations, to the point where there are comedians and comic writer/performers who probably don’t even know that she is in their DNA.’ ‘In her early sketch work with Mike Nichols, she ushered in a Jewish sensibility,’ said Jason Zinoman, a comedy columnist at The New York Times. ‘The phone bit where May calls her son – ‘Arthur, this is your mother. Do you remember me?’ — is the Rosetta Stone for the Jewish mother joke.’”

3.

Underneath ‘Bull”s Style and Smarts, There’s Real Depth Too“: The Talkhouse‘s Jim Hemphill sings the praises of CBS’s enjoyable procedural, now in its third season.

Roger Ebert once said that a movie isn’t about what it’s about, it’s about how it’s about what it’s about. I think that’s even more true of network television, where the difference between a passable show and a good one (and between a good one and a great one) is often down to the way in which the makers play with and subtly vary well-worn formulas. The immensely entertaining and ambitious CBS show ‘Bull,’ which begins its third season tonight, is a case in point. A smart, stylish and very funny drama that premiered in the fall of 2016 with a killer pedigree – ‘Donnie Brasco’ and ‘Quiz Show’ writer Paul Attanasio is one of the show’s creators, Steven Spielberg is an executive producer, and indie auteur Rodrigo Garcia directed the pilot – Bull reinvents and reinvigorates both the procedural and the courtroom drama with consistent verbal wit, visual elegance and one of the most compelling protagonists on television. Under Attanasio’s guidance, the series started strong, and when ‘Moonlighting’ creator Glenn Gordon Caron took over as the showrunner for season two, it got even better, developing into what it is now: a drama of intense moral seriousness with the breezy charm and fast badinage of a classic comedy by Howard Hawks or George Stevens.”

4. 

A Decade of Lady Gaga: Ten Unforgettable Performances“: At Indie Outlook, I highlight ten memorable moments from the past decade of Gaga’s ever-surprising career.

“Next week’s release of ‘A Star is Born’ will cause even Gaga’s die-hard fan base to view her in a new light—one devoid of makeup or theatrics. Her performance as Ally, a gifted singer whose career takes off once she’s discovered by show business veteran Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), is one of the year’s best. She’s electrifying not only in the musical sequences—which were all performed live and feature many songs coauthored by her and Cooper—but in the rest of the picture as well. In many ways, it’s a natural continuation of what she began with Joanne, which was itself inspired by her work on ‘American Horror Story.’ By removing each layer of artifice, Gaga is bringing us closer to the vulnerable truth of her soul—Stefani’s soul. Gone is her poker face in the breathtaking final shot, and that is ultimately what makes Ally a star.”

5. 

Why Saying ‘Me Too’ Isn’t Enough“: Impassioned commentary from Variety‘s Caroline Framke. 

“These falls from grace are an overdue redress for those who have come forward about experiencing or witnessing abuse. But not all of them are satisfied with the outcome of telling their stories — nor do they have faith that they will ever see true justice served. ‘My optimism that I had at the beginning is certainly not there anymore,’ says Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who alleged in January alongside several other women that she witnessed James Franco sexually harassing women on set. Since then, she says, she’s gotten waves of online backlash and lost friends, job opportunities and faith in the industry. Meanwhile, Franco has continued to work unabated. (HBO programming chief Casey Bloys insisted at the summer TCA press tour that the cast and producers of ‘The Deuce’ ‘all felt comfortable’ with Franco continuing to star in the series, now in its second season.) And he’s far from the only one. Despite the increasingly frequent pearl clutching from some about the #MeToo movement going too far, plenty of accused men are inching back into their careers after brief hiatuses away from the public eye.”

Image of the Day

Courtesy of Getty Images.

According to Nick Allen: “Chicago’s own Third Coast International Audio Festival, also known as the ‘Sundance of Radio,’ will be hosting the special world premiere of the latest episode in ESPN’s ’30 for 30′ podcast on Sunday, October 7 at 6:00pm at the Logan Auditorium. The episode will focus on baseball player Jose Canseco’s doping scandal and a never-before-heard story about how he worked with a ghost writer to write a best-selling book. A Q&A will follow with the producers, which will offer more insight into how the famous podcast gets made.” Click here for tickets.

Video of the Day

VIDEO ESSAY: #InformedImages: “Heat,” “The Dark Knight,” “Cliffhanger” and “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” from Nelson Carvajal on Vimeo.

Master editor Nelson Carvajal’s latest essential installment of #InformedImages at Free Cinema Now illustrates how “Heat,” “Cliffhanger” and “The Dark Knight” are all embedded in the DNA of “Mission: ImpossibleFallout.”

Bonus: Podcast of the Day

Snap Judgment Podcast #926 from WNYC Studios, as recommended by Nick Allen: “Kartemquin filmmaker John Fecile takes a deep dive into the history of the infamous ‘Faces of Death,’ and interviews the enigmatic creator who originally wanted to make a nature documentary. Included in the podcast episode are snippets of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel discussing the impact that ‘Faces of Death’ had on them, along with reactions from other viewers who learn through John’s interviews what was real and what was not.”

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