Kasi Lemmons’s Harriet (2019) was released Friday, and Kate Larson, the expert consulted for the film, says the fictionalized Harriet Tubman biopic is still a faithful retelling of the Maryland-born historical figure’s life, according to WBALTV. Larson, who has studied Tubman for the last twenty-five years, says she grew up a slave separated from much of her family, until running for freedom on the Underground Railroad with her brothers September 17, 1849, before they could be sold into the Deep South. Larson says she hopes the film will inspire audiences to visit the communities where Tubman became an American hero.
Jane Fonda accepts award during arrest in D.C. protest
As Jane Fonda was being handcuffed Friday in Washington for the third time in fourteen days as part of her demonstration of civil disobedience against climate change by getting arrested every week, she gave an acceptance speech to a nearby camera, according to the New York Daily News. She was due to receive the honorary Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles later that night, the fifth actor to win it after Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Matt Damon, as well as Cate Blanchett. Fonda is a two-time BAFTA Best Actress, for Fred Zimmerman’s Julia (1977) and James Bridges’s The China Syndrome (1979), in addition to a two-time Academy-Award honoree (out of seven nominations), for Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971) and Hal Ashby’s Coming Home (1978).
The fight to make the film industry more green
Emile O’Brien, who founded the environmentalist film and television consultancy service Earth Angel, was inspired to do so after studying production at New York University and seeing how much waste there was on sets, according to Vice. As an example, BAFTA says a single hour of fiction or nonfiction television produced in the UK generates thirteen metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is almost as much CO2 as an American produces on average in a year. To encourage a business which prides itself on its progressivism to put its money where its mouth is environmentally, O’Brien suggests that crews departmentalize “Eco Production Assistants,” and that activist groups host awards ceremonies for sustainability.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas discusses new film
Thirty-seven-year-old Priyanka Chopra Jonas returned to Bollywood for Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink (2019), telling the cohosts of The View during her Tuesday interview about how the production helped her reach a catharsis after the death of her father, according to ABC News. Ashok Chopra lost a years-long battle with cancer in June 2013, but not before raising his daughter to be confident in her opinions and decisions, knowing she had her family to back her unconditionally. Chopra Jonas says his parenting style inspired her activism, which may or may not one day mean a career in politics for her.
The most important female director you’ve never heard of
From 1896 to 1906, the largely forgotten Alice Guy-Blaché was not just the world’s first female filmmaker, she was also the world’s only female filmmaker, christening her career with no less than the first narrative film, La Fée Aux Choux (1896), according to The A.V. Club. She was inspired to make cinema after sitting in the audience for Auguste and Louis Lumière’s La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon (1895), thinking she could do better than one of history’s first motion pictures by telling stories instead of simply shooting scenes of everyday life. Guy-Blaché also pioneered several special effects (double exposure, masking, as well as running a reel backwards), and her comedy, A Fool and His Money (1912), is believed to be the first movie with an all-black cast.
“Dune” star says film won’t feel studio-made
Stellan Skarsgård, who stars as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2020), says the Warner Bros. adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel is less a cautionary tale of studio interference and more an artist’s vision, according to CinemaBlend. With reshoots as well as a lengthy post-production schedule looming over the horizon, though, executives will likely have a hand in the sci-fi auteur’s final cut. Villeneuve’s interpretation of the first half of Herbert’s book, costarring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Mamoa, Javier Bardem, and David Dastmalchian, will be released December 18, 2020.
New FBI satire based on real cases
Chris Morris’s The Day Shall Come (2019) opened Friday in New York and Los Angeles after the filmmaker started researching FBI stings and interviewing terrorist defendants, federal prosecutors, as well as FBI agents in 2012, according to The Intercept. The protagonist, a conman named Moses (Marchant Davis), leads the Star of Six, a Miami group loosely inspired by Narseal Batiste and his Seas of David (better known as the Liberty City Seven, their media moniker). Reviewer Trevor Aaronson writes that the film satirizes the FBI as a scam artist a la Moses, entrapping hundreds of small-time suspects as part of the institution’s codependency upon terrorism.
2019 New York Film Festival kicks off this weekend
The fifty-seventh New York Film Festival began Friday at Lincoln Center, and before it ends October 13, more than a hundred fifty movies will play, with many American and New York premieres for top prize winners from Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, according to CBS News. In addition, panel discussions, filmmakers workshops, revivals, and free screenings will take place. These sidebars include: a catalogue of documentary features; the “Secret Screening” (Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems (2019)); “Projections,” a slate of experimental and short pictures; “Convergence,” interactive and virtual reality; a screenwriting masterclass by Olivier Assayas; and a celebration for the centennial anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers.
Ansel Elgort defends “The Goldfinch”
This weekend, Ansel Elgort took to Instagram to challenge the critics who made John Crowley’s The Goldfinch (2019) one of the worst-reviewed releases of the year, inspiring fans to flood Letterboxd with enough four-star reviews to raise its score, according to IndieWire. Not only has the film’s word-of-mouth underperformed, the adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has also been a box office nightmare for Warner Bros., dropping seventy-one percent its second weekend in theaters. While praising the reviewers for their writing, Elgort dismisses their articles as one-sided, saying audiences (and his mother) still enjoy the movie despite its flaws.
The evolution of the stripper movie
Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers (2019) joins Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike (2012), Gregory Jacobs’s Magic Mike XXL (2015), as well as Gene Graham’s This One’s for the Ladies (2019) in its empathetic representation of the camaraderie between strippers, according to The Atlantic. This marks a progression from the likes of Adrian Lyne’s Flashdance (1983), which isolates star Jennifer Beales from her fellow dancers, or Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls (1995), wherein Elizabeth Berkley’s unlikable protagonist sabotages her relationships with other strippers. Hustlers castmate and consultant Jacq the Stripper tells Variety the film’s nuanced treatment of her community is because of their inclusiveness toward her.