No one sees anything. Ever. They watch, but they don’t understand. — Diane de Monx (ConnieNielson) in Demonlover
The minute people started using the word “content,” it led to this idea of software versus hardware. The culture has shifted in favor of hardware. People are not on the side of art, which becomes content. They’re on the side of the computer. The computer embodies power. People have gotten used to the fact that they are ready to invest in the hardware… But they have a major problem paying very little money to buy a newspaper or a film. That’s the moment when art becomes content. — Olivier Assayas
The 2K restoration of Assayas’ unrated director’s cut of DEMONLOVER is streaming now in Filmat Lincoln Center’s Virtual Cinema. See link below for details.
Not much has changed. That’s what was so bad what we saw about January 6 at the Capitol. On one level, I’m horrified and disgusted, but on the other level, I’m thinking, Damn, our country is still the same. You look at the run-up to the election and listen to the speeches about if you elect Democrats they will come destroy the suburbs and your community. This is insanity. Have we not learned any lessons in America? — Sam Pollard
During a fire accident in 2019, we lost some of the original negative of HAPPY TOGETHER. In the ensuing months, we tried to restore the negative as much as we could, but a portion of it had been permanently damaged. We lost not only some of the picture, but also the sound in those reels. As a result, I had to shorten some of Tony’s monologues, but with the amazing work of L’Immagine Ritrovata, we managed to restore most of the scenes to better quality. — Wong Kar Wai
As part of the series World of Wong Kar Wai, Film at Lincoln Center presents a new 4K digital restoration—supervised by the director—of HAPPY TOGETHER, Wong’s “feverish portrait of the life cycle of a love affair that’s by turns devastating and delirious… capturing the dynamics of a queer relationship with empathy and complexity on the cusp of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong, when the country’s LGBTQ community suddenly faced an uncertain future.”*
Starring Leslie Cheung and Tong Leung—and shot by Christopher Doyle—this 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, JetTone, and One Cool. See link below for details.
Presented by the Dance Films Association and Film at Lincoln Center, the documentary—directed by David Mambouch, Marin’s son—celebrates the choreographer whose work “stood out for its theatrical aesthetic, political commentary, and audacious integration of traditional dance with unexpected narrative, musical and physical elements. In 1981, Marin’s work May B, inspired by the work of modernist playwright Samuel Beckett, upset the dance world; it rejected traditional ideals of beauty and embraced a fiercely political perspective.”*
In Pedro Costa’s VITALINA VARELA—a masterpiece of stark beauty and majestic grace—our first glimpse of the title character is of her bare feet descending the ramp stairs of an airplane, a night flight just arrived at Lisbon airport from Africa. She is greeted with an embrace by Marina, who whispers into her ear…
“Vitalina. My condolences. You arrived too late. Your husband was buried three days ago. Here in Portugal there is nothing for you. His house is not yours. Go back home.”
I decided we would lock ourselves up in this small, dark house and do the work. So it took a while to convince me that maybe we could do it, that [Vitalina] could perhaps go through this ordeal, and I could perhaps film it. This was a bit more difficult than the other films—not because she wasn’t getting there, or not wanting to work, but because of me. How can I explain… Even if I insist that everything is true and real, this story is still less fantastical. There’s less fantasy if you compare it with Horse Money. It has a different kind of pain or suffering. Just the fact that it belongs to or comes from a woman gives it a certain gravity that Ventura—or perhaps men—cannot carry.
I’m doing films among a very disoriented community: once they were peasants, then they were immigrants and they were brutally exploited. I’m working in the middle of confusion, and it’s risky. My job as a filmmaker is also to not betray the trust they offer me, their life secrets, their dignity, their intimacy. It might sound absurd since we’re dealing with cinema, but my main concern is to keep their intimacy intimate. Anyway, we’ll grow old filming together, and it’s right there for everyone to see. It’s a kind of archive now, a memory album. — Pedro Costa
VITALINA VARELA won Golden Leopards for Best Film and Best Actress at last year’s Locarno Film Festival. Costa’s exploration of his signature theme—the grief-stricken exile of the community of Cabo Verdeans in Cova da Moura, outside Lisbon—was just released in New York City before the Covid-19 pandemic shut everything down.
Support independent cinema and its exhibitors by streaming VITALINA VARELA via your local art house, courtesy of Grasshopper Film. See links below for details.