Robert Silvers was a brilliant, demanding, funny, painstaking, and inspiring editor, a walking chronicle of postwar literary-political history, an intimidating sweetheart, and very dear to me. At the end of an editorial session, once he had identified all your piece’s weaknesses, evasions, and missed opportunities, he would close with a brusque, even peremptory, but always, somehow, hopeful, “See what can be done.” In the world according to Silvers, there was always something to be done. — Michael Chabon
The Review was an immediate success, and during first decades published Mary McCarthy on Vietnam, James Baldwin (“An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis”), Isaiah Berlin, Hannah Arendt, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Richard Hofstadter, Edmund Wilson, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky, I. F. Stone, W. H. Auden, and many more. Today, Zadie Smith, Yasmine El Rashidi, Zoë Heller, Janet Malcolm, Hilton Als, Darryl Pinckney, James Fenton, Colm Tóibín, and Daniel Mendelsohn continue the intellectual tradition.
Before Silvers died in 2017, Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi filmed the editor in his domain. The resulting film—THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT, narrated by Michael Stahlbarg—documents the history of the paper with in-person interviews and a rich selection of clips. The film is available through HBO Max and is streaming free in September, courtesy of the Review.
THE IRISHMAN actually started about thirty-five years ago with the idea of the remake of TheBad and the Beautiful and the sequel Two Weeks in Another Town. Somehow we exhausted that. And so when [RobertDe Niro] came across this story and gave it to me, he said: “You know, this is an amazing part for Joe, if he wants to do it.” And also for Al Pacino—and I never worked with Al all these years, you know? We just knew that they were right for it. And then we looked at each other and realized we were meant for this somehow. It’s not necessarily a culmination, but a sense of contemplation of where we are, near the end of our lives. — MartinScorsese
To open the American Cinematheque seriesThe Films of Marty and Bob,Scorsese and De Niro will participate in a full discussion about forty-five years of cinematic collaboration, followed by a screening of their latest masterpiece THEIRISHMAN.
He was central to the Laurel Canyon scene of the 1960s, created some of the most resonant music of his era, fell in love with Joni Mitchell, became addicted to heroin and cocaine, and—after a weapons and drug conviction—became a fugitive from the law.
But it wasn’t until after his eventual arrest, getting clean in prison, and restarting his musical life with old bandmates that David Crosby managed to alienate every important person he made music with—Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young.
Such is the intractable nature of the subject of the essential new documentary DAVID CROSBY—REMEMBER MY NAME, directed by A. J. Eaton and produced by Cameron Crowe, who has known Crosby since Crowe was a teenage reporter for Rolling Stone. In Eaton’s film, Crosby praises the artist “who was the best of all of us”:
“When [Joni] found she was going over people’s heads, she went further.”
But no one is harder on Crosby than Crosby himself:
“I was a difficult cat. Big ego, no brains… What you do to yourself isn’t really a moral thing. But what you do to others? That counts… Were those girls addicted? Yes. And I addicted them.”
But there is another sticking point:
“I have to tour to buy groceries and pay the mortgage…. I’m under some pressure. I’m the only member of CSN&Y who’s never had a [solo] hit.”
A fitting companion piece to Martin Scorsese’s new Bob Dylan doc Rolling Thunder Revue—in REMEMBER MY NAME, Crosby claims it was The Byrds’ cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” that inspired Dylan to go electric—what echoes up and down the canyon are the sounds of a lost sixties dream:
” ‘Ohio’ was the best job of being troubadours or town criers we ever did… Belief is good. It didn’t work out. Yet. But we’re trying.” — David Crosby
At the Film Independent Presents screening this week in Hollywood, Crowe characterized the film as “notes from the eye of the hurricane” which ends “on a precipice, where CSN&Y don’t reconcile.” On Sunday afternoon, Eaton and Crowe will return to the ArcLight and join DavidCrosby for a post-screening Q & A.
“My marriage fell through, and the affair that caused the marriage to fall through fell through, all within the same four or five months. I fell into a state of manic depression…
“I got to wandering around at night; I couldn’t sleep because I was so depressed. I’d stay in bed till four or five pm, then I’d say, ‘Well, I can get a drink now.’ I’d get up and get a drink and take the bottle with me and start wandering around the streets in my car at night. After the bars closed, I’d go to pornography. I’d do this all night, till morning, and I did it for about three or four weeks, a very destructive syndrome, until I was saved from it by an ulcer: I had not been eating, just drinking.
“When I got out of the hospital I realized I had to change my life because I would die and everything; I decided to leave L.A. That was when the metaphor hit me for TAXI DRIVER, and I realized that was the metaphor I had been looking for: the man who will take anybody any place for money; the man who moves through the city like a rat through the sewer; the man who is constantly surrounded by people, yet has no friends. The absolute symbol of urban loneliness. That’s the thing I’d been living; that was my symbol, my metaphor. The film is about a car as the symbol of urban loneliness, a metal coffin.” — Paul Schrader, on writing the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s film. Interview with Richard Thompson*