Fade to Orange: Michelle Orange’s Film Link Happening

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I don’t know what to tell you about The Golden Globes, I missed them because I was out celebrating with a friend. We went to see Godard’s rarely screened Made in USA, mainly because there is nothing my friend would rather do than ogle Anna Karina. It happens that the excellent Glenn Kenny recently did an interview with one of the film’s other stars, Laszlo Szabo, and caught a rare case of the starstrucks. Underwhelmed by the likes of Scarlett Johannsen (“so much less interesting than I had hoped”), Glenn admits that he is not easily cowed (I remember his bemusement when I turned to marshmallow in the presence of Bill Murray at the opening party for the New York Film Festival last year). Here he chats with Szabo about his work with Godard in films like USA and Alphaville, as well as the occupational hazard of working with a director who is divorcing his star:

“There had been another conflict with Anna, and he had gone off to Switzerland to take a cure of some sort! So, I went to the Place Trocadero and went into a bar, to have a beer before going to the film. And outside, a big car was passing by, and it stopped, and the horn honked. And there were Jean-Luc and Anna. So I paid and I got in with them.  Where do we go? He took us to a little bar that made sandwiches and we had our dinner there. And then he remembered, “Oh, over at the Champs Elysee they’re showing Rio Bravo. Let’s pay, let’s pay, we can get in some Stumpy” And we went and just watched 20 minutes, you know…Walter Brennan playing Stumpy and all.   That was all. Because we had seen the picture five times before!  But for us it was just like music.”

Glenn’s mild giddy-ness over meeting Szabo made me feel a little bit better about how unexpectedly overwhelmed I was to sit across from Kristin Scott Thomas a few months ago. I like to fancy myself fairly unphaseable as well, but holy smoke. She was nominated for a Golden Globe last night for her role in the film we talked about, I’ve Loved You So Long.

My friend and I enjoyed and were vaguely invigorated by Made in USA, although he was disappointed that Anna Karina didn’t look her best. He was expecting the French New Wave starlet in the prime of loveliness, what he got was a woman shot by a man who had clearly fallen out of love; seemingly sleepless and brutally, clinically lit, Karina is clamped so tightly by Godard’s frame that there hardly seems room for her to breathe. The couple were divorcing at the time the film was made in 1966, it is said to be his farewell to her. Anna Karina’s not my type I guess, I find her beauty too cold and slippery. My eyes keep skating around on her face. Anyway: happy birthday, Pasha!

Here’s a podcast of a conversation between Film Comment’s Kent Jones and film critic Nathan Lee about David Fincher. Lee went completely bananas for Fincher’s Zodiac in a cover story for the Voice last year, and here parses his more complicated feelings for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I also learned, or perhaps re-learned, that Fincher directed Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video (I can’t find the video, babies! Settle for this performance, in which she rules). I know every goddamn dance move, posture, costume, and edit in that video, the result of countless family room romps as a 15-year-old, so if I could give you password-protected access to the inside of my noggin, you could certainly stream it there. Here she is at the Danceteria in 1982. Ahhhh, web wormhole!!

All right, back on track: my friend and co-conspirator Stu Van Airsdale has posted his much-feared, much-anticipated Top 10 Top 10 Lists at his new home, Defamer. Stu is a known opponent of list-making, and last year gave me the jazz for participating in the practice many film critics are asked to: that of making a list of their favorite films of the year. I don’t know, I can see both sides of this one. What I do know is I always enjoy Stu’s passionate, often wicked take on flaccid film journalism, particularly when it comes avec “autofellating icon”; he keeps us honest. This year Anthony Lane and Lisa Schwartzbaum, among others, take a whipping.

I’m fully into this early Howard Hawks blog-a-thon, which will take place over the next couple of weeks. Giving welcome attention to Hawks’s pre-Bringing Up Baby output, blogger Ed Howard will be viewing and writing about films like The Road to Glory, Tiger Shark, Twentieth Century, and A Girl in Every Port. (via The Daily)

Until next time–

In disgust,

Michelle


Michelle Orange's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Nation, The Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney's and other publications and has been collected in The Best Sex Writing 2006 and Mountain Man Dance Moves. She is the author of The Sicily Papers and the editor of From the Notebook: The Unwritten Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a collection found in issue 22 of McSweeney's. Follow her on Twitter @michelleorange. More from this author →