Thursday, February 4, 2010

February 4

The complete program for the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival (February 11-21) is now available. Werner Herzog leads the jury, which also includes Renee Zellweger:

Kathryn Bigelow gave an interesting interview to Charlie Rose when The Hurt Locker opened last summer. It's about 30 minutes into the program:

The blog Vulpes Libris (Book Foxes) reviews a new biography of the 19th century British litterateur Leigh Hunt, one of those "minor figures" whom I like (and tend to read biographies of):

If you thought that premature burial was only the stuff of stories and movies, read on:

Viewing Log: I can strongly recommend the 2007 Danish neo-noir Just Another Love Story, written and directed by Ole Bornedal. It stars Anders W. Berthelsen as an ordinary guy who lets a misunderstanding turn into a total nightmare, in classic noir fashion. I liked this much better than a more studied neo-noir such as the Coen Brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There (which I should, nonetheless, give another chance).

Reading Log: Ellery Queen's Calamity Town is frequently cited as one of the best mystery novels of all time, and with good reason. Coming 14 years into the publication history of the Queen novels, it represents one of several sea-changes the series went through, this time transporting Ellery to the New England town of Wrightsville which would ultimately be the setting of four full Queen novels and part of a fifth. The atmosphere and characterizations are first-rate, and I didn't figure out the solution to the mystery (although, I never do). Here is a good website on the entire Ellery Queen saga (click on "Q.B.I." -- Queen's Bureau of Investigation -- for a run-down of all the stories):

Among notables born on this date are dramatists Pierre de Marivaux (France) and Josef Kajetan Tyl (Czech Republic), French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prevert, poets Julian Bell (England), Almeida Garrett (Portugal), and E.J. Pratt (Canada), novelists Robert Coover, MacKinlay Kantor, Stewart O'Nan, Russell Hoban, Jean Richepin (France), and Alfred Andersch (Germany), aviator Charles Lindbergh, aviation pioneer Clement Ader, actors Ida Lupino, Nigel Bruce, John Schuck, and Pamela Franklin, golfer Byron Nelson, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, feminist Betty Friedan, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, country singer Clint Black, film director George Romero, conductor Erich Leinsdorf, painter Fernand Leger, and Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo. The Getty Museum has expanded its collection of prints by Alvarez Bravo, often considered the greatest Latin American photographer. I should check this out the next time I visit my sister in Los Angeles: