Best Conversations About Film (And Films) of 2011

December 19, 2011 by

These are the most interesting conversations I had or overheard this year about film

1. Listening to Denis Cote talk about making a film a year for six years now after absorbing all of cinema for the 31 before that. “I had no life,” he said cheerily, implying just the opposite now.

2. Talking with Oliver Laxe about his film, You All Are Captains, as well as Kiarostami, semiology, and what it is to give back to the world from which his images come. (And how he can see the day when it may no longer be necessary to take images at all.)

3. Talking about Uncle Boonmee, Who Can Recall His Past Lives, that magical realist documentary account of a few strange Thai dreams, with so many people.  

4, Discussing The Tree of Life, with everyone who saw it – a great film disliked by many. Malick had me at the first voiceover.

5. Listening intently to Thom Andersen, whose black duster and habit of elegant chain-smoking gave him badass points that none of his otherwise utterly thought-quieted politeness could alter. 

6. Jane Goodall, who came to talk about her film, Jane’s Journey, and afterwards gave monkey hugs to everyone. In doing so she seemed to prove that our names sometimes become us.

7. The Illusionist. One of the handful of films out there I’m envious we didn’t play in our theaters. All this year’s praise for Hugo should be reserved for this small, perfect movie about the remote reaches of the world and imagination a certain kind of shabby, down-at-heels excellence can take you to.

8. Talking to Nicolas Pereda, another pioneer of the creative non-fiction fiction film, whose enigmatic work, made mostly in Mexico (and partly funded with Canadian grant money), extends the project begun by Antonioni.

9. Listening to Harry Shearer, who stood at the door to Cinema 1 waiting for the applause to fade and casually eviscerated a TV baron  in a few whispered asides. 

10. The Descendants. Our Cary Grant now is George Clooney, and where he goes is, especially when he goes with the Ethan and Joel Coen or, as here, with Alexander Payne, where serious/popular American cinema goes. The second-best mainstream film I saw this year.

11. The conversation in my class about David Lynch and Gus Van Sant, whose films about crimes – Mulholland Drive and Elephant – brought out some of the best talk about cinema I heard this year.

Hot Splice is on the move!

April 13, 2011 by

Attention Hot Splice readers!  We have launched a bigger and better version of Northwest Film Forum’s blog. Please update your RSS feed and bookmarks with the following new address: http://blog.nwfilmforum.org.

Additional screenings of Rubber added

April 12, 2011 by

By popular demand, we’ve added three additional showtimes for Rubber:

Friday, April 15 at 11pm
Saturday, April 16 at 5pm
Sunday, April 17 at 5pm

Get your tickets now!

REMEMBERING THE FILM ENTHUSIAST

April 11, 2011 by

Terry Blue - Film Enthusiast

I recently learned of the passing of long time film-goer Terry Blue, a regular at Oak Street Cinema, a former venue that I worked at.  Learning of his passing was very emotional for me and it got me thinking about the act of film going more generally. Terry Blue lived to see movies, but more importantly, he lived to see them in the movie theaters around town, to see them with other people. He had an infectious laugh, and a wealth of film knowledge, not to mention a love of movies and the movie community. Terry was one of those guys who knew the cinema was much more than a house to watch film in, it was a community to watch film with. He engaged with you in the lobby before and after screenings.  He met his neighbors, strangers, and friends at the cinema. And it wasn’t just our cinema, like most film goers Terry attended screenings all over the city. He once told me that the act of cinema going was democracy with a lower case d. As we live more of lives wired and less of our lives in real places and spaces, that statement seems even more true. The cinema is one of the last places in our culture where you can run into your neighbor, a stranger, and a friend, have shared experience, grab a beer or coffee with each other and talk about what you just witnessed. So for Terry’s sake, next time you attend a screening take note of the film enthusiast next to you, say hello, find out more about them, and you might just end up meeting someone like Terry, a sincere human who loves the movies as much as you do.

Melissa Hines

April 11, 2011 by

At the 2006 Mayor's Arts Awards.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of a good friend of the Film Forum, Melissa Hines. The Mayor’s Office has released a full statement about her life and work that I encourage you to read. A couple of paragraphs:

For the past seven years, Melissa directed the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs’ funding programs and led our arts education initiative. Previously, she dedicated 23 years of her career to The Empty Space Theatre.

Melissa passed away April 8 from leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She was 63.

In all, she gave over three decades of her life to the arts in Seattle. She will be missed.

Sidney Lumet, dead at 86

April 9, 2011 by

Sidney Lumet, a director who preferred the streets of New York to the back lots of Hollywood and whose stories of conscience — “12 Angry Men,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Verdict,” “Network” — became modern American film classics, died Saturday morning at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.

His stepdaughter, Leslie Gimbel, said the cause was lymphoma.

“While the goal of all movies is to entertain,” Mr. Lumet once wrote, “the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing.”

More (via the NY Times – remember this is one of your 20 clicks this month!)

New Projector Comes to Cinema 2

April 7, 2011 by

This week the Film Forum welcomes an Epson PL Pro G5750 3-chip LCD WUXGA projector to our smaller theater. Coming in at 4500 lumens, it’s much brighter, sharper and with truer colors than our previous projector.

The difference is incredible, noticeable even with the house lights on. Come see for yourself!

This is one step in a series of upgrades that will be coming to both cinemas (thanks to 4Culture and the folks at Bainbridge Island’s Visual Apex). Up next: a new screen and new speakers for the small cinema and a variety of sound system improvements for both cinemas.

Cinema of Dreams

April 7, 2011 by

 

Here are 75 photos of decrepit, deceased, or otherwise destroyed cinemas, once home to our flickering dreams. Has digital destroyed the temple of our dreams? You be the judge.

Rubber : Killer Tire ///// Killer Score

April 5, 2011 by

By Catherine Matson

Rubber, the latest film by Quentin Dupieux aka Mr. Oizo, has it all: a killer roaming the sunny California desert, a beautiful woman, cops, explosions, mystery. This surreal thriller, which is both shocking and laugh out loud funny, is scored by the super hip music of French producer Mr. Oizo and Gaspard Auge from the band Justice.

Rubber is a crazy, beautiful film about a killer tire named Robert (go ahead and say it – French style). Why a tire? No reason, really. He roams the desert in search of a beautiful woman, busting open heads along the way, all the while being tracked by a strange audience; an obsessed mob watching with binoculars from a nearby mountain top, like some unwitting tourists watching lions hunt gazelles on the Serengeti.

The stories blend together, animated perfectly by the original score. Strange visual jokes appear out of nowhere, sometimes referencing other great filmmakers and visual artists like Hitchcock and surrealist Ray Johnson for example. The movie has good timing, but slow builds in the suspense. Don’t expect a fast paced Troma-styled slasher flick. At times Rubber has the feeling of a exquisite music video. Super fans can look out for brief cameos by Auge and Busy P, known for once managing Daft Punk.

Rubber is an exceptional homage to ‘no sense’. It is a great film to see with your friends, so call them up, go and have fun.

Playing at NWFF, April 8-14, 7 and 9 pm, 35mm, 85 min.

The official trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3P2DWU0kSw

Mr. Oizo – Flat Beat:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmjdvsA8RFM

72-Hour Film Contest Hits Tacoma

April 5, 2011 by

We all have that filmmaker inside us, tapping on the walls of our skulls and pleading for release in patient tones. This time of year, however, the polite knocking turns into an incessant pounding, as less than three weeks remain until The Grand Cinema’s 72-Hour Film Competition rolls into a town near you. The theater urges you to “Free Your Inner Indie”…but better step on it. The contest allows only so many teams to register, and as of this writing 11 slots remain.

OK, my Indie wants out, you say. I’ll sign up online, right? Wrong! Take your car, hop on the next Light Rail, do whatever you can and get to The Grand like lickety and add your name in person. And don’t forget the $50.00 entry fee. Payment gets you 4 complimentary passes to the May 6 Viewing Party, where yours and other shorts will light up the Rialto screen.

With signup completed, now you just count the days until The Grand beckons you back to its halls to receive instructions on Thursday, April 21. And three exhilarating, excruciating, sweat- (and most likely) rain-drenched days later, you and your faithful crew birth a new film into the world.

Congratulations…it’s an Indie.


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