Archive for April, 2008

Gala the Best Ever

April 30, 2008

Thanks to all who made the NWFF gala such a success.  The event succeeded our expectations, and grossed more than $70,000 for Northwest Film Forum programs.

And damn, the outfits get better every year.


The DUEL OF THE COOL – now frameable!

April 30, 2008

Due to popular demand, we decided to have some more DUEL OF THE COOL series posters printed up.  Take one home with you for the friendly price of just $5!

Posters are available during regular box office hours (open 1/2 hour before every show).  Ask your local NWFF rep for info!

And if you haven’t heard about the awesome deal presented by La Spiga and Cafe Press, read about it here.

Indiewire on Harmony Korine

April 30, 2008

I remember thinking “Gummo” would be embraced by the public in much the same way as “Bambi” was when it first came out. I am always wrong about such things.

Another great interview with the director of Mister Lonely.

We asked for it – photos from NWFF’s gala fundraiser

April 29, 2008

Check out these beautiful photos from Saturday’s YOU ASKED FOR IT gala. Special thanks to our photographer, Andre, and of course to everyone who came and enjoyed themselves. We’ll be posting some more about the event soon, but I can tell you already it was an outstanding success.

Click, peruse, and perhaps buy hundreds more photos here.

Guatemalan Extras

April 29, 2008

The film THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE comes out on DVD today. This is exciting because we’ll finally be able to see the “one-shot” film director Todd Rohal produced while he was at NWFF presenting HANDSHAKE, which is included as an extra on the DVD. The short film, made in NWFF’s vault, may or may not star Augustine Vanden Brulle and may or may not include Linas Phillips in the action.

Here are some images from the shoot, way back in February 2007:

Todd Rohal and Mr. Vanden Brulle

Todd Rohal and Mr. Vanden Brulle

Todd Rohal with Linas Phillips

Todd Rohal and Linas Phillips

Summer of ’68

April 28, 2008

In yesterdays New York Times there was a fascinating article about a year of global unrest. It was the year 1968 and as the article points out, in France social unrest began at the Cinémathèque Française, specifically with the ousting of its chief; the godfather of the French New Wave, Henri Langlois. Truffaut would later dub this event the “trailer for the feature film coming soon”. And he was right. Not three weeks later did French students take to the streets creating a series of protests that began the downfall of Charles de Gaulle’s government.

Just one of many national tales of ’68, the thrilling thing about that year was that it was a time when significant segments of population all over the globe refused to be silent about the many things that were wrong with the world.

In the U.S., there were the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the antiwar protests, the Chicago riot at the Democratic National Convention, and the Apollo 8 mission around the moon. In Vietnam, the Tet offensive was underway. Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to quell the rebellion there. Mexico City police opened fire on university protesters.

For filmmakers the weapon of choice was celluloid. American cinema had several groups taking to the streets including Newsreel and Third World Newsreel. In France there was the Dziga Vertov group founded by Godard, which encouraged workers and protesters to record events themselves.

It is interesting that the Times article makes note of LA CHINOISE, (a title that predates his Vertov period, but not by much) in its discussion of two series going on in New York dealing with 68. What seems important in that film, in terms of pinning down the ethos of the era, particularly in regards to the politics of its filmmakers, can be found in the film’s most prominent prop, Mao’s little Red Book. Filmmakers saw themselves as cultural revolutionaries and the camera was in-fact the weapon of choice ; the use of this tool could change the hearts and minds of those enslaved by popular cinema. But proponents from this era believed that caution must be used when utilizing the camera. These films so aggressively sought to expose the medium through the medium. Their creators wanted the audience to understand the apparatus of cinema, and become critical of it. Serge Daney summed up the sentiment that moved cinema to the streets when he wrote,

“One thing is certain in 1968: one must learn how to leave the movie theater (to leave behind cinephilia and obscurantism) or at least to attach it to something else. And to learn, you have to go to school. Less to the “school of life” than to the cinema as school. This is how Godard and Gorin transformed the scenographic cube into a classroom, the dialogue of the film into a recitation, the voiceover into a required course, the shooting of the film into a tutorial, the subject of the film into course headings from the University of Vincennes (“revisionism,” “ideology”) and the filmmaker into a schoolmaster, a drill-master or a monitor. School thus becomes the good place which removes us from cinema and reconciles us with “reality” (a reality to be transformed, naturally.) This is where the films of the Dziga Vertov Group came to us from (and earlier, La Chinoise.) In Tout va bien, Numéro deux and Ici et ailleurs, the family apartment has replaced the movie theater (and television has taken the place of cinema), but the essentials remain: people learning a lesson.”

The urgency of this attraction was that this argument made any non-politicized form of filmmaking untenable, or in otherwords a form of complicity. If you believe the NYT, the aspiration of these filmmakers was,

“a laudable goal, and one that, it might be argued, its proponents achieved since the ’60s to some degree in spite of themselves. Many of the idealistic impulses of the time, that is, bore fruit even though the larger utopian schemes to which they attached themselves failed.”

This year, Daney’s quote might as well have been used by Amy Taubin when she took Joe Swanberg to task about his crop of Mumblecore films.

So the question is posed, outside of the overcrowded documentary marketplace, and the static generated in the universe of youtube, are there films being made politically about politics? There’s certainly no shortage of topics to tackle. The growing food, credit, housing, and oil crises.

For contemporary examples of works tackling our times one could turn to last week’s CHOP SHOP, or the forthcoming SHOTGUN STORIES. But do either of these films, or any others being made today, fully take the medium to task the way that Godard et co. did in ’68? I have my own answers, but we are a forum after all so I hope you’ll contribute your own opinions in the comments section below.

In the meantime, I suggest the following sources for other discussions of the period.



The Current Issue of Sight and Sound

May ’68: the Legacy of 1968 in The Telegraph

France History Archive

And for series currently dealing with ’68 check out:

1968: An International Perspective at Lincoln Center in New York

May 68 at The Tate Modern in London

Pop Goes The Revolution at the BFI Southbank in London

Cinema ’68: The Whole World Is Watching at the Melbourne Cinematheque

Godard’s 60’s at Film Forum New York

1968/2008 at Arsenal in Berlin

The Clash of ’68 at PFA in Berkley

Cinema Rises at le peuple qui manque in Nantes

Northwest Film Forum tackles the Democratic Convention of that year in late August, on the eve on of the 2008 convention, with a series called Summer ’68 Revisited.

Call for Video Art

April 28, 2008

4Culture has launched a new program, Electronic 4Culture,  to display video art and other media from the home in Pioneer Square.  They are looking for some good work, and have a small amount of cash to support it.

Dennis Lim on Harmony Korine

April 27, 2008

An article in today’s New York Times can be found here.

NWFF opens Korine’s first film in eight years, MISTER LONELY on May 16th.

Fatih Akin Wins German Prize

April 25, 2008

I posted about EDGE OF HEAVEN back in September when I saw the film in Toronto. Today, its director won a major German prize for the film.

Here’s a trailer for the film which I imagine will show up in Seattle during SIFF.

Director’s Fortnight Announced

April 25, 2008

Last year this program included our very own Robinson Devor and his film ZOO. Here’s the exciting line-up for this year’s Fortnight. Again films I’m particulalry looking forward to are in in italics.

The complete Director’s Fortnight lineup:

Acne,” directed by Federico Veiroj
Our Beloved Month Of August,” directed by Miguel Gomes
Boogie,” directed by Radu Muntean
Les Bureaux de Dieu,” directed by Claire Simon
El Cant dels ocells,” directed by Albert Serra
Four Nights With Anna,” directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
De la guerre,” directed by Bertrand Bonello
Dernier maquis,” directed by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche
Eldorado,” directed by Bouli Lanners
Eleve libre,” directed by Joachim Lafosse
Liverpool,” directed by Lisandro Alonso
Monsieur Morimoto,” directed by Nicola Sornaga
Knitting,” directed by Yin Lichuan
Now Showing,” directed by Raya Martin
The Pleasure of Being Robbed,” directed by Josh Safdie
Il Resto della notte,” directed by Francesco Munzi
Salamandra,” directed by Pablo Aguero
Shultes,” directed by Bakur Bakuradze
Blind Loves,” directed by Juraj Lehotsky
Lonely Tune of Tehran,” directed by Saman Salour
Tony Manero,” directed by Pablo Larrain
Le Voyage aux Pyrenees,” directed by Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu