Archive for November 7th, 2008

New stuff to watch on YouTube

November 7, 2008

Thanks to the efforts of NWFF video archivist George Kloss, we now have some lovely video on our YouTube channel from events past.  Take a gander at the Film Saloon: Adaptations and Revisions panel discussion if you missed it, and listen with love to three songs performed live by Dallas Wayne at our You’re Lookin’ At Country night.  There’s also a Q&A with San Francisco experimental filmmaker Craig Baldwin.

And check back regularly.  More will be coming.

THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON—-IN PRAISE OF OLDER FRENCHMEN!

November 7, 2008

THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON:     (2007)      109 MINUTES   D:  ERIC  ROHMER    PLAYS:    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH TO THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH  AT:     7  AND  9PM  (THOUGH NO 7PM ON THURSDAY)  AND SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT:    3  AND 5PM

Shamefully, I think this is my first Rohmer film.  I knew it was important to see his work, but you know how it is, so many films, so little time!  I will now reorder my Netflix queue.  The screening for this film was held right before Halloween and Election Day, both events conjuring up bad spirits in the form of ghoulish fun and mud-slinging depravity.  So the counter-programming  of this absolutely gorgeous film, with it’s themes of Freedom, Truth, Beauty and, primarily LOVE, was refreshing.   I find my mind keeps going back to contemplate it, weeks later.  First, it is a absolutely stunning LOOKING film, with pristine pastoral settings, and a breathtakingly beautiful young cast.  You absolutely can believe that they exist in a higher plane than the one we do, where their days are consumed with discussing the lofty ideals, philosophies, and mysteries of the universe, in between their picturesque ceremonies, picnics, and love-making. (No iPods in sight!)  The film tells the story of 2 lovers who part due to a misunderstanding.  Astrea erroneously thinks her lover Celadon has betrayed her with another woman, and impulsively bids him out of her sight.  Where he is to stay until she decides to allow him back into her presence.  Celadon is so overcome by this he hurls himself into the river.  Fortunately for him, he is rescued by a triumvirate of nymphs (OK, at this point I can’t help myself, “Zoot, naughty, naughty Zoot!–has she been turning on the Grail light again?!!!”).  (Sorry!)  The rest of the film shows us the arduous paths the lovers have to travel to reunite, with pauses for spiritual and philosophical discussions.

What I loved about this films is it’s ideas, and ideals.  It was so lovely to watch a film that represented LOVE as being a living, breathing organism that exists in the Universe, one that is enriched or diminished by how we respect it and treat each other. It spoke to me about boundaries. It is an issue I am keenly interested in. (Mainly ’cause I suck at it!)  So the idea that in Celadon’s view that not only would his love for Astrea be damaged if he did not obey her rash wish (even though it causes him much grief and a great deal of actual physical discomfort), he would be damaging LOVE itself.  And dishonoring himself in the process.  In other words (if I have this right), he is willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to show her that her wishes, needs and desires are of vital importance to him.  And it’s important for the world he does so.  It’s the ultimate act of truly listening to and respecting another human being.  Yeah, I know.  WOW.  If all of us could think THAT way……..

My favorite book when I was young was Tolstoy’s Resurrection, the last book he wrote before he died.  In it is decades of his wisdom, his summation of his life experience.  At 87, this will most likely be Director Eric Rohmer’s last film, his cinematic equivalent of his life experience.  DO NOT deprive yourself of it!

The allure of the well-reviewed movie

November 7, 2008

Didn’t think THE MONKS: THE TRANSATLANTIC FEEDBACK or THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON (both opening today) were for you?  Check out these glowing reviews and see if you don’t change your mind.

Romance of Astrea & Celadon:
“There’s a purity to the emotional turmoil of tormented lovers, but it’s the rich simplicity of the filmmaking and the seductive sensuality of a bucolic Eden where maidens innocently fall out of their artfully revealing dresses that makes the romantic frolic so delicious.” -Seattle PI

“By the time this medieval story reaches its surprisingly homoerotic finale (think “Some Like It Hot” blended with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”), it seems astonishingly contemporary…Watching them, especially at this point in his career, is a bit like discovering the purity and straightforwardness of the earliest silent films.” -Seattle Times

Single straight men of Seattle, this is the movie for you. If a lady has been giving you no play (date after date), she will melt for you after watching The Romance of Astrea and Celadon. This is no exaggeration. Go and see for yourself. Set in fifth-century Gaul, the movie has a lightness and erotic magic you’d expect from a story that has a hidden castle, a mysterious river, an enchanted forest, lively nymphs, lost shepherds, and helpful druids. It’s hard to believe that the French director of this visual feast, Eric Rohmer, is 88.” -The Stranger

The Monks:
For all its genius and invention, ‘Monk Music’ didn’t make sense to the majority of kids who bought records and went to dances. But Transatlantic Feedback makes for awesome watching: it’s the invention of concept as the Monks unlearned, then relearned to play!” -The Stranger

“Who were the Monks, you wonder? If pop trends had favored avant-garde innovation over the British Invasion, you probably wouldn’t have to ask…They never got rich, but as this film attests, the Monks have achieved rock immortality.” -Seattle Times


An Open Letter To Northwest Film Forum’s Beloved Cynics

November 7, 2008

First, an apology to the people I angered, flummoxed, and offended on Election Day.  When asked if you had voted, you answered that you hadn’t and I openly expressed my disappointment.  I am disappointed but putting you on the spot, outing your lack of participation, then scolding you was not the most gracious behavior.

I care about all of you and value your participation in this non-profit.  Your volunteer labor, your artistic output, your smiling face, are all important.  The fact that you are such an active participant in this community is why it is completely baffling that you didn’t even register.

Take off your cloak of cynicism and think about this.

The race for President, Governor, Congressional Representative all affect art and so have a direct bearing on your life as an artist.  Funding for the arts from the city, the county, the state, and the federal government supports Northwest Film Forum. Our incredibly eclectic program, our regional film festival Local Sightings, our commissioned Signature Shorts, our HVX and DVX cameras, our building, all come to you with some government funding.

These funds are not a given.

Under Christine Gregoire, our annual award has doubled.  The State of Washington was the largest single contributor to building our cinematheque. Dino Rossi is not a friend of art, a condition that would result in a different shape to the state budget.

John McCain may tolerate art as a concept but certainly doesn’t like your art.

Our President Elect, Barack Obama has already appointed Bill Ivey as the leader for arts and culture to his transition team.  Arts and culture actually have a spot on the transition team, you cynics!  He believes art and culture are a priority in this time of economic meltdown, war, and environmental crisis.  He gets it.

So next time you rent a camera or come to a film or just hang out in our lovely facility, remember that Northwest Film Forum is part of a greater body.  Politics is a system in that body.  Like your own digestive system, it gives you nutrition (yum) while your bowels also move (ick).  It isn’t all pleasant but without it we perish.

Winter 08-09 calendar now online

November 7, 2008

Check out the films here.

Check out the workshop offerings here.

And pay special attention to the first season of our year-long 69 series.  Our celebration  of the cinema of 1969 features 40th anniversary presentations of dozens of films- this season alone includes the work of Peckinpah, Penn, Pollack, Attenborough, Demy, Varda, Buñuel, Cronenberg, Coppola, Frank, Matsumoto and others. 69 is a rare opportunity to experience the diversity of films that were on screens in that year of transition, and to reflect it on our own time of change.

Tickets for all films go on sale November 12.

Printed copies of the Winter calendar will be mailed to NWFF members at the end of next week and will be avialable in the NWFF lobby and points around the city beginning November 17.