Archive for February, 2009

I’m Walkin’ Here!

February 27, 2009

Heard that before? Maybe it’s time you saw the original scene referenced in this pop culture moments, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The final scene with Joe’s arms around Rizzo was parodied in the 1994 Seinfeld episode “The Mom & Pop Store”: Jerry was the Joe Buck character comforting Kramer, who had a bloody nose. The theme song “Everybody’s Talkin'” was played during this scene, and George at an earlier point sings it, improvising the line, “Just drivin’ around in Jon Voight’s car.”

The movie Miss Congeniality parodies the famous “I’m walkin’ here!” line when Michael Caine’s character Victor Melling is teaching Gracie Hart Sandra Bullock how to ‘glide’ as she walks. They walk across a street and a car almost hits Hart, prompting the response, “I’m gliding here!”

The movie Forrest Gump parodies the famous “I’m walking here!” line when Gump pushes Lieutenant Dan’s wheelchair across a crowded Manhattan street.

An episode of American Dad! titled “Irregarding Steve” parodies the movie, with Roger the alien as the Rizzo character developing a steadily worsening cough after arriving in New York and Steve eventually donning a cowboy outfit similar to Joe’s. The episode parodies several important scenes from Midnight Cowboy, including the final scene bus ride.

The movie “Back to the Future 2” has the Michael J. Fox character (playing his future son) coming out of the diner and almost being hit by a car, yelling “I’m walking here!” at the vehicle as it speeds away.

The Futurama episode “Brannigan Begin Again” contains a montage scene based on Midnight Cowboy. After the two characters Zapp Brannigan and Kif (as Joe and Ratso respectively) are discharged from the military, they are trying to survive in the world, including resorting to prostitution.

In an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Mr. Enid Dibney, played by Terry Jones, claims to have directed his own version of Midnight Cowboy before John Schlesinger released his, starring “the vicar as Ratso Rizzo.”

In the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, Vlad is nearly hit by a taxi and he shouts out “Hey! I’m walking here!” during a cutscene.

In the comedy film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a montage of shots of Kazakhstani journalist Borat doing various inappropriate things on the streets of New York City is shown with the song “Everybody’s Talkin'” played behind it.

In an episode of Flight of the Conchords in which Bret and Jemaine try to become prostitutes, Jemaine tells Bret to wear a cowboy hat to make himself more appealing to women. Later, Bret says “I’m walking here” after a woman rejects Jemaine.

Midnight Cowboy plays NWFF through March 5.
Tonight it is introduced by film critic Ted Fry.

Our cinema is your cinema

February 26, 2009

Did you know you can rent NWFF’s cinemas for as little as $50 an hour?

Cast and crew screenings, birthday parties, script readings…you name it and I’m sure we’ll let you do it in our cinemas.

Get all the information you need here.

Original 1969 review of Midnight Cowboy

February 26, 2009

This one is too big to paste in, so you’ll have to download the whole thing by clicking here. But’s worth it. The Film Quarterly writer definitely had some mixed impressions from Schlesinger’s film, which won 3 Oscars, including Best Film, Best Director, and the equivalent of Best Adapted Screenplay.


In New York Today, Seattle This Spring

February 25, 2009

Birdsong, and Examined Life, two films opening today in New York will make their Seattle premieres April 24th at Northwest Film Forum.

From David Hudson at IFC’s The Daily

On Birdsong

“‘Birdsong‘ (‘El Cant dels Ocells‘), a lovely and strange new film by the Catalan director Albert Serra, is less a retelling of the Nativity story than a dream about it, filtered in lovely black and white through a sensibility that recalls Luis Buñuel and Samuel Beckett.” AO Scott in the New York Times.

“An intractable practitioner of droll minimalism, Serra is somewhat more absurdist than such fellow film-fest uncompromisers as Portugal’s Pedro Costa or Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso,” writes in the Voice. “Or, perhaps, as ‘Birdsong’ is a mechanism built to ensure that the spectators share the protagonists’ faith, he’s more religious. Shot in rich, almost gorgeous black-and-white, ‘Birdsong’ is less about the gifts of the magi than the play of light over barren, nearly lunar, landscapes.”

You might also want to see (or revisit) Robert Koehler‘s review for Cinema Scope, the magazine edited by Mark Peranson, who appears in “Birdsong” and who has made “a kind of experimental ‘making of'” called “Waiting for Sancho.”

Opens today for a week-long run at Anthology Film Archives in New York.

And Examined Life

Examined Life” is “very much a follow-up to Astra Taylor‘s ‘Zizek!,’ a 2005 documentary that allowed the Lacanian cultural theorist to hold forth on a variety of topics,” writes Louis Proyect, self-described “Unrepentant Marxist” and no fan of Slavoj Zizek, nor, for that matter, the other seven philosophers featured in the doc: “Despite the underwhelming character of their reflections, I have nothing but admiration for Taylor’s movie-making skills and urge others to see the movie, whatever their feelings about ‘theory’ and its postmodernist abuses.”

“Taylor’s emphasis is on moral philosophy and, although her film’s structure is not exactly dialectical, it’s been assembled so that, without ever meeting face-to-face, the philosophers appear to critique each other’s ideas.” J Hoberman in the Voice: “Thus, after [Cornel] West convenes the symposium by invoking Socrates‘ defense of self-reflection (‘The unexamined life is not worth living’), [Avital] Ronell pops up to interrogate the nature of self-reflection, questioning the filmmaker as to the nature of her project and slyly invoking Heidegger‘s ‘path to nowhere’ as she strides purposefully through a Manhattan park as filled with layabouts as any Greek agora.”

Peter Singer, responding to the luxury emporiums of Fifth Avenue, riffs on how we spend money and, ultimately, on his signature topic of animal rights,” notes Arthur C Danto in Artforum. “Slavoj Zizek, in an orange vest, declaims, in a London dump, that ecology is garbage. Michael Hardt cannot help smirking in his skiff as he paddles about a Central Park lake, ringed by luxury condominiums, talking about revolution.”

“Part of the fun of ‘Examined Life’ comes from watching these very intelligent people try to make themselves intelligible,” writes AO Scott. “And the movie is fun, within certain limits. For some reason, Ms Taylor has drawn her subjects from a narrow intellectual precinct, where the work of philosophical speculation and the agendas of progressive politics are assumed to be congruent.”
Examined Life
Also in the New York Times, Dennis Lim talks with Taylor about the moment it “occurred to her that her talking heads should walk and talk. She had just read ‘Wanderlust,’ a discursive study of the history of walking by Rebecca Solnit, and was reminded of the figure of the peripatetic philosopher, from Aristotle (who paced the Lyceum while teaching) to Kierkegaard (a proponent of thinking while walking, which he frequently did in the Copenhagen streets) to Walter Benjamin (the embodiment of the Paris flâneur). She realized that putting her subjects in motion would elicit a different kind of interview than if they were seated behind their desks in offices. This conceit became a guiding principle for a film that would attempt to take philosophy out of the ivory tower and affirm its place in the flux of everyday life.”

“Early on, Martha Nussbaum discusses the oft-ignored concept of physical disability and impairment and how when we discuss these issues, we don’t factor these limitations into the equation,” writes Michael Tully at Hammer to Nail. “Later, we meet the wheelchair-bound Sunaura Taylor and acclaimed professor and author Judith Butler as they go for a ‘walk’ and shop. Watching Taylor go through the exhausting process of trying on a sweater and then buying it is a welcome punch to the gut. As she explains to the cashier that she must be handed the bills and coins separately, this one scene doesn’t just work as a visceral representation of Nussbaum’s point. It brings a sobering reality to the entire film.”

“When Taylor and I met up over coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” notes Aaron Hillis, introducing his interview for IFC, “we discussed the possibility of chatting in the car in which West was filmed, but it was unfortunately being used to sing in by her husband, Jeff Mangum (reclusive frontman of the influential 90s indie-pop band Neutral Milk Hotel), who also contributed some sounds to the film’s score.

And for Filmmaker, Nick Dawson talks with her “about the challenges of making philosophy cinematic, following in Ari Folman‘s footsteps at Hot Docs, and why she always skips the previews at movies.”

Slant is having server problems at the moment, but when it comes back up again, you’ll find a review by Andrew Schenker.

“Examined Life” opens at the IFC Center tonight; Taylor will be on hand along with Avital Ronell. Tomorrow night, she’ll be accompanied by Kwame Anthony Appiah and on March 5 by Cornel West. Then the film begins its tour across the country; see the Zeitgeist Films site for cities and dates.

Insider’s peek at last weekend’s awards

February 24, 2009

Our board president Jennifer Roth (producer of THE WRESTLER) shares some thoughts from her experiences at the Independent Spirits and Oscar related parties last weekend:

My Weekend:

1. Yes, I attended the Spirit Awards on Saturday. These are the Oscars of Independent film. We won everything we were nominated for (cinematography, actor and best picture). If you haven’t seen Mickey Rourke’s highly R rated acceptance speech, I recommend it:

2. No, I did NOT go to the Oscars. I attended the Fox Searchlight simulcast viewing party (for Slumdog and the Wrestler) It was kind of lame tho nice to be losers in a room full of winners.

3. Yes, I did go to the after party at Vanity Fair (the producer of the Wrestler gave me his tickets). Believe it or not, this party is 5 times more glamorous and exclusive than the Oscars are.

More soon.


February 24, 2009

The crowds seem to be building for our screening of Barry Jenkins’ MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, especially with him here in person introducing screenings and doing Q & A’s. So much so we’ve decided to hold the film over for an additional weekend. New screening times are as follows:

Friday Feb 27 at 7 & 9pm

Saturday Feb 28 at 5pm

Sunday March 1 at 7 & 9pm

Tickets will be up soon on Brown Paper tickets, in the meantime, try to make it to one of the screenings while Barry’s in town.

Also, a lot of the great music in the film is a little off the beaten path, but everything that’s available on iTunes is arranged in this iMix. For the rest, reference the links with each track in the full credits below.

The Answering Machine
Au Revoir Simone
Bloodcat Love
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
The Changes
Dickon Hinchliffe
Igor Romanov
Ivana XL
The Octopus Project
Saturday Looks Good to Me
Tom Waits
Total Shutdown
White Denim
Wyatt Cenac
Yesterday’s New Quintet

UPDATE on Shuttered New Yorker Films

February 24, 2009

IndieWIRE updated the news regarding New Yorker Films with the following statement sent to filmmakers by Jose Lopez, an administrator with the company. Here’s what he had to say:

“I have sad news. The parent company of New Yorker Films has defaulted on a loan. The assets of New Yorker were used as security on the loan. The lender has informed us that it intends to foreclose on these assets. New Yorker stopped doing business yesterday…We are in total shock that after forty three years this has happened.”

I can only assume that all of the prints and rights were listed as assets in this agreement. Does this mean some bank has taken over rights of these titles? Will they suddenly be listed as part of a future auction like so many of the empty condos that occupy our cities? And if so whose hands will these end up in?

And really where are the Scorseses in this mess? Where are the Tarantinos? Hollywood just had one of its most glorious months ever. Are these people really interested in cinema?  Granted many of their email boxes must be full of messages these days reading, “desperate film organization/company in need of help”! So much so that it probably appears as often as a solicitation from some African dissident looking for a secure off-shore bank account.

But has our business has fallen so low that it can’t recover? And if so is the internet i.e. free downloads, as per the daily emails from Matt Dentler at his newly found Cinetic Media post, really be the future? And if so what are we really in this game for? For certainly the cinema was meant to be seen in a cinema, a public setting, with people, sharing a dark room having a shared experience.

That is why so many filmmakers started making films. Yes to get their work seen, yes to engage an audience. But the cinema was first experienced not in some virtual world but as part of cafe culture. The Lumieres after all screened their films in a cafe before a public who was not just fascinated by the experience of seeing a moving image, but also by the conversations that followed with complete strangers about the experience they just had. That experience mutated into cinematheques and community theatres where strangers met to engage the moving image and continue the conversations that ultimately forged the future of the history of cinema. Conversations that still guide viewers, both filmmakers and filmgoers alike, both in the real and yes sometimes virtually, watching in dark rooms as light flickers upon a large white screen inspiring new conversations, inspiring new films, inspiring life.

The death of New Yorker is just part of the recent destruction of American cinema culture further deteriorating what makes cinema vital to life, vital to culture, vital to society. It provided a lifeline to the public, community engagement of cinema.  Where then is the bail out for New Yorker Films? A company who has arguably done as much for America as General Motors or JP Morgan. Some may call this hyperbole but in all honesty New Yorker Films is as vital to our existence as the interstate highway system. Perhaps more aptly the side road, the scenic byway. It feeds so much of our foreign cinema screen time that this loss is the equivalent of tsunami wiping out the architectural history, the foundation that has built our cinemas society. And yes we can see still these films on the web.

However, if cinema moves itself to a virtual world exclusively it is no longer the living breathing art form that we have all grown to love. It is dead upon arrival. No more linegring conversations. No more discoveries of our neighbors around the corner, our neighbors from our same apartment buildings, who also experienced and quite enjoyed this byway. We are in a room. Alone staring at a screen. Secluded apartments. Seculuded screens. Perhaps it is fitting then that this weeks nearly digital only release is entitled MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH. A good epitaph for the culture that has been the back bone of my own upbringing for the last 15+ years.

New Yorker Films Shutters Its Doors

February 23, 2009

Will Three Monkeys be the last release to hit Seattle screens from one of the US’ most important film distributors New Yorker Films? The answer may very well be yes. It was announced today that the nations foremost distributor of foreign language films will shutter its doors. It appears as though that the end is imminent. Who knows what this means for THREE MONKEYS screening here in Seattle.

A distributor whose work was championed in retrospective back in 1987 well before it was fashionable a few years ago, this label will certainly be missed. The big question is what will happen to its massive archives, which includes films from Ackerman, Bertolucci, Bresson, Chabrol, Fassbinder, Fellini, Godard, Herzog, Kieslowski, Malle, Rohmer, Rossellini, Sembene, Wenders, Schlondorff, and many others,  and who do we start working with to clear rights for these titles for future retrospectives?

This following the word on the possible eviction of Filmmakers Co-op is just the latest in a series of  very disturbing events that threatens the life line of cinema in this country.

Secret Matinees return!

February 23, 2009

This just in from the Sprocket society:


Now later — at 3:00 PM — by popular demand!

Every Sunday, March 1 – May 24, 2009
at the Northwest Film Forum – 1515 12th Ave.
Tickets available at the door, or in advance via

An old-fashioned weekend matinee — with cartoons and shorts, a thrilling 12-chapter movie serial, and a great Secret Feature. Watch for updates at or subscribe to the series Twitter feed at to get secret clues, streaming video teasers, and maybe a chance to win some free tickets.

Our cliffhanger this time: ZORRO’S FIGHTING LEGION (1939) — one of the best serials ever made, from the legendary Republic Studios. Packed with non-stop action, revolution, and some legendary stunts. Read more about it at

Our all-classic line up of Secret Features will (mostly) follow Zorro’s lead, with adventure, intrigue, tough guys, and westerns — plus some curveballs just for yuks. They date from the 1920s through the 1950s, with one lone late-’60s straggler. First up on March 1: Randolph Scott finds himself taken captive during a stage hold-up gone wrong, in one of the best westerns of the ’50s.

We also hope you’ll enjoy our special programs:

THE IDES OF MARCH SHOW — March 15 w/ masterpieces of betrayal
TWO SILENT MOVIE SHOWS — silent features and shorts (plus the serial, of course)
* April 5
* May 3
THE “13th EPISODE” SHOW (May 24) — a series-finale cavalcade of extra-special, super-rare suprises

No repeats from the last series…well, except for one feature too perfect not to show. Everything else is brand old!
All shown on 16mm with a 1,000 watt theatrical projector!

Hope to see y’all there…

Lynn Shelton wins Independent Spirit Award

February 21, 2009


Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back, My Effortless Brilliance, Humpday, etc.) just won an Independent Spirit Someone to Watch Award.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Best Feature
The Wrestler
Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin

Best Director
Thomas McCarthy, The Visitor

Best First Feature
Synecdoche, New York
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Sidney Kimmel

John Cassavetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)
In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Writer/Director: Alex Holdridge
Producers: Seth Caplan and Scoot McNairy

Best First Screenplay
Dustin Lance Black, Milk

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Female Lead
Melissa Leo, Frozen River

Best Male Lead
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Supporting Female
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Male
James Franco, Milk

Best Cinematography
Maryse Alberti, The Wrestler

Best Documentary
Man on Wire
Director: James Marsh

Best Foreign Film
The Class (France)
Director: Laurent Cantet

Robert Altman Award (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Synecdoche, New York
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
Ensemble Cast: Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams

Someone to Watch Award
Lynn Shelton, My Effortless Brilliance

Truer Than Fiction Award
Margaret Brown, The Order of Myths

Producers Award
Heather Rae, Frozen River and Ibid