Archive for September, 2010

Another of America’s Finest Dead

September 29, 2010

Sad news came in today that the fine Arthur Penn, whose BONNIE AND CLYDE kicked American film production in a new direction, died Tuesday night one day after turning 88. The news was confirmed to the NY Times by Penn’s son, Evan Bell.

Here’s the opening scene that changed it all


Dial M for member discounts

September 28, 2010

Alfred Hitchcock presents…a Hitchcock packed fall movie schedule!

Between the Grand Illusion’s double feature of The Birds and Frenzy, SIFF’s quintuple-take of The Birds, Double Take, The Man Who Knew Too Much, North by Northwest and Vertigo, our Required Viewing class “Hitchcock Masterpieces” and (to be announced) 50th anniversary screening of Psycho, it seems you can’t go to a cinema these days without old Hitch.

But at least Film Forum members can look forward to a few discounts to make all this movie watching easier on the wallet.

The Grand Illusion has generously extended their member price of $5 to all Film Forum members for The Birds and Frenzy (October 8-14), and SIFF says they’ll offer their member price of $8 ($7/matinee) for Double Take. Then present your Double Take ticket stub at the SIFF Cinema box office for a special ticket price of $6 on the rest of their Hitch lineup (October 8-11).

And, of course, Film Forum members get a discount on enrollment in the Hitchcock Masterpieces class, taught by Robert Cumbow on Tuesdays, November 2-December 7, and pay just $6 to see Psycho when it opens after Thanksgiving (more on that coming soon).

Not a member yet?  Well, that’s an easy fix.

15th Anniversary Scrapbook: A repost

September 27, 2010

Because it’s worth repeating.

Top Ten NWFF Gags, Pranks and High Jinks of the Decade

On the set of “Cut”

September 26, 2010

The new film by Amir Naderi wrapped a few days ago. Here’s a report from a visit to the set a few weeks ago.

Another sweltering day in the hottest summer on record for Japan found me at the Hashimoto station. On the western edge of Tokyo’s sprawl, Hashimoto claims a few highrise buildings near the station, quickly turning into acres of warehouses fanning out toward the hills beyond the Sagamigawa. I met with Eric Nyari, one of the producers of Amir Naderi’s Cut, and an investor down by the Macdonald’s at the street level of the sprawling station. 10 in the morning and well into the 90s. We were off to visit the set, located in a nondescript warehouse deep lost in a sea of nondescript warehouses about a 15 minute ride from the station.

We pulled up to the warehouse, got out of the car and walked into a large dimly lit space. A boxing rink commanded the center of the room. To the left a barroom set, to the right a wall covered with pictures of fighters, score sheets underneath them. Behind that wall a set, the room of small gambling room, the ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts. The far exit of the room opened to a wall of dingy fight gear, gloves, weights, other mysterious athletic stuff and large and lumpy punching bag hanging from the high rafters midway between the wall and the rink.

Toward the back of the large  space, on the left, was another room. This was the set for a yakuza boss’s office. Dim, in shades of dark brown and green. Simple Japanese style, that still reflected a certain underworld tastlessness. And at the far back to the right was the set where the shooting was happening today – a rundown men’s room at the end of a hall festooned with old fight posters.

Naderi’s Cut is the second production by Tokyo Story, a new production outfit headed by Nyari and his pals, Engin Yenidunya and Regis Arnaud. Their first outing, Cast Me If You Can, is a sweet and gentle relationship comedy that’s hitting Japanese screens this fall. The second film is from a completely different cut of cloth.

First of all, Cut is set in the brutal world of small-time yakuza. It’s also directed by the passionate and indefatigable Iranian-American auteur, Amir Naderi. Naderi is most famous for his 1989 breakthrough film, Water, Wind, Dust – one of the first films of the post revolutionary Iranian New Wave to hit European and American screens. Makhmalbaf and Kiarostami may be more familiar names, but Naderi worked with them and is instrumental in defining the look, the concerns, the style and feel of contemporary Iranian cinema. Naderi tends toward small stories that work with big metaphorical import. He’s brilliant with casting faces and types and bringing out intense emotion with minimal dialogue.

Cut features Hidetoshi Nishijima as a young man who offers himself up to be a human punching bag for a gang of yakuza thugs in order to pay off his dead brother’s debts – debts from monetarily unsuccessful film productions. Naderi’s take on the yakuza genre also allows him to make some bigger, grander statements about his main interest, film.

The morning saw Naderi, cast and crew rehearsing a scene where Nishijima gets a particularly brutal beating, the thugs getting more and more excited as Nishijimi continues to accept the blows, pulling out 1000 yen notes for each punch. The gangsters each have different motivations and reactions to their brutality. Some are downright drunken and dangerous thugs fulfilling their violent tendencies. One is tight little guy, who visibly emotionally suffers with each blow he gives. He give the impression of a man wracked with some hidden guilt that can only be expressed by violence. At the end of his session, he bows with stiff politeness to the man he has pummeled.

Three cameras running simultaneously catch the action. One from a window behind our protagonist. The other two from behind a removable wall on the set. One filming a long shot. The other getting detail and midrange profile shots.

The room is way hotter than the 90 or so degrees outside. Naderi works feverishly, darting among the crew and cast for quick confabs with the cameramen, Nishijimi or the group of distinctive character actors. His intensity, coupled with the genuinely intense scene and the rising heat keep everybody on their toes. He cajoles. He yells. He talks softly when necessary. He works the crowd like a ring master, keeping his eye and his hand on every little detail and nuance that he can pull out of the scene.  Rehearsal. Shoot. New angles. More rehearsal. More shooting. Well manipulated by the maestro, the actors show more thugishness, more brutality, more anger. Nishijimi himself, by the end, drooling, bruised, staggering, yet still with this come-at-me-again look in his fiery eyes, keeps a controlled vehemence and hate barely beneath the surface.  The final take of the morning leaves everyone a bit dazed.

And then it’s over. Naderi gives a heartfelt thanks to his crew. Everyone applauds for a morning’s work well done and it’s off to lunch and cooling down a bit.

Cut is due to be released in 2011.

Link – Facebook site for Cut

This mumblecore panel at the New Yorker Film Festival looks cool…

September 24, 2010

…even though we kinda already did it in 2007.

Richard Brody on Mumblecore


Over at The Front Row, Richard Brody discusses the rise of “mumblecore,” the indie-film movement (or is it?) that is the subject of his panel discussion on October 2nd, with Andrew Bujalski, Greta Gerwig, and Joe Swanberg.

Read more

15th Anniversary Scrapbook: The Grand Illusion

September 24, 2010

Did you know Northwest Film Forum once operated the Grand Illusion Cinema?  It’s true. The original Film Forum founders bought, remodeled and then ran the cinema for 8 years starting in mid 1996.  The little cinema that could has had a long and illustrious history (you can read the Film Forum’s role in detail here), with it’s fair share of financial potholes.

Tomorrow the current owners of the Grand Illusion are hosting a screening of Casablanca as a fundraiser for the theatre.  In honor of this, and to reflect on our era running the GI, here are a few vintage calendars for your nostalgic pleasure:

Now, go buy your tickets to see one of the greatest movies of all time in the best place to see this kind of classic film.  Can’t make it?  You can just fork over the cash here.

The Fall Membership Drive is on – Join us like it’s 1995!

September 24, 2010

Fall Membership Drive
September 24-October 7

Join us like it’s 1995!
In honor of our 15th anniversary, join, renew or upgrade your membership during our Fall Membership Drive and get prices from 1995, the year of our founding.

Supporting membership $25 ($40/dual)
WigglyWorld $45
Comrade $100
Lifetime membership just $1000! (best option for existing members!  Upgrade to executive status!)

All new, renewing or upgrading members will be entered into a raffle for a special prize pack of 15th anniversary gifts, including DVDs from some of the films produced with the help of the Film Forum.

Plus, join, renew or upgrade during the drive and be able to buy your limited edition 15th anniversary t-shirt for the 1995 price of $10 (regular 2010 price is $15).  Look for the shirts during Local Sightings (October 1-6).

Click here to read more about membership levels, and to join, renew or upgrade now!

*All other membership levels remain the same price.  Any membership level purchased during the drive will qualify customer for discounted t-shirt and entry into the raffle.

15th Anniversary Scrapbook: NWFF on Kong TV in ’98

September 22, 2010

A TV spot produced by Seattle’s Kong TV, announcing WigglyWorld’s first Start to Finish film, Money Buys Happiness. Starring co-founder Jamie Hook and writer/director Gregg Lachow. Followed by Jamie quoting Robert Bresson.

15th Anniversary Scrapbook: Great guests of the past

September 21, 2010

How many do you recognize?

From top left to bottom right:
August Wilson, James Benning, Bill Plympton, Blammo, Bonnie Bedelia, Bruce Baillie, Caveh Zahedi, Claire Denis, Eddie Izzard, Cameron Crowe, Crispin Glover, Guy Maddin, Haskel Wexler, Karen Black, Lisandro Alonso, Melvin Van Peebles, Mike Mills, Aaron Katz/Mark Duplass/Lynn Shelton, Norman Solomon, Ramin Bahrani, Stewart Stern, Joe Swanberg, Quentin Tarantino, Ted Joans, Todd Rohal

…and many more!

Director Miguel Gomes

September 20, 2010


Originally uploaded by nwfilmforum

Photos from our reception with director Miguel Gomes now up on our Flickr page!

(Thanks, Margaret)