Author Archive

NOW, REALLY AND TRULY, THE ACTUAL RESULTS OF THE 1ST ANNUAL “MOST CREATIVE TOP TEN FILM LIST” CHALLENGE OF 2008! (OH, AND I GUESS WE GOT A NEW PRESIDENT, TOO!)

January 20, 2009

First I must apologize that it took so long to decide, but seriously everyone put SO MUCH EFFORT into their lists, they were all so good in their own special ways, I decided I had to be more creative myself in the judging (as I invented the DAMN thing, after all!).  Taking a leaf from the GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS, for as much as they get made fun of (by me (and the SIMPSONS)) in particular, they do several things SOOO MUCH BETTER than the ACADEMY AWARDS.  Serving booze and dinner to their long-suffering guests as the ceremony goes on and on and on and people start thanking their agent’s 3rd cousin 6X removed is one.  MAKING DIFFERENT CATEGORIES is another.  (I’ve decided that the OSCARS share a lot with the Electoral College System of Voting (?!!).  Everyone in contention complains how antiquated the systems for them are are, until they win.  And then they comment no more.  In other words, hypocrisy, thy name is Kevin Spacey, etc., etc., etc.  (I happen to adore Kevin Spacey (the “smartest guy in the room”), too.  Sigh.) SO, even though only one contestant wins the Grand Prize, I have determined different categories that ALL OF YOU WON in, and will be awarded……………………………….a  Cookie.  WHAT THE HELL, you scream, OBAMA WON!!!  Civil rights are back!!!  You’re giving me a flippin’ cookie?!!!  Do you have ANY IDEA how long writing that stupid thing TOOK?!!  To which I reply (as I’m very good at making up conversations), ah, but you haven’t HAD one of my cookies.  They are slightly smaller than a dinner plate.  Or a Frisbee.  And they are DELICIOUS, if I do say so myself.  And I DO.  So, for those of you NOT in Seattle or it’s environs, you can leave a comment at the end of this article and leave your address for me, and one will come to you (starting Feb. 5th, the next 2 weekends I am baking treats for the CHILDRENS FILM FESTIVAL SEATTLE 2009 so I will be just a tad occupied until then, allowing for a short recuperative period.)  If that doesn’t seem private enough for you, simply send a postcard or a letter to:  NWFF 1515 12th Ave Seattle, WA   98122 to the attention of NormaBates666, and it will get to me.

A drum roll please…………………………………………………..

The Person Who Takes the (White Russian) Cake is:

DAVID HANNIGAN!!!!!!!!!!!TADA!!!!!!!!

For the list entitled:

DAVE’S TOP 10 OF 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This list is so far out of the box (a list of Top 10 Film Stock of 2008!), so original, absurd and imaginative, it simply takes the conventional idea of a Top 10 List of Best/Worst Actor/Director/Film, and turns it inside out.  Paring it down to it’s absolute essence (kinda like that Robbie Williams video), rating the actual film stock all films are well, filmed on, itself– it’s just genius!  And the fact that probably only 6 other people in the world get the joke makes it even better!  (By the way, it upsets me greatly when someone is funnier than I am.  I’M the comic relief on this blog, Bobalooey, and don’t you forget it!!)

But then the rest of yours were brilliant too!  So, Cookies go to the following:

In the category of:  The Best List With The Largest Bucketful Of Cliches, That Was Unique In Talking About Films That Weren’t Released/Were Under-Appreciated:

CALEB, for the list entitled:  THE TOP TEN FILMS OF 2008 THAT COULDVE BEEN, SHOULDVE BEEN, BUT WEREN’T.  (I’ve never even heard of TRICK  OR TREAT, didja ever find out what happened there?  You showed a good knowledge of the industry, it was a very informative list to read, thanks!)

In the category of:  The List That Reflected The Best Taste In Films NOT Seen:

JOE, for the list entitled:  TOP TEN GREATEST MOVIES I TOTALLY MEANT TO SEE IN 2008 (HONEST!) (Seriously, excellent choices.  And on this blog, having someone compliment your taste in film actually MEANS a great deal, unlike all those other trivial blogs on the net!  Feel complimented!  Any non-attended films for this year so far ?  (I know it’s early, don’t worry, you literally have ALL year to miss stuff, from now on!)  (Thank God for Netflix, ehSeattles close to Canada, they make us put an eh in occasionally.)

In the category of:  The List I Was In Complete Agreement With In It’s Critiques:

SALVATORE, for the list entitled:  TOP TEN COMIC BOOK MOVIES THAT FALL SHORT BECAUSE THEY FAILED TO FOLLOW THE COMIC BOOK (Well, isn’t it cool Halle Berry was the ONLY actor to show up and get her RAZZIE for CATWOMAN?  And she even gave a speech!  Yours was an extremely detailed list, impressive!)

In the category of:  The List Of Film Characters That Could Alternatively Replace DEAR ABBY:

MARTHA, for the list entitled:  TOP TEN MOVIE CHARACTERS THAT COULD AND SHOULD WRITE A BEST-SELLING SELF-HELP BOOK (This is an insanely refreshing, inventive and amusing list that must have required a lot of thought.  Thanks for sending it in!)

In the category of:  The Sweetest List Submitted, By Far!:

N-LESS PENNIES, for her lovely list entitled:   MY TOP FIVE FILMS. (I have just loved Reese Witherspoon since I saw THE MAN IN THE MOON.  Good job, sweetie!)

In the category of:  The Only List Submission That Was Smart Enough To Be Accompanied By A Bribe (His Pix Of His 3 Year-Old Are Just Adorable!):

KIRSTOPHER, for his list entitled:  THE TOP 10 MOVIES THAT ARE ACHING TO BE MADE FUN OF BY ANYONE INVOLVED WITH MST3K (Good going!  I thought I was the only one who had suffered through IN THE NAME OF THE KING:  A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE. So now you can start working on that Sweep Pan list, eh?)  (I OWN MITCHELL, which I believe to be THE funniest MST3KEVER.  So, Joel vs. Mike?  What’s your opinion?)

In the category of:  The Most Versatile List, Brought To Us By The Mastermind Of NWFF Programming, Who Makes Coming To The Theatre Such A Educational Pleasure (Without Being TOO PBS!):

ADAM, for his list entitled: TOP 10 0F 2008  (VERTIGO is my fave Hitch of all time!)  (You’d think it’d be MARNIE, huh?)  (And how are things at Liberate EweAdam is also an amazing Video Artist–am I using the right term?)

In the category of:  Undoubtedly The Most Money-Making List Of All The Top 10’s, From Our Astute Mathematician:

SUSIE, for her list entitled:  TOP 10 GROSSING RUNS OF 2008 (The ones I came to were MISTER LONELY, TO THE LIMIT and MONSIEUR VERDOUX, by the way.  Which ones were your faves?)  (Has anyone spoken to you about your unhealthy obsession with box-office totals?  I’m sure there’s some sort of therapy for it available–God knows they’ll take your MONEY!)

In the category of:  The Biggest Showoff, With TWO Top 10 Lists To His Credit, Thereby Making The Rest Of Us Look Bad:

PETER, for his lists entitled:  POP TEN (The list most likely to put one into a diabetic coma–SPEED RACER? Really?!  Hmm.  However,  I would say to all who think they dislike WALK HARD:  THE DEWEY COX STORY that they need to know that the FUNNY version (and the one that actually makes sense, is the Director’s Cut–the theatrical version leaves out the ‘70‘s, and some of the funniest bits in the film, right?!  Gimme an AMEN, somebody!).  And thanks for BEST DEAD  2008! (When THE TABLET was still in Seattle, it had this great column, called (I think I have it right) THE HOLLYWOOD DEATH WATCH, that would keep one clued in on obscure deaths of notable Hollywood/entertainment figures.  (They started it because when Huntz Hall died, and they ran the dead people list that year on the OSCARS, no one in the audience knew who the hell he was, so they had to run his name TWICE.   (AAARRGGHH!!))  Now that THE TABLET is in Portland, they’ve discontinued the column, thanks for taking the time and trouble to do the list!)

In the category of:  The List Of The Chick With The Coolest Taste in Retro Film, From Someone Not Even A Twinkle In The Eyes Of Her Parents At The Time These Films Came Out:

MIZ RYAN, for the list entitled:  TOP 10 HERE AT HOME (I saw COMING HOME & BULLITT when they originally ran in theatres.  You’d figure that as Jon Voight won the OSCAR for COMING HOME, more people would know about it, huh?)

In the category of:  Instinctively Getting What Films Were Important In The 60’s List:

WEN, for the list entitled:  TOP 10 PICKS FROM THE 60’S (See above. Very perceptive choices!  I should know.)

In the category of:  Best List of YOUTUBE Videos To Sing Along To, Because They’re SIMPLY OBAMA-SISTABLE! (And The Only List You Could Actually Watch In An Hour-ish):

LIZ, for  the list entitled:  TOP 10 OBAMA YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF 2008 (Can you imagine how punishing the rehearsals must have been, to learn to sing  those lyrics to the beat of that song?!  This list was seriously clever fun!)

In the category of:  Definitely The List That Was The Most Cultured, Encompassing ALL Of The Arts, From Our New Fearless Leader!:

LYALL, for the list entitled (daringly):  TOP NINE (Clearly, I have ALOT to learn from YOU!)

In the category of:  The Film Expert Who Fearlessly Dared To Bare Her Fun Side (Which Naturally Ended Up Being The List With The Most Carbs!):

PAM, for the list entitled:  POPCORN MOVIES OF 2008 (You just know it’s Mickey and Heath for OSCAR gold this year!  I ADORED the THUNDER, and yes, aren’t HAROLD AND KUMAR just GREAT?!!)  (I recommend the Director’s Cuts, if you haven’t seen them yet–Neil Patrick Harris is just hysterical–I taped him on SNL last week– it was like an awesome, dude, show!  Actually funny for once!)

And, appropriately, we end with:

In the category of:  The List Of The Man Who Has The Best Perspective On Film Than ANYONE At NWFF, Our Master Projectionist!:

MATT, for the list entitled:  BEST OF THE YEAR FROM THE BOOTH (My ex and I used HAROLD AND MAUDE as a litmus test, if the people we were considering becoming friends with didn’t get it, we lost their phone numbers.  At this point I think I’ve seen it at least 20 times.  Perhaps we could lay down some sort of film law, give cinephiles a year to see it, or we laugh them out of the theatre, with a request they never return, and hand out a frying pan as a parting gift?  Whaddaya think?)  (And thanks for letting me bastardize your title for my own Top 10 List!)

So boys and girls, that’s it.  Please forgive if I spelled names or lists wrong, at this point I’m too exhausted to look any more stuff up.  Now to the After Party!!  (We’ll make fun of the clothes from the Red Carpet tomorrow.)

THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING!!!  Hope to see you next year!

Conceived, Written, Produced and Directed by THE LITHUANIAN BAKING COMPANY, Copyright 2009.


Advertisements

TODAY, THE WORLD BECAME A BETTER PLACE

January 20, 2009

I’ve lived in Seattle for 3 decades now and have NEVER felt so much hope and energy in the air as I did walking around today.  Due to one circumstance (and about 24 others) this is the first time I have voted in a Presidential Election.  What a way to start!  (I used to work with someone who had only attended one music concert in her life.  When you would begin to commiserate with her, she’d smile slowly and proceed to tell you it was the Beatles in 1964.  That’s how I feel today!)   Congratulations, President Obama!  (Oh, and it’s about fuckin’ time!!!)

WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR ALL YEAR, MY PEER GROUP’S OWN FESTIVAL FOR 2009————-“THE FOURTH ANNUAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL SEATTLE” STARTS JANUARY 23RD! (PART 1)

January 18, 2009

THE 4th ANNUAL CHILDRENS FILM FESTIVAL SEATTLE STARTS:   FRIDAY, JANUARY 23RD  @ 7PM, ENDS:   SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1ST @ 7PM, WITH MANY VISUAL, AND TASTY TREATS TO EXPERIENCE IN-BETWEEN!

Talk about matching the right reviewer to the right program–how does NWFF do it?!  The press screening for this wonderful event was  definitely the most fun I’ve had all year (and don’t annoy me with mentioning how much of 2009 has gone by).  The following are but a few of the films being offered this year, from various shorts film programs, and includes my personal fave:

SLEEPING BETTY (Living Large Short Films Program)  (Creator Claude Cloutier, CANADA (2007)  9 MINUTES) Take the incisive yet whimsical work of political cartoonist Pat Oliphant, season it with a bit of animator extraordinaire Bill Plymptons outrageousness, and just dump a vat full of Britans infamous puppet show, Spitting Images, for it’s look and sense of the absurd, and you get close to how great this film is.  It’s about a Kingdom far, far away that tries different methods to wake their sleeping Princess.  I am a tough on comedy, and I actually LAUGHED OUT LOUD and clapped at the end.  Genius!

SOONER OR LATER (Same Program)   (Creator Jadwiga Kowalska, SWITZERLAND, (2007)  5 MINUTES) is my second fave, lyrically beautiful and oh so hard to describe properly.  A bat and a squirrel finally meet due to a nut that screws up the night/day machinery that runs our planet.  It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and the artwork that tells this tale just begs to be seen, it’s so original.

THE NARRATOR (Rise and Shine Program(Creator Mark Ratzlaff, CANADA, 4 MINUTES, (2008)) This film is distinguished by some of the loveliest cinematography I saw that day.  A day in the park narrated by the same person but from different perspectives, it concludes by showing us kids what’s really important in life.  (But we knew that all along.)

CRANK BALLS  (Rise and Shine Program(Creator Devin Bell, USA (2007) 5 MINUTES) Imagine the offbeat humor of my favorite Seattle artist, Ginny Ruffner (Re: 3 Men Holding a Grudge) and add Will Vinton’s Claymation‘s creativity, and you get CRANK BALLS, and how color makes us happy, presented in a vivid, quirky way.  Loved it!

MY HAPPY END (Rise and Shine Program) (Creator Milen Vitanov, GERMANY, (2007)  5 MINUTES) This piece has one of the most distinctive styles on the program, that really stretches CGI effects with (what looks like) traditional animation of a dog and his very unusual best friend.  Very inventive and fun.

BIBI (Rise and Shine Program)  (Creator Bek Shakirov, USA/Uzbekistan (2005) 5 MINUTES) Absolutely the MOST colorful piece of the program, imagine a European Pixar anime Warhol would love.  Taking on the issues of the effect of media (Beauty Magazines) on the young and impressionable, it brings to mind the fact that the original Barbie was modeled on a shady lady from  Germany–true story!–and makes us remember the ever popular Garbage Pail Kids. Psychedelic Fun.

RUBY WHO?  (GAME CHANGERS Program)  (Creators Hailey Bartholomew and Natala Stuetz, AUSTRALIA (2007) 6 MINUTES) A live action film with similar themes to that of  BIBI, with a story of a young girl who is not necessarily improved by her (literal) impressions of the world upon her, and what she does about it.  Contrasting the cheerful and the  hopeful, with self-awareness vs. advertising and egotism, I enjoyed it a lot.

JIRO AND MIU (GUTSY GUINEA PIGS Program)  (Creator Jun Nito, CZECH REPUBLIC, (2007) 8 MINUTES) Superman comes alive in Claymation, in the style of Aardman Animation Studios (think Creature Comforts, Wallace and Gromit), hamsters who long to fly and figure out how to (and a prominent Hollywood Buddhist is nowhere in sight–oh, c’mon, how could I NOT make that joke?!).  Beautifully crafted, in exquisite detail, it illustrates how we are all capable of doing far more than we imagine, when supported by the ones we love.

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF SUPER AL AND HIS FRIENDS:  IT’S SNOW FUN (RISE AND SHINE Program)  (Creator Natt Thanvigit, MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, (2007) 2 MINUTES) Short and sweet Super Robots parody.  If only I’d been able to see this when I was young, instead of those boring, insipid Gerry Anderson shows.  Yes, I’ve finally said it and I’m GLAD, I find G.A. and the whole THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!, (as well as all his other creations), dull, and I don’t care who knows it!  This showed seriously more imagination!

MY GREATEST DAY EVER (GAME CHANGERS Program)  (Creator Mark Bellamy, AUSSIES AGAIN!, (2007)  8 MINUTES) Set in THE most gorgeous place I have ever seen practically, this upbeat piece on luck vs. skill in and Aussie family was breathtaking to watch, as well as funny.  How can I get in touch with the travel agents who can get me there?

So come, see and taste.  I understand that the event will partially be catered by the Lithuanian Baking Co., whoever they are.


WINNER OF THE 1st ANNUAL “THE MOST CREATIVE TOP TEN FILM LIST” CHALLENGE IS……….

January 18, 2009

TO BE ANNOUNCED ON JANUARY 20TH, 2009.
(If TV networks can do it, why can’t I?)

THE FEATURE

January 2, 2009

THE FEATURE :             2008        (184 MINUTES)            D:   MICHEL AUDER AND ANDREW NEEL                     PLAYS:    FRIDAY, JANUARY 2ND TO THURSDAY, JANUARY 8TH         AT:       7:15PM

If you were an artist, a pioneer in establishing video as in art form, and were told you were dying, what would you do?  What would you want your legacy to be?  This fictional biography of Michel Auder (directed by himself and Andrew Neel) uses that premise to take us through almost 3 hours of the man’s 40 year history, including the Zanzibar group, the Warhol era, etc.  Co-starring such luminaries as Larry Rivers, Cindy Sherman (his second wife, whose self-portraits influenced Madonnas SEX Book, and who is also in the film), as well as Nico, Warhol Superstar Viva (wife number one, and mother of his daughter), Jane Fonda, Bridget Berlin, Yoko Ono, Christo, Willem de Kooning, Eric Bogosian, and the co-director’s mother,  Alice Neel, (who Andrew directed in, well, ALICE NEEL, presented by NWFF earlier this year), it’s a virtual who’s who of the art world of the ‘60’s, ‘70s and beyond.

When Sony put out the Portapak video camera, Michel Auder saw a new way of making art.  To quote the NWFF press packet material, “Auder uses video to translate Warhols talent for making the banal glamorous and vice versa, into a diaristic practice.  He doesn’t  need a crew or a studio system to makes films-he uses everyday life to make his art. Despite Auders diligent documentation of the world around him, he has never been interested in representing reality in the sense of cinema verite.  He takes the quotidian as source material and reforms it, like a poet, into ‘video reality’, creating unexpected juxtapositions and meditations.”

And he’s truly done it ALL, quoting the press packet again, ” From the early days in Paris in the fashion industry, the artist  journeys to Morocco, New York, Hollywood, Rome, Vanuata…He is an old man, a draft dodger, a father, an obscure filmmaker, a dope fiend, a Yale professor, a kid getting laid, an art world celebrity, a Warhol scence-ster…The layers of time and image pile upon one another and present a kind of collective picture of the artist:  enamored of life, certain of death and unwilling to compromise between the two.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

FROM THE BOOTH TO THE AUDIENCE, MY TOP 10 FILM EXPERIENCES AT NWFF IN 2008

December 28, 2008

What an amazing year for film!  Since I have been privileged to see this organization up close and personal as I started blogging for them in the middle of the year, I  appreciate even more how vital NWFF is to the film community in the Northwest. I encourage one and all to contribute what they can to keep it running smoothly, in effect, to become partners with the organization that creates film history with their outstanding programming. I know monetarily it’s tough for all of us right now, and here are some low-budget  alternatives you can do to show your support.  Consider volunteering (it is SOOO WORTH IT–TRUST ME! & this blog needs YOUR opinions!) esp. as it gets you into wonderful films and events for free (in exchange for hours worked).  One time donations or loans of time/equipment/or misc. items filmmakers need (consider becoming an extra for a day, perhaps?) are always appreciated–you can subscribe to the NWFF Callboard, which is constantly updated, to see how you can become involved in the making of a film–& lemme tell ya, the first time you see your name on a screen it’s a trip! Or you can simply set reminders for those films you want to come and see and COME–we are always happy to see you!

Ahem. So here we go,

1GEORGE MELIESIMPOSSIBLE VOYAGER:    This program WAS film history, &  actually inspired me to volunteer.  A collaboration between THE SPROCKET SOCIETY and NWFF, it presented us with film history mixed with live performance, as we saw 100 year-old images, narrated  in the original words written by one of the founders of the art of film (his most iconoclastic image is the rocket that hits the moon in the eye), and accompanied by music made on the instruments of the time.  It was the ultimate “You Are There” experience.  I STILL have goose bumps!

2SILENCE BEFORE BACH:  A film that can only be seen in a theater (at the filmmaker’s instruction), it literally changed my life with it’s elegant juxtaposition of music and images.  I will love it ’til the day I die.

3HARDCORESCREWBALL COMEDY: The class of all classes to take if you can’t get enough of the funniest films ever made.  (Remember, YOU CANT TAKE IT WITH YOU!)  (Good news–the rumor is–MORE TO COME!)

4LA FRANCE:  The exception that proves the rule.  Can you create a masterpiece by combining one subject and one art form that have nothing in common (like say, war and beautiful French love songs) ?  Ce Magnifique!  And it would not have played in the U.S. at all if NWFF hadn’t brought it in.

5TAKING OFF:  I just adore Milos Forman, and the fact NWFF managed to snag a copy of this rarely screened gem just shows how truly cool they are.  I first saw this at SIFF at the Secret Festival many years past, and ever since I wrote that in my review acoupla months ago I’ve become concerned that the Secret Festival Police are after me (does blogging about a film after you signed a secrecy oath in your own blood constitute a violation of said oath?)

6MR. LONELY:  If only the world could live in such Harmony.

7LOCAL SIGHTINGS FESTIVAL   2008:  The saying is (approximately) that a prophet is never honored in his own land.  L.S.F. 2008 is proof that that is complete bullshit!  I saw many sophisticated and professional films (such as ARID LANDS), this year as part of the Festival. Remember how local boys (& I’ll name but 2) Matthew Barney and David Lynch had to start somewhere?  That’s why I’ve found it’s important to attend this Festival, as well as support 911 Media Arts Center and other independent organizations who let local independent filmmakers voices be heard.

8) MOMMAS MAN:  This semi-autobiographical work by Azazel Jacobs is beautifully shot in black and white, and tells the tale of one man and his relationship with his parents, wife and new baby.  It’s easy to relate to as it’s the same way we all feel at times, overwhelmed by our adult responsibilities, and looking to escape them, if only for a little while.  It’s both haunting and humorous at the same time, and a lovely valentine to childhood nostalgia.

9THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON:  The film that made me fall in love with ERIC ROHMER.  It’s beauty, it’s innocence, it’s discussion of lofty ideals, put together as only an experienced Frenchman knows how.  Sigh.

10SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE (FROM THE QUEER THURSDAYS PROGRAM, IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE FABU THREE DOLLAR BILL CINEMA):  OK, so this may not exactly NWFF program, but ya gotta cut me some slack on this one–it was my BIRFDAY!  And the large auditorium was filled to the rafters with people who tortured themselves by watching one of the WORST gay films ever made–and the director LIKED gays!  So we all rushed out the minute the credits (?!) were finished in search of mind numbing substances to try and save some brain cells, to no avail.  Funnier than hell, though.

Neener, neener Miz Ryan!

DAY OF WRATH—THE EYES HAVE IT

December 22, 2008

DAY OF WRATH:          (1943)    BLACK  & WHITE,   DANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES       97  MINUTES D: CARL THEODORE DREYER  W: CARL THEODORE DREYER, POUL KNUDSEN, PAUL LA COUR, MOGENS SKOT-HANSEN & HANS WIERS-JENSSENS,  FROM THE UNCREDITED PLAY BY HANS WIERS-JENSSENS, “ANNE PEDERSDOTTER”   STARS: LISBETH MOVIN, PREBEN LERDORFF RYE

PLAYS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26TH  TO  JANUARY 1ST, 2009 (YEAH BABY, TIME FOR A NEW PRESIDENT!)  AT 7  & 9PM

“I don’t like working with prima donna’s.  I work with faces and types.  I don’t care if they’re famous or not, beautiful or ugly.  I chose people because of their type and their eyes.”—C.T.D., as quoted by lead actress Lisbeth Movin in the Special Features of the Criterion Collections DAY OF WRATH.

Having just watched it again, I experienced how much a true masterpiece simply gets richer and more complex on multiple viewings.  All those things just waiting for you that you didn’t pick up, the 1st, 2nd or 12th time around.  All of his films I’ve seen so far (MICHAEL, VAMPYR, THE PARSONS WIFE, and D.O.W.) make me KNOW I will want to watch them again after seeing the first 5 minutes of the movie.  This film is all about the eyes, perception vs. reality, of  truth and of  power.  To create this atmosphere, he wisely chose an actress with some of the most expressive eyes that have ever been filmed.  (Lisbeth Movin,  think Simone Signoret.)  Different family members project onto the young housewife’s eyes what they see her as, her elderly husband (a minister) sees beauty and purity, his mother sees burning demonic intensity, her lover (and son-in-law!) sees mystery and is threatened by it.  Using the analogy of  the Church during the time of witch hunts to cloak the theme of the abuse of power due to the Nazi’s occupation of Denmark in 1943, he creates a paranoid world of torture and self-righteousness, romantic love and delusion, with some of the BEST cinematography created on this planet.  What that man could do with a candle and some shadows!  To me all of the frames from this picture could be turned into stills and hung in museums like Rembrandts.  (And his entire body of work is like this!  Doesn’t the uber talent of others get downright depressing at times?!  Wait ’til you see THE FEATURE!)  (I really envy those of you who get to see this film for the first time with this amazing print–C.T.D. is a visual artist extraordinaire, and it will be just stunning!)

The plot goes something like this:  An old woman is accused of witchcraft.  (And like being called a Jew in 1943,  the accusation alone is usually a death sentence.)  She runs to find safety at the house of the village’s minister.  As the minister’s young wife had a mother who was accused of being a witch, but was miraculously set free.  (Because the minister lusted after her daughter perhaps?)  The old woman helped the minister’s wife’s mother escape the flames of the damned in some unspecified way.  The young wife agrees to help her and hides her in the rectory.  Where she is found, (the screams from the attic of the old woman are horrific, just as the screams of Anne Frank and her family must have been when they were discovered at last), taken and tortured.  She asks to speak to the minister alone and threatens to tell his secret, the Satanic bargain that was struck to allow his wife’s mother to live.  In the meantime the minister’s son from his first marriage comes home, and, as youth calls to youth, he and his father’s wife fall in love.  As the young wife comes to fully realize what her mother was accused of being, she comes to wonder if she has the same powers.  Does the secret of the minister’s vanity of thinking HE could override God’s law because he felt he deserved a young, beautiful girl for himself, (while he condemned all others to a horrible death), come out?  Does the young wife have her mother’s powers running in her veins? What did the filmmakers do to dull the Nazi’s perception of this film, so they allowed it to be shown without noticing that it condemned their racism and totalitarianism? See how this master visualist solved all of these dilemmas as a response to the Nazi Occupation of his homeland.

ANNOUNCING THE 1ST ANNUAL “MOST CREATIVE TOP TEN FILM LIST” CHALLENGE (2008)

December 21, 2008

Brought to you by:

The Lithuanian Baking Company
Our Motto: “I Bake, Therefore I Am”

Yes, this is YOUR opportunity to win a White Russian Cake (Kahlua, Vodka and Cream), baked by an actual White Russian!

The rules are these:

Most Creative Top 10 Film List for 2008 wins!
(I must say Dave has the edge so far–a film stock list?!! Awesome!)
All entries must be submitted by December 31st, 2008.
You can enter as often as you like.
Bribes are not only accepted, they are encouraged.
(If you prefer something other than a White Russian Cake, we are happy to oblige.)
(Only employees/volunteers of NWFF can enter.)
(Only employees of the Lithuanian Baking Company can be judges.) (IE, Me!)
(“The Lithuanian Baking Company” and it’s motto are copyrighted. Use of them by someone other than NormaBates666 will result in serious legal action that will be taken by a team of vicious and humorless attorneys.)  Void where prohibited by law.
SO GO FOR IT!!!

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW…………………………

GREAT SPEECHES FROM A DYING WORLD—THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, GO ALL OF US

December 2, 2008

GREAT SPEECHES FROM A DYING WORLD    (2008)     92 MINUTES DOCUMENTARY      D:    LINAS PHILLIPS

PLAYS:    FRIDAY  DECEMBER  5TH TO THURSDAY DECEMBER  11TH,  AT: 7    AND     9 PM.

DIRECTOR PRESENT AT OPENING WEEKEND SHOWS!!!!!!!!!!!AN ORIGINAL PRESENTATION BY NORTHWEST FILM FORUM ITSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Director Linas Phillips (WALKING TO WERNER), will also be teaching NWFFs How to Interview Class on Saturday, December 3rd from 123pm.  Attendees are encouraged to bring clips from works in progress for feedback, $20.00 for members, $25.00 for the General Public.

In this compassionate look at 12 different homeless individuals in Seattle, (after we get to know how they got to where they are today), they quote portions of some of the great speeches from some of the most important literature ever written.  They include such authors as John Donne, Shakespeare, JFK, and God (for those Biblical believers among us).  Each speech is carefully chosen to reflect the circumstances of each person, (I found Jonas’ speech particularly moving, myself) and resonates strongly with the viewer.  In fact, watching this film gave me an idea how to resolve the conflict I have had with how to help them in a way that will really work for me.  Thanks, Linas!

It’s wonderful that we have so many filmmaker/activists, who have constantly drawn attention to the unseen people among us.  Besides G.S.F.A.D.W., films such as STREET KIDS (which takes place in Vancouver, and was one of the earliest modern docs to draw attention to the crisis), and DARK DAYS (which took place in Penn Station), well, they also define how film documents how we treat these people in a truly powerful way.

Considering the inhabitants of Nickelstown live here, this film’s approach of telling us about each person in a truly personal way is an excellent way for us to remember, there but for the grace of God, go I.  And consider what we can do to change things, in whatever small way we can.

FRONTRUNNERS: AKA MEET MAX FISCHER OF RUSHMORE, KNOWN IN THIS DOCUMENTARY AS GEORGE ZISIDAIS

November 23, 2008

FRONTRUNNERS:        (2008)     80 MINUTES     D:  CAROLINE SUH    DOCUMENTARY       PLAYS:     FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH TO WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3RD   AT :       7   AND     9PM

First, I must say that the actual experience of watching this film was made even more enjoyable by my companion that day, Pallas.  How better to watch a film about young people than to have one sit next to you while you see it?  And she was VERY well-behaved, when she had a comment to make she did so by cupping her hands around her mouth and whispering into my ear, thus respecting me, the film, and the other viewer.  It made me look forward to The 4th Annual Childrens Film Festival–January 23rd to February 1st–even more than I already was!   (Goddard had to start somewhere, ya know.)

Stuyvesant High School in New York City is for gifted students, (it’s been attended by such luminaries as Jimmy Cagney, Tim Robbins, Thelonious Monk and Dick Morris) and accepts only 3% of the 25,000 kids that apply.  Which means they have the most intense student elections in this country.  Frontrunners follows the stories of 2 of those students as they aspire to the highest office in their administration.  To add to it’s expertise, Editor Jane Rizzo worked on Tanner On Tanner, Robert Altmans satire/valentine to our nation’s electoral system.

You know that these kids are destined for politics as I’ve never seen such lustrous hair and white teeth before, esp. in the top two candidates for School President–and I’m from L.A.!  (Check out their school pictures, dramatically staged in front of the flag!).  Hannah’s a gorgeous actress with impressive credentials (she appeared in Todd Solondzs Palindromes)–though when the film notes describe her as “the best hip hop dancer in the school”–a white chick from the Upper West Side of Manhattan?!!!  (‘Nuff said.)  She’s very talented in the Arts, and has personality galore, but little experience in school administration.

George, honestly, George IS Max Fischer, I lost track of all the clubs he founded (or is in), but they include the Juggling Club, the Bowling Club, as well as studying the rituals of his heritage, which includes Greek DanceThe Lounge is what gets me the most though–in true M.F. style, he has improvised a kinda bizarre meeting place for the intelligentsia who seek out his company by sectioning off an area in front of (what I assume to be his locker, thought he seems to use 2-3 more, with ropes that he appropriately uses to make a kind of triangle, draping material with (again appropriately) Greek symbols.))  When people arrive for an appointment (which are all recorded on in a file on his computer), he flips the material over the ropes to create privacy, and pulls down a sign that states that “The Lounge is in Session–Please Be Quiet” (or words to that effect).  So then he opens the various lockers, pulling out collapsible chairs, Perrier, etc., to make his guests comfy, as only a good host does.  He has tons of experience in school politics, but is viewed as kinda remote by the student body. The Lounge no doubt encouraged that impression.  It makes me remember how strange we all were in High School.  And how some of us have never grown out of it, really.

One of the students compares it to the Nixon versus JFK race, experience versus personality.  There is a rather unpleasant televised debate, but I don’t know whether to be encouraged or depressed by how many of the students say they’ll wait until the School Newspaper (rightly/ironically titled The Spectator) endorses a candidate.

If you wanna see the real-life Max Fischer, this is the film to see!