Greetings Soldiers and CInephiles,
It appears the fall may actually be upon us now, which will hopefully mean an increase in the amount of good cinema being shown in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Film Festival has officially unveiled their lineup and there are definitely a few worthy entries, including new films by Jean-Luc Godard, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose film won Palme D’or at Cannes this year. Those will definitely be worth checking out and, as soon as I get a chance to really go through the festival films, I will come up with a more definitive guide. The festival will be Oct. 15-24. I have contacted the festival about Shooting Wall possibly receiving press credentials, which could really be great for our cause, but I am still waiting to hear back from them.
Next weekend at the Ritz we have Enter the Void which, as stated in a previous blog, could be hit or miss, but promises to at least be an interesting film; something that may even promote some heated dialogue and debates among cinephiles.
International House’s schedule picks up this week with Corpus Callosum by Michael Snow on Wednesday September 29 at 8pm with Michael Snow in attendance! For anyone interested in experimental and/or formalistic cinema, this will be quite a night. Snow has been on the forefront of the North American avant-garde since the 1960s with such canonical experimental films as Wavelength and La Region Centrale . The film is screening in conjunction with the opening reception for Many Moving and Still Works by Two Torontonians at Slought Foundation. This exhibition will be going on through the end of October featuring recent works by Michael Snow and John Oswald. This should be a fun night and an exciting exhibition definitely worth checking out. There will definitely be more coming up at International House next week and beyond, so keep checking the blog regularly for updates.
Bryn Mawr has a couple of good repertory things coming up in the next month or so including Memento, The Fly, Metropolis and Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, but their first run films, as usual, aren’t terribly interesting.
This Week’s Recommendations:
1. The Headless Woman (2008) by Lucrecia Martel. Cinephiles, if you have not discovered the cinema of Lucrecia Martel, then now is the time to do so. For my money, she is one of the best filmmakers working right now and this is an absolute masterpiece. There have not been many films that I have seen in the last few years as amazing as this one. This is utterly brilliant film about ideas and is masterfully done in every single way. I am highly recommending everyone see this film immediately.
2. Je Tu Il Elle (1974) by Chantal Akerman. Again, cinephiles, if you have discovered the cinema of Chantal Akerman, then you are way behind. She is an absolutely essential filmmaker and this, her first feature film, is a good place to start. A grainy, formal and minimalist triumph. Once you have watched this film, then you can move on to her 3 ½ hour minimalist masterpiece Jeanne Dielmann.
3. The Beaches of Agnes (2009) by Agnes Varda. As far as I am concerned, this was one of the 10 best films of last year. Varda is continuing to make interesting, experimental and personal films. This one is part documentary, part essay and part autobiography and brilliant throughout.
4. The Connection (1962) by Shirley Clarke. American independent pioneer Shirley Clarke’s first feature film may not be very well known, but it is definitely worth checking out. The whole thing takes place in a New York City apartment among heroin addicts. Clarke is part of the group of the first wave of American independent filmmakers who started working in New York in the 1950s. This list includes John Cassavetes, Morris Engle and Ruth Orkin, Lionel Rogosin, Robert Downey Sr., Jim McBride, and Brian DePalma (before all he did was rip off Hitchock). This is an incredibly interesting period in American Cinema, which is unfortunately overshadowed by the New Hollywood filmmakers of the late 1960s and early 70s (Scorsese, Coppola, et. al.), but nevertheless a period and filmmakers worth checking out.
5. Nathalie Granger (1972) by Marguerite Duras. Probably the most well-known and easily available films by the great French novelist Marguerite Duras is fascinating and beguiling and in every way. A minimal, highly elliptic piece of early 1970s filmmaking. I only hope more of her films become available on DVD in this country very soon.