PDXFilm Presents Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels!

9 06 2010

FRANK WANTS YOU TO SEE FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS!

THAT’S RIGHT! YOU HEARD RIGHT! FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS with The Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr as Frank Zappa (aka Larry the Dwarf)! Screening sponsored by Laughing Planet Café and special thanks to Music Millennium and KBOO for helping to promote this special event.

This may be your only chance to see a genuine 35mm film print of FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS. Don’t trust the DVD which distorted the image to be in the wrong aspect ratio (!?).

200 MOTELS plays one night only at Cinema 21, June 12th, 11pm . Rated R, under 17 must be accompanied by parent.

Tell ya what…I’ll also make a deal with you: If 200 people purchase tickets online, some lucky, random winner will receive two tickets to ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA at The Roseland Theater the next night.

Purchase your tickets for FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS by clicking HERE, then send a PDF of your receipt to twohundredmotels@me.com. AND IF I get 200 submissions, I will randomly select and notify the lucky winner that they have won tickets to see ZPZ. Sound good? Great! BUY TICKETS NOW!

35mm FILM PRINT – Exclusive Engagement at CINEMA 21

ONE NIGHT ONLY! ALL AGES WELCOME!

SATURDAY, JUNE 12th at 11pm

200 MOTELS HISTORY:

In attempting to summarize the infamous history of FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS, three quotes mentioned in Amos Vogel’s book, Film as a Subversive Art, come to mind which also address early malignment of the film.

For the music’s ribald, bawdy lyrics, which caused a live performance of 200 MOTELS to be banned from the Royal Albert Hall in 1971, Goethe wrote to Johann Eckermann, “Only the perverse fantasy can still save us.”

For co-director, Tony Palmer, who publicly disowned the film in an article he submitted to the British Sunday Observer for what he wrote off as a shamble and misguided scrap heap, Nathanael West wrote, “Your order is meaningless, my chaos is significant.”

Of note, Palmer withdrew his repudiation of the film recently by placing his name above the film’s title on last April’s DVD release (We’re Only in It for the Money, Mr. Palmer?).

And lastly, for Zappa who had no formal filmmaking training and for his prescient useage of videotape (200 MOTELS was the first feature film shot on video; director Palmer threatened to erase the master videotapes, which producer, Jerry Goode, later did in order to “balance the film budget”), then transferred to 35mm film using 3-strip Technicolor process, filmmaker Jean Cocteau wrote, “What one should do with the young is to give them a portable camera and forbid them to observe any rules except those they invent for themselves as they go along.”

DESCRIPTION of 200 MOTELS:

On the surface, FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS is a tapestry of stream of conscious vignettes chronicling how “touring can make you crazy”, blurring life on the road into a nightmare of conformity and narrow-mindedness.

However, through Dada “anti-art” aesthetics and Brechtian epic theatre, 200 MOTELS is also about the destruction of meaning through replication and repetition, whether it’s Zappa’s surreal depiction of Centerville U.S.A. as a “sealed tuna fish sandwich” with indistinguishable churches and liquor stores dotting every town, the formal representation of rural America through deliberately flimsy sets and blatantly fake props cast from real objects, or even through the medium of video itself, a cheap and instantly gratifying alternative to film, converting the motion picture screen into the same television, complete with sitcom laugh track, found in any chintzy American motel.

Zappa’s vision challenges us to see our own activities and values as inane, superficial and policed to ensure that we lead xenophobic, God-fearing, “productive” lives. Free creativity under capitalism is represented by the musicians interned in a concentration camp. In contrast, Zappa’s doppelgänger, Larry the Dwarf–ironically coming from the mouth of Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr–satirizes the function of popular culture by explaining, “the power of pop music to corrupt and putrify the minds of world youth are virtually limitless.”

Scene after scene, 200 MOTELS is a synthetic, psychedelic, kaleidoscopic burlesque of representation and facsimile swirling with wailing guitar air sculptures and modern dance, lewd yet jocular humor, winks to VanDerBeek collage animation, Warholian pop-art repetition and Claes Oldenburg’s art replicas of the mundane, references to Mephisto, Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Oddysey, Brecht/Weill’s Mahagonie City and parody of Schoenberg’s atonal Pierrot Lunaire, all stuck together with a gob of spit in the face of peace and love, pre-dating The Sex Pistols by six years, with Zappa as the silent overseer symbolized by a single brown eye (vulgar slang for the sphincter) parodying power. Dense with images and ideas, FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS is a post-modern junk sculpture of Joycean polysemy, or as Zappa would put it: “It’s a bit like eating a sausage: you don’t know what’s in it, you probably shouldn’t know what’s in there; but if it tastes good, well there you go.”

200 MOTELS’ CAST:

FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS stars Ringo Starr as Larry the Dwarf (dressed and mustached like Zappa, who in turn is represented by a dummy in some scenes), Academy Award nominated actor and folk singer, Theodore Bikel as Rance Muhammitz, part Faustian Mephistopheles, part fascist dictator (Bikel’s family fled Austria to Palestine during the Nazi occupation), The Who’s Keith Moon as a pop star disguised as a groupie disguised as a nun (Moon’s scene prognosticates his real life death from a drug overdose, “The pills, I took so many downers that I know this is the end for me!”) and Martin Lickert, Ringo Starr’s chauffeur who took the part of Mothers of Invention bass player, Jeff Simmons, when he quit the group during production (Lickert as Simmons’ double devolves into a cartoon character of Faust in a furious animation maligning Simmons’ real life decision to quit playing “comedy music”).

200 MOTELS REVIEWS:

In 1971, Variety wrote, “The incidents are often outrageously irreverent. The comedy is fast and furious, both sophisticated and sophomoric.”

Vincent Canby, New York Times, “No self-proclaimed surrealistic documentary can be all bad when it has a score composed by Frank Zappa, the Orson Welles of the rock music world….It cheerily evokes the image of groupies, warm beer, cheeseburgers, overflowing ash trays, efficient plumbing and inefficient air-conditioning, which freezes the air without cleaning it, in an endless chain of identical bed-sitters that are the homes-away-from-home for the members of a touring rock group.”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, “We have been hearing for a long time that videotape is going to revolutionize filmmaking, and now here is the vanguard of the revolution. Whatever else it may be, FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS is a joyous, fanatic, slightly weird experiment in the uses of the color videotape process. If there is more that can be done with videotape, I do not want to be there when they do it….The movie is so unrelentingly high that you even wish for intermissions….It is the kind of movie you can barely see once: not because it’s simple, but became it’s so complicated that you finally realize you aren’t meant to get everything and sort everything out. It is a full wall of sight-and-sound input, and the experience of the input — not its content, is what Zappa’s giving us. 200 MOTELS is out of Howard Johnson by Tinker Bell, with Aquarius setting.”

FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS plays Saturday, June 12th ONLY, 11PM at Cinema 21 and will be introduced by yours truly!

Don’t forget! DWEEZIL ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA performs the following Sunday night, June 13th, at The Roseland Theater.

Criterion Announces more OOP Titles

Goddammit…The Criterion Collection keeps discontinuing their DVD titles and this time it’s mostly Luis Buñuel and one of Godard’s greatest films.  You will be able to order these titles until the end of the month and then they are GONE.  See list:

Billy Liar
Bob le flambeur
Diary of A Chambermaid
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Man Who Fell to Earth (DVD and Blu-ray editions)
The Milky Way
The Phantom of Liberty
That Obscure Object of Desire
Touchez pas au grisbi
A Woman Is a Woman

tenzis-PDXFilm





PDXFilm Presents FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS!

4 06 2010

FRANK WANTS YOU TO SEE FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS!

THAT’S RIGHT!  YOU HEARD RIGHT!  FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS with The Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr as Frank Zappa (aka Larry the Dwarf)!  Screening sponsored by Laughing Planet Café and special thanks to Music Millennium and KBOO for helping to promote this special event.

This may be your only chance to see a genuine 35mm film print of FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS.  Don’t trust the DVD which distorted the image to be in the wrong aspect ratio (!?).

200 MOTELS plays one night only at Cinema 21, June 12th, 11pm .  Rated R, under 17 must be accompanied by parent.

Tell ya what…I’ll also make a deal with you:  If 200 people purchase tickets online, some lucky, random winner will receive two tickets to ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA at The Roseland Theater the next night.

Purchase your tickets for FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS by clicking HERE, then send a PDF of your receipt to twohundredmotels@me.com.  AND IF I get 200 submissions, I will randomly select and notify the lucky winner that they have won tickets to see ZPZ.  Sound good?  Great!  BUY TICKETS NOW!

For more information about the screening of 200 MOTELS, CLICK HERE!

LAST CHANCE TO SEE SILENT LIGHT

I realize it is a bold statement to call this the best film of the last decade, but there you have it. You may (not) remember my lengthy praise written in the 09 April entry of last year when SILENT LIGHT (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2009) played that Easter weekend (which was purrrfectly programmed at The Whitsell Auditorium), so for those of you who are just discovering PDXFilm, you can CLICK HERE to read last year’s praise of the modern masterpiece, SILENT LIGHT.

But the short of it is this:

With SILENT LIGHT, Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas (Japon, Battle In Heaven) delivers an extraordinary, transcendent meditation on love and religion. To capture the innocence necessary to tell his tale, Reygadas ventured to a Mennonite community in northern Mexico. Rather than falsifying his world, Reygadas cast the film with Mennonites from the community who speak the German dialect Plattdeutsch.

From the luminous opening shot, which is without question one of the most stunning opening shots ever committed to celluloid, it becomes clear that this is a much different film than Reygadas’s last, the graphic and blunt Battle In Heaven. While it appears that Reygadas was deeply influenced by Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Ordet, as well as the works of Terrence Malick, SILENT LIGHT is the work of a visionary filmmaker who is challenging himself and trying to address genuinely deep human issues. Beautiful and profound, SILENT LIGHT is cinema at its most breathtaking.

(There was a trailer here, but then I watched it.  Please don’t ever watch it.)

Film Comment ranked it as the 61st best film of the decade, but in my book…it’s number one.

This will be your last chance to ever see SILENT LIGHT as a 35mm film print. EVER. It’s too obscure to return.

SILENT LIGHT plays this weekend only at 5th Ave. Cinema. Friday and Saturday, it plays at 7pm and 9:30pm. Sunday, it plays at 3pm.

If you are one of my students at NWFC, I showed this in class and your jaws were on the floor. GO, DAMMIT! It’s FREE for all PSU students and for the rest of us, it’s only THREE BUCKS!

MY FAVORITE FILM EVER IS BACK…

I can’t believe it, but I’m grateful.  I honestly can’t figure out why The Clinton Street Theater is bringing this film back, but for yours truly, this is the film which made me devote my life to cinema.  I saw this film with my father when it came out in 1985 and it changed my life.  After the screening, we had a long drive back to his university and we couldn’t stop talking about the film.  “Since I’ll be in class for the next few hours,” my father recommended, “why don’t you hang out in the library and see what you can find out about the film, do some research.”

For the next four hours, I had my nose buried in journals and magazines learning about some guy named Martin Scorsese.  Read every interview I could find, started watching every film about which he wrote and referenced and eventually I became a disciple.  I still feel that Scorsese is the best teacher of film ever and hope I teach with the same passion and desperation.

AFTER HOURS (Martin Scorsese, U.S., 1985) is a Scorsese film which is rarely ever screened and has more in common with the absurdity found in Czech cinema of the Sixties than any of the films in Scorsese’s oeuvre.

Sometimes people ask what my favorite film is and I gotta say, partially because it was my first introduction to what cinema can really be, MY FAVORITE FILM IS AFTER HOURS.

AFTER HOURS plays three nights only, June 7th, 8th & 9th, at 7pm and 9pm.  Tickets are only six bucks and Tuesday only FOUR BUCKS.  It’s a 35mm film print.  Highly recommended.

Head On

One of the best films of 2004 will be playing at The Whitsell Auditorium tonight only at 7pm.  HEAD ON (Fatih Akin, Germany, 2004) won every major award at the European Film Awards and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Fest, but more than all its accolades, it will cripple your heart!

After a night of heavy drinking, 40-year-old Cahit, on a path of self-destruction, drives his car head-on into a building in Hamburg. Sent to a psychiatric clinic, he is approached by the young, somewhat carefree Sibel, who impulsively asks him to marry her. Desperate to escape the constraints of her fanatic Muslim-Turkish-German family, Sibel sees a culturally acceptable marriage as her only means to freedom. Reluctantly, Cahit agrees to the union and the two move in together. Against the odds, the mismatch works; with regular meals and a clean apartment, Cahit starts to clean up his act, while Sibel relishes her new life, going clubbing and picking up guys as she wishes. But convenience and friendship soon turn to love, a complication that sends Cahit towards destruction, Sibel to Istanbul, and the relationship onto the rocks.

“An intense, romantic, funny-sad, sometimes harrowing, always moving portrait of cultural estrangement and the power of love,” writes Hollywood Reporter.

HEAD ON is Friday (Hey!  That’s tonight!) only!  It plays at The Whitsell Auditorium at 7pm.  Do not miss it!

That’s it for this week!  See ya next week for 200 MOTELS!!!!!

tenzis

pdxfilm.org






(U)Mon Dieu! What a GREAT week for CINEMA!

29 05 2010

Update: Dennis Hopper, dead at 74

For many film buffs, Dennis Hopper’s career will be defined by Easy Rider, the iconic road movie which he directed and in which he starred.

The film’s success ushered in a new style of movie making in Hollywood, as well as launching the career of a young actor named Jack Nicholson.

However, Hopper subsequently struggled to maintain his career, battling against alcohol and drug abuse, before making a comeback in the 1980s.

Dennis Lee Hopper was born on 17 May 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas.

After the war his family moved first to Kansas City, Missouri, and then to San Diego in California where the young Hopper first became interested in acting.

He studied at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where he developed an interest in Shakespeare, and then at the Actors Studio in New York.

‘Talent to watch’

Hopper made his TV debut in 1954 in Medic, a groundbreaking NBC medical drama which set the pattern for this genre of programmes.

The following year he played the part of Goon in Rebel Without a Cause, alongside James Dean, who Hopper much admired.

“I came out of playing Shakespeare at the old Globe Theatre in San Diego,” he later recalled. ” I was 18 years old and thought I was the best young actor in the world. Then I saw Dean. I had never seen anybody improvise before. I had never seen anybody do things that weren’t on the page. I was amazed.”

One piece of advice Hopper remembered getting from Dean was “drink the drink, don’t act drinking the drink,” something that was to prove Hopper’s undoing in the future.

In 1956 he was again cast alongside Dean in Giant, which also starred Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Dean was killed in a car crash two weeks before filming finished.

Over the next few years Hopper appeared in a number of minor film roles and in a host of TV shows including Bonanza and The Twilight Zone.

Becoming somewhat disillusioned with acting he turned to photography where he achieved some success, once being credited in a US magazine as “a talent to watch”.

He had a supporting role alongside Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke and went on to appear with John Wayne in True Grit and The Sons of Katie Elder.

Easy Rider

Hopper’s liberal political leanings were in direct contrast to Wayne’s right-wing Republican stance, but the two men struck up a rapport on set.

He appeared as a drugs dealer in Roger Corman’s low budget film, The Trip, in 1967 where he found himself working with Jack Nicholson, who had written the script, and Peter Fonda who had a starring role.

In 1968 Hopper again teamed up with Nicholson and Fonda to produce the screenplay for Easy Rider, destined to become one of Hollywood’s cult movies.

Filming was fraught with difficulties. Hopper’s marriage to Brooke Hayward was falling apart and he constantly clashed with his co-star, Peter Fonda, and with his crew.

He was also feeling the effects of an increase in his intake of drugs and alcohol, not helped by the fact that the drug taking and drinking scenes in the film featured the real substances.

The scene in which the protagonists smoke dope in a New Orleans cemetery brought fierce criticism from the Catholic Church, which helped to boost the film’s notoriety.

But the critics welcomed Easy Rider as a new direction in film making. Hopper received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay while Nicholson was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

A self indulgent follow-up, The Last Movie, also with Peter Fonda, failed dismally at the box office and Hopper would not direct again for another 10 years.

Throughout the 1970s Hopper appeared in a string of TV shows and low budget films but continued to have problems in his personal life.

Having divorced Beth Hayward, he married Mamas and Papas singer Michelle Philips in 1970 but she filed for divorce after just one week.

He returned to prominence in 1979, appearing as a crazed photojournalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War blockbuster, Apocalypse Now, with many critics noting that Hopper appeared to be playing himself.

Rehab

He won critical praise for the controversial film, Out of the Blue, which marked his return to directing and in which he also starred.

But his increasingly erratic behaviour, caused by a massive intake of cocaine and beer, was making it difficult for him to find new acting roles.

After a bizarre attempt to blow himself up with dynamite as part of an “art happening”, he went into rehab.

He began to get his career back on track with roles in Rumble Fish and The Osterman Weekend before a critically acclaimed appearance as Frank Booth, in David Lynch’s film 1986 Blue Velvet.

“Blue Velvet was wonderful,” Hopper later recalled. “I called David and said ‘Don’t worry about casting me in this because I am Frank Booth.'”

In the same year he received an Oscar nomination for his role in Hoosiers, the saga of a small-town basketball team.

Throughout the 1990s he made a speciality of playing villains with notable appearances in Speed, with Keanu Reeves and Kevin Costner’s flawed epic, Waterworld.

He also made a series of TV commercials for the sporting goods manufacturer, Nike, in which he played a crazed referee.

He again played a villain, Victor Drazen, in the first series of the TV show, 24, and was playing Ben Cendars in the TV series, Crash, shortly before his death.

Apart from his interest in photography, Dennis Hopper was also a prolific painter and sculptor who held regular exhibitions of his work.

He described one such exhibition, in Amsterdam in 2001, as the highlight of his life, even topping Easy Rider.

He recalled how acting guru Lee Strasberg taught him to use his senses and how Jackson Pollock’s art teacher Thomas Hart Benton urged him as a young man to “get tight and paint loose”.

He said: “I think getting in a state where you are free of any pre-conceived ideas and attack a canvas with just source materials is a wonderful freeing experience.”

Michel Gondry in Portland!

Perhaps our pluvial little city is starting to make an international splash at last? 15 April, Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of actress and model, Jane Birkin, and French icon, Serge Gainsbourg, came to sing for us (with moderate attendance, probably because most Portlanders who go to rock shows don’t watch movies which require them to read subtitles AND drink beer at the same time, since when their lips move as they read, the beer dribbles out) and now…

Director of a bunch of great Björk music videos, the amazing documentary homage to Wattstax, David Chapelle’s Block Party, and then some pleasers for the twee crowd still in arrested development, such as Be Kind Rewind, Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is coming to Portland for a Q&A for his new documentary, THE THORN IN THE HEART (MG, France, 2010)! Mon dieu!

The documentary is a reminiscence about family and Gondry’s influential aunt who was a school teacher in rural France. Portland may not care for the subject, which may be too specific and subsequently alienating, but if it’s got little toy choo-choos blowing cotton ball smoke, no doubt Portland will thing it cinéma hypercool!

Gondry will have a Q&A after THE THORN IN THE HEART screening at 7:30PM. The following 9:45PM screening will only be introduced by Gondry…probably because after 10PM, he has to climb into his oversized matchbox bed and go to sleep.

THE THORN IN THE HEART plays exclusively at The Hollywood Theatre. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND TICKET SALES.

BEST FILM OF THE DECADE RETURNS TO PDX!

I realize this is a bold statement, but there you have it. You may (not) remember my lengthy praise written in the 09 April entry of last year when SILENT LIGHT (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2009) played that Easter weekend (which was purrrfectly programmed at The Whitsell Auditorium), so for those of you who are just discovering PDXFilm, you can CLICK HERE to read last year’s praise of the modern masterpiece, SILENT LIGHT.

But the short of it is this:

With SILENT LIGHT, Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas (Japon, Battle In Heaven) delivers an extraordinary, transcendent meditation on love and religion. To capture the innocence necessary to tell his tale, Reygadas ventured to a Mennonite community in northern Mexico. Rather than falsifying his world, Reygadas cast the film with Mennonites from the community who speak the German dialect Plattdeutsch.

From the luminous opening shot, which is without question one of the most stunning opening shots ever committed to celluloid, it becomes clear that this is a much different film than Reygadas’s last, the graphic and blunt Battle In Heaven. While it appears that Reygadas was deeply influenced by Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Ordet, as well as the works of Terrence Malick, SILENT LIGHT is the work of a visionary filmmaker who is challenging himself and trying to address genuinely deep human issues. Beautiful and profound, SILENT LIGHT is cinema at its most breathtaking.

(There was a trailer here, but then I watched it.  Please don’t ever watch it.)

Film Comment ranked it as the 61st best film of the decade, but in my book…it’s number one.

This will be your last chance to ever see SILENT LIGHT as a 35mm film print. EVER. It’s too obscure to return.

SILENT LIGHT plays this weekend only at 5th Ave. Cinema. Friday and Saturday, it plays at 7pm and 9:30pm. Sunday, it plays at 3pm.

If you are one of my students at NWFC, I showed this in class and your jaws were on the floor. GO, DAMMIT! It’s FREE for all PSU students and for the rest of us, it’s only THREE BUCKS!

RED SHOES EXTENDED RUN!

Last week, I protested that THE RED SHOES (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, U.K., 1948) was going to get only a one week run at 4pm daily. Though the showtime is still designed for the retired and the unemployed, due to the massive turnouts (!), THE RED SHOES has been extended for another week!

There is a reason why Martin Scorsese named THE RED SHOES his all time favorite film. There is a dizzying hysteria for cinema in every edit, every composition and every shadow and light. THE RED SHOES is PURE CINEMA.

Roger Ebert accurately wrote, “The film is voluptuous in its beauty and passionate in its storytelling. You don’t watch it, you bathe in it.”

The New Yorker writes of this newly released print from The Janus Films archive, “No wonder Britain, still rationed in color, food, and feeling in the wake of an exhausting war, could not cope with what the movie proposed. Catch it here now, and you will not just be seeing an old film made new; you will have your vision restored.”

THE RED SHOES plays for one more week daily at 4pm ONLY at Cinema 21. DON’T MISS IT!

Hong Sang-Soo films return!

Friday only at The Whitsell Auditorium is WOMAN ON THE BEACH (Hong Sang-Soo, S. Korea, 2006).

As in his latest film, Like You Know It All (S.Korea, 2009), which screened in this year’s PIFF, Hong Sang-soo’s earlier film explores, in the words of Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman, his preoccupations with “karmic irony, self-deceived desire, squandered second chances, and unforeseen abandonment.” A filmmaker struggling with a new screenplay sets off on a wintry retreat to a desolate seaside town in search of inspiration…or perhaps just to procrastinate. Either way, he winds up wooing his production designer’s girlfriend and even a local girl who looks just like her. “One of recent cinema’s deepest portraits of an artist,”writes Richard Brody of The New Yorker.

Film Comment ranked WOMAN ON THE BEACH the 83rd best film of last decade and this is definitely your last chance to see it as a 35mm print!

WOMAN ON THE BEACH plays Friday, at 7PM only at The Whitsell Auditorium.

On Saturday, one of Hong Sang-Soo’s more recent films, NIGHT AND DAY (S.Korea, 2008) plays at The Whitsell.

In self-imposed exile from his native Seoul, Sung-nam, a fortyish year old married photorealist painter, wanders the streets of Paris. But a roundelay of chance meetings in the City of Lights entangles him in the emotional lives of two Korean women. Hong’s lucid film wryly observes one man’s confused attempt to savor a footloose year—even if it is 20 years too late.

“One of Hong’s lightest and most easily digestible metaphysical meals to date.”—Variety.

“An international critic’s favorite! Thoughtful, ruminative, sexy romances set in South Korea’s upper-bohemian scene.”—New York Magazine.

NIGHT AND DAY plays one night only, Saturday, May 29th at 7pm at The Whitsell Auditorium.

Awright this is it. This is the Big One.

PDXFilm.org & Laughing Planet Café Present

FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS

35mm FILM PRINT – Exclusive Engagement at CINEMA 21

ONE NIGHT ONLY! ALL AGES WELCOME!

SATURDAY, JUNE 12th at 11pm

200 MOTELS HISTORY:

In attempting to summarize the infamous history of FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS, three quotes mentioned in Amos Vogel’s book, Film as a Subversive Art, come to mind which also address early malignment of the film.

For the music’s ribald, bawdy lyrics, which caused a live performance of 200 MOTELS to be banned from the Royal Albert Hall in 1971, Goethe wrote to Johann Eckermann, “Only the perverse fantasy can still save us.”

For co-director, Tony Palmer, who publicly disowned the film in an article he submitted to the British Sunday Observer for what he wrote off as a shamble and misguided scrap heap, Nathanael West wrote, “Your order is meaningless, my chaos is significant.”

Of note, Palmer withdrew his repudiation of the film recently by placing his name above the film’s title on last April’s DVD release (We’re Only in It for the Money, Mr. Palmer?).

And lastly, for Zappa who had no formal filmmaking training and for his prescient useage of videotape (200 MOTELS was the first feature film shot on video; director Palmer threatened to erase the master videotapes, which producer, Jerry Goode, later did in order to “balance the film budget”), then transferred to 35mm film using 3-strip Technicolor process, filmmaker Jean Cocteau wrote, “What one should do with the young is to give them a portable camera and forbid them to observe any rules except those they invent for themselves as they go along.”

DESCRIPTION of 200 MOTELS:

On the surface, FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS is a tapestry of stream of conscious vignettes chronicling how “touring can make you crazy”, blurring life on the road into a nightmare of conformity and narrow-mindedness.

However, through Dada “anti-art” aesthetics and Brechtian epic theatre, 200 MOTELS is also about the destruction of meaning through replication and repetition, whether it’s Zappa’s surreal depiction of Centerville U.S.A. as a “sealed tuna fish sandwich” with indistinguishable churches and liquor stores dotting every town, the formal representation of rural America through deliberately flimsy sets and blatantly fake props cast from real objects, or even through the medium of video itself, a cheap and instantly gratifying alternative to film, converting the motion picture screen into the same television, complete with sitcom laugh track, found in any chintzy American motel.

Zappa’s vision challenges us to see our own activities and values as inane, superficial and policed to ensure that we lead xenophobic, God-fearing, “productive” lives. Free creativity under capitalism is represented by the musicians interned in a concentration camp. In contrast, Zappa’s doppelgänger, Larry the Dwarf–ironically coming from the mouth of Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr–satirizes the function of popular culture by explaining, “the power of pop music to corrupt and putrify the minds of world youth are virtually limitless.”

Scene after scene, 200 MOTELS is a synthetic, psychedelic, kaleidoscopic burlesque of representation and facsimile swirling with wailing guitar air sculptures and modern dance, lewd yet jocular humor, winks to VanDerBeek collage animation, Warholian pop-art repetition and Claes Oldenburg’s art replicas of the mundane, references to Mephisto, Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Oddysey, Brecht/Weill’s Mahagonie City and parody of Schoenberg’s atonal Pierrot Lunaire, all stuck together with a gob of spit in the face of peace and love, pre-dating The Sex Pistols by six years, with Zappa as the silent overseer symbolized by a single brown eye (vulgar slang for the sphincter) parodying power. Dense with images and ideas, FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS is a post-modern junk sculpture of Joycean polysemy, or as Zappa would put it: “It’s a bit like eating a sausage: you don’t know what’s in it, you probably shouldn’t know what’s in there; but if it tastes good, well there you go.”

200 MOTELS’ CAST:

FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS stars Ringo Starr as Larry the Dwarf (dressed and mustached like Zappa, who in turn is represented by a dummy in some scenes), Academy Award nominated actor and folk singer, Theodore Bikel as Rance Muhammitz, part Faustian Mephistopheles, part fascist dictator (Bikel’s family fled Austria to Palestine during the Nazi occupation), The Who’s Keith Moon as a pop star disguised as a groupie disguised as a nun (Moon’s scene prognosticates his real life death from a drug overdose, “The pills, I took so many downers that I know this is the end for me!”) and Martin Lickert, Ringo Starr’s chauffeur who took the part of Mothers of Invention bass player, Jeff Simmons, when he quit the group during production (Lickert as Simmons’ double devolves into a cartoon character of Faust in a furious animation maligning Simmons’ real life decision to quit playing “comedy music”).

200 MOTELS’ REVIEWS:

In 1971, Variety wrote, “The incidents are often outrageously irreverent. The comedy is fast and furious, both sophisticated and sophomoric.”

Vincent Canby, New York Times, “No self-proclaimed surrealistic documentary can be all bad when it has a score composed by Frank Zappa, the Orson Welles of the rock music world….It cheerily evokes the image of groupies, warm beer, cheeseburgers, overflowing ash trays, efficient plumbing and inefficient air-conditioning, which freezes the air without cleaning it, in an endless chain of identical bed-sitters that are the homes-away-from-home for the members of a touring rock group.”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, “We have been hearing for a long time that videotape is going to revolutionize filmmaking, and now here is the vanguard of the revolution. Whatever else it may be, FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS is a joyous, fanatic, slightly weird experiment in the uses of the color videotape process. If there is more that can be done with videotape, I do not want to be there when they do it….The movie is so unrelentingly high that you even wish for intermissions….It is the kind of movie you can barely see once: not because it’s simple, but became it’s so complicated that you finally realize you aren’t meant to get everything and sort everything out. It is a full wall of sight-and-sound input, and the experience of the input — not its content, is what Zappa’s giving us. 200 MOTELS is out of Howard Johnson by Tinker Bell, with Aquarius setting.”

FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS plays Saturday, June 12th ONLY, 11PM at Cinema 21 and will be introduced by yours truly!

Also of interest, DWEEZIL ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA performs the following Sunday night, June 13th, at The Roseland Theater.

Pheew!

tenzis-PDXFilm







PDXFilm: (U) The Red Shoes Restoration, Truffaut’s Small Change & more!

16 05 2010

UPDATE!

Showtimes have been posted for THE RED SHOES RESTORATION (M.P. & E.P., U.K., 1948), which was a SMASH HIT at last year’s Cannes…turns out it’s only screening ONCE A DAY for one week.

What time is it showing?  4pm.

So who’s gonna be able to go?  Not you.  You have a day job.  If you’re retired, on the other hand…you are a lucky, undeserving bastard because the people who most need to see this film are the people who still have fire and passion in their heart, like the main characters who will do anything for art and love.

As for the rest of us, we will have to take a day off of work to see this special screening.  But you never know…maybe it will come back…on fucking Blu-Ray or some shit.

Poor The Red Shoes…

Click HERE for Cinema 21’s website.

Wasn’t the film scene last week just so dreamy?

There was CABARET ( Bob Fosse, U.S., 1972) starring a lovable, adorable sexual Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles at The 5th Avenue Cinema (This is the Czech film poster, artwork by Wiktor Gorka):

A pristine archival print of the always spooky and magical NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Charles Laughton, U.S., 1955) at The Laurelhurst Theater (Here’s a rare publicity photo):

A special encore screening, thanks to Dan Halsted, of THE MYSTERY OF CHESS BOXING (Joseph Kuo, H.K., 1979):

And a new print of the Italian neorealist classic, THE BICYCLE THIEF (Vittorio De Sica, It., 1948):

THIS WEEK!

The Bicycle Thief Continues

THE BICYCLE THIEF continues at The Hollywood Theatre for one more week!  And listen, if you haven’t seen this film, just go.  GO.  It’s impossible how much this is worth stressing.  It’s considered one of the greatest films made ever.  In its day, Sight & Sound, a film magazine published by The British Film Institute, called it the greatest film of all time.

Amos Vogel of Film as a Subversive describes it as follows, “Non-professionals, actual locales, the plight of the people: this total rejection of decadent fascist cinema is at the heart of Italian Neorealism.  In De Sica’s humanist masterpiece, the unemployed father, unable to work because his bike has been stolen, attempts to retrieve it, but, after endless heart-break, is himself forced into stealing one to live.  Caught, he is degraded in front of his son, with him throughout; instead of rejecting him, the boy takes his hand as they disappear into the multitude.”

Some of you may have taken a film class and seen a lousy DVD projection of it.  Just go see it properly, the way audiences saw it in 1948, it will put your life in perspective.  SHOWTIMES:  http://hollywoodtheatre.org/engaging/index.html

Truffaut’s Small Change

Also at The Hollywood Theatre through the end of the week, SMALL CHANGE (Francois Truffaut, Fr., 1976)!  What a delightful surprise!  This isn’t one of Truffaut’s better known films, like the Antoine Doinel cycle or Jules et Jim, but it’s a great film to kick off your summer!  SMALL CHANGE is hopeful, gently funny and full of wonder.

Here is an adorable British quad of Truffaut’s film for which I’d give anything to add to my collection:

The New York Times called Truffaut’s film, “An original and major work in minor keys.”  In 1976, Roger Ebert called it his favorite film of the year and Leonard Maltin called it “wise, witty and perceptive.”  I’ve been waiting to see this film on the big screen, particularly for the baby and cat on the windowsill scene, which Ebert had called “Truffaut at his best.”

What’s so delightful about the film is that it is comprised of tiny events, not a linear story, and so there is a loose, organic flow from one episode to the next.

Francois Truffaut’s SMALL CHANGE and Vittorio De Sica’s BICYCLE THIEF play for one week at The Hollywood Theatre.  Regular admission is an affordable $6.50 and Monday nights are only FOUR BUCKS!!

The Red Shoes Restoration

ALRIGHT FOLKS.  THIS IS THE ONE.

If you are going to choose to see only one film this week, It’s gotta be this one.  The gorgeous, the magical, the passionate, the balletic British masterpiece, THE RED SHOES (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, U.K., 1948).  There is a reason why Martin Scorsese named THE RED SHOES his all time favorite film.  There is a dizzying hysteria for cinema in every edit, every composition and every shadow and light.  THE RED SHOES is PURE CINEMA.

“Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger created a vision in THE RED SHOES, one that has never really been matched,” said Martin Scorsese, founder and Chair of The Film Foundation. “There’s no question that it’s one of the most beautiful color films ever made, and one of the truest to the experience of the artist, the joy and pain of devoting yourself to a life of creation.”

Cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, pioneered early three-strip Technicolor technology with this and other collaborations with Powell & Pressburger and every single element of production design, from the dancing cellophane to the painterly backdrops to the red shoes themselves POP! off the screen with a vivid saturation like you can only see in a cinema.  The choreography of both the dancing and of the camera is worth repeated viewing for anyone interested in learning the magic of film editing.  This film is dizzyingly alive and in love with the creative process and the narrative itself is a polemic between art and love.

Roger Ebert accurately wrote, “The film is voluptuous in its beauty and passionate in its storytelling. You don’t watch it, you bathe in it.”  The New Yorker writes of this newly released print from The Janus Films archive, “No wonder Britain, still rationed in color, food, and feeling in the wake of an exhausting war, could not cope with what the movie proposed. Catch it here now, and you will not just be seeing an old film made new; you will have your vision restored.”

I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. SEE THIS FILM AT LEAST ONCE.  AIM FOR THREE TIMES.  GO OPENING NIGHT, TO GET LOST IN THE PASSION.  GO AGAIN, WATCH THE FILMMAKING.  GO AGAIN, WATCH THE FILMMAKING AGAIN.  THIS IS A FILM TO LIVE.

Also note this is a very special restoration print on tour for the very first time.   The restored version had its world premiere at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and opened commercially at New York’s Film Forum to a triumphant reception for both the technical brilliance of the restoration and the re–discovery of the greatest dance film ever made.

The restoration began in 2006. Earlier, in the 1980s, the film had been optically copied from flammable nitrate and acetate materials, including vintage Technicolor dye transfer prints, nitrate and acetate protection master positive copies, original soundtrack elements, and — most important of all — the still–extant three–strip Technicolor camera negatives.

These original nitrate three–strip camera negatives have been utilised for this restoration to obtain the highest possible image quality. The negatives, which were damaged and suffered differential shrinkage, were scanned at 4K resolution; the three strips were re–aligned, frame–by–frame, producing perfect colour registration.

The new digital negative has been used to strike beautiful new 35mm prints at Cinetech Labs, one of which premiered in Cannes, and one of which was acquired by Chapel Distribution for screening here at Cinema 21. These newly–restored elements ensure that the film is now properly preserved for posterity.

“The late Richard Franklin, an enthusiastic champion of the Technicolor process, always maintained The Red Shoeswas the perfect Technicolor film, technically and aesthetically.” — Ross Campbell

THE RED SHOES plays for ONE WEEK ONLY at Cinema 21.  For those who have never been to Cinema 21, their projectors are regularly maintained, their lenses are balanced and sharp and their bulbs are bright.  PLEASE go see this film during its first run at a state of the art cinema like Cinema 21.  This is a very, very special tour of this restoration print and this will be your only opportunity to see THE RED SHOES!

I’m not including the trailer because it doesn’t compare.  The stills above may cause skepticism about the films majesty enough as it is.

Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps

By the way, for those of you who may be new to PDXFilm.org, although there is often an emphasis on repertory programming, my objective is to offer what I consider to be the best cinema Portland has to offer in any given week.  It just so happens that the most exciting cinema programming in Portland right now IS re-released and rare, older cinema.  But to me, anything can be great cinema, current or otherwise.

At the Laurelhurst this week as they continue their Classics Month, Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 STEPS (U.K., 1935).

“At 35, with more than a dozen features already under his belt,” writes Time Out New York, “the director triumphed with this dazzling mixture of spycraft, banter, expository nonsense and manic chases along the Scottish Highlands.”  The U.K.’s Film4 writes, “With its great turns by Donat, Carroll (the original Hitchcock blonde) and all the cast, and immaculate direction of a cracking script, this is timelessly enjoyable. A true classic.”  Total Film writes, “All the fun of North By Northwest in a little over half the time, The 39 Steps is – even for the umpteenth viewing – absolutely unmissable.”

It’s great that Laurelhurst is playing these older films, but based upon the last few screenings I’ve seen there, it appears that Portland audiences are looking for excuses to act like drunken assholes more than fall into the abyss of great cinema.  THE 39 STEPS does not have an ounce of kitsch to it, and so perhaps the film is so old that it will survive unscathed by clattering plastic cups rolling down the aisle and moronic guffaws at any nuance which doesn’t relate to our immediate culture.  It is becoming more and more difficult to watch cinema in this town as the focus becomes on the beer.  As much as I respect Laurelhurst for its choices, it may be too late to teach these poorly behaved knuckle dragging sorts that there is more to cinema than kitsch, and maybe that’s why films like The Big Lebowski and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Labyrinth are in constant circulation; Portland is forever in arrested development.

Good luck to those of you who brave the beery screening of this early Hitchcock classic, THE 39 STEPS.  Plays for one wee and show times are on their website.  Worst case scenario, you can refund your ticket to see the powerful A PROPHET (Jacques Audiard, Fr., 2009) as I guarantee no one will be laughing at this violent genre masterpiece.  A PROPHET is as good as the great American genre films of the seventies and won the prestigious Grand Prix at Cannes, 2009.

A PROPHET plays nightly at 9:10pm (Jesus, really!?  It’s 150 minutes long!) at The Laurelhurst Theater.

*     *     *     *

Speaking of great new cinema, as we become berated with 3-D everything this summer, there is a simple and effective animated film capturing the hearts of millions called THE SECRET OF KELLS (Tomm Moore, Nora Tworney, Fr./Belgium/Ireland, 2009).

You may decide to wait for it to leave the shoddily managed Fox Tower, operated by Regal Cinemas.  Last time I saw a film there was Michael Haneke’s THE WHITE RIBBON on opening day and the print was scratched for the first twenty minutes, and yet they didn’t bother to let the audience know.

THE SECRET OF KELLS will be around, so you might want to wait for it to hit second run than to pay $10 to see it in a shoebox projected by an automated platter system.

Wilder’s The Apartment

Lastly, The 5th Ave Cinema presents for one weekend only, the American comedy classic, THE APARTMENT (Billy Wilder, 1960) starring an adorable Shirley McClaine and Jack Lemmon.

In 1960, the French had Godard’s Breathless and the Americans had THE APARTMENT, which won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (two others as well with five other nominations).  THE APARTMENT was selected for preservation by The Library of Congress Film Registry and is considered one of the great comedies by many.  Of note, it is the last film to have won best picture that was shot in black and white.

THE APARTMENT plays next weekend at 5th Ave. Cinema.

COMING SOON!

AND NOW…

For some shameless self promotion!

PDXFilm.org and Laughing Planet Present a 35mm film print of FRANK ZAPPA’S 200 MOTELS (FZ, U.S., 1968)!

This is a very special screening and plays ONE NIGHT ONLY, SATURDAY JUNE 12th, 11pm at Cinema 21.  More details to come, but tell all the Zappa fans you know.  The next night, Dweezil Zappa is playing at The Roseland Theater so make it a Zappa weekend!

tenzis

pdxfilm





Casting Call!

5 09 2009

I love erotic realism.  I love films that take the time to show touching and tickling and playing between two characters who really like each other, films that teach us that through a healthy and playful bed life, people can become their best selves or at least have a brighter prospect towards the world around them.  What’s that?  You can’t think of any films like this?  Huh!  ME NEITHER!

Sooooooooo…let’s make one!

Columnist for The Stranger and The Portland Mercury, Dan Savage, has created Hump, an amateur porn film festival.  Now personally, I hate porn.  It shows all the boring parts of sex, which is the sucking and the fucking in thirteen bendable poses and it revolves around the man’s orgasm which once it happens, ends the scene.  But what happens before that scene?  Or better yet, what happens AFTER that scene?  And where is all the body exploration?  Where is the touching, the moments of emotional intimacy where it feels so good that someone breaks into tears?  What about the times when someone gets up to get their lover a glass of water?  What about the long gazes, the limbic resonance?!  Sex is so much richer than what porn has to offer.  And if I were to make a five minute film for Hump, that’s exactly the kind of eroticism I would explore.

The Hump Film Fest will take place at Cinema 21 in late October, but the deadline for submissions is at the end of this month.  I KNOW I can make the best erotic film in Portland.  I’ve been waiting my whole life to make something really lovely.  In fact, I was neeeeeeearly cast in John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, but that’s another story.  In the meantime, I NEED A CAST.

If you or someone you know is interested in being in a five minute film where there will be some nudity and sexuality, please contact me at PDXFilm@mac.com.  Couples would be terrific, but individuals are fine too.  I need at the very least one female (this seems to be the hardest role to fill), between the ages of 22-45.  Also looking for men, the same age.  Race is irrelevant.  Body types should be healthy.  The most important thing is that you are doing this for the fun of it.  Unfortunately, I can’t reveal the narrative structure here because it’s a simple but really effective idea which I want to keep secret.  Feel free to send pics, face and clothed body are fine.  I’m not really looking to be in this myself, but if I have to, I have to.  For some weird reason, people have been encouraging me to do so, so like I said, the female lead role is the important role to fill.

So again if you believe that porn is stoopid and that sexuality on film should show genuine tenderness and moments of quiet and a loving embrace (Am I becoming the Mister Rogers of sex?), please contact yours truly at PDXFilm@mac.com.

The author at work

tenzispdxfilm





SALE! All Criterion DVD Titles 50% OFF!

24 07 2009

First off, sorry about the absence but I had a life changing experience and so haven’t been near a computer for a while.  I’ve seen some great films along the way, which I’ll write about properly in a later posting, but you gotta tell all your cinephile friends about this:

Always wanted that BRAZIL box set with all three versions of the film?  Or THE ADVENTURES OF ANTOINE DOINEL by Truffaut?  Or the complete masterwork of BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ?  Or even the 50 DVD set of THE ESSENTIAL ART HOUSE: 50 YEARS OF JANUS FILMS?

Barnes & Noble’s website through August 2nd is having a sale on ALL Criterion titles.  ALL Criterion titles are 50% off!!!  That is unheard of by any standard!  And this includes this week’s release of two Godard films which have never been available on DVD, MADE IN U.S.A. and 2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER!

And yes!  This even includes all the Eclipse box sets like the brilliantly delirious films of William Klein, the early documentaries by Louis Malle, the first films of Sam Fuller, Lubitsch’s bawdy musical box set and many more!  All HALF OFF!  WOW!

Start by going to Criterion’s website, browse all their titles in print, make yerself a list and then go to Barnes & Noble’s site.  Hurry!  Sale ends 8/02!

If you’ve ever wanted to start an essential art house cinema DVD collection, now is the time!

tenzispdxfilm





PDXFilm Presents TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE this Friday, July 3rd!

28 06 2009

Since 2004, I’ve been kicking myself for not going to see TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE (Trey Parker, U.S., 2004) in the cinema when it came out.  The attention to detail and the craftsmanship of the art direction in this $30 million marionette film is so very fine with a tremendous sense of humor that it really needs to be seen on a big screen.

And so this Independence Day weekend, I asked Cinema 21 if we could have a late night screening to kick off the holiday weekend and they obliged!

team_america_2004_poster

TEAM AMERICA was ranked by the 2004 Film Comment Film Critics’ Poll as one of the best films of 2004 and despite its references to Bush Era politics, the film’s vitriolic attack on Hollywood’s love of military power while their celebrities hypocritically condone real life violence is still timely.  TEAM AMERICA’s cast is without sex organs and just like a Hollywood sex scene, they boff away into the rosey dawn, neutered and unthreatening. TEAM AMERICA is a merciless attack on American ignorance, arrogance, self-righteousness and corporate funded imperialism, a buggery of the sophomoric and puerile comic book franchises, all the while theatrically self-aware of the limitations of their marionettes.  In other words, TEAM AMERICA is as much a film about film as it is a political satire, which for me makes this a perfect cinema event.

J. Hoberman of Village Voice, “Team America is at once grandiose and tacky, elaborate and deflationary.”

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, “Outrageously, gut-bustingly hilarious.”

John Anderson of Newsday, “Sophomoric, vulgar, obscene and brilliant.”

Desson Thomson of Washington Post, “Wickedly funny and devilishly subversive.”

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE plays one night only, Friday July 3rd at 11PM at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave. This is a 21 and over show, Cinema 21 now serves beer and wine.

Another great Independence Day weekend film is THE PARALLAX VIEW (Alan J. Pakula, U.S., 1974) starring Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, Hume Cronyn and gorgeous cinematography by Gordon Willis who shot The Godfather and Annie Hall, which opened Friday at Laurelhurst Theater.

Parallax View

Of the three films that make up director Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoid trilogy” (Klute, All the President’s Men and THE PARALLAX VIEW), the latter most strongly conveys the paranoid atmosphere of the 1960s and ’70s. A stylish suspense-thriller, THE PARALLAX VIEW mirrors the political distrust Americans began to feel during the period following the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War, culminating in the Watergate conspiracy. The film stars Warren Beatty as investigative journalist Joe Frady, whose former girlfriend and colleague, Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss), witnesses the assassination of a U.S. senator at the Seattle Space Needle. A government report declares it the work of a lone gunman, but when eyewitnesses begin showing up dead, Carter is convinced that a wider conspiracy is at work. Probing deeper, Frady uncovers the operations of the Parallax Corporation, which recruits social misfits and uses mind control techniques to turn them into assassins. In keeping with classic 1970s film, the story is a suspenseful, well-acted thriller with a surprise ending that will resound with the viewer long after the credits start rolling.  Plus the film brilliantly employs the use of montage.  Check out this sequence from the testing room.  It’s genius.

THE PARALLAX VIEW plays through the rest of the week at The Laurelhurst.  Check website for showtimes.

The Hollywood Theatre is showing the most dazzling, confounding, flamboyant and operatic piece of virtuoso filmmaking you’re likely to ever see, IL DIVO (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy, 2008) which won the Prix du Jury at Cannes 2008.

ildivo

For the life of me, when my best friend and I saw this at PIFF last year, we couldn’t follow it at all and we really didn’t care.  It was as if we were being whisked through the history of contemporary Italian politics in a cherry red Ferrari while blaringDanse Macabre, Opus 40 by Camille Saint-Saëns with all the windows down.  We had no idea where we were or what was happening, but we were giddy like school children dizzy on lemonade.

Here.  Just watch the beginning of the movie.  It’s only two minutes long.  Watch in full screen.

And the trailer can be viewed on the official IL DIVO website HERE.

For more than 50 years, Giulio Andreotti has been Italy’s most powerful, feared and enigmatic politician. And as he begins his seventh term as Prime Minister, he and his hardliner faction take control of a country reeling from the brazen murders of several high-level bankers, judges and journalists, as well as the kidnapping and assassination of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. But as the Christian Democrat party crumbles in a nationwide bribery scandal, suspicion begins to fall on Andreotti himself as the center of a shocking conspiracy involving the Vatican, the Mafia and the secret neo-Fascist Masonic Lodge P2. In what is called The Trial Of The Century, Italy’s legendary Senator for Life will stand accused of corruption, collusion and murder.  That’s the story, a true one, but go for the filmmaking.  MUST SEE.

IL DIVO starts Friday at The Hollywood Theatre.  Check website for showtimes.

Still playing at The Hollywood, one of the most innovative and existential thrillers you’re likely to ever see, REVANCHE (Götz Spielmann, Austria, 2008) which was nominated for Best Foreign Film last year and won countless European awards.

revanche

At once  gripping and tragic of nearly Greek proportions, REVANCHE is the stunning international breakthrough debut from Austrian filmmaker Götz Spielmann. In a ragged section of Vienna, hardened ex-con Alex (the mesmerizing Johannes Krisch) works as an assistant in a brothel, where he falls for Ukrainian hooker Tamara (Irina Potapenko). Their desperate plans for escape unexpectedly intersect with the lives of a rural cop (Andreas Lust) and his seemingly content wife (Ursula Strauss). With meticulous, elegant direction, Spielmann creates a tense, surprising portrait of vengeance and redemption, and a journey into the darkest forest of human nature, in which violence and beauty exist side by side.  This is one of the best films of the year.


Revanche – Trailer – The most popular videos are here

REVANCHE plays for one more week at The Hollywood Theatre.  Check website for showtimes.
And don’t forget, you only have one more week to see one of the best films of the year at The Laurelhurst, Jim Jarmusch’s THE LIMITS OF CONTROL.

But I hope to see many of you at the TEAM AMERICA screening.  Bring lots of friends!  The more the merrier!  And there’s BEER too!

tenzispdxfilm