Films in PDX: Jan. 21st – Jan. 29th

20 01 2009

First and foremost, HAPPY 63rd BIRTHDAY, DAVID LYNCH!!!

Now down to business…The 32nd Portland International Film Festival launches February 5th! Yes, that’s right, it’s the one month of the year when foreign films play in Portland. Sad to think that there was a time when foreign films made up more than three percent of the U.S. box office. Don’t believe me? According to the New York Times, in 2005, only ten foreign language films had ticket sales of more than $1 million nationwide and according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, foreign films make up only 3% of movie theater revenue in the U.S. Pretty depressing, ain’t it?

But like I said, February is the one month of the year when you can see films that are made outside of the U.S. That said, The Portland International Film Festival at best is a Reader’s Digest version of the international festivals that actually have an impact. PIFF kind of pecks and hunts through what played at Berlin and Cannes and Toronto and Venice and all the rest of the international fests, but never does the festival discover a film or filmmaker. But a thirsty man refuses no drink, so we take what we can get.

Even still, the festival has a reputation of not seeking the best of these festivals, but rather catering to a very specific demographic of blue haired retirees, who grew up during the reign of the art house cinema and are willing to invest $250 for an annual Silver Screen Membership every year, by selecting sentimental, cloying, formulaic international films. Now I personally feel that people over the age of sixty are interested and capable of appreciating challenging cinema, the kind to which they were exposed during the post World War II era when the art film was at its peak, as well as throughout the Sixties, and not films that placate and pacify, but then again I’m not an ageist. Great cinema transcends age and furthermore, aging doesn’t automatically mean that a person becomes less angry, concerned or passionate about the very X-rated state of the world, but I digress. In the past, PIFF has been mostly a disappointment, especially in the past two years.

HOWEVER…this year’s first week of press screenings, which are available to any press member or Silver Screen Members, is showing four of the most important, challenging and widely discussed films of 2008 (The actual festival schedule will become available soon)!

Rather than try to convince you through my own opinion and passion, I have uploaded trailers for nine of the films which will be playing at the festival (and the week of January 27th-January 30th for Silver Hair, er I mean Screen, Members). The first four are HUNGER, GOMORRAH, OF TIME AND THE CITY (which are all on the Film Society of Lincoln Center Best Of list for 2008) and BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX. The rest are pandering crap, but don’t take my word for it…watch the trailers!




With any luck, the Portland International Film Festival will be as great as those first four films.

By the way, all PSU students! Throughout the year, you can attend ALL films at The Northwest FIlm Center FOR FREE. That’s a $250 value! So start paying attention to their scheduling and see great films all year round for free!



Tomorrow and Thursday night ONLY are the last two nights to see Jean Luc Godard’s 1967 masterpiece, PIERROT LE FOU (Jean Luc Godard, 1967, France)! If you give a shit whatsoever about Cinema with a Capital C, you’ll go. This is a brand new 35mm print which explodes with color, humor, subversion, politics and passion.

Pierrot Le Fou Trailer 1

Pierrot Le Fou Trailer 2

BONUS TO ALL GODARD FANS! Godard, who is still alive and active, made the trailer for last year’s Viennale Film Festival, which played in 100 cinemas throughout Austria: 



Liked GRAND TORINO didya???

THURSDAY, JANUARY 29TH at 7PM, ONE NIGHT ONLY at The Whitsell Auditorium, Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Sergio Leone, 1967, Italy/Spain)!!! This is the greatest Spaghetti Western ever made and stars CLINT EASTWOOD, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef, featuring an iconic music score by Italy’s most prolific composer, Ennio Morricone.

If you are under thirty or have never seen a Western on the big screen, you MUST GO. It’s epic, funny, riveting and great storytelling.



One of the best films of 1998 is playing at The Fifth Avenue Cinema at PSU this weekend. Vincent Gallo, a voluptuous, jiggly Christina Ricci (before she became rail thin and boring), Mickey Rourke (who by now you’ve probably been convinced is worth reassessing because of an overly aggressive marketing campaign for The Wrestler), Ben Gazzara, Rosanna Arquette, Jan-Michael Vincent, Anjelica Huston and Kevin Pollak and Kevin Corrigan, as Rocky the Goon, star in BUFFALO ’66 (Vincent Gallo, 1998, U.S.). For as arrogant and insane as Gallo is, this really is a great film and has aged very well, for those of you who saw it upon its release. It’s promotional tools were also special; the poster displayed the name of the film in sky blue glitter and the trailer is as amazing as the film.


BUFFALO ’66 plays Friday and Saturday at 7pm and 9:30pm, Sunday at 3pm.

And remember…films at the 5th Ave Cinema are only THREE BUCKS, and even better, they are FREE to PSU students, always shown on 35mm film and always FREE POPCORN! Last Saturday night’s screening of Forbidden Planet was standing room only! How cool is that?



One of the greatest sci-fi films of the Seventies will be playing at The Bagdad SATURDAY ONLY at 11pm. Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto star in ALIEN (Ridley Scott, 1979, U.K.)!

Again, if you’re under thirty and you’ve never seen ALIEN or if you’ve only seen it on a little television screen, do yourself a favor and go. It’s only THREE BUCKS.


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What’s that you say? The economy got ya down? Can’t afford three dollars for a movie even? Well, how about staying at home and watching great international cinema FOR FREE!

Yes, that’s right! You heard right! is a new website which has partnered with distributor The Criterion Collection to bring you six free films every month from their international collection. Their first festival, two months ago featured five truly amazing coming of age films: Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999, U.K.), Au Revoir Les Enfants (Louis Malle, 1987, Fr.), Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989, NZ), Lord of the Flies (Peter Brook, 1963, UK) and The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973, Spain).

This month’s theme is Killer Movies! Go to this link to watch six great international films FOR FREE!


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You may be wondering why I’m not reporting on any first run films this time. We’re in an annual slump when the studios are aware that everyone is in a mad dash to see the films released in December or earlier in preparation for the Oscars and so don’t really release anything worthwhile. But you can still catch great films at The Laurelhurst like HAPPY GO LUCKY and French thriller, TELL NO ONE, or at The Hollywood Theatre, I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, SYNEDOCHE NEW YORK and WENDY AND LUCY, all of which I’ve mentioned in previous emails. So if you’re not in the mood for rep cinema programming, the second run cinemas are lookin’ good!

And again, there’s six great films for free at The Auteurs!

But still…here is the PDXFilm recommended film schedule:

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: Pierrot Le Fou at The Clinton St, 7pm only
FRIDAY: Buffalo ’66 at 5th Avenue Cinema at PSU
SATURDAY: Alien at The Bagdad
Next THURSDAY: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly at The NW Film Center
ONLY ELEVEN MORE DAYS UNTIL TRON!!! Just found this myspace page promoting the soundtrack by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos. GORGEOUSNESS.








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