Alright, I give in. I’m back. I really thought no one was paying any attention to this little blog, and then I got an email from theauteurs.com thanking me for the mention of their free online films. That was a total surprise and an honor. If you haven’t visited theauteurs.com and you are a discerning cinephile interested in contemporary foreign cinema (and some old art house classics too), please check out what they’re up to. They are the real deal. And at the bottom of this entry is a reiteration of what I posted earlier this week, so check it out! FREE CINEMA! YIPEE!
Plus there is another reason, but it shall remain a secret until after summer! Shh…
Meanwhile, back in this pluvial, blustery Portland town as Spring messily rages its teenage hormones and beauty all over the place, there’s some great films playing!
First up, tonight starts the PDX Film Festival, which is the only experimental film festival in town thanks in part to our beloved Cinema Project which curates great experimental films all year round. I heart Cinema Project. I (what’s the opposite of heart?) colon cancer PDX Film Festival. In the past, it’s mostly been total wanker vomit eating, feces masturbating shite, so I am normally not just skeptical but violently mortified of the programming. After all, that’s where twee queen Miranda “July” Grossinger got her candy coated key to the city (which she then took and promptly shoved it up Portland’s collective arse on her way out). But this year’s PDX Film Festival has ties with Cinema Project, so with any luck it won’t make you want to gouge out your eyes. I just hope that not every film is introduced by saying, “So (sniffle, sniffle) getting a print of this film (sniffle, snort) was really, really really, REALLY hard, I want you all to know because it was sooooo hard for me and you bitches better appreciate how much work it was for me to find this. Aren’t I such a cinemartyr?” Clap clap, pat pat, well done, olé, Autumn.
Actually, WWeek wrote a terrific and often hilariously honest article about the fest and some of its films. CLICK HERE for WWeek article.
AND NOW, on with the real cinema!
There’s some really remarkable repertory programming this week. This month at Laurelhurst comes a month of classics starting with THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE (John Huston, U.S., 1948) starring Humphrey Bogart. “Badges!?! WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ BADGES!”
A few weeks before I was shipped off to film school in London, my father thought it would be a good idea if I got myself some good ol’ fashioned classic American cinema under my belt and this was the first film he showed me. It is absolutely brilliant storytelling and I would guess the reason it resonated with my father so deeply is that the journey ends with a kind of existential joke. THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE starts this Friday and plays nightly at 7pm with Sat/Sun. matinees at 1:15pm. ONLY THREE BUCKS!
Two of my all time favorite films from my formative years will be playing this weekend. The first is THE TENANT (Roman Polanski, France, 1976) starring cute little adorable pedophile Roman Polanski himself (in drag, towards the end) and smoldering crackpot Isabelle Adjani, with a hilarious cameo by Shelley Winters as the concierge. Gorgeous cinematography by Bergman veteran, Sven Nykvist and a lush, haunting score by the great Philippe Sarde. This film is Kafkaesque, absurd and spooky, if not also somewhat silly and would be perfect bedmates with the Coen Bros’ Barton Fink.
I’ve always had a hard time remembering dialogue, except for one section of this film. As Polanski and Adjani are getting ready to bed each other, Polanski says, “At what precise moment does an individual stop being who he thinks he is? Cut off my arm. I say, ‘Me and my arm.’ You cut off my other arm. I say, ‘Me and my two arms.’ You take out my stomach, my kidneys, assuming that were possible, and I say, ‘Me and my intestines.’ And now, if you cut off my head would I say, ‘Me and my head’ or ‘Me and my body’?”
A little Cartesian humor does me good.
Opening titles to THE TENANT
THE TENANT plays Friday, Saturday at 7pm and 9:30pm and Sunday at 3pm at Fifth Avenue Cinema at PSU. ONLY THREE BUCKS! If you’re a PSU student, it’s FREE!
Next up, THE MUPPET MOVIE (James Frawley, U.S., 1979)! Yup, pretty weird to not see Jim Henson’s name there, ain’t it? But true. He had enough to focus on with getting Kermit riding a bicycle and so forth. At any rate, I think I saw this ten times when I was a kid. Any time some kid said that he and his family were going, I’d tag along. For me, Jim Henson is my sense of humor, period. But this film also tugs right at my heartstrings when the film studio collapses at the end and Kermit breaks the fourth wall and sings, “Life’s like a movie, write you’re own ending, keep believing, keep pretending…” That got me EVERY SINGLE TIME…and still does.
Be sure to look for cameos by recently deceased Dom DelLuise, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Elliott Gould, Bob Hope, Madeline Kahn (I heart Madeline Kahn! “Be my ECHO!”)…
…Richard Pryor, Orson Welles, Steve Martin and many more!
THE MUPPET MOVIE plays at The Whitsell Auditorium Thursday May 7th at 7pm and again Saturday May 9th at 2pm.
Also at The Whitsell Auditorium on Sunday May 10 at 7pm, LABYRINTH (Jim Henson, U.K., 1986) with David Bowie and baby fat cheeked Jennifer Connelly who never responded to any of my letters as a teenager which is fine now because she turned out to be rather boring.
And now for some Mother’s Day specials from McMenamins. Douglas Sirk’s IMITATION OF LIFE (1959) plays two matinees on Saturday and Sunday, and yes, it is a 35mm film print! Crazy, ain’t it?
On Saturday at 2:30pm at The Mission is a 35mm film print of MILDRED PIERCE (Michael Curtiz, U.S., 1945) with Joan Crawford. Later that night…
MOMMIE DEAREST (Frank Perry, U.S., 1981) with Faye Dunaway playing Joan Crawford, the child beating mommy. BE WARNED: This will be a DVD and people are encouraged to dress like Crawford. With any luck, there will be a few drag queens up for The Golden Hanger Award!
And now for those of you looking for free movies…
In the past, I’ve reported that The Criterion Collection and theauteurs.com have combined forces to create a monthly online free film festival, and they have been rather uneven in quality. But this month’s festival is truly great and all films are highly recommended.
Additionally, theauteurs.com is offering a free screening of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s CLIMATES (Turkey, 2006). If you’re unfamiliar with his films, his work is minimal on dialogue and editing, high on mise en scene. CLIMATES was nominated for the Golden Palm and won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes. This is a very nice gift from theauteurs.com so check it out!