Thursday, January 29, 2009

Film Space schedule

At Film Space: on Saturdays at 7 pm

Film Space’s final January offering is the last in their series of films by some directors they like, who also star in their film. In February they begin “The Month of Iron Hoofter.” Iron Hoofter is a rhyming allusion – Cockney rhyming slang. Hoofter rhymes with Poofter. I hope that helps.

Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Now that the weather is cool, they are resuming their rooftop showings, weather permitting. You might want to bring something to sit on or lie on. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance. Well worth supporting.

Saturday, January 31: Annie Hall (1977) by Woody Allen – 93 mins – US Comedy/ Romance. In English. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 88 out of 100.

Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represented a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.

Rotten Tomatoes: Often considered the crown jewel in a highly acclaimed and prolific film career, Annie Hall is Woody Allen's only film to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This recognition, however, is not what makes the film significant. Annie Hall marks the beginning of the second phase of Allen's career as a filmmaker, abandoning the slapstick of Sleeper and Bananas for more thoughtful comedies (and eventually dramas) that explored human relationships and psychology. Allen's capacity as a creative filmmaker had also grown with the film, as he utilized creative subtitles, split screens, and animation, as well as evincing a sophisticated understanding of the potential of editing and camera movement for comic effect--consider the cutaway to Allen's character Alvy Singer, as seen through the eyes of "Grammy Hall" during the dinner sequence, or shortly afterward the slow pan to Alvy in the passenger seat of a car driven by Annie's unhinged brother Duane. The film is a brutally honest assessment of the prospects of a relationship between two very different people. Allen's Alvy is (like the filmmaker himself) an introverted, neurotic intellectual and a complete mismatch for Diane Keaton's vivacious, flaky Annie Hall. Although the romance is undoubtedly the center of the film, it affords Allen the opportunity to contrast his beloved New York culture with that of the Midwest, where Annie comes from, and Los Angeles, which tempts Annie with the possibility of fame and success as a singer. The city of New York itself plays an important part for the first time in an Allen film, with a great deal of location shooting that serves to highlight the city's character and atmosphere. Finally, the many comedic cameos peppered through the film--from Truman Capote to Paul Simon to media theorist Marshall McLuhan--pay tribute to the deserved reputation that Allen had gained for himself.

Saturday, February 7: Spider Lilies / Ci qing (2007) by Zero Chou – 94 mins – Taiwan Drama/ Romance.

First off in the series: lesbian love and tattoos in Taipei.

Shown fairly often on the Film Asia channel of True Visions cable television; I saw it first at the Bangkok International Film Festival in 2007. A steamy romance fable involving a sex worker and a tattoo artist, as the two young women reawaken a dormant love for each other, by lesbian Taiwanese documentary filmmaker Zero Chou.

Saturday, February 14: My Summer of Love (2006) by Pawel Pawlikowski – 86 mins – UK Drama/ Romance. Rated R in the US for sexuality, language, and some drug use. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 82/78 out of 100.

Second in the series: more lesbian love, this time in northern England.

ReelViews, James Berardinelli: My Summer of Love is one of those promising little gems that comes along and gets lost in the hype generated by Hollywood's flood of blockbusters. With its focus on character and atmosphere, Pawlikowski's feature represents 90 minutes well spent for anyone who cares about such basic narrative building-blocks.

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