What do the films Casablanca, Blazing Saddles, and West Side Story have in common? Besides being popular, they have also been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” by the Library of Congress and listed on the National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures.
For more than two decades, since the passage of the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the Librarian of Congress [sic]–with input from the public and advice from the National Film Preservation Board–has selected 25 films every year to add to the Registry. The current list of 550 films includes selections from every genre: documentaries, home movies, Hollywood classics, avant-garde, newsreels, and silent films; and these movies tell us much about ourselves and the American experience–shining light on not just what we did, but what we thought, what we felt, what we imagined, what we aspired to…and the lies we told ourselves. Continue reading Paul Mariano & Kurt Norton – These Amazing Shadows [+Extras] (2011)
Ten women, most of them in Vancouver or Toronto, talk about being lesbian in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: discovering the pulp fiction of the day about women in love, their own first affairs, the pain of breaking up, frequenting gay bars, facing police raids, men’s responses, and the etiquette of butch and femme roles. Interspersed among the interviews and archival footage are four dramatized chapters from a pulp novel, “Forbidden Love”: Laura leaves her hick town and heads for the city, where she meets Mitch in a bar. Sparks fly, and so do laughter and joy. Ann Bannon, one of the writers of those paperback novels about forbidden love, talks about the genre.
***Not erotica or porno – this is a documentary.*** Continue reading Lynn Fernie & Aerlyn Weissman – Forbidden Love: The unashamed stories of lesbian lives (1992)
A poetic docu-drama based on real events witnessed by Armenian master Khachatryan. He reflects on the tragedy that befell his people during the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union fell apart. He does so without words or indeed human protagonists, through the story of a buffalo who is found stuck in a ditch in the countryside. He is brought to a nearby farm where animals, farmers and refugees are gathered to hide and recover from the conflict. All regard him with great suspicion. We follow life on the farm and in the surrounding villages through the eyes of the buffalo over the course of a year, with the changing of the seasons and the slow rhythm of the place. (WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL) Continue reading Harutyun Khachatryan – Sahman AKA The Border (2009)
“DEADLOCK is fantastic. A bizarre, glowing film.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
A Sort Of Modern German Version Of “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, 11 September 2000
Author: jlabine von San Francisco
In 1970, it seems as if Roland Klick set out to emulate Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, mixing it with Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” to create a modern Sauerkraut Western (without horses, but rather a truck and a car). The story stars three characters, Marquard Bohm as the “Kid” (The Good), Siegurd Fitzek as “Mr. Sunshine” (The Bad), and Mario Adorf (can be seen in Dario Argento’s “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” as the reclusive cat eating painter) as “Mr. Dump” (The Ugly) (who again plays a reclusive man who lives in a dump??). The story begins with the Kid, who has just pulled off a heist (with a bullet wound in the arm), and is carrying millions of dollars in a case. Wandering aimlessly through the sunbaked desert, (he finally passes out and is left for dead) until Mr. Dump drives along and finds him and the money. Once back at Mr. Dump’s residence (a sort of abandoned junk yard), the Kid warns Mr. Dump, that Mr. Sunshine (who apparently is the ringleader of this heist) will be coming for his money. Thus begins the cat and mouse story, of who will get the case of money. Mr. Dump also has two neighbors, an older (and apparently sexually crazy) woman and her pretty (but feral) daughter (who is obviously sexually curious of the Kid).
Continue reading Roland Klick – Deadlock [+Custom Extras] (1970)
Wow!–I just finished watching “The Little Drummer Boy.”
Previously I had thought that I knew quite a bit about Gustav Mahler, but Leonard Bernstein showed me more.
What Bernstein does is show you–through biographical commentary and excerpts from Mahler’s music–just what it was that made this masterful composer and conductor so obsessed with Life and Death.
Yes, part of it was Mahler’s being born Jewish, and part was seeing so many of his brothers and sisters die so early in life. But Bernstein shows us how Mahler was, like most of us, striving to try to come to terms with life–to understand why death has to come and deprive us of the joys of life.
To give you an idea of how concrete, knowledgeable and specific this program is, Lenny takes a few minutes, using musical excerpts, to illustrate how there is a funeral march in each of Mahler’s nine symphonies. Continue reading Leonard Bernstein – Little Drummer Boy: Essay on Mahler by Leonard Bernstein (1985)
Turksib: bold and exhilarating, Turksib charts the building of the Turkestan-Siberian railway. Presented in the English version prepared in 1930 by John Grierson, with an evocative new score by Guy Bartell (Bronnt Industries Kapital). Continue reading Victor A. Turin – Turksib [+Extras] (1929)
Get Out of the Car is a response to my last movie, Los Angeles Plays Itself. I called Los Angeles Plays Itself a ‘city symphony in reverse’ in that it was composed of fragments from other films read against the grain to bring the background into the foreground. Visions of the city’s geography and history implicit in these films were made manifest. Continue reading Thom Andersen – Get Out of the Car (2010)