Shirley made Butterfly with her daughter Wendy for an anti-Vietnam War protest event held in New York City in 1967; it is one of the last films she made before she began working with video in 1968. The film was screened as part of the Week of the Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam which Shirley helped organize at the NYU Loeb Student Center; Wendy remembers it being screened at the Elgin Theatre sometime in 1967 so it was shown once for sure—possibly twice but not more than that—it is a film that is virtually unknown and is not included on any filmography for Shirley. The theme of the movie was that war kills and threatens to wipe out families, creativity, and life. In the film, Shirley and Wendy are seen separately and together with Shirley holding and rocking Wendy; their images often overlap. Wendy drew, scratched and hand-painted butterflies and used Clorox directly on the film to create a cascade of colors. The soundtrack is comprised of the alternating sounds of a baby crying, machine gun fire, and Brahm’s Lullaby sung by Shirley’s niece Liza Lorwin. Continue reading
“This overlong documentary lacks something in structure and focus – and I wanted to know a little more about the exact provenance of all of its home‑movie footage. But it has an extraordinary true story to tell, with hints of the Happy Valley murders in Kenya, and Paul Theroux’s novel The Mosquito Coast. In the 1930s, the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, famed for Darwin’s expedition, were thought of as the last great pristine territory, unspoiled by human habitation.
In Europe, some hardy souls – disenchanted by what the first world war had revealed about humanity – decided to settle there. A German doctor called Friedrich Ritter, who had a passion for Nietzsche, left his wife and went there with a married woman, Dore Strauch. A visiting American scientific party was fascinated by these modern-day Robinson Crusoes and effectively publicised their lives for the press back home, and Ritter was horrified when other would-be settlers turned up too. A stolid, bourgeois family, the Wittmers, arrived, and then a bizarre fantasist and adventuress who styled herself the “Baroness” Eloise von Wagner Bouquet. Continue reading
“In the opening shots of Robert Altman’s “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” the camera follows John McCabe (Warren Beatty) making his way on horseback through the green-brown hills of the Pacific Northwest. As the camera pans slowly to the right, it picks up the credits, hanging in the rain-soaked air. They don’t fade in, as most credits do. Like everything else in “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” they seem to have existed before we took our seats in the theater, before Altman started filming.
“McCabe & Mrs. Miller” is a western that, as shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, looks like old photographs lit from within, as though the subjects had created a sort of afterlife by finding a way to project their essence onto the film. The movie haunts you like a ballad whose tune you remember but whose words hang just beyond reach. And like listening to a ballad, we know the outcome of the events we’re watching was foretold long ago, but we’re helpless to do anything but surrender to the tale. Continue reading
Screenwriter Dixon Steele, faced with the odious task of scripting a trashy bestseller, has hat-check girl Mildred Atkinson tell him the story in her own words. Later that night, Mildred is murdered and Steele is a prime suspect; his record of belligerence when angry and his macabre sense of humor tell against him. Fortunately, lovely neighbor Laurel Gray gives him an alibi. Laurel proves to be just what Steele needed, and their friendship ripens into love. Will suspicion, doubt, and Steele’s inner demons come between them? Continue reading
Mark Landis is perhaps the most prolific art forger the U.S. has ever seen. He’s duped curators throughout the nation with precise imitations from Matisse to Picasso, curiously never asking for money, but instead donating his counterfeits free of charge. After 30 years of conning the art industry, Landis is first discovered by Matthew Leininger, a registrar from Cincinnati, who has since dedicated years to tracking the man who hoodwinked him, in search of answers. But Landis’ motivations are far more layered than simple deception. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, there’s a question if he even knows that he is being deceptive at all. Through a richly complex lens, Art and Craft delicately balances a portrait of an outsider living with mental illness and the universal desire to be a part of a community.
-Genna Terranova . Continue reading
An Honest Liar tells the incredible story of the world-famous magician, escape artist, and world-renowned enemy of deception, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi. The film brings to life Randi’s intricate investigations that publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi-religious fervor. A master deceiver who came out of the closet at the age of 81, Randi created fictional characters, fake psychics, and even turned his partner of 25 years, Jose Alvarez, into a sham guru names Carlos. But Jose was recently discovered to be living under a false identity himself, and it’s not clear whether Randi is still the deceiver – or the deceived. Continue reading
Sean (Colm O’Leary), an Irish immigrant to America, finds his heart and mind in disarray. Having returned from military service in Afghanistan, he befriends Ike (Will Oldham, A.K.A. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy), a strong willed evangelical, who endeavors to ensure his salvation. Inundated by a relentless fragility. Sean is confronted by a choice between the temptation of certainty and the chaos of the world around him. A meditation on friendship, human need and frailty, NEW JERUSALEM explores the allure and limitations of modern utopian belief. Continue reading