Snapshots of the Fall

The art house film calendar that I program goes to press in two days and, although I’m still waiting for some confirmations, I’m sharing the rough-draft with TCM readers, along with some brief thoughts regarding the choices made.


WEEK ONE: We kick things off with a free, outdoor screening of Breaking Away (Peter Yates, 1979). This will take place on a very picturesque field down the street from the normal venue where we screen films on campus. We’ll set up an inflatable screen, have some bicycle contests, and the whole affair dovetails nicely with a local bike race that occurs earlier the same day and raises money for student scholarships at the university. Unfortunately, Breaking Away is not out on Blu-Ray yet, and 35mm prints (not to mention portable 35mm projection equipment) are hard to come by, so we’re screening a 16mm print from a private collector. Freshmen who stumble on our old-school Xenon projector click-clacketying away as it unspools film from a take-up tower will surely find it a fascinating curio of a bygone era.

The next day, we move to our regular indoor 400-seat venue for a new 35mm print of The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953), because who doesn’t want to watch desperate men driving delicate nitroglycerine shipments along bumpy South American roads? This will be followed by something a bit more soothing: Kūmāré (Vikram Gandhi, 2011), a documentary wherein the director pretends to be a wise guru and he grows a following, only to then reveal the deceit to his devotees. (The director was featured on The Colbert Report last week, which surely won’t hurt attendance.)

And then: something special involving a new partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema where we join forces to bring cult films to a 200-seat basement auditorium as part of something we’re calling IFS ((( underground))). We kick that series off with Miami Connection (Y.K. Kim, 1987) – a forgotten synth-rock ninja epic that pits an Orlando house-band from a small club against vicious coke dealers. It was discovered by Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson when he bought a 35mm print on eBay for $50 and it caught fire with the Drafthouse‘s exploitation series.

WEEK TWO: The next four days provide a Norwegian double-feature. Oslo, August 31st (Joachim Trier, 2011) offers up a powerful and intense portrait of a 34-year-old recovering drug addict on his one day away from his rehab center. Turn Me On, Dammit!, on the other hand, is a lighthearted coming-of-age comedy about pubescent horniness that was nominated for six Amanda Awards (the equivalent to Norwegian Oscars).Then it will be There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007), which was picked to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the World Premiere which it received at the Alamo Drafthouse Fantastic Fest. (I’ve long wanted to attend this festival, which takes place in Austin at the end of September and has been referred to as “The Geek Telluride.”)

WEEK THREE: A treasure-trove of rare 35mm archive prints that all come from the Nikkatsu Studios have been hand-picked to celebrate their centenary. The films are Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth One Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935), Suzaki Paradise Red Light (Yuzo Kawashima, 1956), Megane (Naoko Ogigami, 2007), and One Million Yen Girl (Yuki Tanada, 2008). These free screenings were made possible by a co-sponsorship with the Japan Foundation and the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver, along with the participation of the Center for Asian Studies at C.U. Boulder.  (I covered these films in a previous post).

Next up: our first screening of a film being released by the relatively new distribution label arm of Drafthouse Films: The Ambassador (Mads Brügger, 2011). This gonzo documentary about corruption and blood diamonds in Africa is both hilarious and mortifying, and was a critical hit at the last Sundance Film Festival.

WEEK FOUR: Planet of Snail (Yi Seung-jun, 2011) is a gem of a documentary from Japan that deserves many accolades. The film is about a marriage between a tall, deaf, and legally blind man and a short woman with a spine disability who communicate with each other by tapping each others’ hands. The two life-mates compliment each other perfectly and, while their universe may seem small at first, their love finds many triumphs as they overcome daily adversity. It is a sobering contrast to what comes next: The Queen of Versailles (Lauren Greenfield, 2012) is about one of the wealthiest families in the U.S. as they embark on building the largest home in the country, only to stumble into financial problems and growing emotional estrangements. Producer Danielle Renfrew Behrens will attend for a Q&A.

Between the haves and have-nots, there’s Cory McAbee, a director, writer, actor, musician, and proud father of the two kids gracing our cover. McAbee lacks any kind of studio or big-budget financing – but this has never stopped him from creating startlingly original work. His many idiosyncratic talents weave a singular magic, and he’s already well-known for The American Astronaut (2001) and Stingray Sam (2009), among many other projects.  His latest film, Crazy & Thief (2012), was put together on a shoe-string budget and it stars his two charismatic kids as they walk around the streets of NYC by themselves. It’s beautiful, charming, and defies easy categorization as it showcases innocence, curiosity, kindness, and music. McAbee will be attending in-person, and after the screening he will take to the microphone to belt out songs he’s crafted with Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club, which now has chapters all over the world. For more information on this, check out: http://www.captainahabsmotorcycleclub.com/

This will be tempered somewhat by what comes next: one of Alex Cox’s favorite, and bleakest, Spaghetti Westerns featuring Klaus Kinski, which is called The Great Silence (Il Grande Silenzio, Sergio Corbucci, 1968). The only known existing 35mm print comes on loan from Kinemathek Le Bon Film in Switzerland, but requires exhibition rights to be paid to Beta Cinema GmbH in Munich, Germany. That’s two separate wire transfers for a rather large sum in Euros that will, mathematically, be impossible to recoup costs on even if we fill the house (especially when international shipping gets factored in). But it will also be a once-in-a-lifetime event for those that do show up, and Alex Cox plans to give it a proper introduction.

WEEK FIVE: I discovered Scarlet Road (Catherine Scott, 2011) while attending the last SXSW fest, and was blown away by this story of Rachel Wotton, an Australian sex worker who specializes in attending to people with disabilities. It’s remarkable, funny, and heart-warming. Sleepwalk With Me (Mike Birbiglia, 2012), on the other hand, is a straight-up comedy from the producers of This American Life. It’s about a comedian struggling with a stalled career, and was well received at Sundance. Not surprisingly, it’s gotten lots of NPR-love.

Then, a rare treat: Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004) with Phil Tippett in-person. Many know him for his work on Star Wars and many other films, including Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven, 1997), but how many people know he directed the sequel? Or that he recently got Kickstarter funds for a short film called Mad Gods that looks like something cooked up by combining the dreams of Ray Harryhausen with the Quay Brothers.  I don’t think that I’m going out on a limb to say that I’m pretty sure this might be the only existing 35mm print of Starship Troopers 2 in existence, because we’re having to get it from the Academy Film Archive – and this is a film that never had a theatrical release and went straight to video. We’re so excited about his visit that we also programmed RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987 ) to cap off the week (Tippett was responsible for the incredible ED-209 sequences).

The aforementioned films run from September 9th through October 12, and constitute the first half of the Fall program. My next post will finish the job and look at the second-half of the calendar for the remaining films that screen throughout October and November. The image below provides a hint for one of the films coming in late October. If you can figure out the film and director, you’re definitely a step ahead of most film aficionados.

0 Response Snapshots of the Fall
Posted By heatherdanielle : August 12, 2012 2:34 pm

Reblogged this on Heatherdanielle|flower.

Posted By heatherdanielle : August 12, 2012 2:34 pm

Reblogged this on Heatherdanielle|flower.

Posted By Juana Maria : August 14, 2012 10:55 am

Wow! What a collection of films! I have seen some of them on TV and a few on Youtube. I won’t be attending the festival but I hope you have fun! I have seen “There Will Be Blood” on FX few times…after about the third viewing when I finally saw the end it killed my desire to watch it again. Which is sad because I had really looked forward to seeing on TV. Daniel Day-Lewis is an amazing actor! He goes from a bit part in “Gandhi” to “The Bounty”(1984),”The Last of the Mohicans”,”The Age of Innocence”and then totally blows my mind with “Gangs of New York”! So when I heard of “There Will Be Blood” I was pretty excited I’ll tell you. Ok,spoilers! When he kills the boy at the end after making remounce his faith that hit me vert hard! I am quite religious and have no intention of renouncing my faith! It was painful to think he made do that and then killed him anyway!
I have seen some of “The Great Silence” on You tube. I haven’t watched the whole movies yet. I hope to soon.

Posted By Juana Maria : August 14, 2012 10:55 am

Wow! What a collection of films! I have seen some of them on TV and a few on Youtube. I won’t be attending the festival but I hope you have fun! I have seen “There Will Be Blood” on FX few times…after about the third viewing when I finally saw the end it killed my desire to watch it again. Which is sad because I had really looked forward to seeing on TV. Daniel Day-Lewis is an amazing actor! He goes from a bit part in “Gandhi” to “The Bounty”(1984),”The Last of the Mohicans”,”The Age of Innocence”and then totally blows my mind with “Gangs of New York”! So when I heard of “There Will Be Blood” I was pretty excited I’ll tell you. Ok,spoilers! When he kills the boy at the end after making remounce his faith that hit me vert hard! I am quite religious and have no intention of renouncing my faith! It was painful to think he made do that and then killed him anyway!
I have seen some of “The Great Silence” on You tube. I haven’t watched the whole movies yet. I hope to soon.

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