Northwest Film Center Archives: November/December 1998


4
WED 7:30 P.M.
GRAND OPENING OF THE FILM CENTER AT THE GUILD   PORTLAND PREMIERE
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
ITALY, 1998
DIRECTOR: ROBERTO BENIGNI
How appropriate to open our new theater with LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, a film that stirs a range of emotions as it blends satire, physical comedy, social commentary and a touch of the surreal into a unique story of love, sacrifice and the power of the human spirit. Winner of the Grand Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, actor (DOWN BY LAW, NIGHT ON EARTH) and director (JOHNNY STECCHINO) Roberto Benigni's film is a Chaplinesque fable about the imagination's ability to overcome growing hardships. It is 1938 in fascist-ruled Italy, a time of increased bigotry when the part-Jewish Guido (Benigni) comes to the town of Arezzo. He falls in love with Dora (Nicoletta Braschi) and after overcoming some obstacles, they begin a fairy tale romance. Five years later, now in the depths of World War II, Guido, Dora and their son are sent off to a concentration camp. There Guido's inspired strategy for dealing with the darkest of realities surfaces. Rarely has humor been used with more effect to dramatize tragic circumstances. (114 mins.)
Print courtesy of Miramax Films. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL opens theatrically on November 6. Silver Screen Club members free. Special admission: $10. Pre-film reception beginning at 7 p.m. hosted by the Northwest Film Center's Film Council.

25th Northwest Film & Video Festival
November 5-12, 1998
A full schedule of events will soon be posted on our web page!

13 14 15 16
FRI 13, SAT 14, 7 & 9 P.M.
SUN 15,  2, 4 & 7 P.M.
MON 16,  7 P.M.
IN MEMORIAM: AKIRA KUROSAWA    NEW 35MM PRINT
RASHOMON
JAPAN, 1950
DIRECTOR: AKIRA KUROSAWA
RASHOMON introduced Kurosawa, and in effect the Japanese cinema, to Western audiences. This perfectly realized drama probing the nature of reality and illusion is set in the 12th century. The story follows the rape of a samurai's bride and his subsequent murder by a country bandit in the forest. Through flashbacks, Kurosawa allows us to see these events unfold four times—through the eyes of each involved and by a local woodcutter who witnessed the attack. Each version of events possesses its own ring of truth, yet each is fundamentally different. Ultimately, the audience must reach its own conclusions. Adding another level to the unfolding of events, the retellings of the attack take place among the woodcutter, a priest and a cynical commoner, listeners with their own views to take into account. Starring Toshiro Mifune as the feisty bandit, Machiko Kyo as the servile, yet vengeful bride, and Masayuki Mori as the samurai, RASHOMON won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. We are pleased to be able to present a new 35mm print of Kurosawa's classic work. (90 mins.)

17
TUES 7:30 P.M.
SILVER SCREEN CLUB SPECIAL EVENT    PORTLAND PREMIERE
ELIZABETH
GREAT BRITAIN, 1997
DIRECTOR: SHEKHAR KAPUR
London, 1554. At 16, the young and sensitive Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett), the daughter of King Henry VII and Anne Boleyn, is imprisoned by her half-sister, the Catholic Mary, who has taken the throne after Henry's split with Rome. The country is rife with intrigue as Elizabeth faces execution. Whether through an act of fate or miracle, Mary dies and Elizabeth finds herself Queen of England at age 23. Kapur (BANDIT QUEEN) brings together an international cast including Geoffrey Rush (SHINE), Richard Attenborough, Sir John Gielgud, Christopher Eccleston (JUDE), Fanny Ardant (SABRINA) and Joseph Fiennes in this magnificently mounted production. At once a marvelous period piece and intimate portrait of a young woman of uncommon mettle and crafty insight, ELIZABETH is also an unexpected thriller as it explores how this heir to the throne uncovers the hidden agendas of those on her court, on the battlefield, in church and those closest to her. Through it all, Elizabeth is forced to balance affairs of the state with those of the heart as she struggles her way through Byzantine politics and the plots of those near and far. (124 mins.)
Print courtesy Gramercy Pictures. Admission limited to Silver Screen Club members and their guests. ELIZABETH opens in Portland on November 20.

18 19
WED 18, THUR 19, 7 & 9 P.M.
DENNIS HOPPER, MATT DILLON & JOHN LURIE   PORTLAND PREMIERE
FISHING WITH JOHN
U.S., 1997
DIRECTOR: JOHN LURIE
In September, the Film Center brought John Lurie and his fishing buddies Willem Dafoe, Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waits to Portland in FISHING WITH JOHN, one of the most unlikely nature/adventure series ever made. By popular request, we are pleased to premiere three more episodes of the program by the iconoclastic John Lurie. Soon to brave the Costa Rican jungles, Lurie and companion Matt Dillon (SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, DRUGSTORE COWBOY) prepare for their expedition by learning the local rituals and dancing to Lurie's "Fish Dance Opera." Then they're off for snook and tarpon. Lurie joins up with Dennis Hopper (BLUE VELVET, APOCALYPSE NOW) in Bangkok and heads deep into Thailand to seek out the elusive giant squid. In this two-part episode, which could turn into a calamari nightmare, they have time to play Ping-Pong and talk about EASY RIDER before searching out their ultimate prey. Of course, the all-knowing-but-never-seen narrator shares his dead-pan insights in these witty programs.(90 mins.)

20—25
FRI 20 SAT 21   7 & 9:15
SUN 22,  2, 4;15 & 7
MON 23, TUES 24, WED 25,  7 & 9:15
FRENCH KISSES    NEWLY RESTORED 35MM PRINT   PORTLAND PREMIERE
THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT
FRANCE, 1967
DIRECTOR: JACQUES DEMY
Demy's follow-up to THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG is a true confection, an effervescent romantic French musical starring Catherine Deneuve (BELLE DE JOUR), her sister Francoise Dorléac, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux and, from stateside, Gene Kelly and George Chakiris (WEST SIDE STORY). Delphine (Deneuve) and her twin sister Solange (Dorleac) live in a small town outside Paris, teaching piano and waiting for the perfect gentlemen to arrive. Into their pastel world comes the carnival and with it two possible courters, Etienne (Chakiris) and Bill (Grover Dale). But soon two other men vie for their affection, composer Andy Miller (Kelly) and sailor Maxence (Jacques Perrin). Shot primarily in Rochefort, Demy painted the town square in dreamy colors that echo the sister's attire. With music and songs by Michel Legrand and choreography by Jerome Robbins, this exuberant film has been newly restored to its un-cut widescreen beauty by French director Agnes Varda (VAGABOND). YOUNG GIRLS is, "quite simply, one of the most beautiful films of all time."—San Francisco Chronicle. (124 mins.)
Cosponsored by the Alliance Francaise.
 
21 22
SAT, SUN 2 P.M.
MONET REVISITED
IMPRESSIONS OF MONET: FOUR SHORT FILMS
DIRECTORS: MARY LUCIER, MICHAEL GILL, LISA ANDERSON & CHRISTINA BJORK
Here are four short works that not only give insight into the life and work of Claude Monet, but also into the work of contemporary artists who have drawn upon Monet’s work for their own artistic inspiration. OHIO TO GIVERNY: MEMORY OF LIGHT made in 1983 by American video artist and photographer Mary Lucier, juxtaposes scenes of a town in Ohio with scenes of Giverny in a video installation. We present a single monitor version of that installation. MONET: LEGACY OF LIGHT, directed by Michael Gill in conjunction with an exhibition celebrating Monet’s 150th birthday in 1989, profiles the artist by reading excerpts from his writings and visiting places in France where he lived. LINNEA IN MONET'S GARDEN, the story of a young Swedish girl who travels with her neighbor to Giverny, blends watercolor-like animation, live action, photographs of Monet and reproductions of his paintings with the landscape of his gardens. (90 mins.)
Presented in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum's exhibit, Monet — Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musée Marmottan, on view through January 3, 1999.

27 28 29
FRI, SAT, SUN
DOUBLE FEATURE
PORTLAND SAVANT: GUS VAN SANT
7 P.M.
DRUGSTORE COWBOY
U.S., 1989
DIRECTOR: GUS VAN SANT
The upcoming theatrical release of Gus Van Sant's PSYCHO an appropriate occasion to reprise two of the Portland director's seminal works. DRUGSTORE COWBOY is a daring and uncompromising look at junkie life based on the novel by James Fogle. Set in Portland in the early 70s, Matt Dillonis perfectly cast as Bob Hughes, the superstitious leader of an awkward band of addicts who go directly to the source for drugs and rob a series of pharmacies. Bob's extended family includes his wife, Dianne (Kelly Lynch), the dim Rick (James LeGros) and his teenage girlfriend Nadine (Heather Graham). With a good dose of black humor, Van Sant follows the group's escapades which finally come undone when Nadine overdoses. "It's a high-wire act of daring, in which this unlikely subject matter becomes the occasion for a film about sad people we come to care very deeply about."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times. (100 mins.)
AND
9 P.M.
MALA NOCHE
U.S., 1985
DIRECTOR: GUS VAN SANT
This gritty and authentic adaptation of Portland writer Walt Curtis' autobiographical novella, shot by John Campbell largely in Portland's skid row, caught the eye of both critics and audiences when it appeared on the independent film scene of the mid-80s. The story of a gay grocery clerk's undaunted affection for a young Mexican immigrant, told with stark and unerring realism, was made on a shoestring. "Poetic, moody and impressionistic, this black-and-white film—the title is Spanish for 'bad night'—is something to savor for the squalid world it introduces, and the way it presents its story, rather than for the specifics of that story."—Desson Howe, The Washington Post (80 mins.)

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R

30 1 2
MON, TUES, WED, 6 & 8 P.M.
NORTHWEST FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHT
A PLACE CALLED CHIAPAS
CANADA, 1998
DIRECTOR: NETTIE WILD
On January 1, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), made up largely of indigenous Mayan peoples, overtook five towns and more than 500 ranches in Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico, and demanded control over their lives. Leading them was Subcomandante Marcos, who, while neither Mayan nor from Chiapas, was invested with a profound commitment for social change and an unerring sense of media tactics. Marcos continued to hold Mexican Army troops at bay, both politically and militarily, with an Internet campaign of harangues and poetry aimed at the international media, leading what The New York Times calls "the world's first post-modern revolution." In 1997 Vancouver filmmaker Nettie Wild and her crew traveled to the jungle canyons of Chiapas, eight months later emerging with the materials for a fascinating portrait of the elusive and fragile life of a revolution and the people who must change the world to survive it. (90 mins.)

3—9
THUR 3,  FRI 4,  7 & 9:15 P.M.
SAT 5,  1 & 3:15 P.M.
SUN 6  1, 3:15 & 7 P.M.
MON 7, TUES 8, 6 & 8:15 P.M.
PORTLAND PREMIERE
1998 BRITISH ADVERTISING AWARDS
GREAT BRITAIN, 1997
DIRECTORS: VARIOUS
Commercials possess not only the power of suggestion, but also the power to entertain and inform, provoke reflection and action, and, at their best, keep you in your seats. As we've found from previous screenings, the annual BRITISH ADVERTISING AWARDS more than fills the bill by combining essential doses of uniquely British humor, enticing visuals and some with such sharply pointed points-of-view they could never appear on U.S. television. Drawn from over 1,000 entries, this year's 1997 BRITISH ADVERTISING AWARDS showcases the gold, silver and bronze-winning works from both the profit and non-profit sectors. Enjoy the moments; there are about 100 of them. (105 mins.)
Presented in cooperation with the Museum of Modern Art. Special thanks to Lawrence Kardish.

5
SAT 8 P.M.
LIVE MUSIC + FILM   THE BLACK CAT ORCHESTRA PREMIERES
THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN
FRANCE, 1927
DIRECTOR: GERMAINE DULAC
On a Halloween night five years ago, the octet that makes up Seattle's Black Cat Orchestra lit up the Film Center's auditorium when they premiered their original score for the 1909 Italian version of DANTE'S INFERNO. Tonight they're back with an original score for the surrealist and, what many critics consider, the first feminist film, Germaine Dulac's LA COQUILLE ET LE CLERGYMAN. Dulac, one of the pioneer experimental filmmakers of France in the 20s, considered her silent films "musically constructed" and "films made according to the rules of visual music." Tonight the aural counterpart to her work comes alive in the form of the Black Cat Orchestra's visually constructed music. It adds another dimension to Dulac's Freudian images of a clergyman whose call to celibacy is challenged by his sexual anguish. Written and then rejected by Antonin Artaud, this episodic tour of a ravaged psyche haunted by bizarre fantasies has a rare and powerful lyricism, even though censors at the time found it wholly incomprehensible.

ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL
In a career spanning over 40 years and more than 100 films, actor Armin Müeller-Stahl is at once familiar and unknown. For the first two decades of his career, his performances were in East German films, works which did not easily cross borders. In the 70s, blacklisted because he protested against the treatment of another artist, his career stalled. Emigrating to West Germany in 1980, the second stage of his career blossomed as he worked with directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Istvan Szabo and Agnieszka Holland among others. Most recently seen in such U.S. productions as Barry Levinson's AVALON, Costa Gavras' MUSIC BOX, Jim Jarmusch's NIGHT ON EARTH and Chris Carter's THE X-FILES, Müeller-Stahl received an Academy Award nomination for his role as David Helfgott's father in SHINE. The Film Center is pleased to present this select retrospective showcasing rarely seen films of this consummate actor who embodies the characters he plays with such authenticity and shades of emotion he appears to be an architect of the soul. Organized by the Goethe-Institute, Washington, D.C. by Sylvia Blume. Two key works, FIVE EMPTY CARTRIDGES and PRIVATE PARTY, have been subtitled especially for this retrospective.
 
9
WED 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
NAKED AMONG WOLVES
EAST GERMANY, 1963
DIRECTOR: FRANK BEYER
One of the first dramatic films, made in the East or West, to deal with the issue of the Nazi concentration camps, Frank Beyer's (JACOB THE LIAR) early masterpiece was based on a novel by Bruno Apitz, himself a camp inmate. In Buchenwald during the spring of 1945, American troops are advancing and the prisoners fear their SS captors will quickly execute them. With Armin Müeller-Stahl in a principal role, a secret camp resistance group organized by Communist inmates decides this is their last chance for an uprising—and possible freedom. Their plans are jeopardized, however, by the arrival of a new prisoner with a small boy hidden in his suitcase. One of the most  powerful anti-fascist films made in East Germany, with indelibly written characters, NAKED AMONG WOLVES easily draws positive comparison to SCHINDLER'S LIST in its ability to portray the triumph of human spirit. (124 mins.)

10
THUR 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
PRIVATE PARTY (AKA NO EXIT)
EAST GERMANY, 1978
DIRECTOR: FRANK BEYER
"One of several Frank Beyer works to run into political difficulties with the censorious East German authorities (Beyer's THE TRACE OF STONES, THE HIDING PLACE, and HELD FOR QUESTIONING were all also banned or suppressed at one time or another), this 1978 television film was broadcast in the GDR but once, late at night, and then promptly shelved until 1990. PRIVATE PARTY features Armin Müeller-Stahl and Jutta Hoffman as a couple on vacation with their 11-year-old son. When they unexpectedly find themselves the only guests at a resort complex, their holiday becomes the occasion for some difficult soul-searching, as unresolved conflicts and submerged resentments begin to surface, and they are forced to come to terms with the pain they have inflicted on themselves and their child. PRIVATE PARTY offers a contemplative, uncompromising, provocative look at the human struggle with the truth; its intimate tale of one couple confronting problems and conflicts long swept under the carpet was very much intended as an allegory for the larger frustrations and failures of East German society."—Pacific Cinematheque. (118 mins.)

11
FRI 8 P.M.
VISITING ARTIST   PORTLAND PREMIERES
SUBLIMINAL CINEMA: THE VISIONS OF JAY ROSENBLATT
U.S., 1990-1998
DIRECTOR: JAY ROSENBLATT
Working in the shadows of consciousness and the fringes of collective memory, San Francisco filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt has drawn from the ephemeral archives of found footage and his skill at the optical printer to shape works that leave lasting imprints. From Tampere to Ann Arbor, from Melbourne to Sinking Creek, he has garnered well-deserved prizes for his uncompromising vision. The Film Center welcomes Rosenblatt as he presents an evening of his work. BRAIN IN THE DESERT (1990) is a haunting and humorous film about romantic relationships and insects. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called SHORT OF BREATH (1990) "a Rorschach test with moving images instead of ink blots." This multi-layered work deals with birth, death, sex and suicide as it makes use of psychiatric training films among its sources. THE SMELL OF BURNING ANTS (1994) probes the development of boys to men and its consequent emotional cost as it weaves regrouped educational footage of class bullies with images of insect experimentation. HUMAN REMAINS (1998) is an eerie and disconcerting view of evil seen from an oblique perspective. Drawing upon the personal lives and footage of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco and Mao Tse Tung, Rosenblatt drops all mention of their politics or place in history and instead offers up the intimate and mundane details of their personal lives. In documentary fashion, a voice-over narrator describes, among other details, their favorite foods, personal habits and sexual persuasions. Winner of a Special Jury Award, 1998 Sundance Film Festival. (70 mins.)
Rosenblatt presents a workshop, SUBLIMINAL CINEMA, on Saturday, December 12 from 10 a.m. to Noon. See School of Film insert for details.

12
DOUBLE FEATURE
SAT 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
THE MOVIE TELLER
GERMANY, 1993
DIRECTOR: BERNHARD SINKEL
Like CINEMA PARADISO, THE MOVIE TELLER evokes a bygone era, when movie going didn't mean queuing up at a multiplex. In this tender, inter-generational story, Armin Müeller-Stahl is the kinoerzähler (the movie teller), a man who narrates silent films on stage, describing the unfolding events on screen—the laughter and the tears, the lands of enchantment and, most importantly for the movie teller, the most beautiful women in the world. Working at the Apollo in Babelsberg (site of the famed studio where many of the great German silent films were made), dressed in his tuxedo and holding his violin, he considers himself an artist—the screen's equal and necessary companion. But with the imminent coming of sound, his career is in jeopardy. Armin Müeller-Stahl inhabits the role of the movie teller, a man so consumed by this threat to his livelihood, he ignores the growing crisis of his marriage and the larger political events unfolding around him. As seen through the eyes of the movie teller's grandson, direrctor Bernhard Sinkel has crafted "...a deceptively simple saga made of rich fabric and imbued with often chilling and resonant echoes."—Variety. (100 mins.)
AND
9 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
NAKED AMONG WOLVES
EAST GERMANY, 1963
DIRECTOR: FRANK BEYER
Repeat of 9 Wednesday program.

13
SUN 5 & 7 P.M.
SANDRA BERNHARD: MODERN DIVA   PORTLAND PREMIERE
SOMEWHERE IN THE CITY
U.S., 1997
DIRECTOR: RAMIN NIAMI
Inspired by Maxim Gorky's "The Lower Depths," SOMEWHERE IN THE CITY drops you straight into bohemian New York and a Lower East Side tenement where six lonely characters seek sex and success. Betty (Sandra Bernhard, WITHOUT YOU, I'M NOTHING), a self-obsessed therapist, talks at length about her own problems during her patients' sessions; Graham (Peter Stormare, Steve Buscemi's sidekick in FARGO) a frustrated, yet talented Shakespearean actor, seems to have failed at both love and life; Marta (Ornella Muti, SWANN IN LOVE), trades sexual favors with her landlord for rent; Che (Paul Anthony Stewart) lives in the basement planning his own revolution; Lu Lu (Bai Ling, RED CORNER) wants to escape her close-knit family with a Green Card marriage; and Frankie (Robert John Burke, FLIRT, SIMPLE MEN, THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH), a short order cook, is planning a heist to free Marta and him from the bowels of the city. Niami (MANHATTAN BY NUMBERS) has cooked up a noir screwball comedy that interconnects its characters with charmed results. Music by John Cale. (93 mins.)

14
MON 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
THE ESCAPE
EAST GERMANY, 1977
DIRECTOR: ROLAND GRAF
Armin Müeller-Stahl is Dr. Schmit, a conscientious obstetrician living in a provincial town in the GDR. Working in relative obscurity, he grows increasingly disenfranchised when the local administrators dismiss his research ideas. Entering into a dangerous contract to be smuggled into the West to assume a medical directorship, Schmit finds his predicament more than unsettling. The local authorities are rethinking their position and he has fallen in love with a female colleague. Roland Gräf's unusual East German film, dealing as it does with the subject of illegal emigration and Western body-brokers, offers a view of a defector that differed dramatically from East German propaganda. In this gripping story of love, blackmail and deceit, Müeller-Stahl embodies the role of a well-intentioned gentleman who must choose between the state and his own soul. (94 mins.)

15
TUES 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
UTZ
GREAT BRITAIN, GERMANY, ITALY, 1992
DIRECTOR: GEORGE SLUZIER
"This adaptation of Bruce Chatwin's novel provides us with a loving and rich portrait of that eccentric species: the collector. In the case of Baron Kaspar Joachim von Utz, resident of Prague, his obsession is the beautiful, decorative and finely detailed Messein porcelain figures which enjoy an international reputation. Even as a child Utz was obsessed with these small, endlessly evocative statuettes. During World War 11 and under the communist regime, when other collectors were forced to sell their collections Utz managed to build his treasure through a ruthless combination of dedication and willpower. Living in a small apartment, tended to by a faithful housekeeper who holds many of his secrets, Utz is a man cut off from the world around him, at the service of his collection and nothing more. Armin Müeller-Stahl gives a finely modulated and distinguished performance as the aristocratic Utz, whose single-minded dedication to his collection beautifully captures both the dignity and limitations of the man. Peter Riegert plays a New York gallery owner and art dealer who has cultivated a relationship with Utz over time and who hopes to buy parts of the old man's collection. The relationship between the two men is drawn with conviction by Sluizer (THE VANISHING), and the enigma of Utz provides an endlessly engrossing canvas for him to explore questions surrounding art, the collector, and a set of values which are in the process of disappearing. "—Toronto Festival of Festivals. (98 mins.)

16
WED 7:30 P.M.
VISITING ARTIST   PORTLAND PREMIERES
SHORT 'N BITTERSWEET
WITH: KIM HAWKINS
DIRECTORS: VARIOUS
Just as Portland's independent film scene is expanding—with such venues as Cracked Lens, Peripheral Produce and the Newer Film Collective—our neighbors in the Bay area are concocting their own unique blends of experimental programs that mix past and present, local and international films. One such venue is El Rio Outdoor Cinema located in the Mission District. The Film Center welcomes El Rio's curator, filmmaker Kim Hawkins, for an evening of highlights from its first season, an award-winning, avant-garde, inter-species, cross-generational program that includes Jane Campion's PASSIONLESS MOMENTS (1984), Jay Capela's BREATHE (1994), Chick Strand's ANSELMO (1967), Larry Jordan's MOONLIGHT SONATA (1979), William Farley's SEASPACE (1972) and BECOME AN ARTIST (1982), Christiane Cegavske's BLOOD AND SUNFLOWERS (1996), Jon Shenk's NAKED TO THE WORLD (1993), Susan Rivo's AMY (1997), George Kuchar's WILD NIGHT IN EL RENO (1977), Dominic Angerane's HIT THE TURNPIKE (1984), David Munro's BULLETHEAD (1993), Nan Bress' ALIVE IN COLMA (1996), and Jay Rosenblatt and Jennifer Frame's BRAIN IN THE DESERT (1990). (85 mins.)

17
THUR 7:30 P.M.
VISITING ARTIST   PORTLAND PREMIERES
CHICK FLICKS WITH B. RUBY RICH
U.S., 1964-67, 1977
DIRECTORS: CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN, MARJORIE KELLER
The Film Center welcomes film and cultural critic, curator and author B. Ruby Rich as she speaks about her new book, CHICK FLICKS: THEORIES AND MEMORIES OF THE FEMINIST FILM MOVEMENT, the changing currents of feminism in the 70s and the way two works being screened, FUSES (1964-67) and MISCONCEPTION (1977), challenged the male dominated avant-garde of the times. "Carolee Schneemann's FUSES was groundbreaking: Sexually explicit, it starred the filmmaker herself making love with her then-boyfriend. Shot with a wind-up Bolex and experimentally processed, it bypasses traditional realist treatments of sex to make its own blazing statement. Marjorie Keller's MISCONCEPTION was inspired by her sister-in-law's pregnancy. Toting quirky Super-8 synch-sound equipment, Keller was able unobtrusively to document the pregnancy and birth, then edited the resulting footage to make poetic points about women, men and the progeny that result from their mating."—B. Ruby Rich. (90 mins.)
A book signing will follow the talk and screening.

18 19 20 21
FRI 18 SAT 19  7 & 9 P.M.
SUN 20  2, 4 & 7 P.M.
MON 21, 7 & 9 P.M.
FRENCH KISSES   PORTLAND PREMIERE
SON OF GASCOGNE
FRANCE, 1995
DIRECTOR: PASCAL AUBIER
This delightful comedy, a sly homage to the French New Wave, involves a case of mistaken identity as sullen tour guide Harvey (Grégoire Colin, DREAM LIFE OF ANGELS, NENETTE AND BONI) is discovered by a slippery chauffeur (Jean-Claude Brialy, DELICATESSEN) who claims Harvey is a dead ringer for the son of legendary New Wave filmmaker Gascogne. Protesting at first, but not knowing who his father is, Harvey soon finds himself taking on the guise of the late filmmaking hero's son. Being the son of Gascogne allows him entry into a rare circle of celebrities and beautiful women. With this change in identity Harvey exudes a newfound happiness, but who do we become when we become not ourselves. Aubier, a protoge of Jean-Luc Godard, fills the film with in-jokes and cameos from a number of stars and directors of the era including Claude Chabrol, Jean Rouche, and Bulle Ogier. "Delightful, comic bouillabaisse of a film...as a robust but sophisticated valentine to the French cinema, it is nearly the equal of Truffaut's classic, DAY FOR NIGHT."—The New York Times. (104 mins.)
Cosponsored by the Alliance Francaise.

22
TUES 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
THE SPIDER'S WEB
GERMANY, 1989
DIRECTOR: BERNHARD WICKI
This powerful epic, based on the prophetic novel by Austrian writer Joseph Roth, is considered veteran director Bernhard Wicki's (DIE BRUKE) magnum opus. Straddling both sides of the tumultuous year of 1923, the story chronicles the rise of an overly ambitious and unscrupulous German Navy lieutenant, Theodor Lohse (Ulrich Muhe), whose career takes off when he joins a secret right-wing extremist organization headed by Baron von Rastschuk (Armin Müeller-Stahl). As our anti-hero Lohse begins spinning a web of betrayal and murder, he ensnares both friend and foe alike. His increasing power and plundering seem unstoppable until he meets up with Jewish anarchist and double agent Benjamin Lenz (Klaus Maria Brandauer, MEPHISTO, COLONEL REDL). Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, THE SPIDER'S WEB is an impressively mounted production that fully evokes the foreboding times of post-World War II Europe. (198 mins.)

23
WED 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
BRONSTEIN'S CHILDREN
GERMANY, 1990
DIRECTOR: JERZY KAWALEROWICZ
The emotional shrapnel of the Holocaust, its ongoing anguish, has edured long after the events of the war. In BRONSTEIN'S CHILDREN by one of Poland's most gifted filmmakers, Jerzy Kawalerowicz (DEATH OF A PRESIDENT), set in East Berlin in 1973, 18-year-old Hans (Matthias Paul), journeys to his family's cottage in the woods for a tryst with his girlfriend. When he arrives, he makes a bizarre discovery—his father (Armin Müeller-Stahl) and two strangers interrogating and beating an old man handcuffed to a bed. As events unfold, we learn the father and his accomplices are Jewish survivors and the man being held captive was the commandant of the Nazi concentration camp where they were held. The son pleads with his father to turn the man over to the authorities, but is rebuked. Over the next few days and at the center of the film, is the intense moral battle that takes place between father and son, a battle compounded by their already complex and difficult relationship. Like Bryan Singer's APT PUPIL, the effects of the Holocaust across generations is deftly explored in this bold adaptation of Jurek Becker's novel. (98 mins.)

26—29
SAT 26, 7 & 9
SUN 27, 2, 4 & 7 P.M.
MON 28, TUES 29, 7 & 9 P.M.
PORTLAND PREMIERE
DEVIL'S ISLAND
ICELAND, 1997
DIRECTOR: FRIDRIK THOR FRIDRIKSSON
A favorite of past Portland International Film Festivals with his acclaimed COLD FEVER and CHILDREN OF NATURE, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson delivers a right-on comedy about those living on the wrong side of the tracks. It's the 1950s, rock 'n roll is born, the United States has abandoned its military barracks outside Reykjavik and Camp Thule has become a makeshift home to those struggling after the war. When Gogo, the daughter of an eccentric fortune teller and mother of three, marries an American G.I. and moves to the states, her son, Baddi, pays a visit only to return to Devil's Island as an Elvis look alike, speaking with an American accent and driving an oversize car. How long will this local hero stay in the spotlight? Inspired by Visconti's ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, Fridriksson's extended family saga explores the way Icelandic and American cultures meet up in this corrugated iron homestead. Pulsating with a 50s rock 'n roll soundtrack and advancing with an open-ended logic, the DEVIL'S ISLAND proves "Iceland's still the coolest place on earth."—Time Out. (104 mins.)

30
WED 7 P.M.
ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL: ARCHITECT OF THE SOUL   PORTLAND PREMIERE
FIVE EMPTY CARTRIDGES
EAST GERMANY, 1960
DIRECTOR: FRANK BEYER
One of three works in this Armin Müeller-Stahl retrospective directed by Frank Beyer, FIVE EMPTY CARTRIDGES is set during the Spanish Civil War and focuses on five soldiers, each from a different country, who receive a top secret plan from their dying commanding officer. These five members of an international brigade, trapped behind enemy lines, are each given a part of the plan which is hidden among five cartridge casings. Their mission, to smuggle the plan back to their home base, proves a treacherous journey that tests the limits of their endurance and friendship. It is only upon their arrival that the true nature of the mission is revealed. "Had it been made in the U.S. with a big budget and famous stars, I believe it would have become a cult movie"—Armin Müeller-Stahl. (88 mins.)

[Return to Home Page]