September 17 - 20, 1998
Cinema explores issues of censorship, freedom of expression, civil
rights and civil liberties through timely dramatic and documentary works
and is presented in conjunction with the Oregon Chapter of the American
Civil Liberties Union monthlong Uncensored Celebration, now celebrating its tenth year. Each of the works explores these issues in different, yet profound, ways as they explore the turbulent landscape of democracy.
September 23 - October 18, 1998
annual showcase celebrating the intersection between film and the literary
arts premieres a diverse selection of new works from both dramatic and
documentary points of view with a truly international flavor. From the
master of literary adaptations, James Ivory and his newest film, A Soldier’s
Daughter Never Cries, to Jacques Audiard’s A Self-Made Hero,
from a profile of a master of the theater, Bertolt Brecht, to a master
of stage and screen, Ingmar Bergman, the series also presents an evening
of animated works based on literary sources, reprise showings of Rumi:
Poet of the Heart and Robert Frank’s newly restored Me and My Brother.
Co-sponsored by The Oregonian and Powells Books.
NEW AFRICAN CINEMA
September 24 - October 15, 1998
Film Center is pleased to showcase five recent features and four short
works which display Africa’s evolving cinema. Featruring such established
directors as Idrissa Oudraogo and Drissa Toure from Burkina Faso, the heart
of African filmmaking, and Raymond Rajaonarivelo from Madagascar, the series
also showcases works from Zaire, Chad and the Congo. In one way or another,
each work explores the confluence of the modern and the traditional, the
rural and the metropolitan, the hopes and dreams of countries and a continent
coming to terms with its past as it heads toward a new century. New
African Cinema has been organized by the African Film Festival, Inc. in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This series has been made possible, in part, by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and UNDP.
BLACK VOICES IN AMERICA
October 4, 11 & 18, 1998
our New African Cinema series is a triptych of films that introduce
the contributions of African Americans possessed of a vision and character
that has helped define the black experience in the United States. Writer
and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles gives us a no-holds-barred look at the
way the media has portrayed black culture. The eloquent scholar John Henrik
Clarke takes us through 5,000 years of black history offering a bold counterpoint
to Eurocentric points-of-view. And The Black Press: Soldiers Without
Swords offers an illuminating portrait of the history and impact of
black owned and operated newspapers. The Film Center thanks The Skanner,
Portland State University Black Studies Department and Homowo African Arts
& Culture for their support of both New African Cinema and Black Voices in America.
"Set in the largest maximum
security prison in the United States, The Farm tells an extraordinarily intimate and chillingly complex story about life and death behind the barbed-wire fences of the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary. Filmmakers Jonathan Stack and Elizabeth Garbus expertly guide the viewer through a spectrum of emotions and issues facing six male inmates over the course of one year as they attempt to survive this dreaded facility where "life means life." From the arrival of a newly convicted inmate to the appeal of a death row veteran, the harsh realities of prison life are juxtaposed with stories of heinous acts of violence, sympathetic admissions of remorse, desperate dreams of early release and frank discussion of the prisons ethic, which relies on the lucrative exploitation of prison labor. Ironically, this 18,000-acre prison site sits on a former slave plantation and houses 5,000 inmates, of whom 77 percent are black. Using this historical fact as a backdrop, the film eloquently weaves verité footage of life behind bars with the stories of a wife killer, a rapist, an armed robber, a drug dealer and various murderers along with the voices of their victims and interviews with prison officials. What results is a compelling and compassionate look at the human faces and the tragic stories that inhabit and surround this unforgettable place. "San Francisco International Film Festival. Winner of the Best Documentary Prize at this years Sundance Film Festival. (1998, 91 mins.)
The Farm —Angola, USA
10 THURSDAY - 8 P.M.
11 FRIDAY & 12 SATURDAY - 6 P.M.
13 SUNDAY - 5 P.M.
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AUDIENCE FAVORITE
The year is 1959. Maria (Marie
Theisen), the conservative vicar’s eldest daughter, figures out that by
the time of her impending confirmation she will have spent 640 hours sitting
in church. Maria longs for another life. She doesn’t want communion or
the blood of Christ, she wants to drink Coke, smoke, wear lipstick, have
breasts that point upward and hang out at the local dance hall, "the den
of sin" as her father calls it, with her friends. Maria’s confidant is
Mrs. Tunheim, who works in the church, but is experiencing a quiet rebellion
of her own. Unlike the other church wives, Mrs. Tunheim is prepared to
acknowledge Maria is becoming a woman, and she counsels Maria to be true
to her feelings, even though the cost may be more than she expects. Directed
by Ramin Niami and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film
last year, The Other Side of Sunday is a warm and humorous coming-of-age film about growing up at a time when almost everything one desired was forbidden. (Norway, 1998, 103 mins.)
The Other Side of Sunday
11 FRIDAY & 12 SATURDAY
- 8 P.M.
13 SUNDAY - 7 P.M.
CINEMA + CONCERT
Harayuma is a fast-paced
comedy of life in the city of Ouagadougou, the paradoxical capital of Burkina
Faso. Here discos stand next to mosques, officials mingle with whores,
seduction is the main distraction, and everyone is on the make. Skillfully
revealing the tensions between traditional and modern ways, Drissa Toure
has fashioned his own Short Cuts, an Altmanesque interlocking of stories
and characters who survive in a city facing economic disaster. Much of
the story centers around a Muslim family slowly losing ties to its values
and customs of the past. In this city of ironies, Oussou is a thief, but
rewarded by the police for becoming an informer. Kalifa lands a job, but
soon steals from his boss. Even the brothel owner can run her operation
without offense, but her bi-racial daughter is the subject of public ridicule.
As each character finds himself in this urban stew of future-shock, Toure
paints a vivid picture of people caught in a confluence of changing times.
(Burkina Faso, 1995, 86 mins.) Preceded by a live concert by African musician Obo Addy.
16 WEDNESDAY - 7 P.M.
From its founding in 1920 through
to the present day, the American Civil Liberties Union has been a lighting
rod for controversy as it ha sought to support and champion the Bill of
Rights. In Lawrence Garvey and Diane Hott’s (The Wilderness Idea)
far-ranging look at the A.C.L.U., they canvas the goals and activities
of this formidable organization that continues to stir strong emotions.
Involved in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, the 1930s labor strikes, Japanese
internment, the HUAC hearings and blacklisting, the Vietnam War trials
and the Nazi march on Skokie, Illinois in 1978, the A.C.L.U. has not strived
for popularity, but for freedom of expression and minority rights. Since
the 1970s, the A.C.L.U. has focused on women’s rights, gay rights and prisoner’s
rights. Yet throughout its history, its ambitions and successes have almost
been equalled by the controversy and contradictions the organization seems
to embody. Engaging both the advocates and critics of the A.C.L.U., Garvey
and Hott have created a potent social document. (60 mins.) Tonights screening followed by a post-film discussion with Stevie Remington, former Executive Director of the Portland Chapter of the A.C.L.U., Stuart Kaplan, Professor at Lewis & Clark College and Charlie Davis and Jann Carson, President and Associate Director of the A.C.L.U., respectively.
The A.C.L.U. — A History
17 THURSDAY - 7:30 P.M.
Based on Gunter Grass’ acclaimed
novel, The Tin Drum, and winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign
Language Film in 1979, Volker Schlondorff's film is currently under
fire in Oklahoma City where a fundamentalist group has succeeded in finding
a judge to declare the film obscene, resulting in police confiscating copies
from video stores and illegally retrieving the names of those renting it.
This allegorical story traces the life of a troubled boy, Oskar, who refuses
to grow up as the rise and fall of the Third Reich takes place around him.
In the film, precocious Oskar has two skills which keep the hypocritical
behavior of adults at bay: he can pound his drum mercilessly and he can
scream at such a pitch glass shatters. Exploring the links between political
and sexual politics—as seen through the eyes of a child—The Tin Drum takes
on its own reality to convey the dark and troubled times of Germany in
the 20th century and remains an eloquent and disturbing look at a country
dangerously caught up in its own complacency. (Germany, 1969, 142 mins.)
We are pleased to present The Tin Drum with a newly struck 35mm print.
The Tin Drum
18 FRIDAY 19 SATURDAY - 7:30 P.M.
The political climate of the 60s was one of heroism and optimism equally matched by assassination and despair. Out of this turmoil, including the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged the Black Panther Party with a voice of hope for Blacks in the inner cities. The Partys message was thwarted by a threatened government, particularly in the form of the FBI and its Director J. Edgar Hoover who declared before Congress: "The Black Panther Party is the greatest threat to the internal security of the U.S." Lee Lew-Lees captivating 1997 work of investigative journalism, All Power to the People, traces the Partys rise and fall as it contrasts the initial idealism and integrity of its initiators (followed by its own share of megalomania and narcissism) with the subterfuge and violence unleashed upon it by the FBI and CIA. Providing a bold panorama of the times through archival footage and interviews, including such seminal figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Leonard Peltier, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver and Mumia abu Jamal, Lew-Lee revisits a chapter in U.S. history that had been too easily obscured by manipulation. (116 mins.)
All Power to the People
20 SUNDAY - 5 P.M.
Showcased in this year’s Human
Rights Watch Film Festival, Beyond Barbed Wire probes the perplexing
and challenging notions of family and the national loyalty of Americans
of Japanese descent during World War II. Steve Rosen and Terry de Bono’s
award-winning portrait of those who fought in the segregated 100th Infantry
Batallion/442nd Regimental Combat Team while their relatives were stockaded
in Japanese internment camps is an emotionally charged tale, a riveting
and bewildering look at heroes of the most unusual kind. Though their civil
liberties and rights were stripped, these Japanese Americans bravely fought
in both Europe and the Pacific. In addition to braving battle, many were
part of the U.S. Military Intelligence Unit, linguists who interrogated
prisoners, intercepted messages and translated secret documents to help
win the war. It is through these soldiers’ testimony, through their laughter
and tears, that the silence surrounding their inner conflicts and public
achievements are told. Narrated by Pat Morita. "Revelatory and inspiring...
Beyond Barbed Wire stirringly reaffirms the notion that adversity
can bring out the best in people."—Variety. (1997, 88 mins.)
Beyond Barbed Wire
20 SUNDAY - 7:30 p.m.
What a treat to open this year’s
Novel Idea series with a new work by James Ivory, a masters of literary
adaptations, who has brought us vivid translations of such novels as E.
M. Forster’s Howard’s End and A Room with a View and Henry
James’ The Bostonians. A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries is based
on Kayla Jones’ autobiographical novel and the daughter of James Jones,
author of From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line. Set
during the 60s and 70s, this coming-of-age tale follows a teenage girl,
Chane Willis, caught between two cultures, American and French, as she
is tethered by her expatriate parents (played by Kris Kristofferson and
Barbara Hershey) whose career moves leave her without many choices. Written
by James Ivory and his longtime collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the
film is beautifully shot in both Paris and Long Island, New York. This
moving and poignant drama allows us to witness Chane’s tentative
bolts toward maturity and the intricacies of familial bonds. (120
mins.) Print courtesy of October Films. A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, opens at an ACT III Theatre on September 25.
A Soldier’s Daughter
23 WEDNESDAY - 7:30 P.M.
In a satirical comedy that easily echoes events in the United States, Ali, a civil servant, asks his wife, Awa, who runs a little business in the marketplace, to buy him a ticket in the national lottery. This bounty would ease his extended familys hardshipsthe three children, an unemployed cousin and a sister on maternity leave with her babyas they all live in a small three room apartment. As luck would have it, he wins. But as luck would also have it, the ticket has been lost. In the mad search for the winning ticket, all who are involved dream of their better lives ahead, the prosperity that would bring all things new into their lives. Unable to find the ticket, they turn to fortune tellers, to anyone who might help them in their search. In this allegory of the African seeking new economic and social success, director Kramo-Lancine Fadika illustrates how the struggle for the good life can have its own unexpected pitfalls. (Ivory Coast, 1993,100 mins.)
Waricko, The Jackpot
24 THURSDAY - 7 P.M.
An exhilarating epic set in
the Provence region in 1832, Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s (Cyrano de Bergerac)
The Horseman on the Roof stars Juliette Binoche and Olivier
Martinez. This tale of chivalry and swashbuckling adventure, a finely drawn
adaptation of Jean Giono’s classic novel, follows Angelo (Martinez), an
exiled Nobleman, and Pauline de Theus (Binoche), the wife of a rich marquis,
who come together by happenstance to brave the military, a cholera epidemic
and political threats to reach their respective homes and lovers. Moving
between the harsh landscape and even harsher political realities of the
19th century, Rappeneau meshes adventure with romance and intimacy with
the grandeur of the times, to illuminate the power of Giono’s tale. "It
is pure cinema, made of action, beauty, landscape and passion, all played
with gusto, and affection."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
(France, 1996,118 mins.) Co-sponsored by the Alliance Française de Portland.
The Horseman on the Roof
25 FRIDAY - 7:30 P.M.
of Monet:Four Short Films
Here are four short works that
not only give insight into the life and work of Monet, but also into the
work of artists of today who have drawn upon Monet’s work for their own
artistic inspiration. Ceux de Chez Nous is a short film made in 1915 by
a young actor and playwright, Sacha Guitry, that captures Degas, Monet,
Renoir, and Rodin at work in their studios. 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.
Here is a single monitor version of that installation. Monet: Legacy of
Light was produced in conjunction with an exhibition celebrating Monet’s
150th birthday in 1989 and profiles the artist by reading excerpts from
his writings and visiting places in France where he lived. Linnea in Monet’s
Garden blends watercolor-like animation, live action, photographs of Monet
and reproductions of his paintings with the landscape of his gardens. It
is the story of a young Swedish girl who travels with her neighbor to Giverny.
(90 mins.) Presented in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum's exhibit, Monet Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musée Marmottan, September 18, 1998 January 3, 1999.
26 SATURDAY & 27 SUNDAY - 2 P.M.
IDEAS - PORTLAND PREMIERE
The esteemed director, screenwriter
and playwright Ingmar Bergman turned 80 this summer and as he tries to
escape his career as a filmmaker buy writing for Swedish television, even
those works are reaching theaters around the world and deservedly so. In
Ingmar Bergman — On Life and Work, Jorn Donner, Bergman’s producer
on Fanny and Alexander, has created an intimate and reflective profile
of a man who has helped shape modern cinema. Based on a session of interviews,
Bergman is both blunt and forthright about a variety of concerns—his traumatizing
childhood, his anxiety in the face of rehearsals, his need for control
and the discipline and continuity he brings to his writings. Interweaving
photos from Bergman’s life and sequences from his film and stage presentations,
one finds oneself in the presence of an articulate man whose passions and
ideas have been eloquently brought to the screen. In tandem with this screening,
we are pleased to present two of Bergman’s classics, The Seventh Seal
and Wild Strawberries. (Germany, 1998, 90 mins.)
Ingmar Bergman — On Life
26 SATURDAY - 7 p.m.
Repeated on Friday, October 2
D O U B L E F E A T U R E
The Seventh Seal
In The Seventh Seal,
based on his own play, Bergman examines the ideas of death, faith, good
and evil and of man’s destiny in a lyrical work that asks the most elusive
of questions: "Does God exist?." Max Von Sydow is Antonius Block, a knight
returning from the crusades as the black plague is decimating Europe. He
encounters death incarnate and challenges him to a game of chess—the stakes
are his life. With its unforgettable images, its debate on one of life’s
primary concerns, and its captivating performances, The Seventh Seal
remains a landmark work, not only in Bergman’s canon or the Swedish
cinema's, but in the world’s compendium of movie making. (Sweden, 1957,96
mins.) Preceded by the short, Death, by Steve Sandoz.
at 8:45 p.m.
The Northwest Film Center’s
Certificate Program in Film prepares self-directed individuals for a career
in the media arts and the world of independent filmmaking. Tonight’s screening
showcases works completed by advanced Certificate Program students and
includes La Passante by Jake Elsas, Bring Me Your Love by
Ursula Gange, Just Like a Man by Haley Isleib and Integration
by Colin O’Neill. Also showing are works from advanced film production
classes as well as documentaries and experimental films and videos produced
by Certificate Students. Free admission. Reception for filmmakers to follow.
27 SUNDAY - 5 p.m.
An eclectic musician, actor
and composer, John Lurie has fused musical genres as the lead and saxophonist
in John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards; appeared in such films as Stranger
than Paradise, Wild At Heart and Paris, Texas, and composed
scores for many films, including Mystery Train, Blue in the Face and
Get Shorty. He’s also created a new genre of television, an uncanny
cross between wildlife adventure shows by Marlin Perkins and Jacques Cousteau
and your local neighborhood fishing program. But Lurie doesn’t cut bait
in the usual fashion. Instead, this non-fisherman takes his special guests
to the most exotic and dangerous locations on earth to hang his line and
hang out with his close friends. Tonight we screen three episodes of Fishing
with John. The first takes Lurie and Jim Jarmsuch off the tip of Long Island
as the two do battle with sharks. Of course, it becomes an existential
quest into the nature of bravery. Next, Lurie goes ice fishing with Willem
Dafoe at Maine’s northernmost point. During the days and nights in a shack
on a frozen lake, the two explore the etiquette of ice fishing as well
as man’s diet in the wilderness. The third episode follows Lurie and Tom
Waits to Jamaica where the beating sun can make anything possible. Complete
with quasi-informative narration by an omnipotent narrator, the potable
parodys that are Fishing with John give new meaning to what one might think of as meaning. (1997, 90 mins.)
JOHN LURIE, WILLEM DAFOE, JIM JARMUSCH
& TOM WAITS IN
Fishing with John
27 SUNDAY - 7 p.m.
Issa Serge Coelo’s A Taxi
for Aouzou is a wonderful hybrid of fiction and documentary, an urban
poem in which a Chadian cab driver explains his hopes and dreams against
the color and movement of the city he loves and the often violent
society in which he lives. (Chad, 1994, 22 mins.) Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s
The Dwarf follows Goi-Goi who loves to drink and to play cards.
His wife cheats on him and all the village knows about it. When wife
and lover are caught in the act, Goi-Goi seeks revenge. Yet, things do
not happen as he had planned. (Chad, 1995,15 mins.) In another film by
Haroun, Maral Tanie, the parents of 17-year-old Halime decide she
should be married off to a man very much her elder. Her adamant refusal
is ignored, and the date for the wedding is set. Halime doesn’t budge
in this battle with her father and the inevitably duel between parent and
child turns damaging. (Chad, 1994, 25 mins.) Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda’s clever
satire, The Draughtsman, introduces us to a sit-tight president-for-life of an imaginary country, who unable to sleep, summons his Chief of Guards to find someone who can challenge him at his favorite gamecheckers/draughts. It just so happens the countrys best player is a "pot smoking rebel" from the slums. Can he play the president as he plays everyone else or does he succumb to the presence of power? (Congo, 1996, 40 mins.)
A Taxi for Aouzou
Maral Tanie:The Second Wife
30 WEDNESDAY - 7 P.M.
Shot in Mali by Zairean director
José Laplaine, Macadam Tribu represents a new kind of African
cinema—one borne of the cities and the new cultural machinations that evolve
there. Following the exploits of a group of friends who roam the streets
and frequent the bars and boxing clubs of their ever-growing metropolis,
this comic drama tracks their inevitable quest for money, sex and status.
Beyond their hijinks, Mike and Kapa’s real concern is for their mother,
Mother Bavusi. Dudas is keen on boxing. But when Duka is overmatched in
a fight and is knocked into a coma, the neighborhood, with its gamblers,
gossips, whores and street philosophers, rallies behind him. "This is a
very sexy movie, chock full of joyous Papa Wemba music, but it’s also laced
with a streak of grown-up melancholy that gives its pleasures a deeper
resonance. Lydia Ewande is terrific as Mother Bavusi, anchoring one of
the most tender, complex mother-son relationships ever seen in African
cinema. Macadam Tribu tells a story that rings true all across Africa. The Macadam tribe may not observe all the old traditions, but it has found a way to adapt ancient strengths to new conditions."Cameron Bailey, Toronto Festival of Festivals. (Zaire/Mali, 1996, 88 mins.)
1 THURSDAY - 7 P.M.
IDEAS - PORTLAND PREMIERE
Wild Strawberries moves
between the present, flashbacks and dream sequences as it reflects on the
life of a man nearing the end of his years. An elderly professor, played
by silent film director Victgor Sjostrom, is travelling cross country to
receive an honorary degree. On the way he encounters two young hitchikers,
and they, with members of his immediate family, provoke thought of how
he lived and might have lived his life. "Wild Strawberries deals
with an apparent infinity of themes and feelings: love, tolerance, betrayal,
paternalism, egotism, ingratitude, jealousy, remorse, hypocrisy, nostalgia,
humiliation, indifference. Deep down, though, and abidingly, the film reflects
Bergman’s own struggle to reconcile himself with Death (making it a sequel,
spiritually, to The Seventh Seal). [The Professor] is confronted by intimations of mortality at every turn: the "dead" patient in the lecture theatre, his sons repudiation of children, his ancient mothers icy solitude. Man must come to terms with himself if he is to banish Death, or rather the fear of Death. "Film critic Peter Cowie. (Sweden,1957, 90 mins.)
— On Life and Work
2 FRIDAY- 7 P.M.
Repeat of 26 Saturday program.
D O U B L
E F E A T U R E
at 8:45 p.m.
1998 marks the centenary of
the birth of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), the playwright who challenged
traditional forms of theater with such works as The Three Penny Opera,
Mother Courage and Her Children and Galileo. A collaborator with Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Lotta Lenya and many of the talents of his era, he was also a man whose social views and religion found him caught in the upheaval of Germany of the 1930s. Jutta Brückners unorthodox portrait of the artist is told in four revealing chapters as actor and playwright Peter Bucholz takes a journeys through the pivotal years of Brechts life. Fleeing Germany in 1933 to escape the Nazis, Brecht finds himself in Denmark where his rougish ways compound his relationships with lover, wife and mistress. Moving to Sweden, he is soon expelled for his communist leanings. Many in Brechts life, from stage, screen and literature, share their thoughts about Brecht and his theater that attempted to move masses toward revolution. His arrival in America where he convenes with fellow German expatriates is not without incident as well. One of the original Hollywood 19, his testimony rattled the House Committe on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Throughout, Bruckner paints a vivd picture of a difficult man who embraced his own difficulty. (Germany, 1998, 95 mins.)
— Love, Revolution and Other Dangers
3 SATURDAY - 7 & 9 P.M.
VOICES IN AMERICA
As a writer, director, producer
and musician, Melvin Van Peebles is more than a renaissance man; he is
an astute social and political force. In 1961, before there was an American
independent film scene, he directed the groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback’s
Baadasssss Song, a work which exploded the stereotype of the African-American
as easily intimidated and and complacent. Here he portrayed a vision of
blacks rarely presented on screen. Now in Classified X, Van Peebles
does for the black cinema what A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
Through American Movies did, but in this case Van Peebles’ keen and
unsettling perceptions focus on the falsifications of the black character
in the movies, from Stepnfetchit to the New Negro to the No Negro eras.
Van Peebles has constructed a powerful essay on the conspiracy of the mass
media to fabricate and sustain a dishonest view of black America. Co-directed
by Mark Daniels. Plus selected shorts. (France/USA, 1997, 90 mins.)
Melvin Van Peebles’ Classified
4 SUNDAY - 7 P.M.
Tonight we screen some of the
best literary adaptations that have found their way into the world of animation.
In these cases, the kindred spirits between author and animator co-mingle
with marvelous results, charging both the imagination of artist and audience
alike. Canadian animator Frederic Back brings his illuminating vision to
the classic Jean Giorno tale, The Man Who Planted Trees. Caroline
Leaf introduces Mordecai Richler’s literary neighborhood with her wistful
images in The Street, the story of a young boy faces the consequences
of wanting to inhabit his dying grandmother’s room. Will Vinton’s claypainting
Go Down Death conjures up James Weldon Johnson's poem. Steven Dovas’
Call Me Fishmael is a satirical look at a movie pitch, in this case
it's the story of a giant whale, perhaps Moby Dick? These and other surprises
round out this ingenious metamorphosis of literature. (90 mins.)
Co-sponsored by ASIFA/NW.
Literary Adaptations in Animation
7 WEDNESDAY - 7 P.M.
Drawn from a formidable Malagasy
myth, When the Stars Meet the Sea is instilled with the magic of
its culture and the symbols of its place. When a boy is born on the day
of an eclipse—a visible omen of disharmony—custom has it the boy will possess
great and dangerous powers. As a test, he must survive being left a night
alone among the cattle. This is the fate of Kapila. Born to a poet-father,
the cursed child is left in a field, but is saved by a childless woman
who weaves shrouds for the dead. Though crippled by the experience, Kapila
as an adult goes on a quest, searching for the meaning of his ability to
control natural forces. Raymond Rajaonarivelo (Tabataba), one of Africas premiere directors, has shaped a powerful tale about a man-child who seeks vengeance on a society that sentenced him to death and a father eager to deny his complicity. Shot all across Madagascar, from its exquisite landscapes to its dusty city streets, we follow Kapila as he makes his way from the arid highlands to the eternal promise of the sea. Part earthbound Luke Skywalker, part African Oedipus, Rajaonarivelo has fashioned a tale with universal reverberations. (Madagascar, 1996, 85 mins.)
When the Stars Meet the
8 THURSDAY - 7 P.M.
KISSES / NOVEL IDEAS
I think it was Jules Renard
who said, "There are people who lie so badly that you feel like helping
them." This film could be my modest contribution to that notion... Firstly,
what lies are we talking about? The little man who lies to answer back
or a whole nation that lies to itself because the truth is simply unbearable?Jacques Audiard
A Self-Made Hero
9 FRIDAY - 7:30 P.M.
"Un Heros Très
Discret is Jacques Audiard’s pungent comedie dramatique set in France
as the German Occupation comes to an end. Based on the novel by Jean-François
Deniau, the film offers a wry view of just how easy it was to fabricate
a past in the confusion of 1944-5. Mathieu Kassovitz is superbly appealing
as an inventive young man who—having missed the chance to be a hero earlier
in the war—appropriates the true stories of others, creating a new identity
as a member of the Resistance. His complete success in deceit brings him
honor, admiration, friendship, power and love and attests to the truth
of his world view, a variation on ‘print the legend, not the fact’.. .‘the
best lives are the ones we make up.’ The entertaining and intelligent script
won a well-deserved Special Jury Prize at Cannes." —Telluride Film Festival.
(France, 1996, 105 mins.) Co-sponsored by the Alliance Française de Portland.
Self-taught historian and scholar,
John Henrik Clarke, who died this past July at the age of 83, was
a singular voice in African American history and a provocative Pan African
ideologist. In A Great & Mighty Walk, veteran documentarist St. Clair Borne filmed Clarke when he was 80 and blind, exploring both the man and 5,000 years of African history as he weaves Clarkes words with a lively mix of archival treasures. Born into a sharecropping family and self-educated, Clarke migrated to the cultural and literary renaissance taking place in Harlem in the 20s and was to become a legend among scholars; he also started one of the first Black Studies departments in the nation. Tracing the roots and branches of African history, Clarke takes us from ancient Egypt to Africas great empires, illustrating the links between Mediterranean influences, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, and African-American history right up to the Million Man March. Listening to Clarke, one can imagine the influence he had on such leaders as Malcolm X and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. As Clarke boldly states with his razor sharp wit: "If you lose your eyesight, increase your insight." Take this expedition; it will transform you. (1996, 92 mins.)
John Henrik Clarke:
A Great & Mighty Walk
10 SATURDAY - 5:30 P.M.
11 SUNDAY - 7:30 P.M.
Longtime friend of the Film
Center, award-winning animator Bill Plympton, who gracefully moves between
his native Clackamas and the cultural monument that is Manhattan, has garnered
prize after prize for his irreverent and whimsical works, from his first
film, Boomtown, to his first feature, The Tune, and onto
I Married a Strange Person, which won the Grand Prize for Feature
Films at the prestigous Annecy Animation Festival. The Film Center welcomes
Plympton to Portland for the premiere of his latest feature, an animated
extravaganza that doesn’t dally with those interested in what is politically
correct. Following the joys and travails of newlyweds Grant and Kerry Boyer
who are struggling with Grant’s psychic powers, Plympton takes life’s simple
events to their surreal and twisted extremes. From sex to cockroaches,
everything is fair game for this master comic—even blades of grass break
into song at the thought of being mowed. As the film grows more completely
bizarre, Plympton kicks his imagination into high gear and we’re off on
an excursion that turns armies into lizards and bullets into hamburgers.
Throughout it all, does love prevail or are Grant and Kerry’s vows torn
asunder? (1998, 74 mins.) Tonight’s benefit screening supports the Film
Center’s Education Programs. Special admission: $7. Print courtesy
of Lions Gate Films. I Married a Strange Person opens in Portland later this month.
I Married a Strange Person
10 SATURDAY- 8 P.M.
The Northwest Film Center premieres
the youth-produced Neighborhood Video Project. Through a collaboration
between the Film Center’s Filmmakers-in-the-Schools Outreach Program
and four Portland community youth groups, Si Se Puede (Yes We Can) Latino
Youth Group, Self Enhancement Inc., the Mittleman Jewish Community Center
working with the Rose Schnitzer Manor and Camp Fire Youth Volunteer Corps,
young people worked together this past spring with filmmakers-in-residence
Grace Lee-Park, Brian Lindstrom, Enie Vaisburd and Aaron Walker to produce
short videos on the theme of community. Today we’ll explore how these youth
experience community and what visions they have for the next millennium. Free admission. This project supported, in part, by the Regional Arts & Culture Councils Neighborhood Arts Program and the Portland Parks & Recreation Youth Trust Fund.
The Neighborhood Video
11 SUNDAY - NOON
Stanley Nelson’s film is the
first to chronicle the history of the black press—from the founding of
the first black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, in 1827, through to
the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and beyond. These papers, like the
Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier, gave voice to concerns of
African Americans, helping forge their identity, and offering a counterpoint
to the images and stereotypes created by mainstream media. Focusing on
such heroic and unsung black journalists as Ida B. Wells, Robert Abbott
and Charlotte Bass (the first African American to run for national office),
The Black Press traces the turbulent years that inspired this democratic
media to flourish, fighting not only the silence surrounding slavery and
the effects of segregation, but offering a forum for African American journalists
that demonstrates the written word has been as fundamental as music or
religion in the evolution of African American consciousness. "Stanley
Nelson’s stellar documentary masterfully tells the tale of the scribbling
pioneers to whom we owe so much and of whom each black writer today is
an heir."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Dept. of Afro-American Studies, Harvard
University. (1998,86 mins.) Followed by a post-film discussion led by publishers of Portlands minority newspapers.
The Black Press:
Soldiers Without Swords
14 WEDNESDAY - 7 p.m.
Repeats 18 SUNDAY
Nominated for the Golden Palm
at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Idrissa Ouedraogo’s (Afrique mon
Afrique, Samba Traore, Yaaba) Kini and Adams follows the exploits of two friends living in the far reaches of Southern Africa, a land of stunning natural spaces, but not much opportunity, where the two dream of moving to the city. Without transporation or money, they try building a car out of spare parts, but no matter what they add, and it seems to be parts for appearancefenders, windshield wipers, lucky charmsthe car stays as immobile as their hopes for change. Under pressure from Kinis wife, he seeks a job and thats when ambition and rivalry enter the picture, endangering the twos inseparable link. Delicately exploring the bonds of their friendship, Ouedraogo crafts a poignant look at dreams tested by lifes daily realities. (Zaire, 1996, 93 mins.)
Kini and Adams
15 THURSDAY - 7 p.m.
"Robert Frank’s (Pull My
Dasiy, Conversations with Jack, Cocksucker Blues) late 1960s masterpiece
is his most ambitious and complex film. It incorporates black-and-white
and color film, montage, split screen, nonsynchronous sound, voice-over,
fractured chronology and other cinematic devices to tell both fictional
and documentary stories. An exploration of Julius Orlovsky, the catatonic
brother of poet Peter Orlovsky, Me and My Brother is ostensibly
about mental illness and society’s reaction to it. Yet it also explores
the complex relationship between cinema and truth, raising questions about
voyeurism, the parallels between acting and social behavior and the creation
of illusion to echo reality. Julius, after spending years in a New York
mental hospital, emerges catatonic and must rely on his brother Peter,
who lives with poet Allen Ginsberg. We see him at work, at home, walking
blankly through the city and staring uncomprehendingly at simple objects.
Frank begins to question his own role as documentary filmmaker, doubting
his ability to make sense of his subject. When Julius wanders off in the
middle of filming, Frank hires an actor (Joseph Chaikin) to play the character
and begins a fictional version of his psychological portrait. Then, as
suddenly as he vanished, Julius turns up at an institution. In an astounding
final scene, he breaks his long silence as he and Frank confront each other
through the lens. Frank recently re-edited Me and My Brother in preparation for the striking of this new print." 1998 San Francisco International Film Festival. (1965-68, 91 mins.)
Me and My Brother
16 FRIDAY- 7 & 9 P.M.
Come whoever you are! Wanderer,
worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It doesn’t
matter if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times, still and yet, again,
Rumi: Poet of the Heart
17 SATURDAY & 18 SUNDAY - 5 P.M.
Truth, beauty, the nature
of the human spirit—these were the ideas that beckoned poet Jelalu’l-Din
Rumi, the 13th century Persian Sufi mystic. Haydn Reiss’ (William Stafford
and Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship) profound new work celebrates
the life and literary accomplishments of the author whose poems have spanned
the centuries and speak to contemporary audiences. Featuring interviews
and readings with many of Rumi’s modern translators and scholars, including
Coleman Barks, Robert Bly, Huston Smith, Deepak Chopra and Michael Mead,
Rumi also draws upon the classic music of the oud with virtuoso performances
by Hamza El Din and Jai Uttal. All together they fashion a lively and inspired
look at one of the world’s most inspiring poets. Narrated by Debra Winger.
Preceded by live concert of classical Persian music performed by Soheil
Zalfounon and Reza Mazlumi. (1998, 90 mins.)
"We broke a taboo. We proved to the world we can fight. We proved to ourselves that we can fight, that Jews can fight and win."
FOR THE 5TH PORTLAND JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
In Our Own Hands:
The Hidden Story of the Jewish Brigade in World War II
17 SATURDAY -7:30 P.M.
Johann Peltz, The Jewish Brigade
Though often portrayed solely
as victims of the Holocaust (though sometimes saved by non-Jewish resistance
fighters), there is another story to be told about World War II and its
aftermath—about the formation and daring of the all volunteer Jewish Brigade.
Chuck Olin’s captivating documentary, weaving rare archival footage and
the compelling testimony of veterans who fought in the Jewish Brigade,
traces its history from 1939 to the emergence of Israel. Though it took
years to finally get approval, His Majesty’s Jewish Brigade was finally
formed in 1944 and sent to fight the German army near Bologna, Italy. Even
as the Brigade proved victorious, those within the Brigade—members of the
Jewish Agency and the Haganah—had their own secret plans for after the
way. Some went AWOL looking for family members, but many sought to save
Holocaust survivors, lay the groundwork for the establishment of Israel
and at the same time seek out Nazi officers and collaborators to seek retribution.
In Our Own Hands has..."all the necessary elements of great drama, but
its potency, the reason that most viewers will find it all but unforgettable,
come primarily from the spoken words, such as these from Brigade veteran
Hanoch Bartov: ‘We came as an angel of life, I would say, to the Jewish
people. Soldiers are supposed to fight, kill or be killed. And what we
did as soldiers, we found dead people and we helped them to go back
to life’"—Chicago Tribune. (1998, 85 mins.) Tonights screening is a benefit premiere for the upcoming 5th Annual Portland Jewish Film Festival taking place in January, 1999. Special admission: $7 General; Reserved Seat Patron Tickets $25 (includes pre-film reception). Advance tickets on sale at the Film Center.
The Black Press:
Soldiers Without Swords (1998)
18 SUNDAY- 7 P.M.
Repeat of 14 Wednesday program.
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