When I saw the initial schedule for the Film Festival this year, I was profoundly underwhelmed. But it turns out they added some good movies later, and maybe I missed some already there in my first glance. Take a good look at the final schedule and you should be able to put together a fine four days of movie watching. I took a casual look while waiting in my car the other day and these caught my attention:
The Forbidden Room Sunday, 9:15 PM, Newcomb Hall The one I most excited about. Guy Maddin gets even Guy Maddiner than Guy Maddin has got before, at length. By all accounts, insane. Just Google this and watch the explosions of vocabulary, as critics gesticulate wildly with words, desperately trying to convey the energy, surprise, and strangeness of the moving pictures. Or don’t, and walk in from the dark into the dream. Featuring pancake-eating submariners and Charlotte Rampling, among many others.
Taxi Thursday, 7:30, Vinegar Hill An Iranian movie at Vinegar Hill… this might not have the resonance for you that does for me, but in any case Jafar Panahi’s latest is a sure thing. It is said that Iranians actually do make some bad movies, but that the authorities strictly forbid them from leaving the country. Humanity has no better or more honest or more clever defenders than the great filmmakers of Iran, Panahi among them.
The Maltese Falcon Saturday, 3:30, Culbreth In sweet 35mm! See also: Employee’s Entrance and… Songcatcher? Thanks, Leonard Maltin! I don’t know if any other films will be on film, because the VFF doesn’t bother to advertise format. If you’re lucky, the projectionist might give a glimpse of a little head, or some tail, for old time’s sake. (That’s projectionist talk there. My favorite lingo is the dread brain wrap, but you won’t have to worry about that, because they will be using changeover.)
Entertainment Saturday, 3:45, Violet Crown Neil Hamburger! Or at least Gregg Turkington, who plays a comedian who might be something like his character Neil Hamburger. Directed by Richmonder Rick Alverson (The Comedy). In bleakness too there is entertainment.
The Wave Friday, 10PM, Paramount Norwegian disaster movie. Enough said.
Heart of a Dog Friday, 4:30, Paramount Laurie Anderson’s essay film about love, death, and her dog Lolabelle.
Faust Saturday, 8:00, Old Cabell The silent film with live accompaniment is a film festival staple, this time with a Murnau classic.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato Friday, 9:15, Violet Crown Sometimes you just got to to watch a Peter Greenaway movie, like a necessary irritant or an unnecessary extravagance. I don’t know what it is about the guy, but he is so Peter Greenaway.
Embrace of the Serpent Thursday, 8:45, Violet Crown Shamanism in black and white. Why not?
How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock at his Farm in Normandy Sunday 11:45 Violet Crown The last movie Les Blank worked on, a documentary about a documentarian, loose-limbed and hang-out, just people making movies of people, talking about making movies of people.
Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents Saturday, 3:45, The Southern If you ever wanted to know what the deal was with The Residents. Hopefully not too much of the deal.
Youth Sunday, 4:45, Violet Crown One of those Michael Caine/Harvey Keitel buddy movies, directed by the worldly and Italian Paolo Sorrentino.
Lucifer Saturday, 4:00, Violet Crown Projected in a circular format, which sounds annoying but also completely necessary to see. Can Gust Van den Berghe pull it off?