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Thursday, September 24, 2009

This week at SFC: trinidad + tobago film festival






Thursday September 24th

8:15 pm doors open 7:30


As partners in the T&T Film Festival 2009 studiofilmclub is proud to be presenting three films from the UK by filmmakers of Caribbean origin

MELVIN:PORTRAIT OF A PLAYER (Laurence Cole/UK/2003/15')
Melvin is God’s gift to women. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who thinks so. To everyone else Melvin is a scoundrel, a serial cheater with a cash flow problem. Unexpectedly his childhood sweetheart comes back on the scene, but will Melvin remain faithful to her and end his roguish ways? Completely improvised, made in a mock documentary style—the film is essentially a series of short interviews—and shot in grainy black and white. It is fresh, fast, and full of raucous humour.

FOREVER [HASTA SIEMPRE] (Ishmahil Blagrove/UK/2005/84')
To some people Cuba is a poor, oppressive, totalitarian state. For others it is a country that, despite crippling US economic sanctions, is able to provide for all of its citizens and remain a bastion against US imperialism and the ills of capitalism. But what is Cuba really like? This film looks inside the island nation to see what life is like for ordinary Cubans. Through revealing interviews with a wide cross-section of Cubans a portrait of a country emerges, one in which pride in the revolution and its successes remains strong, yet discontent over a number of issues—racism, censorship, travel restrictions, even the lack of political choice—exists. Recent changes, especially the opening up of the island to tourism, are considered and the increasingly pressing question is posed: After Fidel, what?

AFRO-SAXONS (Mark Currie+Rachel Wang/UK/2008/84')

Afro-Saxons isn’t about the British West Indian post-colonial elite who had internalised the values of their erstwhile masters (Lloyd Best had introduced the term Afro-Saxons to describe just this group of people). Rather, this is a fascinating look at the world of African-Caribbean women’s hairstyling in the United Kingdom. Afro-Saxons takes us through this competitive and ego-fuelled business, following a group of hairstylists vying for top honours in the prestigious Black Beauty & Hair Awards. Angela, the braiding queen; Wayne, a rising star; the formidable (and Thai) husband and wife team of George and Apple; and Michael, a Birmingham stylist all are looking to challenge the London elite. Feel-good and fun, Afro-Saxons is full of warm, observational humour—not to mention mind-blowing, gravity-defying hairstyles.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This week at SFC: trinidad + tobago film festival






For more info about the Film Festival, click here

STUDIOFILMCLUB is very proud to have Hilton Als select this years program for our part of the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2009.
Hilton is an author and staff writer for the New Yorker and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.
He has been actively involved with SFC since agreeing to choose films for the festival - writing syopsis's and his conversations have suggested film after film for screening...
For the festival Hilton has entitled his three night selection THREE WOMEN - and it starts off withwith Robert Altman's classic 3 Women.

Three Women

In 1977, the late Texas-born director, Robert Altman (1925-2006) had a dream. It involved three women living in a desert resort community, somewhere in California. The next morning, with the help of the screenwriter, Pat Resnick, Altman began sketching his film, which remains his most personal, and among the more disturbing produced during Hollywood's late to mid-seventies golden age. Starring three performers from Texas--Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule--"3 Women," is as much about the double-self as Ingmar Bergman's brilliant, "Persona," but with the cock-eyed charm of a M-G-M comedy starring Zasu Pitts. While Janice Rule paints enigmatic murals in a rundown apartment house for singles, Duvall-as-Millie-Lamorroreaux'
s new roommate, Pinky Rose (Spacek) starts to assume aspects of Millie's personality, including her awkwardness, and penchant for sleeping with Rule's husband. For her astonishing work--she improvised a great many of her monologues--Shelley Duvall won the Best Actress award at Cannes, while Spacek collected a Best Supporting Actress honor from the New York Film Critics.

3 WOMEN Wednesday 16th September 8:15 pm

Directed by Robert Altman

Starring Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule

Running time: approximately 125 minutes
Color film

Robert Altman is generally regarded as one of America's great directors. By the time of his death, he had made over forty feature length films, including the seminal MASH (1970), "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971) and
"Nashville" (1975). His work was distinctive in its use of overlapping, naturalistic dialogue, and for its criticism of America's status quo. He was awarded an honorary Oscar before his death in 2006

Thursday 17th September 8:15pm

Two Women: Sort Of

The filmmaker Leslie Thornton's "Peggy and Fred in Hell," is a process-oriented work that combines archival footage, and images Thornton's shot and arranged herself, on both film and video, from 1984 to 2009. In the early nineteen-eighties, the artist began filming two children she met in Providence, Rhode Island. In short order they became the focus of her project--to show the last two beings, a pre-adolescent brother and sister, on earth. Inundated by media and natural devastation, Peggy and Fred traverse a post-apocalyptic universe where they can only reflect one another, and the ruin of the world. (Part of the story Thornton means to tell here through metaphor is her own history of duality. How to resolve the image of her father, a gentle man, with the fact that he was a scientist who worked on developing the Atom bomb?) Combining bright lights, pictures and sound from television, as well as pre-sound images from documentary nature films, Thornton's extraordinary document is a near hallucinatory blend of "real" shots and manufactured scenes, or fiction. Taken together, they challenge our notion of what's true and what's false, what defines a boy and a girl, and how to cope in a world that won't let us alone even as it disappears right before our very eyes.

Peggy and Fred in Hell
Directed by Leslie Thornton

Running time: 90 minutes
Color and black and white

Leslie Thornton was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 1951. She is a professor in the Modern Culture and Media Department at Brown University. Her other films include "Let Me Count The Ways..10...9...8...7," which was selected for inclusion in the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

Kalup Linzy

The performance artist and filmmaker Kalup Linzy generally performs in drag, but he's a post-camp artist. While his videos--a take-off on the soap operas he watched as a child--have arch elements, Linzy is sincere in his appreciation of story-telling, pathos, and suspense. But the world seen in long-running television shows like "The Guiding Light," and "The Young and The Restless," are almost all-white, upwardly mobile, or both. Linzy rejects this notion, and makes poor or lower middle-class Southern-based black women the focus of his short, trenchant videos. Following no particular order, Linzy's soap operas track the inhabitants of a small Southern town who need a ride to the club, or disagree with someone's object choice. It's Faulkner by way of Tyler Perry. Crudely dubbed--one troubled character asks, "Is God throwing shade?"--Linzy speaks all his characters lines, both men and women, black and white, the better to maintain control over his fictionalized world filled with real humor and feelings.

Kalup Linzy was born in Clermont, Florida, in 1977. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of South Florida, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007.

One Woman

In 1997, Kara Walker won the MacArthur "genius" award--one of the youngest artists to be so honored. This was for her body of work, which centers on race, and the powerful psychological projections that are attached to stereotypes. From the start of her career, Walker has used the antiquated silhouette form to address slavery, and it's resulting confusion: "carpet-bagging," "freedom," miscegenation. It was only a matter of time before the artist made the next step--by having her sweeping still narratives move. In 2004, Walker directed her first film, "Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions"--a film that gains in narrative power through its chronological confusion. Things happen, but when? While a Walker film is rooted in the history of slavery--we recognize the plantation, the masters and the slaves--we see it through a modern lens, informed by our knowledge of D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation," "Mandingo," and other sexed up, vexing conceits. Walker means to incorporate both views in her work--the historical and the ahistorical, the trashy and the exalted--while opening the viewer up to another vista altogether: their race-defined, not to say limited, self.

Friday September 18th 8:15pm doors open 7:30

Directed by Kara Walker

Running time: Approximately One Hour
Color and black and white

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969, and partly raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her MFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2007 Time Magazine named her one of the country's one hundred most influential artists.


Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions, 2004
DVD video, B & W, silent
8 minutes 49 seconds

8 Possible Beginnings or: The Creation of African-America, a Moving Picture by Kara E. Walker, 2005
DVD Video, B & W, stereo
15 minutes 57 seconds

…calling to me from the angry surface of some grey and threatening sea., 2007
DVD video, Color, silent
9 minutes 10 seconds

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands: Six Miles from Springfield on the Franklin Road, 2009
DVD Video, Color, stereo
13 minutes, 22 seconds

National Archives Microfilm Publication M999 Roll 34: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands: Lucy of Pulaski, 2009
DVD video, Color, stereo
12 minutes, 8 seconds

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This week at SFC:Mister Lonely





Thursday September 10th

All our screenings are FREE ones

We will pay some homage to the King of Pop before and after the feature which starts at 8:30pm

MISTER LONELY (Harmony Korine/UK Ireland France USA/2007/112')

Mister Lonely by A.O. Scott

It’s with some reluctance that I describe "Mister Lonely" by Harmony Korine, as dreamlike. Dreams are often vague, chaotic and dull, and other people’s dreams are notoriously uninteresting. “Mister Lonely” is enigmatic, its moods and meanings sometimes elusive in the way that dreams can be, but nearly every frame is an image of arresting clarity and beauty. And even when it strays beyond the border of sense, you can’t help accepting its logic and its truth, much as you do when your unconscious spools pictures in your sleep.

Mr. Korine’s previous films — he directed "Gummo" and “Julien Donkey-Boy” after writing the screenplay for Larry Clark's "Kids" — were nightmares, harsh and provocative and hard to shake. In defending “Julien Donkey-Boy” from the scorn of other critics, Roger Ebert once remarked that Mr. Korine had “the soul of a real filmmaker,” a judgment that “Mister Lonely,” arriving nearly 10 years later, decisively confirms. In richly colored, wide-frame compositions that seem at once utterly natural and unspeakably strange, Mr. Korine seems to conjure a strange, haunted world. Or maybe, stranger still, he has uncovered a reality hidden in plain sight on the surface of everyday life.

The geography of “Mister Lonely,” which was filmed in Paris, Scotland and Panama, is divided into two distinct zones. In one, an exuberant priest (Werner Herzog, speaking of cinematic visionaries) supervises an order of nuns somewhere in the jungle and flies over remote settlements dropping food from a small plane. On one such mission a nun discovers she can fly, a professed miracle that may have more to do with the power of film than with the presence of God.

Meanwhile — elsewhere? in another dimension? — a Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton) who tells him of a commune in the Scottish Highlands where people like them can live without shame or self-consciousness. She describes her own family in the careful language of identity politics: a husband (Denis Lavant) who “lives as Charlie Chaplin” and a young daughter (Esme Creed-Miles) who “lives as Shirley Temple.”

What this means turns out to be a bit puzzling once Michael follows Marilyn home. There, he finds a pope (James Fox), a Queen Elizabeth II (Anita Pallenberg), a Sammy Davis Jr. (Jason Pennycooke) and a notably foul-mouthed Abraham Lincoln (Richard Strange), among others, who tend sheep and think about putting on a big show.

Whether “living as” famous people extends beyond dressing like them is hard to say, and in any case this odd, utopian experiment is soon undermined by jealousy, livestock disease and worse. An undercurrent of persistent pain, suggested in the title, blossoms in the last part of the film, as its low-key whimsy swerves surprisingly and not quite effectively into melodrama.

Though Mr. Luna and especially Ms. Morton play their roles without cuteness or camp, the story does not quite cohere, and perhaps it isn’t meant to. Mr. Korine, who wrote “Mister Lonely” with his brother Avi, seems to be more interested in the expressive power of pictures than in conventional psychology. And there will most likely be those who find his sensibility frustratingly hermetic, morbidly preoccupied with the poetry of compositions and camera movements and archly detached from the emotional currents of the story.

And yet “Mister Lonely,” self-enclosed though it may be, nonetheless demonstrates that Mr. Korine, who showed his ability to shock and repel in earlier films, also has the power to touch, to unsettle and to charm. This is undoubtedly a small movie, but it’s also more than that: it’s a small, imperfect world.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

This week at SFC:Three TImes






Thursday September 3rd

8:15 pm doors open 7:30 for short films


Three Times (Hou Hsiao-hsien/Taiwan/2005/120')

Does anyone make more rapturously beautiful films than Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien? Maybe so, but you’d never believe it after seeing this ravishing new triumph about the melancholy play of time and memory. The action is broken into three different love stories, each set in a different era—a 1966 pool hall, a prosperous 1911 brothel, and rocking present-day Taipei—but starring the same lead actors, the impossibly glamorous Shu Qi and Chang Chen. While these stories deliberately echo his earlier works, Hou uses them to chart the transformation of Taiwanese life, love, and the relationship between men and women over the last hundred years. He captures all this with the poetic intensity that has come to define his work—an absolute mastery of space and rhythm and a humane tenderness that suffuses every frame.