certain movies

its been about 10 years since i've seen the poetic, haunting Killer Of Sheep- the 1976 debut of filmmaker charles burnett- but its tone, both visually and thematically are imprinted on my mind.  we have a great opportunity to see the film in all its black and white glory on 35mm film at the portland museum of art this weekend at the following showtimes: 

  • Friday, December 9, 2016 - 2:00pm
  • Friday, December 9, 2016 - 6:30pm
  • Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 2:00pm
  • Sunday, December 11, 2016 - 2:00pm

there isnt much to give away about the film in terms of plot, as i recall. killer of sheep is a portrait of lives in the black neighborhood of watts in los angeles in the 1970's and possess a kind of neo-realist meditation of place and time.  it gives weight to the children, the downtrodden adults, the lost dreams, despair and sad vibrancy and struggle of existence.  for any cinephile it is a must-see.  while its cumulative effect is that of a tone-poem of sorts, the experience of watching it is much more visceral.  and like many great debut films, this one feels as though it was willed into existence by sheer force, and need for being.  this is supposedly going to be the last time the 35mm film projector is going to be put to use at the museum, so please do go check it out.

 still from killer of sheep ^

still from killer of sheep ^

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there have been a lot of great films coming through town that i've neglected to write about over the weeks.  i know its stupid to blame the election but it did put me in a kind of shock- and sustained horrible mood- that made the idea of doing something as frivolous as writing some stripped down entries about movie screenings in maine seemed not only pointless but almost insulting to the trauma that we have been collectively experiencing.  the only thing worse than doing a shitty job writing about movies is not even acknowledging what goes on within the real life the movies are screened in.  i guess context is what i'm looking for. why does it matter?

in terms of humanity, and representing the marginalized in cinema, films like killer of sheep truly matter. by existing at all(made for 15,000 dollars), and then continuing to be screened, restored, revived and re-screened over the years there is something very powerful going on.  its off base to say that its a film that celebrates the lives of the characters, but it does give voice and dignity to the community within it. and to do so passionately through art is really something to behold.  

 after the third presidential debate the distributors made an alternate poster-version of the film Certain Women, by Kelly Reichardt

after the third presidential debate the distributors made an alternate poster-version of the film Certain Women, by Kelly Reichardt

one film i did get to see recently was kelly reichardt's minimalist drama, Certain Women. the film is three slightly intermingled separate stories of women in rural montana, living their lives in a sort of suspended state of quiet.  the human gaze is extremely important in this film, as little is revealed in terms of dialogue.   the film is a unique challenge to the viewer in that it gives so little, but is so rich.  the main characters portrayed by laura dern, kristen stewart, michelle williams and lily gladstone seem to float in the film.  they are supporting characters in their own lives- barely being seen by the society they inhabit, living out gentle tragedy in a kind of slow-motion.   reichardt's sense of actual drama is so stripped-down that the audience i saw this movie with was very loudly and verbally attacking the film about an hour in for being so boring. kinda made me want to crawl into a hole with the movie. its real good though, you should check it out and i'd love to talk more about it.  

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the movie i'm most looking forward to seeing right now is definitely moonlight. its playing at the nick, four showtimes a day.  have you seen it yet?  ill probably see it this weekend. 

there's a lot of movies coming out right now that look great, and as always the rep screenings in portland are pretty strong for being a small city. im gonna keep writing entries in the coming weeks, if thats ok with you, reader.   just getting back into it.  

 

-greg