late winter blues has got me in a general non-writing funk that i’m hoping to break out of. please excuse my silence, and neglect of this film column. its new to me and i hope to nourish it still.
i think one thing that got me recently was a desire to write about female filmmakers that have been exciting to me. it occurred to me to post such an article on “international woman’s day” a couple weeks ago. then i got really self conscious about the idea. i didn’t want my efforts to come across as disingenuous or tokenism. so i wanted to do a good job with it. but now its like two weeks later and i still haven’t really done anything. i guess what also got me thinking about it was watching mustang at the pma, which is a film of such feminine power, and made by a female director. at any given time there aren’t too many films out in theaters that are created by female directors.
so who are some female directors that are real exciting that are active today? kelly reichardt is definitely one. her feature film debut, river of grass was just given restoration treatment and a limited re-release this month. appealingly looking like a sort of lo-fi badlands its not showing anywhere in maine yet it seems. this is where heading out to videoport would have been a nice opportunity, as the film isn’t streaming anywhere currently either. so its a film that kinda falls into that unfortunate void for the time being. her catalogue can generally be sought out at the portland public library. i highly recommend old joy(from 2006), which was her first feature in 18 years(since river of grass), stars Will Oldham (aka bonnie prince billy) and is sort of directly responsible for jumpstarting her career, as she has consistently made a feature film every couple years since. her newest feature, certain women debuted at sundance this year and was picked up by ifc films for release later this year.
(river of grass, 1994, kelly reichardt)
speaking of film festivals, Emerge in Lewiston and Auburn Maine has just announced its lineup for 2016 and it contains a few recent local gems. now in its 3rd year its holding its own as a new, low key and under the radar festival in a state that is beginning to be known for its higher profile film fests. highlights include year round metal enjoyment from portland maine’s jeff griecci. for those who got shut out of the film’s sold out debut at space gallery, this will provide a solid chance to check out the doc about freight train graffiti and the unique souls behind the illegal and often dangerous art form.
(year round metal enjoyment, 2016, jeff greicci)
also at the fest will be neptune by portland maine’s derek kimball. the film was shot entirely in maine and recently was screened at slamdance film festival to much acclaim. i know and admire derek and jeff a lot and exciting to see these great guys making their feature debuts. i havent seen either film yet but emerge might be a good chance to do so. the schedule doesnt appear to be set yet but it all takes place April 28 - May 1.
(neptune, derek kimball, 2016)
check the emerge website for updates and ticket info: http://emergefilmfestival.org/
in terms of stuff coming up sooner- and in portland- i’m really looking forward to matthew barney’s river of fundament, which is being shown in three parts at the pma April 1st thru April 3rd. for those of you familiar with barney’s work the cremaster series, you probably already know that its going to be very non-linear, very surreal and at times grotesque. it is pure art- gloriously elaborate set pieces, operatic score and scope, filled with celebrities doing weird shit, a true spectacle and utter madness. lets all go see it in its bizarre epic glory as a 6 hour chunk on sunday april 3rd!
(river of fundament, matthew barney, 2015)
-river of fundament screens in its entirety sunday april 3rd at 11:30 am at the portland museum of art. -
on thursday march 31 im going to be collaborating on presenting a screening of female belgian director chantal akerman’s 1976 debut feature film je tu il elle at the woman run alternative arts space, new fruit, in east bayside. akerman was a pioneer in experimental queer cinema and all the subtle beauty of her vision is on full display in this gorgeous film. sadly akerman took her own life last year. we’re excited to have this free screening at new fruit, which feels like the perfect place to view this treasure. start time is 7pm. new fruits location is vaguely secretive but findable.
(je tu il elle, chantall ackerman 1974)
see you in some form i hope,