Is it the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington that's creating this glut of amazing black-interest movies? What is a girl to do?!
I don't usually do lists but here goes. This weekend includes:
LES SAIGNANTES (2005) @ Spectacle tonight. If you like experimentation, African films, sci-fi, self-relfexive film, political films, gorgeous films, comedy etc. then you have to check out Bekolo.
(ha ha ha I'm not really a racist! It's just acting!)
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) Harry Belafonte. Robert. Ryan. Shelly Winters And Gloria Grahame? AND it's shot in noirish Hudson, NY? Best seen big screen @ BAM Friday. Robert Ryan's right up there in Richard Widmark territory being all racist and RR/RW (ie. hot and crazy) scary! A beautiful B&W film directed by Robert Wise and produced by Belefonte's production company, HarBel. Jazz score by John Lewis.
They're K I L L I N G it at BAM with A Time for Burning: Cinema of the Civil Rights Movement. I've really got to catch up with the blog and I'm full of regret at everything I've missed! The combining of docs and features is fantastic and I love that they're going outside the box genre-wise by showing Hershell Gordon Lewis' 2000 MANIACS! (1964).
I've never seen it but have definitely heard of it so I'm gonna put my gore-guard on and check it out tomorrow. Look for more as I restart Ina's Horror Blog. Lovely "Nothing But A Man" (1963) plays this weekend as well.
(Sing it with Bobby Womack:)ACROSS 110TH STREET (1972) d.Barry Shear, @ AMMI in FUN CITY programmed by J.Hoberman.
I loves this movie--it's one of my favorite blaxploitation flicks--it uplifts the genre! And it's got my boyfriend, mean, sweaty and insecure mafioso Tony Franciosa. Oh yeah, GoodcopBadcops Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Cotto and grrrr-owly villain Richard Ward are all in it too!
Spoiler alert: this is the best scene it the film and I wrote a lot of papers about it! Watch as Doc Ward "Punks" Franciosa's Nick di Salvo. Laughter and scenery chewing ensues:
This is how I imagined how we'd arrive to the Ranch in Banner, WY!!
“Oh! Cowboy’s a wild man but oh what a mild man the wildest of cowboys can be...”
Well maybe it wasn’t quite like that but then maybe it was...
Now, if I was giving a list for the top 250 films for BFI -- I guess they couldn’t get in touch with me--(and don’t you even get me started on exploring the demographic of the 1000 participating critics)(really don’t cause it will take up the rest of the month!)--my selections would absolutely include Whoopee (1930) d. Thorton Freeland starring the incomparable Eddie Cantor. It’s a guilty/not guilty pleasure of early sound cinema, the wonders of which I have tried to sort out in my work since I first saw it eons ago while still in high school. It was central to one of my first videos “1/16th of 100% ?!” and it continues to lasso my heart with it’s curious mixture of modern technical savvy (featuring sync-sound and lovely 2 strip Technicolor) but with old fashioned staging, vaudevillian performances, abundant and egregious stereotyping and racial/ethnic drag and play. It shapes my thinking on this transitional moment for Hollywood productions where all the aspects of the mixture listed above were fluid, open and exciting--full of possibilities. It’s all very American and completely crazy!
And then there’s my Eddie-bey as displaced New Yorker, Henry Williams.
I'm going to see the restoration tonight. It will be my 15th or 16th time seeing it--I've lost count. I would always cry at the end. I saw it once at the theater in Paris that plays it continuously. But I stopped seeing it long before it became available generally on DVD. Before I had heard of a dvd. I've never watched a videotape of it. I may have watched it on TV once. You went to see it--if it was playing somewhere...like France. I had a book of the film. The cover is tattered and that's how I "saw" the film in between it's rare outings. But some time after college I saw l'Atalante by Vigo and fell in love with it instead. I would cry at the end but with delight. Still, I can recite whole scenes of Paradis in english and in french (well, at least the men's roles). Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) was my obessesion. I tried to turn innocent young guys attempting to be my boyfriend into him--rather like crazed surgeon, Pierre Brasseur, in Eyes Without a Face. Speaking of Pierre, I find him, as Frédérick Lemaître, much more alluring now than pining, pale, white-faced Baptiste. Black-faced-Othello, agressive, Frédérick!
who always reminded me of...
Anyway, can't say more now--I have to go and fight for a premium seat not in the "paradis" of Walter Reade--and take a trip down the "Boulevard du Crime" to my old days.
It's a big movie at 3 hours+ but with a passion like ours...
Funny thing--when I typed "f" in the header for Fear the auto-function wrote "family". A perfect introduction to this link to my Horror blog that I set up for my New School summer class, To Die For: The American Horror Film 1968-1970. In horror films snooping around in strange places can have dire consequences and in my case, I made the unfortunate decision to WRITE THE BLOG IN (AN)OTHER PLATFORM! Ohh, the horror of trying to format the layout or change the size of the typeface! AHHH,the stabbing pain in my eyes as I tried to quickly design a HEADER! Imagine my screams as I had to Rip away all of the content and then...SOMEHOW LOST IT!!
So, here is the bloody, skeletal corpse of my blog which you will notice has no text! I will fill the posts back in asap. Fact is, I've been neglecting all of my blogging--that's where the family plot comes in perhaps and it has been a rough year. Perfect time for a horror film class which helps to sort out some demons--and you can sit in the dark...with strangers!
Fear of Fear (not the film by my own RWF--which is one of my absolute favorites!) but the Roosevelt kind of fear. I'm taking the class in part to overcome my fear of the the fear that may result from my watching the horror genre. Many of the films we have seen in class are films that I grew up with in the 70's and was not allowed to view. They were forbidden to me, for my own mental safety I suppose but I would hear of them, hear them described, see them advertised and overhear of the extreme reactions (in the cases of The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror) of totally freaked-out audiences. I was almost crippled with the fear of how scared I would be by these movies. My imagination just filled, filled, filled in the rest...
The clip below (which is the masthead for my H-blog) scared the BEJESUS outta me! When we returned to New York from Panama we moved into an apartment in the ever terrifying Yonkers. I saw this show open on our tiny black & white TV (I've got a good Wizard of Oz tale about the tv) while sitting on the couch with the family and some friends one Saturday evening and started screaming like TCM's Sally!
For years(?) I afraid to be in the proximity of the tv or to change channels near the hours of what, 8pm? lest my eyes fall upon this gruesome site/sight!
A sure sign of spring is the 17th Annual New York African film Festival! I'll be devoting several posts to the fest (and you can read my review of the 14th Fest here) but I wanted to quickly mention the wonderful programs of African animation and experimental works that played at the New Museum this weekend. Below is one of my new favorite African films, Bon Voyage Sim. Sweet animation with a terrific soundtrack!