NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
FILM NOTES INDEX
Classic Film Series: SPRING 2006
Friday evenings, 7:30 p.m.
(Unless otherwise noted)
Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., UAlbany’s Downtown Campus
January 27, 2006
Directed by Tom O'Horgan
(United States/UK/Canada, 1973, 104 minutes, color, DVD)
Starring Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Karen Black, Joe Silver
Made during the collapse of the Nixon administration, this manic, slapstick adaptation of Eugene Ionesco's classic parable about political conformity teams Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder in their only pairing since THE PRODUCERS (1968). Wilder gives his typical eccentric performance and Mostel convincingly transforms himself into a bellowing, irascible rhinoceros without the aid of make-up, costumes or special effects.
Kevin's Film Notes
February 3, 2006
Directed by Cheick Oumar Sissoko
(France/Mali, 1999, 102 minutes, color, 35mm)
Starring Sotigui Kouyate, Salif Keita, Balla Moussa Keita
African film director Cheick Oumar Sissoko has made a stunning drama out of stories about the house of Abraham taken from the book of Genesis. Sissoko moves the stories of Jacob, Joseph, and Esau to West Africa blending the Biblical stories with the region's simmering tribal conflicts. Gorgeous scenery and colorful costumes add to the overall power of the film.
"This French-Malian coproduction benefits from Lionel Cousin's first-rate cinematography. The action is dominated by the enormous Hombori Tondo rock formation in the Sahel desert--it has something of the magical, timeless presence of Monument Valley in John Ford's westerns. The script, by ex-theological student Jean-Louis Sagot Duvauroux, presents the Bible stories as a foreshadowing of ethnic clashes still prevalent today. . ." - Elliot Stein, Village Voice (Decemeber
Kevin's Film Notes
February 10, 2006
Directed by Mervyn Leroy
(United States, 1942, 125 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Starring Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, Philip Dorn, Susan Peters
One of the great romantic film dramas of the 1940s, RANDOM HARVEST is an adaptation of James Hilton's best-selling novel. A World War I soldier has no memory of his life before he was rescued from a foxhole and treated for a head injury. He marries and settles into an idyllic life until a freak accident suddenly changes everything, then changes everything again.
Kevin's Film Notes
UNTOLD SCANDAL (Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa)
February 17, 2006
Directed by Je-yong Lee
(South Korea, 2003, 124 minutes, color, 35mm, in Korean w/English subtitles)
Starring Mi-suk Lee, Do-yeon Jeon, Yong-juun Bae
UNTOLD SCANDAL is an exquisite and erotic Korean film version of Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses set in aristocratic 18th century Korea. Stunning cinematography, superb performances, and a complementing baroque score highlight the story of two depraved cousins engaged in a wager of seduction and deceit.
Rated "Adult" for nudity, sensuality, language and violence.
Kevin's Film Notes
DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST (Journal d'un Curé de Campagne)
March 3, 2006
Directed by Robert Bresson
(France, 1951, 110 minutes, b&w, 35mm, in French w/English subtitles)
Starring Claude Laydu, Jean Riveyre, André Guibert, Rachel Bérendt
A young, sincere priest is treated with outright hostility by the country villagers of his first parish. One of Bresson's finest works, the film is a study of one man's attempts to make sense of suffering, God, and faith. Bleak but beautifully photographed, the film marks the first emergence of Bresson's austere style and his use of unknown actors.
"The incredible hostility and humiliation to which the frail priest is subjected and the magnificent peace he finds... is something that can be understood universally."
-- Matt Bailey, NOT COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU
OBLOMOV (Neskolko dney iz zhizni I. I. Oblomova)
March 10, 2006
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
(Soviet Union, 1979, 143 minutes, color, 35mm, in Russian w/English subtitles)
Starring Oleg Tabakov, Yuri Bogatyryov, Andrei Popov
Based on the classic Russian novel by Ivan Goncharov, OBLOMOV is the story of a middle-aged man who refuses to leave his bed, preferring to dream about his childhood on his parents' estate. His boyhood friend finally convinces him to leave his bed and rebuild his life. Beautiful cinematography accentuates the opulence of the aristocracy and the inequality between classes. The film was named Best Foreign Film by the National Review Board and won Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Screenplay awards at the Oxford International Film Festival.
PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME
March 17, 2006
Directed by John Quested
(Ireland, 1975, 95 minutes, color, DVD)
Starring Donal McCann, Des Cave, Siobhan McKenna
Irish playwright Brian Friel's (Dancing at Lughnasa) widely-hailed play was adapted for the screen as part of the American Film Theatre Series. It tells the story of a young man preparing to leave his small seaside town in Ireland to start a new life in America. His reasons for leaving are played out by two characters: the young man's bashful and insecure public self; and an extroverted, aggressive alter ego. Kevin's Film Notes
March 24, 2006
Directed by Sir Peter Hall
(United Kingdom, 1973, 111 minutes, color, 35mm)
Starring Cyril Cusack, Ian Holm, Michael Jayston, Vivien Merchant
Play and screenplay by Harold Pinter
Perhaps the best example of 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter's work on film, THE HOMECOMING presents the disturbing encounter between a newly-married couple and the groom's brutal, brutish North London family. The film features brilliantly malevolent performances, razor-sharp dialogue, and intensely claustrophobic camera work.
"Feminism has gone too far," The New York Herald-Tribune began its review. - J. Hoberman
March 31, 2006
Directed by Nicholas Ray
(United States, 1954, 110 minutes, color, 35mm)
Starring Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady
Overflowing with campy symbolism borrowed from Freud and Krafft-Ebbing, this bizarre anti-Western has earned a cult following among film buffs. Vienna (Joan Crawford) is a gun-toting saloon keeper caught in a frontier feud with ruthless rancher Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge). The film will be shown in a brand-new archival print, courtesy of the Republic Library at Paramount Pictures.
Kevin's Film Notes
STATE OF FEAR
April 7, 2006 (Note the early start time 7:00pm)
Directed by Pamela Yates
(U.S./Peru, 2005, 94 minutes, color, 35mm, in English & Spanish w/English subtitles)
Filmmakers Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís, and Peter Kinoy made use of the archive materials preserved by the Peruvian Truth Commission to trace two decades of terror and counter-repression in Peru that has claimed 70,000 lives. Against the breathtaking backdrop of the Peruvian mountains the film details the brutal tactics of the Shining Path guerrillas and the equally destructive military response by the Peruvian government. With the Peruvian presidential election scheduled for April 9, 2006, the screening of STATE OF FEAR is particularly timely.
Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís will provide film commentary and answer questions immediately following the film screening. Director Pamela Yates received an Academy Award for her documentary, WITNESS TO WAR (1985), about an American doctor behind rebel lines in El Salvador. Other films directed or co-directed by Yates include two finalists for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, POVERTY OUTLAW (1997) and TAKEOVER (1991); and WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE (1983), winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award. Paco de Onís, husband of Pamela Yates, and producer and co-screenwriter of STATE OF FEAR, has produced documentaries for Bill Moyers, Michael Moore, National Geographic, New York Times Television, and MSNBC.
Kevin's Film Notes
April 21, 2006
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
(U.S., 1929, 73 minutes, b&w, 35mm, silent w/piano accompaniment by Mike Schiffer)
Starring John Barrymore, Camilla Horn, Mona Rico, Victor Varconi
Set during an armed conflict between France and Switzerland at the beginning of the 1800s, ETERNAL LOVE tells the story of a love triangle involving Marcus, a Swiss patriot, Pia, a wild mountain girl, and Ciglia, a preacher's daughter. ETERNAL LOVE was Lubitsch's last silent film effort and fortunately the sound discs survived of the original score. Unavailable for decades, this masterpiece of the silent cinema was recently restored to perfection from 35mm acetate materials, and made available by the UCLA Film and Television archive. Preservation partially funded by The Film Foundation.
"Amazing...The finale is devastating." - Filmcritic.com
Eternal Love will be preceded by the comic short
(U.S., 1923, 22 mins, b&w, silent, 35mm)
Co-directed by and starring Buster Keaton
ARCHITECTURE-THEMED screenings in conjunction with "Architecture at Albany"
April 28, 2006
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
(Japan, 1984, 72 minutes, color, 35mm, in Japanese & Spanish w/English subtitles)
Major Japanese director Teshigahara (WOMAN IN THE DUNES) composed this loving homage to the architecture and landscape design of revolutionary Spanish architect and sculptor Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926), who found in nature the inspiration for his whimsical Art Nouveau forms. The documentary will be shown in a newly-struck 2005 print.
SANTIAGO CALATRAVA'S TRAVELS (Die Reisen des Santiago Calatrava)
April 28, 2006
Directed by Christoph Schaub
(Switzerland, 1999, 80 minutes, color, DVD, in German w/English subtitles)
This beautiful documentary explores the radiant geometries and dynamic open forms, as well as the creative processes, of Spanish sculptor and architect Santiago Calatrava, best-known for his railway stations, bridges and airports. The award-winning Calatrava was recently chosen to design the new PATH transit hub at the rebuilt World Trade Center.
Special thanks to the Motion Picture Division of the Library of Congress for permission to screen this rare, restored print.
May 5, 2006
Directed by Alfred E. Green
(United States, 1933, 76 minutes, b&w, 35mm)
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook, John Wayne
Barbara Stanwyck gives a masterful performance as a ruthless gold-digger who uses her sexuality to obtain wealth and power. Fast-paced, gritty, and full of sexual situations, BABY FACE is an example of Warner Bros productions of the early 30s before the enforcement of Hollywood's Production Code. The film was so shocking to audiences when it was first released that it had to be pulled from theatres. To return it to the screen the studio was forced to make several changes to make it morally acceptable. A restored, uncensored print will be shown.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute
at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.