We found out on Friday that the City of Richmond is shutting down the water main from 3-11 pm, affecting our Sunday night venue, Candela Books + Gallery and several blocks around. As a result, we’ve decided to move the 6:30 pm screening of THE PROJECTIONIST, the Richard Carlyon program and A BAND CALLED DEATH to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, 1812 W. Main Street. (After not having bathrooms on opening night — unrelated but equally frustrating — we felt it best to change locations.) We will start each program 15 min or so later than planned to allow folks who don’t get the word until they reach Candela to get over to VisArts. Sorry for the inconvenience and last minute change.
Tarantino who? With deference to the classicist in us all, the original is always the best, right? If you’re voting for the greatest spaghetti-western of all time, Django might get your nod, but then, what about Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (’61) (also an influence on Leone’s Fistful of Dollars). The former’s opening shot is the same as the latter’s, and both feature a lone tragic hero in a moral wasteland; but, which film features red-hooded Klansman, hand-held gatling guns, tortured women and grotesque amputations (does that ear thing launch us to Lynch’s Blue Velvet)? You got it, Django the original, by Sergio Corbucci, where the violence of the dusty streets assumes operatic proportions. Don’t miss it on the big screen—the only thing lacking will be the parking rows of the drive-in, the steamy windshield and the tinny speaker hanging to the driver’s window! Introduction by James Parrish, co-founder of the James River Film Society, and adjunct professor in VCUart’s Department of Photography and Film.
David Williams’ low-budget feature played at international festivals (Toronto, Berlin) in 1998 and, like his previous Lillian (1993), garnered kind words from Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Thirteen … puts aside the artifice and the razzle and looks solemnly at the beauty and puzzlement of life.” Reprising the character of Lillian as the adoptive mother of the thirteen-year old Nina, who desperately wants her own car, Williams evokes other films about adolescence—400 Blows, To Kill A Mockingbird among them. His story has pathos, humor, and insight and the actors bring a credibility to the screen that professionals might overstep. Join Mr. Williams, a longtime friend and participant of the festival for a Q&A after the screening.
In JLG/JLG, director Jean-Luc Godard reflects about his place in film history, the interaction of film industry and film as art, as well as the act of creating art. In The Cow, Adam sells his only cow to pay for his mother’s medicine. Meanwhile, a young girl finds a safe place in their home after fleeing sexual abuse.
Guest filmmaker Myers’ film, the Fellini-esque Deathstyles, won a major award at Ann Arbor on its release and reaction from some of America’s best-known film critics including Kevin Thomas in the LA Times: “Deathstyles is a stunning evocation of the brutalization of our daily lives with rampant commercialism and vulgarity. That Myers works in the Midwest is to his advantage, for better than any experimental filmmaker working on either coast, he is able to capture the chaos that infects mainstream America today.” David Bienstock at the Whitney Museum called it “an American Gothic horror tale.” JRFF critic Robert Ellis adds: “Myers’ films merge the particular and the abstract, the random familiar accident with the carefully plotted mythic whole. Deathstyles is the siren of an ambulance racing toward an accident called America.” Introduction by filmmaker and VCU professor of Photography and Film, Mary Beth Reed.
Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World (Shirley Clarke, 1963, 60 min)
Pull My Daisy (Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie, 1958, 26 min, B&W)
7:00 p.m., VCU Grace Street Theatre
Admission: $8/$5 JRFS Members
A double feature for poetry lovers! Dancer/filmmaker Shirley Clarke’s recently re-released work on Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost (the title comes from his 1942 poem) was filmed at his New England farm a year before his death and won an Oscar for Best Documentary. Clarke also made the notable Cool World and Portrait of Jason. Beat writer Jack Kerouac narrates and provides sound effects in Pull My Daisy (poem title by Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg). Filmed in painter Leslie’s NY loft, the film stars Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, Peter Orlovsky, and Delphine Seyrig and is one of the seminal films of the American New Wave. It was chosen best film of the year by Film Culture—published by 2002 JRFF guest Jonas Mekas.
A Band Called Death (Covino & Howlett, 2012, 95 min.) with director Jeff Howlett!
Candela Books + Gallery Now at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond!
Admission: $8/$5 JRFS members
Co-sponsored by Steady Sounds
Before the Damned, Ramones, Sex Pistols, and Bad Brains there was … Death. A proto-punk band formed by three African-American brothers—Dannis, David and Bobby Hackney—in Detroit in the early ‘70s. Late ‘60s Michigan bloomed with hard rock acts like MC5, Stooges, Nugent, Grand Funk Railroad, but Death worked a distinctive sound that would resemble more the punk thrashings to follow. Now their story is told in this new documentary by Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett. Q&A with director Jeff Howlett.
Time is a Noun and a Verb: the Videos of Richard Carlyon (1989-2002)
(video, TRT: 58 min)
Candela Books + Gallery, Now at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond!
There are few in the arts who didn’t know Dick Carlyon—educator, VCU professor emeritus, artist, advocate, smiling, supportive—his passing in 2007 left a hole in the fabric of the local arts community. We are pleased and honored to screen selections of his “single-monitor” videos as programmed by wife, Eleanor Carlyon, and Lynn Murphy. As a teacher he often cited John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Marcel Duchamp, and the elements of chance and repetition, which he assuredly incorporated in his art. Carlyon himself remarked in a conversation in 2003, “… I found myself more and more engaged with this (using chance operations) because it’s a way of getting away from habits … I have tried to find ways to draw upon the knowledge and experience I have and put it in a situation where I’m not sure what’s going to come out.” Titles include: Red Again (6:50 min), Sketch for an Itinerary (10:50 min), Open Narrative (2:35 min), Seen Unsaid (5 min), Rolling of Flows (18 min), Their Then Now (5:50 min), Flight Song (dedicated to John Cage)(5:30 min). Introduction by Lynn Murphy.
Messick’s documentary that explores one man’s lifelong fascination with the golden age of film and, in particular, the grand movie palace. (See April 11)
Dr. Strangelove … or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
(Stanley Kubrick, 1964, 93 min) New 4K restoration presented on DCP (Digital Cinema Package), the new industry standard!
4:00 p.m., The Byrd Theatre
Admission: $8/$5 JRFS members
Dr. Strangelove …, the film that anticipated the coming decade and sparked a startling change in movie content, was perhaps the gutsiest film Columbia Pictures ever released.
A low-budget UK production coming less than two years after the Cuban Missile crisis,
it got no cooperation (as expected) from the Department of Defense and Kubrick’s name still meant little to the public. There was, on the other hand, Terry Southern’s writing and talented Peter Sellers’ growing American popularity—he plays the mad Strangelove, the President and major Mandrake. The movie’s acceptance by a growing youth audience and the ensuing Vietnam years ensured its cult status as the prototype (and still the best) of a cycle of dark, satiric comedies that dotted the sixties and seventies landscape. Besides Sellers, there are consummate performances from Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens and George C. Scott. Introduction by Trent Nicholas, adjunct professor of film studies in VCU’s Department of Art History, and a founding member of the JRFF.
Fat City (John Huston, 1972, 100 min)
1:30 p.m., The Byrd Theatre
Admission: $8/$5 JRFS members
This film put veteran director John Huston (Maltese Falcon, African Queen, Misfits) back on the critics’ radar—in fact, the film premiered at the Museum of Modern Art—and received nods for cinematography (the late Conrad Hall) and acting as well. Stacy Keach plays a washed up boxer who takes a promising kid (Jeff Bridges) under his wing in the washed out looking Fat City—the film has the look of a Bukowski saloon, with characters too worn down to get up and leave. There’s a flash of Huston’s brilliance at the film’s end, with Keach and cronies drinking in another seedy bar and for a second, almost imperceptibly, everything just stops—a crystalline moment where Keach’s character sees the sum of his life, the hopes and disappointments, frozen on the end of his fork, a kind of “naked lunch.” It wasn’t just a freeze-frame, the smoke was drifting—Huston claimed the Devil made him do it. Columbia was worried about the look of the film, but released it as Huston and Hall insisted. Also stars Susan Tyrell and Candy Clark. One of the underrated classics of the Hollywood Renaissance! Introduction by Michael Jones, one of the JRFF’s founders and adjunct film studies professor at VCU’s Department of Art History and Randolph Macon College’s film studies program.
Four Films Toward Part V of Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts (2007-2011), TRT: 50 min
with filmmaker David Gatten
8:30 p.m., VCU Grace Street Theatre
Admission: $8/$5 JRFS members
Guest filmmaker David Gatten’s second program, again provocatively and mysteriously entitled, continues his investigations into text and image, past and present, abstraction and representation. Q & A with Mr. Gatten after the screening. Titles include:
The Matter Propounded, of its Possibility or Impossibility, treated in four Parts (2011), 13 min, B&W, silent
How to Conduct a Love Affair (2007), 8 min, color, silent
So Sure of Nowhere Buying Times to Come (2010), 9 min, color, silent
Film for Invisible Ink, case no. 323: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (2010), 20 min, B&W, sound
Filmmaker Richard Myers returns to the festival (JRFF 2001) to screen his avant-garde work, 37-73. Working his usual optical-printing magic, Myers creates scenarios on the Jungian-side of Cocteau that leave us breathless, sleepy-eyed. Others have commented:
“37-73 explores questions of time and age as these and all other boundaries are crossed and broken. A car takes flight, and a clothesline becomes a place to hold and contain memories and dreams. Paper cutouts become harbingers of montage and director and spectator are co-creators of dreams once lost and found.”—Robert Ellis, from his introduction. “Through Myers’so eloquently expressed dream world we’re able to perceive the entire panorama of the specifically American imagination. It’s as if he’s tapped our collective subconscious.”—Kevin Thomas, LA Times. Introduction by Robert Ellis, resident James River Film Festival critic. Q&A with Mr. Myers after the screening.
Join founding Slave Pit members Don Drakulich and Mike Bishop for a film retrospective of GWAR’s 28-year history as they share a collection of clips and photos chronicling the band’s notorious performance rock legacy. Featuring well-known and more obscure footage, this review features the most cohesive look back on Richmond’s own shock-rockers yet revealed! Followed by an extended Q&A with the alter egos of Sleazy P. Martini and Beef Cake the Mighty as they spin countless anecdotes on the band’s origins, tour memories and the controversy regarding the content of their performances. A program bound to entertain both the casual observer and the rabid fan, so join Misters Sleazy P. Martini and Beef Cake the Mighty for an open-mike discussion of all things GWAR. Program contains language and imagery that some may find offensive.