COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF 2009 FILMS & EVENTS
Thursday, October 22nd
A Chilean jewel, this dark comedy directed by Sebastian Silva focuses on Rachel, a middle-aged maid who has devoted herself to one family for her entire life. When her mistress takes pity on her and hires another maid to help her, Rachel moves to guard her turf, and inflicts a series of amusingly passive-aggressive punishments on the newcomer—until she finally meets her match. The Maid won the Grand Jury Prize and the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Subtitled. Not rated. 95 min.
LIVING IN EMERGENCY: Stories of Doctors Without Borders
Imagine a real life M.A.S.H. in the age of brushfire wars, terrorism, and ethnic cleansing. This documentary provides a window into the world of Doctors Without Borders, an organization that sends its volunteers into some of the most hellish hotspots on earth. Believe it or not, there are medical school graduates who have shunned tony Park Avenue practices to slog through—as in this film—the jungles of Liberia and the Congo to save lives and meliorate the dire conditions of those caught in the planet’s endless conflicts. Two of the volunteers filmed are new recruits and two are experienced aid workers, but all have to deal with shortages of crucial medical supplies, and the necessity of making excruciating life or death decisions. The documentary, full of graphic footage, examines the toll such work takes on the doctors involved. Played the Venice Film Festival. It was edited by Columbia County resident Bob Eisenhardt. He will conduct a Q&A afterwards. Subtitled. NR. 93 min.
AGAINST THE CURRENT
Grieving widower (Joseph Fiennes) swims most of the Hudson River accompanied by two friends in a boat (Justin Kirk, of Weeds fame, andElizabeth Reaser). Mary Tyler Moore appears in a supporting role. Premiered this year at Sundance. Film contains some stunning shots of the Hudson River Valley. Q&A after screening with director Peter Callahan. Parental Advisory. 99 min.
THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
Astoundingly based on real events, this darkly comic picture with a strong cast tells the story of a reporter (Ewan MacGregor), who stumbles on a top secret U.S. program that seeks to harness paranormal powers for military ends. Elite “Warrior Monks” are able to read the enemies’ thoughts, pass through walls, and even kill goats by looking at them. When the program’s founder (Jeff Bridges) disappears, a mysterious figure (George Clooney) is tasked with finding him. The trail leads to a secret camp run by a turncoat psychic (Kevin Spacey), and the reporter finds himself caught in the crossfire. In shouting distance ofDr. Strangelove. Directed by Grant Heslov. NR. 90 min.
During FilmColumbia, take time out to stroll down Main Street. In the windows of Chatham’s shops are ten years of posters showcasing the award-winning films that have screened at FilmColumbia.
Friday, October 23rd
British director Andrea Arnold‘s second feature (she won an Oscar for her short, Wasp), Fish Tank is set in the grim milieu of council flats in the outskirts of London, and focuses on the relationship between an angry 15-year-old girl living with her sex-kitten mother, and a hunky security guard who has sex with both of them. The film offers a frank and unsentimental picture of the sexual awakening of an adolescent girl. The perfomances across the board are stunning. Fish Tank won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; its star, Katie Jarvis, won Best British Performance at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. R. 124 min.
THAT EVENING SUN
A powerful, Oscar-worthy performance from Hal Holbrookas a crusty 80-something man who flees the old age home in which he has been deposited by his son, to reclaim the family home, only to discover that his son has rented it out. He camps out there anyway, clashing with the redneck renter with surprising results. The cinematography is a feast for the eyes, and the picture boasts of a sterling supporting cast, including Walton Goggins, who also co-produced and was so mesmerizing as Shane in The Shield, as well Ray McKinnon, fondly remembered as the loony reverend in Deadwood, Carrie Preston (Trueblood), and Mia Wasikowska, memorable from the first season of In Treatment. Directed by first-timerScott Teems. Winner of the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival. PA. 110 min.
THE YOUNG VICTORIA
Martin Scorsese co-produced this British period piece that focuses, as the title conveys, on the youthful Princess Victoria. Heiress to the throne of England at the tender age of 17, she struggles to keep head above water in the deep end of the shark infested royal pool. The picture boasts of a spectacular array of British actors, including Emily Blunt in the title role, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany, and Jim Broadbent. The film closed the Toronto International Film Festival. PG-13. 100 min.
PEINT O’GWRW FILMCOLUMBIA PUB PARTY
Join fellow festival attendees and the FilmColumbia crew at the areas hippest watering hole. For those who dare, participate in a head scratching film trivia contest, with prizes given out to those who can answer the challenging questions. Cash bar & small bites.
A SERIOUS MAN
The Coen brothers wander intoWoody Allen territory in this follow-up to Burn After Reading. Set in St. Louis Park, Minnesota (their home town) in 1967, this black comedy focuses on a feckless college professor whose wife up and leaves him for a pompous colleague. Afflicted by a lay-about brother sleeping on his couch, two bad news children (Hung, anyone?), one of whom is stealing from his wallet to save up for a nose job, and a campaign to keep him from getting tenure, our hapless hero struggles to keep a grip. Played the Toronto International Film Festival. R. 105 min.
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS
No matter how many movies you consume, you’ll never see another like this one. Terry Gilliam‘s miracle of prestidigitation features a traveling magic show with a looking glass through which patrons plunge at their peril to confront their secret selves. Complicating matters are an ageless maestro (Christopher Plummer), his diabolical nemesis (Tom Waits), and the mysterious figure found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge played by Heath Ledger, who tragically passed away in the middle of the production. The film nearly died with him, but at the 11th hour he was replaced in the second half of the picture by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law. Alas, despite this sparkling array of talent, and the originality of Gilliam‘s concept, this picture will always be known as “Heath Ledger‘s last movie.” Played the Toronto International Film Festival. PG-13. 120 min.MORRIS
CONFESSIONS OF A CONFLICTED FILMMAKER
AN IMPULSE TO SOAR
This documentary chronicles the astounding journey of the Berkshire Children’s Chorus from a humble rehearsal space in Sheffield, Massachusetts, to Carnegie Hall. Directed by Mati Kiin. Q&A after screening. 60 min.
Directed by Sam Borowski
A YEAR WITH TAKE DANCE
A guerrilla documentary about an up and coming New York City dance troupe. Many of the scenes shot in and around Chatham. Directed by Damian Eckstein. 90 min.
Saturday, October 24th
PANEL AND BRUNCH
Peter Biskind and producer Ron Yerxa (Little Miss Sunshine) will appear on a panel to discuss the future of independent films. Fellow panelists tba.
FILMCOLUMBIA SATURDAY NIGHT!
Join FilmColumbia crew and filmmakers for cocktails, dance and sweets, right after the Saturday Sneak! Tracy Memorial Village Hall, 2nd Floor
CHILDREN’S FILM PROGRAM
FilmColumbia’s annual gift to the community and curated by our Patti Greaney of GIRALDI Media in NYC. Presenting the best in children’s shorts from around the world, a rare screening event. Free to the public. 60 min.
Directed by veteran Marco Bellocchio (Fist in His Pocket),Vincere is a dramatization of Mussolini’s first marriage, a little known story that has only recently emerged. Set in the period before World War I when the young Mussolini was a Socialist labor organizer, the film follows the story through his second marriage, after which he consigns his first wife to an insane asylum. Bellocchio uses vintage archival footage of the rise of Italian fascism to give the film a graphic immediacy, creating a strikingly effective creative dissonance with his operatic treatment of his subject. Nominated, Palm d’Or, Cannes Film Festival. Subtitled. PA. 128 min.
THE WHITE RIBBON
The latest from Michael Haneke, the gifted Austrian filmmaker. (We showed his enigmatic Cacheseveral years ago.) The White Ribbon is a sort of Teutonic Lord of the Flies, or Village of the Damned minus the science fiction, set in a small north German town on the eve of World War I. Amidst an atmosphere of free-floating evil, punctuated by mysterious calamities, it presents a chilling picture authoritarian control exercised by the village’s male elders, who themselves indulge routinely in brutal behavior with impunity. Shot in dramatic black and white reminiscent of the best of Sven Nykvist‘s work for Ingmar Bergman. Winner of this year’s Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Subtitled. R. 144 min.
Relative newcomer Carey Mulligan scores as a sweet 16-year-old teenager in cusp-of-the-60’s London who is swept off her feet by an older man (Peter Sarsgaard). He promptly derails her plans to attend Oxford with his smooth talk, cool style, and a round of jazz clubs, art auctions, and weekends in Paris. Until, that is, things turn in an unexpected way. The excellent cast includes Alfred Molina, and a cameo by the incomparable Emma Thompson. Directed by Lone Scherfig from a script by British novelistNick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy), An Education won the Audience Award at Sundance this year. Played the New York Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival. PG-13. 95 min.
SATURDAY NIGHT SNEAK
Up in the Air is that unlikely film, a comedy of unemployment, a biting satire cum bittersweet love story about the economic and cultural follies that bedevil America in the post-Bush era. Sparkling performances byGeorge Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and the rest of the cast create enough carbon-neutral electricity to light a small town.
Based on the true story of Michael Peterson, a violent near-psychopath, who has spent 35 years in solitary confinement in various British prisons and mental institutions, during which he earned himself the title of England’s “most violent prisoner,” by assaulting guards, taking hostages, and staging demonstrations. In his tamer moments, he developed a talent as a writer and painter, and eventually recreated himself as “Charles Bronson.” But this is no uplifting tale about rehabilitation. Bronson is about an unrepentant enemy of the “system,” and the picture brings to mind films like A Clockwork Orange and Cool Hand Luke. The story unfolds in a series of operatic tableaux, lending the enterprise a Brechtian feel. With a show-stopping performance by actorTom Hardy in the lead role, the picture was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.Warning: Bronson is extremely violent and not for the faint of heart. R. 92 min.
An experimental film based on a translation of Euripides’ The Phoenician Women. This lushly photographed piece is a collaboration of dancers, musicians, visual artists, and actors. Filmed at the Great Stone Barn in New Lebanon, New York, in 2006. 53 min. Q&A after screening.
ANIMATION FOR GROWNUPS
One of FilmColumbia’s happening annual events, animator Gary Leib presents the world’s best in animated shorts from around the world. Cutting edge, award winning, and too cool to be kid stuff!
WITHIN A FOREST
Directed by Otto Stockmeier
AXIS OF GOOD
Could anything good come out of 9/11 and the ensuing catastrophes? Sally and Donald Goodrich’s son was killed by the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Sally began to drink, and contemplated suicide. Then she turned her life around. From Bennington, Vermont, she and her husband traveled to Afghanistan, where they built a school for 500 girls just south of Kabul. 60 min. Q&A after screening with Sally Goodrich.
ADOPT A SAILOR
A bickering Upper West Side (N.Y.C.) couple—think, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf lite—adopt a sailor for a night during Fleet Week who transforms their lives. Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Coyote play the couple with panache. Amusing script, written and directed by Charles Evered. NR. 86 min.
I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU
(No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti) – Winner, Best Film, Taipei Film Festival. Hauntingly beautiful story of an impoverished dock worker in southern Taiwan who tries to provide for his daughter after the break up of his marriage. US Premier. Subtitled. PA. 85 min.
Sunday, October 25th
Adapted screenplay by Rich Rosenzweig. Based on the novel, Hell’s Acres-A Historical Novel Of The Wild East In The 50’s by Clay Perry and John Pell. In 1853, a rich horseman agrees to act as a spy to help capture a gang of murderous horse thieves. His mission takes him to the lawless, forgotten town of “Hell’s Acres,” where he plots to catch the gang during the frenzy created by the world’s first heavyweight boxing championship. Based on true events. Directed by David Anderson. 120 min.
HIGH SCHOOL FILM PROJECT
Following on the heels of the nationwide release of Taking Woodstock, a group of Columbia County students have created a short documentary about the behind-the-scenes experience of county residents who helped in the making of the film. Sponsored by The Chatham Film Club and mentored by Richard Patterson. Free to the public, reception following screening.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
The latest from acclaimed French director André Téchiné (Wild Reeds), The Girl on the Traindoes for Paris what Crash did for Los Angeles, yoking together several stories drawn from disparate socio-economic strata that illuminate and enrich one another. This riveting film is based on an actual scandal, a gallic version of the infamous Tawana Brawley incident, in which a white woman fabricated a story about being attacked by black and Arab youth who mistook her for a Jew. Her story inflamed the media and polarized French society. PA. Subtitled 105 min.
The delicious tale of the legendary pirate radio station that in the early ’60’s defied the British government to broadcast music that changed history from its offshore base in the North Sea. While the BBC played elevator music, Rock Radio boomed pre-British invasion rock n’ roll from later-to-be famous groups and acts like Jimi Hendrix and Procul Harem. Written and directed by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones Diary), the cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kenneth Branagh, and Bill Nighy. 135 min.
BY THE PEOPLE: The Election of Barack Obama
Directors Amy Rice and Alicia Sams obtained unprecedented access to senator and then presidential candidate Barack Obama, and this behind-the-scenes account of his historic campaign is the result. Produced by Edward Norton, the HBO documentary will be aired in November. The film will be presented by Victor Navasky, Publisher Emeritus of the Nation Magazine and a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, who will conduct a Q&A. NR. 117 min.
Lee Daniels, who producedMonster’s Ball, directs this shocking picture of the hellish life of a black teenage girl in Harlem, c. 1987. Leave It to Beaver it ain’t. Newcomer Gabourney Sidibe plays the unattractive, illiterate, and vastly overweight Precious, whose mother drums on her with a frying pan, while her father routinely rapes her. She maintains her sanity by retreating into pop-culture fantasies in which she walks down the red carpet or is transformed into a white beauty queen. Bravura performances by all hands, including Mariah Carey andLenny Kravitz, but particularly Mo’Nique as the abusive mother. Precious won the Audience Award and Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, and played the New York Film Festival.
SO RIGHT, SO SMART
Ray Anderson, the CEO of a successful rug company, undergoes a conversion to environmental sustainability and his outfit becomes a model for others. Documentary. 93 min.
Directed by Patrick Creadon, who gave us Wordplay, this is, believe it or not, a documentary on the national debt that actually entertains while it instructs. An adroit use of snappy graphics and archival footage (Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon et al play themselves), keeps the joint hopping, while talking coneheads deliver the goods. 85 min.