Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little break

Dear readers,

UVA's Spring Break is next week so there will be no films shown and probably no blog updates. However, I encourage everyone to begin looking forward to our next screening, which will take place on March 15: "Red Bucket Presents..." This is a collection of shorts, or "buttons" specially made by the Red Bucket Film Collective for OFFscreen. I will post a more thorough preview as the show approaches.

Now for some hype:

FEARLESS and not quite of this century???

A collaboration with KATE SPADE???

Darlings of CANNES???

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Thoughts?

I managed to catch some of the Oscars last night and was glad that Slumdog did so well. I was a little surprised about the lack of love for VA film festival alum The Wrestler, but I was happiest to see Man on Wire win for best documentary feature. This was probably my favorite film that got nominated, although I did not see any of the shorts, which is a shame.

If you haven't seen Man on Wire yet, it is the amazing true story of Phillipe Petit's tightrope walk across the World Trade center towers. If you watched him on the Oscars, you could see what a fantastic character he is. The film actually played locally last Friday at Piedmont Valley Community college, and I am sorry for not posting that. Trailer after the jump. Any thoughts on the awards?

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Last Weekend

It was a great weekend for film fans in Charlottesville. I was lucky enough to catch three of the films being shown in town: My Name is Albert Ayler, La Question Humaine, and Reves de Poussiere at OFFscreen on Sunday evening. All three were very interesting, but my favorite had to be La Question Humaine, directed by Nicolas Klotz and released in France in 2007. The film was adapted from a novel of the same title by Francois Emmaneulle and tells the story of a psychologist (played by the famous French actor Mathieu Amalric) employed in the human resource department of a large Franco-German chemical company. He is assigned to analyze the company's CEO after a series of strange complaints. His investigation takes him through a series of encounters, at work, at raves, and at home that eventually lead him to commit some unfortunate acts. By the end of the film, the viewer must question the mental health of this main character, who has by this point uncovered some frightening facts about the company's questionable links to the Nazi party. The final scenes are incredibly powerful and philosophically rich meditations on language and memory. Highly recommended.

For French speakers here is an interview with the director Klotz and lead actor Amalric. You can see the trailer in the preview post from last Thursday. Also, the onion's AV club has a nice review here.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009


Hey readers.

I installed google analytics on the blog, and while we won't be blowing anyone away with our hit count (around 10 per day, with a high of 21), you might find it interesting that we have had visitors from:

New York
Los Angeles
Mexico City

I also have to shout out our local support coming from

Keep on checking us out!

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article of interest?

Also just for kicks, but not really.

a real-live donk video after the jump

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weekend cinema in Charlottesville

There are a number of films to look forward to this weekend in the Charlottesville area. First is the annual Festival du Film Francophone at the University of Virginia. Made possible by a grant from the Tournées Film Festival, the French department at the University plans on screening 5 films from Thursday through Sunday. The festival focuses on contemporary French cinema, and concludes with OFFscreen's own presentation of Dreams of Dust on Sunday evening.

Th. 19 Feb., 6:30pm, Wilson 402 Auditorium (map)
Dir: Christophe Honore, 93 min.

Fri. 20 Feb., 6:00pm, Wilson 402 Auditorium (map)
Dir: Cheikh Djemai, 140 min.

Sat. 21 Feb., 4:30pm, Clark 107 (map)
Dir: Nicolas Klotz, 144 min.

Sat. 21 Feb., 7:45pm, Clark 107 (map)
Dir: Julie Gavras, 99 min.

Sun. 22 Feb., 7:00pm and 9:30pm, Newcomb Theater
Dir: Laurent Salgues, 86 min.

All showings are sub-titled in English.
All showings are FREE except for REVES DE POUSSIERE, which is $3 (in partnership with OFFScreen). Additionally, each film will be introduced by a member of the French department at UVA and will include a discussion at the conclusion of each film.
For a summary of each film check the festival's website, linked above. Trailers of the films can be found after the jump.

Switching gears, there will be a film screening at The Bridge Progressive Arts Institute on Thursday evening. The film, My Name is Albert Ayler, is a Swedish documentary on legendary tenor saxaphonist Albert Ayler. This is a man who jumped on stage at a Coltrane show, started wailing on his sax, and so impressed the legend, that Coltrane asked to have Ayler play at is funeral. Ayler's mantra: "If people don't like it now, they will." Rumor has it that there will be an OFFscreen contingent attending this show, so come join us for this fascinating story of a man who could go through anything because of his belief in his art.

Thursday, February 19 at 7 PM at the Bridge Progressive Arts institute. (map)
Admission is $5

Dans Paris

Frantz Fanon: Sa Vie, Son Combat, Son Travail
No trailer available.

La Question Humaine

La Faute a Fidel

Bonus: Some Albert Ayler tracks at

Dreams of Dust official preview coming soon!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Azazel Jacobs preview

Double feature weekend at OFFscreen! This Sunday, we are bringing two films by director Azazel Jacobs:The GoodTimesKid (2005) and Momma's Man (2008). This writer and director may not be familiar to readers, but Azazel Jacobs has an interesting pedigree. He is the son of legendary avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs and even had a small acting role in one of OFFscreen's best-attended films of the last couple of years, Wristcutters: A Love Story.

Short on dialogue, but long on basically everything else The GoodTimesKid is OFFscreen's first romantic comedy of the season. It follows a pair of guys named Rodolfo and a girlfriend named Diaz through various existential situations. The legend around this film was that it was shot on some studio grade 35 millimeter stolen from a big Hollywood set. It was named a New York Times critics pick, and many reviewers have compared it to Godard's more romantic films and to the work of classic silent film actors Chaplin and Keaton.

The second film for this week is Jacob's latest feature, Momma's Man. It has been picked for both the Rotterdam and Sundance film festivals, and has some pretty huge one liners from the major critics. Manohla Dargis proclaims, "This is independent film defined!" Not to be outdone, Peter Travers pipes in with "An extraordinary movie in every way!" (Exclamation points mine) I actually thought the best part of the Dargis review was this little dig at the Apatow comedy factory: "But growing up Apatow style just means learning to divide your attention between your joystick and the little lady who loves you just the way you are, flab and all. Real life is harder, as is real art." Momma's Man features Jacobs' real-life artist parents in a touching portrait of a son who is forced to confront adulthood. Jacobs' character portrait is a complex case of regression

This will be an excellent weekend of films. Azazel Jacobs is an up-and-coming director whose work has been building a strong momentum. This double feature is a great opportunity to get to know a young director who we will definitely be hearing from in the future. If you can find an old copy of last week's Declaration, make sure to check out Taylor's interview with the director. Copies should be available at the screening, but for the moment their online archives are down. In the future you should be able to find this content here. He also has a great interview (not sure how long this link will work ) with Sam Lisceno, the art director of Red Bucket Films, whose work will be shown next weekend at OFFscreen.

The GoodTimesKid and Momma's Man will show at the Newcomb Theater for one night only Sunday, February 15 at 7 and 9:30 PM

As usual, previews after the jump.

The GoodTimesKid

Momma's Man

Azazel Jacobs Interview

And just for fun, I saw this on PBS over winter break and just re-discovered it. My favorite concert film ever.

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Thoughts on "Shadow of the House"

Last Monday the UVA studio art department held a screening of Shadow of the House: Photographer Abelardo Morell. I attended the screening and subsequent talk by the filmmaker, Allie Humenuk and the artists, Mr. Morell. The documentary was an in-depth look at both Mr. Morell's life and his artistic process, and showing the artist at work making his giant camera obscura photographs. It was interesting to see a filmmaker so closely involved with her subject; Ms. Humenek had been working on the documentary for seven years and was really able to capture Morell's family dynamic as well as his art. Continue after the jump for some of Morell's photographs if you have not already seen them.

Selected photographs by Abelardo Morell

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Water Lilies Preview

I hope you have been feeling the buzz around the buildup for this Sunday's film, Water Lilies (Naissance des Pieuvres). This debut film of French writer and director Céline Sciamma premiered under the category un certain regard at Cannes in 2007, and has since been released commercially both in France and the UK.

The film centers around a group of 15 year old girls living in a suburb of Paris. As summer progresses, we follow the sexual experiences of Marie and Floriane, partners on the same synchronized swimming team. What critics have noticed is how this film talks authentically about adolescence, not from the outsider perspective of an adult, but rather on its own terms. Sciamma accords her subject a rare level of respect and objectivity. We hope to see you Sunday evening for what should be a provocative film.

Water Lilies will show at the Newcomb Theater for one night only Sunday, February 8 at 7 and 9:30 PM

Preview and more critical reaction after the jump

Water Lilies trailer

The song credits can be found in the last post.

Official English-language website

Manohla Dargis from The New York Times

Andrew O’Hehir at - reviewed alongside OFFscreen Alum Tuya's Marriage!

Lisa Nesselson in Variety

Video interview with director Céline Sciamma.

Another interview from Cineuropa

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Monday, February 02, 2009

wandering around You Tube

Look for the Water Lilies (Naissance des Pieuvres) flyers downtown and on grounds soon. Also for those of you who can't get the song from the trailer out of your head, it is called "Trahison" (treason) by the French electro artist Vitalic. It is online here. I have it on repeat.

Vitalic Myspace (wait a couple of seconds for your eyes to adjust.)

I was reading some French film sites today and came across the work of Mexican/Spanish/American director Amat Escalante. His two most recent films have featured at the Cannes festival, and his newest, Los Bastardos got a French release this week. The film is set in L.A., but ironically will probably not hit theaters here in the states. Look after the jump for some frightening trailers.

Los Bastardos


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As promised

For those who were unable to see the short film Glory at See this weekend, here it is.

Yet another great weekend of films, and thanks for those who skipped out on the Super Bowl to see our feature. At Sea was hugely impressive. Hutton's photography allows the viewer to explore each image, and there are always things to discover. Look for a Water Lillies preview in the coming days.

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