Brain Candy for the Cinephile

The Pervert's Guide to IdeologyFollowing the same format and stylized approach they used in The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, director Sophie Fiennes (sister of Ralph and Joseph Fiennes) and theorist/cultural critic Slovoj Zizek are back with another unorthodox but thoroughly entertaining film critique entitled The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology. This time, using a wealth of superbly chosen film clips (The Fall of Berlin,The Searchers, Cabaret, etc.), Zizek demonstrates how the film medium influences the way we think and feel through imagery that reinforces social behavior and conditioning.  Continue reading

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Gloria, G-L-O-R-I-A

Paulina Garcia dancing to her theme song in Gloria (2013)

Paulina Garcia dancing to her theme song in Gloria (2013)

This woman is being transported to someplace we can’t see by “Gloria,” the original Italian version of the pop tune by Umberto Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi. That song became a Top Forty hit in the US by Laura Brannigan in 1982 and is an appropriate theme song for the heroine of a new film by Sebastian Lelio (El ano del tigre, 2011) with the same name. And this film is proof that the Chilean film industry is still enjoying a renaissance; Gloria played to a full house at the recent Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville. Continue reading

Le Joli Mai and more at the Virginia Film Festival (VFF), 2013

Virginia Film Festival 2013 posterNow in its 26th year, the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville might not enjoy the high profile of Sundance or Telluride but that’s actually to its credit. While the latter festivals continue to introduce important new filmmakers and work to audiences, the media attention and crowds they attract can often be exhausting and even competitive for attendees trying to get into a select screening. That is not yet the case with VFF which continues to take a relaxed, laid back approach to film festivals despite an ambitious schedule of almost 100 screenings. Very rarely do you have to contend with long lines or sold-out shows. Nor do you often encounter the entertainment press getting priority treatment or trying to impress you with celebrity name-dropping in cellphone conversations that you can’t avoid at other major film industry events.    Continue reading

Oswald’s Last Picture Show

The premiere of the documentary OSWALD'S GHOST at the Texas Theatre in 2007

The premiere of the documentary OSWALD’S GHOST at the Texas Theatre in 2007

50 years ago today (11/22/2013) Lee Harvey Oswald ran into the Texas Theatre in Dallas to hide after shooting police officer J.D. Tippit.  The Texas Theatre was showing a double feature that day – WAR IS HELL (1963), a low-budget, Korean War drama directed by Burt Topper and narrated by Audie Murphy, and CRY OF BATTLE (1963), Irving Lerner’s small scale WWII/Pacific Campaign actioner with James MacArthur, Van Heflin and Rita Moreno.     Continue reading