"Discerning moviegoers will barely have time to catch their breath this week amid the eclectic and heady mix of film festivals, retrospectives, classic movies and other cinematic treats screening around town." The town is Los Angeles and at the top of Susan King's roundup for the Times is the Counter Culture, Counter Cinema: An Avant-Garde Film Festival: "The opening program will feature Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures, José Rodriguez-Soltero's Lupe and Carolee Schneemann's Fuses. Schneemann and Jonas Mekas, pioneers in the avant-garde, will participate in a panel discussion after the screening. Ken Jacobs, another veteran filmmaker, is also a guest at the festival." Today through Saturday.
There's also an Umberto Lenzi triple feature tonight at Cinefamily. Michael Atkinson in the LA Weekly: "A five-hour ordeal of spaghetti camp and flying fake blood, this program of vintage gialli from the 'years of lead' era is surely the exhausting Thursday night out that'll scotch the rest of your weekend."
SF DocFest opens this evening for a two-week run at the Roxie. At the top of his overview, Michael Hawley notes that this is the festival's "ninth year, and 2010's program boasts 28 features and four shorts programs from 12 countries." The San Francisco Bay Guardian's Cheryl Eddy adds that it "kicks off with Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, codirected by San Franciscan Chris Metzler (2004's Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea). Sunshine, which Metzler made with Lev Anderson (Salton Sea co-helmer Jeff Springer served as Sunshine's cinematographer and editor), is a lively, revealing look at cult SoCal ska-punk rockers Fishbone." And she chats with the filmmaker.
Back to Michael Hawley for another overview, this one on the Arab Film Festival, opening today and running through October 24: "North America's oldest and largest celebration of cinema from the Arab world embarks upon its 14th edition... with a typically eclectic mix of 45 documentaries, shorts and narrative features."
"Phew. It's a good thing somebody finally gave the gays their own film festival, featuring LGBTQ-focused and -created features and shorts from around the world. Because god knows, if there's one place where gays can't catch a break, it's showbiz (I kid, gays! I kid!)." The Stranger's Lindy West picks out a few highlights from the lineup for the fifth Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, running tomorrow through October 24.
Mabel's Married Life screens tonight as part of MoMA's Altered States: Under the Influence program. The New Yorker's Richard Brody: "This 1914 short Keystone comedy, one of the first to feature Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp — here, a slovenly and ill-tempered alcoholic swell who prefers the barroom and the bottle to his young but long-suffering wife (Mabel Normand) — is also one of the first that he directed, and his consummate artistic command is apparent from the start."
Agog: The World of Timothy Carey runs from tomorrow through October 25 at Anthology Film Archives. Andrew Hultkrans for Artforum: "Something like the Crispin Glover of his era, the eccentric, explosive character actor Timothy Carey lent his genuinely off-kilter presence to films as varied as the swampsloitation C-movie Poor White Trash (1957), Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957), and John Cassavetes's Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Along the way, he sprayed beer in Brando's face in The Wild One (1953) (Brando, as director of One-Eyed Jacks , later paid Carey back by stabbing him with a pen), was attacked by Elia Kazan on the set of East of Eden (1955), parodied his own menacing, maniacal image in Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and the Monkees's Head (1968), and turned down offers to act in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part 2 (1974)."
For the Voice's J Hoberman, a defining moment in Carey's career was playing one of the condemned soldiers in Paths of Glory: "Unfairly sentenced to death, Carey steals the movie with his smirky drawl, inappropriate giggles, cud-chewing line reading, and sobbing cri de coeur: 'I don't wanna die!!!!!!' This embodiment of pure, hysterical fear made Carey an underground hero and, seven years later, inspired Esquire to run his picture opposite John Wayne's as a paradigm of the so-called New Sentimentality: 'A minor character actor who manages to excite us in a personal way is a real celebrity.'"
More from J Hoberman: "Now in its eighth year, To Save and Project, the Museum of Modern Art's annual international orgy of the newly preserved, is an eclectic and serendipitous survey, offering everything from primal Brit sci-fi (Day of the Triffids, 1962) to rediscovered agitprop (Henri Cartier-Bresson's With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain, 1938) to Patrice Chéreau's obscure debut The Flesh of the Orchid (1975), a Charlotte Rampling vehicle taken from a lurid thriller by paperback writer James Hadley Chase." Tomorrow through November 14. Update, 10/15: Dave Kehr in the New York Times: "Almost all the movies are being seen in New York for the first time in their refurbished form; several are being shown in the United States for the first time in complete or expanded versions.... It’s bad enough, to cite a common estimate, that 90 percent of all American silent films and 50 percent of American sound films made before 1950 appear to have vanished forever. But even the films we have often live on in diminished states. An astonishing number of famous titles — like King Kong and His Girl Friday — no longer exist as original camera negatives, but survive only as degraded duplicates and damaged release prints.... And once the endangered material has been stabilized (the preservation step), it often must undergo an even more expensive process of restoration to recover its original luster."
Also opening tomorrow is the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Spotlight: Nathalie Baye (through October 21). As you may have heard, she's been cast alongside Louis Garrel in Xavier Dolan's next project, Laurence Anyways.
"Under new management and in its new fall slot, the Philadelphia Film Festival [today through October 24] begins its 10-day binge session of more than 100 films from around the world," writes Matt Prigge, picking out a few highlights for the Philadelphia Weekly. And in the City Paper, Eric Schuman alerts readers to the the Franklin Institute's FirstGlance Film Festival, running today through Sunday.
As the Chicago International Film Festival enters its second week, the Reader and Time Out Chicago offer their picks from the batch of upcoming screenings.
And for the Telegraph, Daisy Bowie-Sell previews five festivals in the UK that aren't London.
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