Caught up as we might be in all the hoopla over the Cannes lineup, we shouldn't overlook several other festivals and events either already underway or opening today.
The Films of Bette Gordon is a five-program series on at New York's Anthology Film Archives through Sunday. "The series includes two of Gordon's landmark works, Variety (1984 [image above]) and The United States of America (1975)," notes Amy Taubin for Artforum. "The latter was co-directed by James Benning, Gordon's boyfriend at the time. It plays on Program 1, preceded by two other Gordon/Benning collaborations, Michigan Avenue (1973) and i-94 (1974), and followed by three of Gordon's solo turns, Still Life (1972), An Erotic Film (1975), and An Algorithm (1977). All six films are being shown in new prints, courtesy of Anthology's preservations program. All were made during the 'structuralist' period of American avant-garde filmmaking, and with the exception of The United States of America, all involve elaborate layering and/or fracturing of movement by means of optical printing. The United States of America is a structuralist film of a different ilk. When it was originally shown, it seemed merely a very smart riff on the reigning avant-garde film of the time, Michael Snow's Wavelength (1967). But the passage of thirty-six years allows it to be seen in its own right, not only as a conceptually canny piece of structuralism but also as a revealing historical document."
For the L, Miriam Bale talks with Gordon about "Times Square Porno Theaters, Feminist Film Criticism and NYC Noir" and, at Cinespect, L Caldoran argues that "Gordon distorts ostensibly-ordinary scenes of life and gradually strips down façades to reveal the secrets of people struggling, often with little success, to connect with one another."
Durham's Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is also underway and runs through Sunday. David Fellerath introduces the Independent Weekly's cover package: "In a couple of significant ways, this year's festival seems to mark a sea change. Festival founder Nancy Buirski, who was synonymous with the festival for nearly a decade, returns this spring as a documentary filmmaker. Meanwhile, the first decade's worth of Full Frames found time to recognize the careers of stalwarts of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This year's career-award recipients, Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, have the distinction of being filmmakers whose work came of age during the era of Full Frame. They're hardly ready for retirement, though. Durham artist Beverly McIver opens up about her personal life in the highly engaging Raising Renee, while Sylvia Pfeiffenberger offers her thoughts on new shorts by two well-known Durham filmmakers, Josh Gibson and Rodrigo Dorfman. As always, our writers devoured as many advance screeners as possible in order to provide our capsule review section." At the House Next Door, Tom Elrod reviews Michał Marczak's At the Edge of Russia, an evidently entertaining downer.
CPH:PIX, the Copenhagen International Film Festival (site), opened last night with Michael Winterbottom's The Trip. Jorn Rossing Jensen for Screen Daily: "The rest of the 18-day program (which runs until May 1) includes more than 160 new films, for a total of 400 screenings and events. They will not only unspool in the capital's traditional theaters, as festival director Jacob Neiiendam has also selected some unusual venues for his functions."
The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival is on through Sunday and, in the Reader, Kevin Warwick has an overview, while Ed M Koziarski tells the complex story behind Fix: The Ministry Movie. Also, JR Jones points out a few highlights of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, opening today and running through April 27.
The Nashville Film Festival is on through April 21. Cruel Cinema: New Tamil Film runs at BAMcinématek in New York through Sunday. In the LA Weekly, Ernest Hardy notes that the works on view at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, "even the big, glossy, escapist musicals — buzz with subtextual commentary." Also through Sunday.
In Berlin, Film Polska runs through Wednesday. In London, From Ecstasy to Rapture: 50 Years of the Other Spanish Cinema opens at the Tate Modern tomorrow and features six programs through Sunday. And finally for now, Udine's young but already legendary Far East Film Festival (this'll be its 13th edition) opens on April 29, runs through May 7, and its tantalizing lineup is available for public perusal.
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