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Events. Jones, "Confucius," Benning, "Herostratus" and More

The Auteurs Daily

The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography

Remarkable series and events are lighting up the coasts these days. Let's start in New York, with Ed Halter in Artforum: "The dynamic of William E Jones's work lies in the tensions produced between, on the one hand, deep-running vortices of emotion and longing and, on the other, the angular severities of social control, unearthed and drawn out from the otherwise obscured historical matter of gay men's subjective lives and shared fantasies. Among the source materials for his five long-form pieces, numerous short films, and printed publications are 1970s pornography, legal data, pop music, and personal memories: Extraordinary and unexpected facets emerge from the obsessive jewel-cutting that Jones performs on this raw ore." The Films of William E Jones runs at Anthology for a week starting tomorrow. More from Melissa Anderson (Voice) and James van Maanen.

"It was Easy Rider's success that greenlit Five Easy Pieces — but director Bob Rafelson and screenwriter Carole Eastman's film is totally human, trading Rider's counterculture mytho-poetics for a study in the charisma of disdain (which Nicholson personifies) and how rebellion and loutishness are often indistinguishable (ditto)," writes Nick Pinkerton in the Voice. "Set against the stillness of cinematographer László Kovács's luminous landscapes, now restored for the film's 40th anniversary, it's a great work of the Discover America Seventies." At Film Forum for a week starting tomorrow. More from Durga Chew-Bose (Interview), Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York) and Justin Stewart (L Magazine).

Opening today is Monsters & Murderers: The Films of Bong Joon-ho at BAMcinématek (through Monday), while Bong Joon-ho: The Pleasures and Terrors of Genre opens Sunday and runs through March 6 at the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge. All things Bong are being updated here.

"China Institute is proud to present in collaboration with the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) master director Fei Mu's film classic Confucius (1940). Recently rediscovered in Hong Kong, the film has been restored by the HKFA and the screening will share with audiences the result of initial preservation work by the archive." Two screenings on Saturday, with a talk following the second.

Dan Callahan at the House Next Door on a past event worth noting: "This past Monday night, Adam Baran and Ira Sachs continued their Queer/Art/Film series at the IFC Center with two little-shown 16mm silent films by [Charles] Ludlam, Museum of Wax and The Sorrows of Dolores, which were given a sensitive introduction by Antony Hegarty of the band Antony & the Johnsons. Seen together, these films, treated to ideal musical scores by Peter Golub, have radically enlarged my perspective on Ludlam, just as they have instantly joined, in my mind, the best underground films of Jack Smith while retaining an unusual character of their own."

Film Comment Selects runs on through Thursday, and that entry is being updated here. Meantime, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is already gearing up for New Directors / New Films (March 24 through April 4). Dave Itzkoff has the full lineup in the New York Times.



"If America garlanded a filmmaker laureate, who would be better than James Benning?" asks Max Goldberg in the Bay Guardian. San Francisco Cinematheque presents Darkest Americana & Elsewhere: Films, Video & Words of James Benning tomorrow and Saturday evenings.

Brian Darr rounds up more Bay Area goings on and Michael Guillén notes that Ingrid Eggers, formerly of the Berlin & Beyond Festival, returns on Sunday with German Gems.

"Don Levy's 1967 Herostratus is the greatest movie masterpiece you have probably never heard of," writes FX Feeney in the LA Weekly. "A young poet (Michael Gothard) decides to commit suicide but strikes a demonic bargain with an advertising tycoon (Peter Stephens) to give the deed maximum publicity... Why don't more people know this film? It breathes the same ingenious oxygen as Bergman's Persona, Antonioni's Red Desert, Godard's Masculin féminin; it foretells Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and Cammell & Roeg's Performance with equal vividness. Why isn't Herostratus already listed in the canons of best-films-ever?" At REDCAT on Monday.

Also in Los Angeles, Tati Time: A Jacques Tati Retrospective runs through the weekend at the Aero.

The Red Riding trilogy opens at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum tomorrow for a week-long run. For Sean Nelson, it's "a truly epic police procedural about the cancer of institutional corruption, the lengths the guilty will go to keep it secret, and the prices paid by individuals who try to expose it. Uh, it's also five hours long, so if you watch it all in one go, bring a snack." Also in the Stranger, and also at Northwest Film Forum, Charles Mudede on Lee Chung-ryoul's Old Partner.

Update, 2/26: Dennis Cozzalio rounds up many, many repertory events happening in Los Angeles through Wednesday.

Image: William E Jones's The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998).

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