Friday, June 01, 2007

It's been a week or so since i've blogged, but it's been a busy week. A lot has happened, both personally and (semi)professionally. There have been a lot of press screenings.

Monday was Memorial Day, and so there were no screenings. But Tuesday made up for it, the first group of screenings for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. The films were Lynn Hershman Leeson's "Strange Culture" (a "hybrid" about the case against Steve Kurtz of the Critical Art Ensemble), James Longley's "Sari's Mother", Eva Mulvad and Anja Al-Erhayem's "Enemies of Happiness", and Steve Okazaki's "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki". That proved to be quite a provocative group of works.

On Wednesday, went to see James Benning's "13 Lakes"; Thursday, went to Aki Kaurimaki's "Lights in the Dusk", then Benning's "Ten Skies"; today, went to the Czech doc by Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda, "Czech Dream".

On Tuesday, ran into Ira Hozinsky at the Human Rights Watch press screenings. I had planned on seeing the other three screenings, but instead i decided to see the films which would have theatrical runs, i.e., "Lights in the Dusk" and "Czech Dream". Ran into Jim Hoberman at the James Benning screenings, i asked him if congratulations are in order, he asked if i meant huis (continued) tenure at The Village Voice, i said, no, that's a given, i'm talking about being on the Selection Committee for the New York Film Festival. Then we started joking about it. It's a very different period than when he was last on the committee, which was one of the last times Richard Roud was there. And it's a different time for me as well: the last time, i was able to recommend things to Jim which were coming through the Asian-American Film Festival, such as Trinh Minh-ha's "Reassemblage" and Mira Nair's "So Far from India"; now, everybody's so hip to the way the system works, there are very few "discoveries" to be made from smaller festivals, etc.

But those are the films i've seen this week. Next week will be a lot less hectic, and i have to take care of business, such as the meeting with some of the ACV staff about the upcoming 30th Anniversary of the Asian-American Film Festival, and maybe a few screenings at the NewFest. But it was a very good week, i enjoyed the films.... it was actually rather funny, i didn't actually look at the entire press release for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, i simply noted the press screening schedule and RSVP'd. So imagine my surprise when i realized that some of the films were by people i knew: Lynn Hershman Leeson and Steve Okazaki. And then i saw the three Benning films. ("13 Lakes" and "Ten Skies" are quite phenomenal, "enforced contemplation" as the films consist of full-length ten-minute takes on, yes, 13 lakes and ten shots of the sky. Reminded me of the period when Larry Gottheim was making those one-shot films, like "Blues" and "Corn". Of course, i would remember that because reviewing Larry Gottheim was one of the first things i did when i got to the Soho Weekly News... though the very first review was about Ed Emshwiller. Which i was reminded of by Bob Haller when i saw him while waiting for the screening of "13 Lakes" to begin. The reason Haller brought it up is that Anthology is planning on doing another retrospective/tribute to Ed in the near future.)


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