Monday, April 24, 2006

Some Guest Invitations

Ever attentive to your suggestions, I did snag a copy of THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL and will try to watch it next week, on my flight to the San Francisco Film Festival. The festival’s new Executive Director, Graham Leggat, who is impressing everyone out there, is an old friend, and he invited me to be a juror. I’m proud to say I gave him his first film job about fifteen or so years ago. I knew it would get me a free trip to SF if I waited long enough.

I read the article on Tom Shadyac recommended by another commenter, and an even more fascinating interview in Catholic Exchange. Tom Shadyac’s in Charlottesville right now shooting EVAN ALMIGHTY with Steve Carell, and I have invited him to come back in the fall. He is very passionate and articulate in advocating for a Christian cinema that is not pre-cleansed of all sin, and he’d be an exciting guest.

We’re also inviting to the festival BRUCE and EVAN ALMIGHTY’s  co-star, Morgan Freeman, whose film company happens to be called  …. Revelations Entertainment.  I will refrain from saying there’s a divine hand in this. But in the last few days, I ran into the glorious poet Rita Dove, who mentioned that she had a cameo appearance in Freeman’s upcoming movie, 10 ITEMS OR LESS, and that he and his producing partner, Lori McCreary, are considering attending in the fall. A few days later, one of the film’s producers, Julie Lynn, visited my film class (and George Sampson’s) at UVA and offered more encouragement. Julie’s the board member who brought us NINE LIVES, Rodrigo Garcia, and Kathy Baker last year, and she was one of VARIETY’S 10 Producers to Watch in 2005.

Julie was in town to help launch the new free speech monument, which is a public chalkboard, installed by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. I walked by it tonight on the way to the Wilco concert at the Charlottesville Pavilion (they were incredible, by the way). The chalkboard is getting many more comments than this blog, and I’m okay with that. Josh Wheeler of the Center called earlier this week to remind me that he’d like us to plan a festival program at the monument. Any ideas what we should project and stage there?

4 Comments:

Anonymous helen said...

This is shaping up to be a great event.

Many of the films suggested thus far have been "about" God/spirituality, and others offer a spiritual experience in one way or another.

But what about movies that examine the moviemaker as God? The one that leaps to my mind is a demented Peter O'Toole in The Stuntman. (And of course, O'Toole played Jesus in The Ruling Class!)

Interesting that Morgan Freeman has been in so many films concerned with redemption (or its lack): Shawshank Redemption and Unforgiven, to name two.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Faust said...

Another film to consider: "The Rapture" (1991)

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Marc Lipson said...

Richard,
One of my all time favorites is a great fit: Babette's Feast. In particular, at the feast, many of the characters have a revelation of sorts, from the modest to the sublime. The strong religeous sensibility and the overwhelming faith of the two daughters is touching and beautiful.
Also, for stretching the theme a little, Woddy Allen's salvation upon seeing Duck Soup in Hannah and Her Sisters is sort of a revelation.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Richard Herskowitz said...

(I always get great suggestions from museum curator Stephen Margulies, and so, with his okay, I'm planting his latest email here)

Richard, hi hi

Just for fun, I thought I'd mention a couple of movies about religion that I like.Pasolini's movie about Jesus, The Gospel According to St. Mathew. Great film. Ray's Devi...great and human.

Have there been any decent films about the Greek gods?....maybe by Michael Cacoyannis. The Trojan
Women...any Greek tragedy is intensely related to the ancient Greek religion. Funny stuff with Steve Reeves as Hercules or Jason and the Argonauts..

"Bedazzled" is a movie i love and definitely religious in a highly satirical way...god and
the devil even talk together.

And then there are Christian horror films such as the Omen films ..
Rosemary's Baby! Of course, how could I not mention the daddy of them all, The Exorcist, in which a priest gives his soul to the devil to save a child... In fact, exorcism is a religious genre in Christianity, Buddhism and , yes, Judaism. Lots of possession in IB Singer and in art produced by eastern european jews...the most famous being the play The Dybbuk which has certainly been filmed. Hoi-chi the earless, a
segment of Kwaidan, is about Buddhist exorcism as much as anything. And in Rashomon, a shamaness deliberately allows her body to be possessed by the
ghost of a murdered woman to get at the truth of a crime.

And then there are movies like Elmer
Gantry or The Apostle which are about preachers. The Apostle? How about The Night of the Hunter? I also remember that the great Flannery O"Connor's powerful novel
Wise Blood was made into a movie. I don't know if other Flannery O'Connor stories have done so. She was an intense catholic but both funny and terrifying, as is Wise Blood itself.

And of course The Last Temptation of Christ, which was picketed in
Charlottesville years ago. Also, Little Buddha by Bertolucci.

The fine movie The Man who Would be King is about Afghanis worshipping a
Westerner who is a Mason. Kipling was a Mason and thought Masonry to be a kind of original universal
religion.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.all best, sm

4:13 PM  

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