Friday, September 08, 2006

Meet the New Website

Our new website is now up, along with the preliminary press release about the REVELATIONS program. What do you think? Thank you, Rick Montoya, for the divine poster design and Category 4 for the website improvements.

Some of the unsolved mysteries that have been tormenting faithful blog readers are now solved. The opening night movie at the Paramount Theater on October 26 will be Swedish Auto. Most of this film was shot down the street from our office on West Main Street, much of it in the legendary Mel’s Diner. The producer, Tyler Davidson, was a student in a film class I taught in 1997.  He recently told me that he met his wife there (I remember he seemed distracted). The director, Derek Sieg, also went to UVA, but somehow managed to become a major talent without my professorial guidance.

Check out the glorious reviews the film has been receiving! I loved this movie, but hesitate to over-hype it. Its cinematic qualities, including gorgeous cinematography by Richard V. Lopez, gave me great pleasure, but the story is small and its pacing is slow. It is a truly independent film that will be a rapturous experience for some, and a frustrating experience for others. I have already gotten into an argument with a local screenwriter who thinks I’m crazy for loving it.

As for the classics, I did finally find Ordet by Carl Dreyer, with the help of a film collector in New York named Martin Scorsese, and his archivist, Mark McElhatten. Some may think I’m stretching my Scandinavian classics series by including Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, but it was, of course, filmed in Sweden by Sven Nykvist, and has many echoes of Bergman (including its star, Erland Josephson).

Fear not that we’ve gone completely Scandinavian, because the selection of classics will also include films by Hitchcock, Bunuel, Satyajit Ray, and Cecil B. DeMille. I promised some Bresson, and OFFScreen helped out by scheduling both A Man Escaped and Au Hasard Balthazar in the two weeks after the Film Festival. Sadly, I could not find good prints of The Gospel According to St. Matthew and The Miracle.  

There is so much more to unveil. I won’t wait until the September 28 program announcement, but will spill more beans in this blog over the next few weeks.