August 2010

Last updated on August 1, 2010. Please check back later for additions.


The Cinema Lounge
Adam's Rib Revisits Great Movie Quotes
The Edinburgh International Film Festival
We Need to Hear From You
Calendar of Events

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The Cinema Lounge

The next meeting of the Cinema Lounge will be on Monday, August 16 at 7:00pm. The topic will be "the music behind the movies."

The Cinema Lounge, a film discussion group, meets the third Monday of every month at 7:00pm at
Barnes and Noble, 555 12th St., NW in Washington, DC (near the Metro Center Metro stop). You do not need to be a member of the Washington DC Film Society to attend. Cinema Lounge is moderated by Daniel R. Vovak, ghostwriter with Greenwich Creations.

Last month at Cinema Lounge
On July 19, 2010, we discussed "What makes a blockbuster movie?" Immediately, someone commented that making a good blockbuster is limiting the CGI effects. Then the discussion evolved into talk about James Bond. The Bond movies started getting uninteresting with all the CGI in Die Another Day (2002). In Casino Royale (2006), they went back to reality and the franchise's realistic roots. Bourne Ultimatum (2007) has become a new blockbuster with a James Bond-type character.

The other mass market success is Toy Story 3 (2010). Pixar realized from the onset that they could create dots, but they always needed a good story! Pixar spokesmen have said they have made bad movies, but they do not release them, instead cutting and remaking their movies (even down to a total rewrite like Ratatouille, 2007) until they are good.

A blockbuster that did not work was Knight and Day (2010), which was dead on arrival. With that, it has now become clear that the brand of Tom Cruise has faded, though it was drawing a fairly big crowd for a weeknight. One person commented that Tom Cruise was a good-looking, young actor who banked on his winning smile. Yet how could he have maintained it as he aged? In addition, the bizarre religion of Scientology has also hurt audiences' view of him, along with John Travolta, too.

Modern marketing for blockbusters cannot rely on the old concept of two big stars to push a film. Then again, Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1975) did not have any big stars. The audience seems to want a summer surprise each year, with The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006) being good examples of cult films that fall into a good pattern of successful summer releases.

One person added that there aren't that many new stars coming out anymore. Maybe that's because a lot of the big hits nowadays really aren't making stars out of the actors in the movies. These days, it just seems like you don't need a star to have a blockbuster. Maybe that was true in the past, but it seems even more true in the future. Jim Carey getting $20 million a film may have ended that era, too. It was a lesson that no star makes money automatically for a movie. Will Smith is maybe an exception, though, with Johnny Depp not far behind. Regardless, the star-centered Hollywood system has faded. Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe is not a true "star" until he pulls in revenue in a non-Harry Potter movie. On the other hand, some movies don't make it without stars, like Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005). Avatar (2009) didn't have huge stars either. Looking back to old hits, Alfred Hitchcock didn't have swat teams in his movies, so intense action is not necessary a blockbuster help.

It seems with blockbusters, one person has an original idea and then everyone else copies it. For instance, after Avatar's success, so many new movies are now using 3-D. Imagine if they remake the old films in 3-D. Raging Bull (1980) felt like 3-D! With Inception (2010), the marketing buzz was that the plot was a secret. Twilight (2008) marketing plan was that if the audience loved the book, then they would love the movie. Saw has become the new Halloween or Friday the Thirteenth. Machete (2010) could become a blockbuster. Grindhouse (2007) didn't become a blockbuster because the concept was foreign to most people. Snakes on a Plane (2006) was the first movie to be viral-marketed.

What works as a blockbuster now is franchises, or what wants to be a franchise. Is a world where blockbusters were based on franchises worse than the old system?

One person added the following: "First, a blockbuster movie happens when it tells a story of such a magnitude of interest and in such a compelling manner that people are willing to spend big bucks and go venture out to a movie theater within the first week that a movie opens. Maybe they'll even repeat their buying again and again, bringing friends. Secondly, a blockbuster movie happens when the nature, type, content, artists, etc. are of such a significance that the public feels that it will be of some disadvantage to not have seen on the big screen!"

Adam's Rib Revisits Great Movie Quotes

By Adam Spector, DC Film Society Member

Five years ago the American Film Institute selected its top 100 movie quotes of all time and I followed suit. Now I'm back with more of my favorite film quips, declarations, observations and rants. Are your picks not on the list? Please
send me your choices and check out my new Adam's Rib column.

The 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival

By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member

From left: David Thewlis, director Bernard Rose, film subject Howard Marks and actor Rhys Ifans at the premier of Mr. Nice. Thanks to the Edinburgh International Film Festival for the photo.

At 63 the
Edinburgh International Film Festival is still going strong. Coming as it does just a few weeks after the Cannes film festival, which tries to screen every important film around, is very daring but the programmers at EIFF manage to bring top quality international films that ranged from the Oscar-worthy performance of Robert Duvall in Get Low (Aaron Schneider, USA, 2009) to animated films that will capture your heart. Edinburgh is an impressive host to one of Europe's important film festival. Lying as it does in the shadow of the castle perched high on a cliff over looking the architecturally-rich city of Edinburgh, this year's festival opened with an animated film that was made in this centuries old city. The Opening Night film The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet, UK/France, 2010) follows an entertainer traveling from Paris and looking for work. After screening Belleville Rendez-vous at the 2003 EIFF, Chomet brought his family and his company to Edinburgh. He captures the elegance of his adopted city in the adaptation of an unrealized script of Jacques Tati in traditionally drawn animation. No CGI, no 3D here. Auld Reeie, as Edinburgh was once known due to its many belching chimneys, is presented in all its Gothic and Georgian beauty.

The Closing Night film was the exceedingly funny Third Star (Hattie Dalton, UK, 2010). Rarely is a film about some one's ill health and possible death been this hilarious. James (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been ill and feels the end is neigh so he gathers his three best mates (Tom Burke, JJ Feilid, and Adam Robertson) and off they go their favorite holiday destination, the beautiful Barafundie Bay in Pembrokeshire. As the foursome ramble toward their holiday, experiencing strange encounters along the way, they begin to get on each others' nerves. The soft underbelly of today's thirty something is revealed: their insecurities, women, careers. They may annoy each other but they do care about each other. The film is touching and intelligent.

You can't hold a festival, or so it seems, without awards. This year the Audience Award went to Get Low. Schneider's directorial debut film is based on a 1930s American folk tale that was based partly on fact. Felix "Bush" Breazeale, played by Robert Duvall, was born into a wealthy Tennessee family but spent most of his life living alone in the woods. Curious to know what people would say about him when he died, he came up with the idea of a living funereal - an idea somewhat borrowed from Mark Twain. Breazeale persuaded the townsfolk to mourn him by selling cheap lottery tickets with his valuable land being the ultimate prize. The folk tale has 12,000 mourners from 14 states attending the funeral on June 26, 1938. For the filming of the funeral local folks in rural Georgia were invited to attend. At 6:00am over 600 showed up.

Best New British Feature award went to Skeletons (Nick Whitfield, UK, 2009). The skeletons in this case are the ones in your closet and they, at least in this delightful comedy, can be cleaned out by way of weird machinery. Throughout the film the flim-flam artists trudge around gorgeous English countryside ending up in a grand manor with Danish actor Paprika Steen playing a English Grand Lady where it all unravels in a hilarious ending with one of the duo misplacing his mother tongue and suddenly speaking fluent Bulgarian, a language he does not know.

Best Performance in a British Feature went to David Thewlis (in 1993 he won Best Actor award at Cannes in Mike Leigh's Naked) for Mr. Nice (Bernard Rose, UK, 2010), a film that will bring up the question of honoring a gangster. Mr. Nice is Howard Marks who served seven years in a US prison for drug distribution. At one time he is said to have controlled ten percent of the world's hashish sales and has since made a career out of retelling his seedy life. Rhys Ifans does a brilliant job portraying Marks. Marks, Rose, Rhys and Thewlis were at the European Premiere at EIFF. Director Marks said, "I liked the book. Howard touched on the history of the 20th Century. Everyone claims not to have smoked marijuana today. Howard's story was honest." Rhys said, "It should have been complicated to play Howard. I have know him for 14 or 15 years. Welsh heroes are few and far between. Running and singing are what we are best known for. I can't do either. We come from a long line of pirates." Marks said, "I had an agent before the book was published and told him that Rhys would play me. I had no creative input into the film. Nothing in there that I would want out." The film has its controversy and because of that BBC pulled their support.

The award for Best International Feature went to The Dry Land (Ryan Piers Williams, USA, 2009). Williams' first feature film stars Ryan O'Nan in this film about post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans. Williams gets superb acting from his cast of O'Nan, America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama and Jason Ritter is this sensitive telling of a major problem. PTSD is little understood and under treated.

Gareth Edwards took home the Best New Director award for Monsters (UK, 2010). What could go wrong when an outer space monster's giant tentacles sweep planes out of Mexican skies? Edwards not only directs but is the writer, cinematographer and special effects creator for this mix of screwball comedy and horror flick. A NASA experiment gone wrong--like the opening of many 1950's sci-fi films--and in this one a photographer's boss wants him to bring his daughter out of the monster plagued area of Mexico. The stars must have hit it off as Whitney Able and James Richardson married shortly after film wrapped.

My Must See film list includes The Illusionist, Skeletons, Mr. Nice and Monsters. I did not see The Dry Land or it might have ended up here also. Others on this list include Boy (Taika Waititi, New Zealand, 2010), C'est deja l'ete (Martijn Smits, Netherlands, 2010), Donkeys (Morag McKinnon, UK, 2010), Frontier Blues (Babak Jalali, Iran/UK/Italy, 2009), Hotel Atlantico (Suzana Amaral, Brazil, 2009), and Huge (Ben Miller, UK, 2010)

Synopsis of Must See Films

  • Boy is an 11 year old who spend his time with his best friends Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest (it is 1984) and fantasizing that his missing father is a globe trotting rogue and war hero. It fact dad is in the slammer doing a stretch for robbery. Boy is a hilarious take on the father-son relationship that features the best acting by a goat in many a film and a fantastic Bollywood style tribute of Michael Jackson's Thriller. This film has topped the New Zealand box office.

  • C'est deja l'ete. Watch out Belgium--the Dutch are coming. At least director Smits has landed firmly in the Dardenne brothers' patch, going so far as to film in the same village, Seraing, where they had turned out Rosetta and The Child. Where the Dardenne brothers used professional actors and multiple retakes, Smits uses locals and gets superb performances out of them. Using the same rust belt town, Smits focuses on a family of a disconnected father who has escaped to sleep in his van, a twenty-something daughter raising a child solo and a monosyllabic teenage son who is going from minor crime to far more serious deeds. It is not all dark and dreary in this film; there are moments of joy. This very low key film ranks high in the European film scene.

  • Donkeys continues the collaboration between Scotland and Denmark that began with the 2006 film Red Road (Andrea Arnold, UK, 2006). I saw this as the first of a trilogy that would use three different directors but the same cast and with each film focusing on different characters. In my interview with the director, he said, "When they first came up with the idea, I had just come in. We took developed characters but sometimes had to shoehorn characters in. We have a very small bundle of characters (characters were developed by Lorne Scherfig for the first film) and it was a struggle to get them all in. Some were leads and some very minor - a rider on a bus in one case. I wrote a treatment on which the film is based. I had two writers at first that just did not work out; it was not what I had in mind. The second was someone I had worked with before." While the names of the characters in this trilogy remain the same their back stories and circumstances may change. This bending of the rules makes Donkeys feel fresh and its own creation, not a continuation of Red Road.

    "Alfred was the first character (played by James Cosmos) 64, and a sort of a liar. Has some denial in his life, mildly obsessed about death. I wanted to work on that. In Red Road Alfred is Jackie's dead husband's father. In Donkey he is her father. Nothing dramatically changed. Some things did not work in editing. Not the sort of thing you would say, 'Hey, let's change this around.' Changes were made because we needed the pace to be a certain way. All the characters see things differently and live in different universes--a lot like quantum physics really." The trilogy will be completed by Danish director Mikkel Norgaard whose film is due out in two years. And then a second set of characters with three new directors will follow.

  • Frontier Blues sometimes has the look of people posing for a photographer because that is what they are doing. "Welcome to the land of heartbreak and tractors; welcome to northern Iran," Babak Jalali said when I interviewed him. A photographer is traveling around doing a book of photos of Turkmen." There is humor in the film as well as heartbreak. In one scene a father is talking to his wife's grave, "Everything is fine here. Your son wants to leave me alone." "What do you call your donkey?" Donkey was the response. Jalali said, "I wrote the screenplay in Paris. I spent five months in Paris working in a program that aided the development of first or second films. I wrote the draft there and then started shooting 8 or 9 months later. All shooting was in Iran. I started editing in Iran and then moved to London. I like shooting stationary shots as I wanted to show the stillness of their lives. The film was entirely static shots, even when shooting motorcycle scenes. There is humor in there, I did not want it grinding and bleak. They have not given up hope, some still desire to get something."

    A scene from Frontier Blues. Thanks to the Edinburgh International Film Festival for the photo.

    Jalali continued, "We actually cast the donkey. (One of the characters has a pet donkey that goes everywhere with him.) We had someone arrange a site for us to see donkeys. It was like a dog show. Everyone proudly showed up with their donkey. Karimi, who plays the man with the pet donkey, was petrified of the donkey and kicked him many times. Throughout the film Hassan is followed by four kids who blindly follow the minstrel. In time he loses the plot. Fed up with everything, he takes out his anger on them. Mahmoud Kalten, who plays the chicken farmer Alam, illegally fished for sturgeon. Every night about 5:00pm he would head out to sea to international waters. He served 14 months in jail for illegal fishing. His brother was shot dead while fishing. We were always concerned about Mahmoud's safety. We had six stories originally and dropped two of them. They were shot but it was just too many story lines, too many static shorts. One story line dropped had an 8 year old son of a fisherman going to the shore and waiting for his dad's return. He would take the day's catch and race to the market with it. The scene repeated throughout the film. The clothing store owner is based on my uncle who is a clothier. Just like in the film, he has small stock, one of each item. Everyone walks around with ill fitting clothing. One continuing motif that did stay in has Alam carrying a cumbersome geranium plant to woo a girl." Jalali said, "The geranium was decorating his uncle's clothing store but brought in no customers so it was given to Alam for the girl. We damaged one and could not find the other one. Had to go to Tehran to get more geranium plants. The film was screened in New York and San Francisco. In New York the audience wanted to know why there are so few women in the film. The story is about men, without women men are screwed. Hassan's mother went to Paris." Frontier Town made my Must See list as the film successfully uses the landscape and non-professional actors to show the monotony and isolation that unite the men. It is easy to see why Hassan's mother left for Paris shortly after his birth and why Alam finds it difficult to find a wife.

  • Hotel Atlantico is based on a 1989 novel by Joao Gilberto Noll. It is a puzzle of a film pitched between reality and the dream world, sometimes playful, sometimes melancholy. A TV actor has a narrow brush with death and decides to let the tides of life take him where they will. He links up with a grieving young woman and takes a ride with a gang that threatens his life. An episodic tale that wears its literary mantle well.

  • Huge as in "This is going to be huge." How do comedy acts a la Martin and Lewis, Morecambe and Wise get together? Double acts have been around for ages. This duo begins with Clark (Noel Clarke) heckling Warren (Johnny Harris) during an open mike comedy show. Together they are exceedingly funny--talked into working together they set off on the comedy circuit. Can they tolerate the hyper-competitive world of comedy? Huge is a throwback to more innocent music hall acts but can their bumbling innocence stand up in the sleazy world of show business? It is fitting that Huge held its World Premiere at Edinburgh as it was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival back in 1993 that Miller premiered the play that in time became this film.

    Synopsis of Excellent Films

  • Crap Trap (Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia/France, 2009). La Barra actually exists. This Colombian fishing village, home to 500 people, is surrounded on one side by an almost impenetrable rainforest and jungle. Electricity has just arrived and with it television, now taking people from community beach activities to sit in front of the TV. Into this director Ruiz Navia has filmed almost a documentary on the village but mixed in modern fable. Into this isolated setting comes a fair-skinned stranger, Daniel (Rodrigo Velez). Marooned here until the next boat comes, Daniel becomes friends with the village chief, Cerebro (Arnobio Salazar Rivas) and Lucia (Yisela Alvarez) who catches crabs in her trap. Like the crustaceans in her trap Daniel finds that there are some situations that are easier to enter than to leave. Director Ruiz Navia said, "I don't like it when people say, 'Nothings happening in this film.' maybe that film is not full of Hollywood-style action where something is always happening; but in real life there are so many little things that happen that are simple but very important. I want my film to focus on such small details." John Anderson reported in Variety, "landscape and dreamscape, like the clashing worldview of the characters, meet in Crab Trap, whose effect is existential disequilibrium. If Samuel Beckett ever went to the beach, this is what he might have thought about."

  • Cherry Tree Lane (Paul Andrew Williams, UK, 2010). The opening sequence of a marriage in dissolution is followed by a brutal home invasion that makes this film part thriller and part social protest film. Christine (Rachael Blale) and Mike (Tom Butcher) play a couple living on the peaceful sound Cherry Tree Lane whose son Sebastian dabbles in the drug world and has somehow crossed a friend who suddenly invades their home and their lives. Like a Greek drama the physical violence takes place off stage but the verbal violence is front and center. This is a film that does not allow an escape.

  • Honeymooner (Col Spector, UK, 2010). Director Spector's interesting play on love rejected gives him an opportunity for a perceptive look at unhappiness in life. A comic study of Fran's (Gerard Kearns) life after his fiancee dumped him days before their wedding. Fran turns to his best friends for comfort, not a good move as they (Al Weaver and Chris Coghill) are tainted by their own failed relationships.

  • If I Want to Whistle, I'll Whistle (Florin Serban, Romania, 2010) Silviu (George Pistereanu) has only 5 days left before his release from the juvenile detention center. Those 5 days become an eternity when his long departed mother returns to Romania from Italy to take Silviu's younger brother that he has raised like a son. To complicate matters Silviu has his fallen for a beautiful social worker. Asked where the idea for the film came from, Serban said, "Catalin, my co-screenwriter and Andreea Valean, the author of the theater play that this is based on visited a re-education center more than ten years ago. Andreea then wrote the play and Catalin the first screenplay that he sent to me. I read it and couldn't take my mind off it. I've worked on the story for a year and a half. It went through a lot of changes and countless drafts. But the crucial changes came when I first started working with the boys from the penitentiary. During this time I started to get to know them, to understand some of the reasons for their mistakes, to finally understand how many of their actions had been influenced by their families, the environment they came from and last but not least, by all of us, the ones outside those prison walls. We had to change a lot from the original play to the medium of film with its different restrictions and of course quite different audience. The most important things that we kept were the spirit and attitude of the inmates, the bold, uncompromising, somehow childish way of thinking and jumping into action without caring too much for the consequences. The determination of reaching a goal no matter what it takes to get there. Working with the boys took more than two months and it consisted of an acting workshop held in two of the Minors' and Youth Penitentiaries in Romania: Craiova and Tichilesti. First criteria for the selection was their willingness to be part of the project, then their seriousness. The ones who were selected to act in the film were the boys who proved to be talented, serious, committed and who didn't have major misbehavior problems in previous months. The casting for the lead took seven months. I saw thousands of photos, interviewed hundreds of boys. I saw young actors, acting students, boys from different high schools, junior football teams, casting agencies. He was hard to find because he had to fulfill more requirements than normal: charisma, poise, intelligence, a strong presence and a personality to match. To act, in other words. George was the only one who had them all. This part was his first attempt to act and I think that this was a great advantage." George is now in acting school. Quotes are taken from the press kit.

  • The Mouth of the Wolf (La Bocce del Lupa, Pietro Marcello, Italy, 2009). Of Time and the City was Terence Davies' love letter to his native Liverpool. Pietro Marcello has a moving portrait and a love letter to his home town of Genoa in The Mouth of the Wolf (the title comes from an Italian expression wishing good luck). The resulting film is a mix of reality (the love affair between Enzo, a macho ex-con, and Mary, a transsexual former heroin addict is a true story) from the down-at-the-heels Genoan waterfront to fiction. From archival footage to modern day Genoa this is a love song to Marcello's adopted city.

  • Nanette (Nicolas Philibert, France, 2009). The leading lady is 40 years old, weighs 400 pounds and is very hairy. Very, very hairy. Nanette is the oldest inhabitant of the world's oldest zoo. Nanette is an orangutan and home is a cage at Paris' Jardin des Plantes, an 18th Century facility that until recent renovations was internationally criticised for the conditions in which the animals were kept. The camera focuses on Nanette and her son in this fly-on-the-wall documentary while you hear the comments and occasional taunts of school children, tourists and zookeepers. She is the blank tablet upon which the viewers projects their thoughts. The lonely want her to be lonely. The intellectual see her ruminating in deep thought. Throughout all this Nanette retains her dignity and her mystique. The heart of Philibert's film is not what is revealed about the star but what we reveal about ourselves in our projecting upon her.

  • Northless (Norteado, Rigoberto Perezcano, Mexico, 2009). Illegal immigration is one of the most talked about topics this year and first time director Rigoberto Perezcano has a low key film on this topic. Following more dramatic films such as Babel and Sin Nombre, in Northless he stays close to his documentary training: sparse dialogue, low key sound track, and natural performances that bring a fresh look at this topic. Andres (Harold Torres) works his way from his home in Oaxaco to Tijuana all the time planning on traveling North. In Tijuana he becomes involved in the lives of two women (Sonia Couah and Alice Lagunes) who have lost husbands in their desperate dash to the US. Andres Torres is most effective in this role in achieving genuine sympathy for his character. Perezcano brings a deft touch to an all ready over filmed topic and his light use of humor result in a fascinating film. Northless was the Opening Night film in last May's "Hola Mexico" Film Festival and can be seen September 5 at the National Gallery of Art.

  • Soul Boy (Hawa Essuman, Kenya/Germany, 2010). The Nairobian slum Kibera has already had its moment in films. This squalid home to 800,000 people in an area about the size of Central Park made its debut in The Constant Gardener. Soul Boy is a journey film for 14 year old Abi (Samson Odhiambo), an immature kid who has to grow up fast. And it is something of a journey for German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume) and his partner Merle Steinmann who are involved in educational projects in Kibera. Tykwer set up workshops, training apprentices in the many disciplines needed to make a major film. Soul Boy had a week of pre-production, two weeks shooting along and minimal budgeting in a professional film made by a non-professional cast. Abi discovers his father wailing, "They took my soul, I'm lost, I'm finished." His mother thinks it just another morning hangover. Abi learns that his father has had a run in with a 'Nyawawa', a spirit world apparition (you may interpret that as a liaison with a lady of the night) and is now under a deadly curse. The Nyawawa tells Abi that he has to accomplish seven deeds in and around Nairobi before sunrise. Soul Boy is a fast paced, small scale example of African cinema's resurgence.

  • Street Days (Quchis Dgeebi, Levan Koguashvill, Georgia, 2010). The Georgian city of Tblisi has its Lost Generation, those who grew up when the Soviet Union controlled Georgia and who can't find their way in the new world. Checkie (Guga Kotetishvili) is one of them. He, like the others, finds solace in drink and drugs. The film's plot follows other thriller, gangster, kidnap lines but this one has Koguashvill's firm hand and sense of humor at work. Great camera work by Arcdhil Akviediani using greys, blues and browns help to raise this film above the ordinary. It is hard to believe that this is Ketetishvili's first film as an actor. He gives a totally believable performance as a small time hood. He can usually be found on set as a painter and set designer.

    At the award ceremony, Edinburgh International Film Festival Artistic Director Hannah McGill said, "We have had a tremendous festival experience this year, and it is a particular pleasure to close with the world premiere as beautiful, idiosyncratic and moving as Third Star (Hattie Dalton, UK, 2010)."

    It was indeed a tremendous festival and one that McGill and all the programmers can rightfully take pride in.

    We Need to Hear From YOU

    We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Palm Springs Film Festival, the Reykjavik Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Taken notes at a Q&A? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.

    Calendar of Events


    American Film Institute Silver Theater

    "Charlie Chaplin Classics" is a retrospective of several Chaplin feature films, all new 35mm prints! In August you can see The Circus, City Lights, The Great Dictaztor, Limelight, A Woman of Paris, A King in New York with a few more in early September.

    "Totally Awesome IV: More Films of the 80s" is a summer retrospective of 80s films running from July to early September. Titles in August include The Fog, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Clash of the Titans, Xanadu, After Hours, Desperately Seeking Susan, The Neverending Story, Enemy Mine and continues in September.

    A two-fer, "John Hughes Tribute" does double duty as part of "Totally Awesome Films of the 80s" series. In August you can see The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Uncle Buck and She's Having a Baby.

    Celebrate Akira Kurosawa's centennial year with a retrospective of films. Part II runs from July through early September. Titles for August include Red Beard, The Quiet Duel, Dodes'kad-en, The Lower Depths, Kagemusha, Madadayo, Dreams with a few more in early September.

    "The Films of Francois Truffaut, Part II" continues from July. Titles in August include The Man Who Loved Women, Love on the Run, The Green Room, Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me, The Last Metro, The Woman Next Door with one more in early September.

    "MARS: Mid-Atlantic Regional Showcase" celebrates locally made films and filmmakers. The three titles this month are Heavy Metal Picnic, Of Flesh and Blood, and All About Evil.

    The AFI again hosts "NIH Science in the Cinema," a six-week series offering films with a medical or science-related theme. Two films remain in the series for August: My Sister' Keeper on August 4 and A Song for Martin on August 11.

    Freer Gallery of Art
    The 15th Annual Hong Kong Film Festival concludes in August. On August 1 is The Contract (Michael Hui, 1978); on August 6 at 7:00pm and August 8 at 2:00pm is The Pye Dog (Derek Kwok, 2007); and on August 13 at 7:00pm and August 15 at 2:00pm is Magic Boy (Adam Wong, 2007).

    National Gallery of Art
    The Gallery's annual preservation series focuses on Il Cinema Ritrovato, a festival in Bologna including restorations, rediscoveries and rare films from archives and private collectors. On August 7 at 2:30pm is The Girlfriends (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1955) preceded by "A Century Ago: Films from 1909." On August 14 at 2:00pm is A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1999); on August 15 at 4:30pm is Faces (John Cassavetes, 1968); on August 22 at 4:30pm is Maciste in Hell (Guido Brignone, 1925); on August 27 at 2:30pm and August 28 at 12:30pm is Bank Holiday (Carol Reed, 1938); on August 28 at 2:30pm is Laughter (Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast, 1930); on August 28 at 4:30pm is A Gentleman of Paris (Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast, 1927); and on August 29 azt 4:30pm is The Beginning or the End (Norman Taurog, 1946-47) preceded by the short film The Town (Josef von Sternberg, 1943).

    Art films in August include Two in the Wave (Emmanuel Laurent, 2009) about Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard on August 1 at 4:30pm and "Fragment of Conversations with Jean-Luc Godard" on August 8 at 4:30pm.

    National Museum of the American Indian
    "Argentina at the Smithsonian" includes short films and a feature. On August 1 at 11:30pm is a program of two short films by pioneer ethnographic filmmaker Jorge Preloran: Chucalezna (1968) and Señalada en Juella (1969). At 1:30pm is the feature Cochengo Miranda (Jorge Preloran, 1974) about the life of a rancher in the Western Pampas of Argentina.

    On August 6 at 7:00pm is Waterlife (Kevin McMahon, 2010) about the Great Lakes. There will be a Q&A after the film with special guests.

    On August 6, 7 and 8 at 10:30am is Hidden Landscapes: The Great Falls-Discovery, Destruction and Preservation in a Massachusetts Town (Ted Timrek, 2010), a video in the Hidden Landscape series, about a discovery of a Native American ritual site when the town of Turners Falls in Massachusetts attempted to extend its airport runway.

    Renwick Gallery
    On August 29 at 2:00pm is The Cats of Mirikitani (Linda Hattendorf, 2006).

    National Portrait Gallery
    On August 7 at 3:00pm is an early art film, Salome (1923) accompanied by the Silent Orchestra.

    Smithsonian American Art Museum
    To accompany the new exhibition "Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell fom the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg" is a series of classic films reflecting the values of community and family found in Rockwell's paintings. On August 12 at 6:30pm is State of the Union (Frank Capra, 1948) starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy).

    Washington Jewish Community Center
    On August 16 at 7:30pm is A Film Unfinished (Yael Yersonski) about newly discovered archival footage shot by the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto. A post-discussion with the filmmaker and a reception will follow the film screening.

    Two short videos are shown August 24 at 7:00pm at the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel. Black Over White (Tomer Heymann, 2007) is a documentary about an Israeli Band and Like a Fish Out of Water (Leon Prudovsky, 2006) is about a recent emigrant from Argentina to Israel who finds a job on an Israeli soap opera.

    Goethe Institute
    "For the Love of Sound" is a series of documentaries dealing with music and its impact on the people who dedicate themselves to it. On August 9 at 6:30pm is Pianomania (Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis, 2009), about the head tuner of Steinway & Sons. On August 16 at 6:30pm is Tearing Your Heart Apart (Karin Berger, 2008) about the "Wienerlied" style of folk song popular in the late 1800s-1930s. On August 23 at 6:30pm is A Father's Music (Igor Heitzmann, 2007) about Austrian conductor Otmar Suitner. On August 30 at 6:30pm is Touch the Sound (Thomas Riedelsheimer, 2004) about a student musician going deaf and her new study of percussion.

    On August 28 at 8:00pm is Louis (Dan Fritzker) with live music by Wynton Marsalis and a 10-piece ensemble and Cecile Licad, classical pianist.

    The Japan Information and Culture Center
    On August 20 at 6:30pm is Kiki’s Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989), an anime film based on the popular children's novel by Eiko Kadono. On On August 25 at 6:30pm is Kabei: Our Mother (Yoji Yamada). Reservations are required. See the website for more information.

    The National Theatre
    This year's summer cinema features "Cary Grant: A Star to Remember." The series ends in August with Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) on August 2 at 6:30pm; Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938) on August 9 at 6:30pm; Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963) on August 16 at 6:30pm.

    National Institutes of Health
    Films with a medical or scientific theme are hosted by the AFI. See above. The films for August are My Sister's Keeper (theme: bioethics) on August 4 at 7:00pm and A Song for Martin (theme: Alzheimer's disease) on August 11 at 7:00pm. Discussion will follow the screenings with an expert in each scientific field.

    Film Festival Benefiting NIH Children's Charities
    Films are shown August 13-20 at the Universities at Shady Grove at 8:15pm. The schedule: on August 13 is The Blind Side; August 14 is Twilight: New Moon; on August 15 is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; on August 16 is Jerry McGuire; on August 17 is August 17 Valentine's Day; on August 18 is August 18 Up in the Air; on August 19 is Julie and Julia; and on August 20 is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

    Screen on the Green
    Watch classic films on a gigantic movie screen on the mall. "Screen on the Green" is back this summer with films shown at dusk (approximately 8:30pm) on Monday nights. Bring a blanket. The last film in the series is Bonnie and Clyde (1967) on August 2.

    National Archives
    To accompany the exhibit "Discovering the Civil War" is Shenandoah (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1965), starring James Stewart, on August 21 at noon.

    The Avalon
    The Avalon starts a new series of Greek films on the first Wednesday of each month. On August 4 is Plato's Academy (Fillipos Tsitos, 2009), a comedy about a district in Athens.

    For this month's "Czech Lions" series is Bathory (Juraj Jakubisko, 2008) on August 11 at 8:00pm, about Countess Elizabeth Bathory, traditionally known as history's greatest murderess.

    The "French Cinematheque" film for August is Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette, 2009) on August 18 at 8:00pm, starring Jane Birkin and Sergio Castellitto.

    Anacostia Community Museum
    On August 10 at 10:30am is Family Across the Sea (Tim Carrier, 1991), a documentary about a linguist who discovered a connection between the Gullah people of South Carolina's Sea Islands and the people of Sierra Leone.

    Wolf Trap
    On August 5 at 8:15pm is "The Music of James Bond" with Carl Davis conducting the National Symphony Orchestra. Music will be heard from James Bond films from the 1960s through the 2000s.

    On August 6 and 7 at 8:00pm is "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony," created and conducted by George Daugherty. The National Symphony Orchestra accompanies your favorite wascally wabbit cartoons.

    Smithsonian Associates
    On August 8 at 9:30pm is Conquest of Everest (Anthony Geffen), an IMAX film about George Mallory, the first person who tried to climb Mount Everest and present-day climber Conrad Anker who discovered Mallory's body 75 years later. Following the film, Conrad Anker will discuss the making the film and answer questions.

    Atlas Performing Arts
    Atlas Arts hosts the "Gay 101" series of films. All films begin at 8:00pm. On August 5 is All About Eve; on August 12 is Suddenly Last Summer; on August 19 is Cabaret; and on August 26 is Mommie Dearest.


    Crystal Screen Outdoor Films
    Crystal City's outdoor film series shows Star Trek movies on 11 Monday nights in June, July and August. On August 2 is Star Trek: Insurrection (1998); on August 9 is Star Trek: Nemesis (2002); and on August 16 is Star Trek (2009). Films begin at sundown at 18th and Bell Streets in Crystal City. See the website for more information.

    NoMa Summer Screen
    "The Future is Now" is the theme of this year's NoMa Summer film festival. On August 4 is Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001).

    U Street Movie Series
    Music is the theme of this outdoor film series. Films are shown at sunset at the Harrison Recreation Center, 1330 V Street, NW. On August 10 is The Soloist (Joe Wright, 2009). One more in September.

    Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival
    "I [Heart] the 90's" is the theme of this year's Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival, running from late May through early September. The films are shown Fridays at dusk in Gateway Park at Lee Highway near Key Bridge. Bring blankets. On August 6 is Romeo and Juliet (1996); on August 13 is Airheads (1994); on August 20 is The Wedding Singer (1998); and on August 27 is The Birdcage (1996). See the website for more information.

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