Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jim Fouratt’s REEL DEAL: Movies that Matter June 2014 Night Moves, Ida , Before You Know it, The Norma Heart, Ida Human Rights Watch, BAMcinemafest t2014

Jim Fouratt’s REEL DEAL: Movies that Matter June 2014 Ida, Night Moves, Before You Know it, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Human Rights Festival, BAMcinemaFest 2014

June brings summer breezes and vacation nights! hey catch a movie in a THEATER! We can recommend quite a few: I do recommend the new Spiderman movie for sheer fun with an  undertone of humanity personalized in the performance of . an unbulked out Andrew Garfield

Bryan Singer’s  X-MAN : DAYS OF FUTURE PAST  

is a spectacle at story-telling trickster best.

Polanski's Venus in Furs 

sizzles with kind of sexual tension that sm games can generate,  

HBO has a couple of excellent films  for lGBT month, THE CASE AGAINST THE 8 
which shows how a Republican conservative and Liberal Democrat joined forces to argue successfullyor same sex civil marriage and win at the SupremeCourt. Watch a Q&A from HOT DOCS Festiva

Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, first performed at the Public Theater in 1985, was a brilliant AIDS wakeup call! It has finally made it to the HBO screen.

The transformation of the strident, yet timely, advocacy play tittering on melodrama into a deeply moving, historically correct, nuanced representation of how human beings, in particular gay men, were confronted by a pandemic that found little sympathy or concern in halls of government, the pulpits of churches and the homes of most Americans is remarkable. Kramer’s screenplay, in the hands of director Ryan (Glee) Murphy and a superb cast including Mark Ruffalo (playing Ned Weeks the character based on Kramer) and Julia Roberts, has opened up the play in the way that only narrative cinema can. Having lived through the period myself and having personal knowledge of all the characters based on real people, the movie left me suspicious at first.  However, it completely brought me back to a time and place of much pain, death, grief, anger, and the awakening of the silent majority in the gay male community to the horror of a plague and the restraints of the closet. Highest of praise for Kramer and the integrity of his script; to HBO for allowing Murphy and his accomplished actors fearlessly representing gay sexuality and relationships authentically; to expose homophobia and to role model how the lesbian and gay community grew up in the darkest days of AIDS because of demanding activists like Kramer. It all takes place in the years before Kramer and others founded ACT UP. Like Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, the Normal Heart throws its wings wide and embraces all human beings confronted with loss, grief and anger. Kudos to all involved. The Normal Heart is a must watch.

June is also a great festival month, The people behind the ROOFTOP Film Festival  have figured out to make a screening of a new film into a great nightclub event  indoors and out. Check out the schede rooftop film Festival schedule 2014 which incudes

BAMcinemaFest 2014 (June 18-29) opens with the best movie of the year; Richard linklater’s BOYHOOD

This festival in just six years has positioned itself because of bold programing choices right next to MoMA’s  New Directors here is a compete isting of the films bamcinemafest2014 compete program which also includes the funnest movie at Sundance this year The Foxy Merkins the latest from the wild imagination of the lesbian Woody Allen, Madeleine Olnek,

Human Rights Watch Film Festival June 12 -22nd Lincoln Center

In its 25th year, the Human Rights Watch Festival is the essential documentary film festival that travels the world with it fingers on the pulse of change and conflict be it government or in the family home. No where else can one get the insight that disciplined and committed documentary filmmakers contribute. Provocative, insightful, disruptive and dangerous, theses are the films that have the energy of people and society in conflict and change, I recommend a careful look at the descriptions in the online schedule,  but will recommend four here:

1 : E-Team . The Sundance award winner takes on a fact finding trip into Syria and into places no journalist officially can go. This is what Human Rights Watch teams do. Neutral and just after facts,  not propaganda. We follow three workers including a husband and wife as they refuse to be be intimidated by danger and like the best of action heros fearlessly do their job, But this is real life, real time.


This year's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner makes personal the battle of Syrians in a fight for freedom from an oppressive government,. Homs has been the center of the resistance and the target of the most serious bombing and military invasion. We follow a small group of Syrians including a charismatic young professional soccer player who walks away from the game to fight for freedom. Documentary filmmaking at its bravest.  We actually almost become through the lens embedded with then and experience vicariously what the conflict is like on a personal in your face landscape.

World premier Sundance Q&A


Watch the subjects and director discuss with Amy Goodman Democracy y Now) after world premier at Sundance 2014

Four women a day are murdered in their  home each day  by their abusive husband or ex or boyfriend. In Cynthia Hill’s  film we learn about this hidden fact and meet two women, One is a victim and the other is an advocate for stopping domestic violence by bringing it into public consciousness and out of the shadows. It answers the simplistic question of “Why don’t they just leave?” with an in-depth exploration of a very complicated condition


 When  George Takei,   Star Trek’s cult figure and Asian role model,  came out in his late 60’s,  his fans while  not surprised,  seemed not to care. He was and remains  a Trekkie hero. But George did not just sit back and sign autographs. He became engaged in the fight for lesbian and gay rights.  In Jennifer Foot’s doc we follow him and his dutiful husband Brad  as George puts a famous  Asian face  on the same sex civil marriage national fight. There seems to be no stopping Takei in this telling of his story of success and the power of the closet.   Foot  also tells the story of Japanese internment and migration with in the US. Takei himself  is a piece of work; TO BE TAKEI  ∫is a warm look at social injustice and the Asian immigrants quest for fame.

The Green Prince, I would be remiss if I did not also mention The Green Prince,  Nadav Schirman’s film that had people arguing after it screened at the NY Film Festival and at Sundance (won the audience award) .  I did not like it, nor have I liked the director’s other work. To me it is highly crafted propaganda here hidden in a sensationalist report on the teen-age son  of Hamas  leader who is turned by the Israeli secret police while in jail (and that alone deserves a  whole separate discussion) and becomes an informer from inside the center of Palestinian resistance movement.   Shocking , but ,,,,,,,,

here is a Q&;A after a Sundance screening :


NIGHT MOVES director Kelly Reichardt t

Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard play the central characters in the latest film from celebrated US indie director Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, River of Grass, Old Joy) . Here, in her most accessible film to date , Reichardt takes on an activist response to global warming. Loosely based on actual Earth Liberation Front’s  actions in the North West, she focuses on the serious nature of commitment in a time of environmental crisis. Jesse Eisenberg, again, proves he has an uncanny ability to mine the depth of a character's humanity and commitment. He is breathtakingly committed . Principal triumphs inner conflict but at a price,. This  is not a documentary.  It is a beautifully shot narrative with nuanced writing that takes us not only into acts of eco-aggression but, and this is always Reichardt trump card, into the interior life of her characters, The discipline of her visual palate locates the drama subtext in the language spoken.  Serious, yes, Visually stunning, yes!, Likable, well given the subject,no. Important, very.

IDA  director Pawel Pawlikowski

When Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright discovered in her 60’s that in fact she was Jewish,  America got for the first time on television the experience that many Jewish people knew about and kept quiet. To survive the Holocaust parents gave up their children and let them be brought up as non-Jews. IDA is set in Poland  and tells the story of a young women about to take her vows to become a Roman Catholic nun when she is sent to meet her only relative, a former Communist Party leader who is a Jew and tells the young nun to be she too is Jewish. A  journey to discover what happened to her family and how she wound up in a convent is the backbone of what may be the most haunting film of the Year.British film maker  Pawel Pawlikowski was Polish born. With touches of Bergman and Goddard he beings to life this revelatory story in black and white, Frame after frame resonate Robert Frank and Bill Brant.  Ida  is breathtaking to watch If you will only see one film this month, see Ida

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT director PJ Ravel

It happens. One day despite what ever voodoo you use you wake up and you are ...uh .. um ..oh ..well ,,,OLD! It is a particular moment for gay men who  lived through the AIDS pandemic. No matter how hard you try not to see the truth,  the body does not lie.In any case you feel it. Surviving is an act of courage and wisdom. PJ Ravel is a still young, Filipino-American filmmaker who is gay. Ravel is best know for Trinidad   his expose of the sexual reassignment surgery mill in  Colorado; for being the cinematographer on the Academy Award nominated Katrina doc Trouble in Water and producer /director of the Christeene music videos, He started to think about what happens to gay men when they get old. Not the ageless, rich one’s like SIR ELTON but the old gay men who you don’t see out in the bars or in page 6 spreads That ordinary gay man who just seems to disappear when  he turns 66 ,  So he went looking for old gay men to film. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT is the result. Three old gay men . One owns a bar in a beach town in Texas that caters to older gay men and aging drag queens who perform in the bar, the regulars who consider this their chosen family,  A second man in his late 70’s ,who lives in a trailer park in Northern Florida  lonely since his wife of 40 some years died ...and he has a secret. And the third is a very energetic black man from Harlem who works as a community organizer for SAGE an organization founded to help elderly lesbians and gay men. But this man refuses to tell his age.

meet the subjects :

No one is rich like in the public imagination and each takes PJ into their intimate life and  on their  journey of growing old.  Funny, it has a very universal appeal about aging , (if we do live that long) and a very specific critique about being an old homosexual  in America,  And trust me  you just might fall in love with one of them.

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors  director Sam Fleischne
review and video interview  Liza Bear
Sam Fleischner's poignant, well-scripted drama Stand Clear of the Closing Doors won a Special Mention for its premiere at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Shot entirely in the Rockaways over a three-week period with a cast and crew of only fifteen, the story is about Ricky (Jesus Sanchez-Velez), a 13-year-old-boy on the autism spectrum who elopes when his older sister Carla (Azul Zorrilla) doesn't pick him up from school one day and rides the subway for an agonizing couple of days--until [the real] Super Storm Sandy intervenes. Capturing Ricky's intense mode of perception through expert point-of view cinematography and editing, the narrative contrasts Ricky's quiet concentration and growing resourcefulness as he learns to fend for himself with the emotional turmoil of his hard-working mother Mariana (Andrea Suarez Paz) ; it also explores the effects of his elopement on the family dynamic. (They are undocumented Mexican immigrants.) An unusually muted color palette, as well as subtle changes of camera focus, greatly enhance Fleischner's portrayal of the special nature of autistic perception. Here is an interview I did with the director followed by the trailer

Liza Bear interviews Stand Clear of the Closing Door dir Sam Fleischne

trailer :

(cc) jim fouratt  5.23.14 jimfourattsreeldeal.blogspot,com

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