Monday, August 11, 2014


Jim Fouratt's Reel Deal: Movies that Matter
August 2014 (pubished Westview News August 1s 2014)

In or out of Greenwich Village August it is either the dog days of summer or the time to vacation with a good book or feel-good movie. That is how it use to be. But no more now that the Oscar campaigning has seeped into August. We can thank our neighbor ubre-Producer Harvey Weinstein for moving the starting line.

First up two very different but intriguing programs : 

The Rural Route Film Festival: At the Museum of the Moving image in Queens is the The Rural Route Film Festival (Aug 8-10th). Founded 12 years ago, The Rural Route Film Festival was created to highlight works that deal with unique people and places outside of the bustle of the city.  Taking in a Rural Route program is like choosing the road less travelled, and learning something new about our constantly amazing world. Content consists of top quality, cutting edge contemporary and archival work from sources both local and far, far away. Their films tackle some of the most important topics of the day including global warming/environmental arena and life sustainability symposium.”

Watch the trailer for this year's program:

A stand out this year is SUNSET EDGE a new film from Villager Daniel Peddle best known for his groundbreaking documentary The Aggressives  (on the boundaries of gender expression and identity among black self-identified lesbians who called themselves “aggressives”) is the title of Peddle's documentary.He spent 5 years on the Hudson Park Trust piers gaining the trust from the FIERCE youth community of color. As a Southern white gay male it took time. The results were remarkable and opened the door to a world most people never knew existed. 
Jim Fouratt's Reel Deal: review RGE AGGRESSIVES

SOUND and VISION Up at lincoln Center the annual SOUND and VISION series brings together an eclectic mix of music films and documentaries from around the world and a program of live music. I recommend : (Films) Tosca's Kiss, Mateo, Pulp (the brit smartypants band), Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense (David Byrne at Q&A) Message in Music: Senegal in Transition In live performances including EUROPE IN 8 BITS, GlASS GHOST -lYTE and two FREE performances: Heroes of American Root From the Historical Film Archives and The 78 project movie /live recording session.


SUNSET EDGE director Daniel Peddle

If Flannery O'Connor were to have conjured up a compassionate horror story and set it in North Carolina, SUNSET EDGE could very well be her multi-layered dream. Four teens (locally cast actors) who live in a trailer park rummage through the debris found in an abandoned house. A house they had grown up seeing fall into decay. 

Their rummaging releases more than they anticipated and takes us the viewer into a memory and landscape that endows a genre film with an intensity of human experience that elevates it from simply a scary tale into an exciting, visual exploration of loss, family and unresolved issues. Peddle, having grown up in the North Carolina, brings a personal insight and integrity to his storytelling often absent from the genre. Southern Gothic horror has never been so sweet not so subtle. Sunset Edge captures in visual poetry the coming of adolescence age reminiscent of Winter's Bone.

LOVE IS STRANGE Director Ira Sacks

Not since My Cousin Eileen (1955), Echos of Silence (1963) and Next Stop Greenwich Village (1976) has there been such an authentic narrative film that captures the NOW of Greenwich Village in the way that Ira Sacks and his co-writer Mauricio Zacharias have done in this poignant and hilarious tale of what happens when two men who have lived together longer than anyone can remember (39 years) decide that now that they can they will get married. Ben is a Catholic school music teacher (Alfred Molina) and George (John Lithgow) a painter. They do. And all hell breaks out. What Sacks has done is to show that changing the law does not make everything perfect for gay people. Ben is immediately fired when they get back from their honeymoon. The Roman Catholic Church will not have an openly gay teacher no matter how good the teacher is with their impressionable students. Now they can no longer afford their apartment so they give it up and face the reality of Greenwich Village today: finding an affordable place to rent. To the rescue comes their multi-generation circle of friends who agree to put them up until they find a new living space. Not together, but separately. Ben and George suddenly are old waifs at the mercy of their friends lifestyles and vice versa. This is where the comedic aspects of the story lives. While Hillary may have said it takes a Village I don't think she was thinking of this Greenwich Village of friends who come to Ben and Georges rescue. Kate, a successful writer (Marisa Tomei ) and her husband Elliott (Darren Burrows) invite George to share their teenage son's (Charlie Tahan) room. It has a bunk bed. And it is here in how with a their good intentions the reality of disruption becomes the source of comedy rather than melodrama. Sacks proved in his underrated Hollywood film Married life (see it) he knows like Robert Altman the humor in life's ordinary crisis. I would have said that Tomei (who grew up in Greenwich Village) steals the film, but I can't because fellow actors,  Alfred Molina and John Lithgow,  fearlessly make Ben and George into real, complicated, identifiable, characters the same way Sean Penn did in Harvey Milk. Nice that we see on the screen gay men over that endures. That gay relationships,  like opposite sex ones can last a ifetime.  
and love can survived over a lifetime. Sacks recenty was honored with the coveted VISIONARY award y New Fest. 

A public chat at Lincoln Center about LOVE IS STRANGE between Director Ira Sack, writer Mauricio Zacharias, John lithgow, Marisa Tomei and Fim Society at

I always wondered what happened to laetrile the apricot seed based cancer treatment that many people felt offered hope to cancer victims. I remembered the denouncements of quackery etc. Second Opinion is the shocking tale of the repression of the actual scientific research that the leading cancer treatment hospital in the US did in the early '70's; the the fate of an honorable whistleblower who tried to tell the truth. Eric Merola lets science maverick and writer Ralph W. Moss, Ph.d tell the story he lived. Moss was hired by Sloan Kettering to be their Communications Director, His job was to spin the news about the work Sloan-Kettering was doing on Cancer research. He became friendly with one of their top researchers and the oldest scientist on-staff Dr. Kanematusi Sugiura a co-inventor of chemotherapy who was conducting a very traditional data backed study of the efficacy of laetrile in cancer treatment.

In a sentence Dr. Suiguira's studies showed while laetrile was not a cure, laetrile did in fact slow down growth and prevent new cancer tumors

At first, Sloan-Kettering executives were supportive of the study and wanted to tell the medical and scientific community this good news.

But politics and profit cut them off as they were about to testify at a federal hearing.

This is the crux of this very absorbing scientific mystery tale. Included in the telling is the role the John Birch Society (the grandfather to today's Tea Party ) played, the pharmaceutical industry's machinations (laetrile cost $75 and chemotherapy averaged at the time $75,000). How Moss with his left wing 60's politics hooked up with the Science for the People after he was fired and how a small collective of anonymous scientist ..some of whom were employed by Sloan Kettering punished a journal called SECOND OPINION which punished Dr Sugiura research work. The group has remained anonymous except for one who did speak publicly for the documentary, Westview's own Alex Pruchnicki M.D., How small a word we live in! … Fascinating material that is as relevant today as it was then
Q&A • "Second Opinion: Laetrile At Sloan-Kettering" • Ralph W. Moss & Eric Merola

THE DOG directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren. 
The DOG traler
Berg and Keraudren bring their B-movie sensibility to what they purport is the true story behind the Al Pacino character in the award winning Dog Day Afternoon. Unfortunately the directors lost control of their film when they succumbed to the self aggrandizement of John Wojtowicz and his mad rantings. Sort of on a par with Berg's Teen Mother TV series What could have been an insightful look at a sociopath in lust sinks to a surface portrait of a disturbed family worthy of a reality talk show.Too bad here was a great subject and a moment in the public awareness of gay life that could have been meaningful. It never goes beyond TMZ sensibility. See Dog Day Afternoon, Pacino's insight is heads and shoulders above THE DOG.

Furst a couple of recommended "summer movies"

LUCY director Luc Bresson  
Lucy Trailer
Starring the Westbeth raised Scarlett Johansson is just about the best of the summer movies that breeds pleasure without dumbing you down. A smart action film that has a very human, if punkish, action hero in Scarlett Johansson's LUCY. Imagine a super-action hero whose muscle is her brain rather than brawn!

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY director Lasse  Hallstrom
Executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Spielberg picked Cider House Rules director Lasse  Hallstrom  to bring Richard C. Morais international best seller to the screen, While if feels almost 30's romantic comedy familiar, Hallstrom has plopped his film down in some of the most gorgeous countryside of France and top loaded this resturant business rivalry/love story with the likes of Helen Mirren (Madame Mallory) and well known Indian actor Om Puri a (Papa) as two widowed restaurant owners as well as their young chiefs who fall in love  US born Manish Dayal, and the delightful natural beauty and talented french actress Charlotte Le Bon. (Mood Indigo). The tragic backstory for each owner fades away as Madame Mallory  watches a new restaurant being born across a hundred foot wide road.Hers is a Michelin 1 star hi-end French cuisine eatery and the new restaurant is run by an Indian family in exile complete with theatrical bollywood decor and energetic Indian contemporary music. She will have nothing to do with this vulgar challenge to her haute casuine and does everthing to stimie its succes. But the young chiefs have a different idea. The delightfuLe Bon, a non-hollywood beaty as ony french cinena can create and the young indian chief with dreams of being a master of French cusine break theought the barriers of rivary set by their elders and role model how love respects no boudries. (If ony I could get the grandfathers of Israe and Paestime ro watch this movie and break bread together.) 

(cc jim fouratt nyc 7.27/2014)

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