High Museum of Art: Films

Five Questions for Julie Chautin by Linda Dubler

Julie Chautin is an avid film viewer who programs films for the Murphy, N.C. Public Library and writes about them for local publications. She and her husband Jerry are longtime supporters of the High’s annual Latin American Film Festival.

Julie Chautin

Julie Chautin

Is there a film that changed your life?

I don’t know if it changed my life, but I nearly shouted out at a screen in a crowded theater when I saw Alfonso Cuaron’s film, A Little Princess.  Near the end of the story, the father returns from war and doesn’t recognize his daughter.  Thanks to Cuaron’s direction, I was so pulled into that film that I had to stop myself from yelling, “Look at her!  That’s your daughter.”  My reaction shocked me.

What’s more, I almost didn’t see it at all.  Eleanor Ringel wrote an item in the Atlanta Journal Constitution to go see A Little Princess before it left the local theaters. She added something like “You’ve trusted me before, haven’t you?”  It made me laugh, but trust builds up between a reader and a movie reviewer.  And they open doors you may not even see.

What’s the first movie you remember seeing?

My parents used to take my brothers and sister and me to the movies at the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit.  And sometime in the 1950’s, Gone with the Wind was re-released. I remember sitting wide-eyed as Scarlet walked among the wounded soldiers.  I also loved old movies on television.  Marx Brothers movies like A Night at the Opera.  My sister and I would watch It Happened One Night whenever it came on.

How has programming films for audiences in Murphy, North Carolina, changed the way you view movie going?

It’s a lot of fun to program movies, and I do look at movies wondering if the Murphy audience might also enjoy them.  The weekly newspapers publish my movie reviews and that has made all the difference in getting the word out.

Film Movement, an indie film distributor has a special program for libraries.  Their film A Simple Curve used woodworking as the framework for a story.  Murphy is about ten miles away from the John C. Campbell Folk School where they teach arts and crafts.  So the film got a lot of attention.

S Simple Curve

A Simple Curve

Sometimes I’ve been able to add another dimension to the movie going experience.  When we showed Sideways I brought a bottle of Pinot Noir and everyone had a little taste.  My friend Nora King, a former Atlantan who now lives in Murphy, brought over a special snack when we showed Babette’s Feast: fried quail.  After watching Babette cook for two hours, we had a taste of what she had been serving.

In a small town library you often can get a sense of people’s own stories.  Recently for the 9/11 anniversary I showed The Guys, the film about a fire chief writing eulogies for his men lost in the Twin Towers.  A local fireman came with his daughter to see the movie and at some point he had to leave the room when his emotions got the best of him.

You’ve been part of the High’s Latin American Film Festival for many years. Would you share a favorite moment or memory of the festival?

Anyone who’s attended the Latin American Film Festival knows it’s full of great films.  The friendships that grow among the moviegoers are the added bonuses.

One of LAFF’s early films was Hello, Hemingway about a young girl in 1950’s Cuba.  She lived in the beach area where Earnest Hemingway had his house. After the film a man, a stranger, told me his family had emigrated from Cuba decades before.  And just like in the movie, they had lived down the road from Hemingway!   He was so excited to see his old neighborhood in that film.  His name is Marcus Maya and he comes every year to the festival.  He’s not a stranger anymore – he’s family.

Hello Hemingway

And, Linda, another of my favorite memories is opening night about ten years ago.  After you’d been studying Spanish awhile, you gave your welcoming speech in Spanish.  I thought the audience would clap.  I was wrong.  No one clapped.  They were too busy cheering!  They already appreciated the festival bringing cinema from their native countries to Atlanta.  And now you’re learning their language?  Everyone was touched.

Five movies that Films at the High audience members should see this year?

I loved The Visitor; The General with Buster Keaton.  Film Movement films, Arranged, A Simple Curve and Adam’s Apples.

1 Comment so far
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I loved this interview with Julie and being able to read some of her insights. We work together in Murphy, NC on the Library Board and I always knew she was talented and well-versed but what many who meet her do not realize is that she spends most of her waking hours writing to enlighten others on a broad variety of topics including events and movies that otherwise might be missed. I wrote down her picks as well as Linda’s and plan to see most of them. Thank you Julie.

Comment by Elo-Ly H Bailey

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