High Museum of Art: Films

Dali: A Passion For Film by Linda Dubler

Gabe Wardell, former director of the Altanta Film Festival, has begun writing a new blog on film and television for Creative Loafing.  Check out his thoughtful post on our Dali-related film programs that begin this week on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Richwhen exhibition curator Elliott King will present Dali The Filmmaker.  We’ll be showing An Andalusian Dog, the dream sequence, from Spellbound,  and the the Disney collaboration, Destino.  Follow this link to Gabe’s blog, Screen Grab.

The dream sequence in Spellbound

Looking Ahead to the Latin American Film Festival by Linda Dubler

Those Who Remain, screening on October 27 at 8 p.m. in the Rich Theatre as part of the upcoming 25th Latin American Film Festival.

by Julie Chautin

 The High’s Latin American Film Festival is twenty-five years old and many of us who love Latin American films have been coming for most, if not all of those years.  Every fall we look forward to greeting old friends with lots of abrazos (hugs) and catching up with news, just like at a family reunion.

 And family reunions, or the lack of them, gives poignancy to Those Who Remain, the beautifully filmed documentary about family members who stay in Mexico when their loved ones go north to work in the United States.

 Directors Carlos Hagerman and Juan Carlos Rulfo visited homes and villages all over Mexico and let wives, children, parents, and friends of the workers tell their own stories.

 One of the wives, Rosa, is overseeing work on the house she and her husband are building with the money he earns up north in the U.S.  But since he is away, she tells us, she makes the decisions for everything.  The camera quietly pans the house.  It’s new and modern, and very empty.  More empty houses appear on the screen.  They are ready to be lived in, but instead, stand alone and empty, waiting.

 Then village streets appear with no one on them.  Everyone has left to go north, says one remaining neighbor.

 Yet, in another town a man has come back for good, and he is happy to be home.  He uses the money he made to buy land and build an arena so his village can hold a rodeo, just like in the old days.

 And there are more reassuring sights.  A group of girls play a lively game of soccer. One talks about continuing her studies because that’s what her father wants her to do.  That’s why he’s working up north.

 When the Los Angeles Film Festival gave their Documentary Award to Hagerman and Rulfo in 2009, the jurors applauded the film’s “generosity of spirit and lyrical grace that illuminates a human landscape with fresh eyes, … documentaries can be both journalism and poetry.”

Those Who Remain

 There is poetry as the camera films a young girl twirling in her communion dress.  And an old man looks contentedly over his land.  This is a story that cries to be told, and laughs too.

 Director Carlos Hagerman received his BA in Mexico City and then won a Fulbright scholarship to the NYU film school that has graduated other directors whose films we’ve shown in Atlanta.  He worked several years as a director in Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu´s film production company.

 Director Juan Carlos Rulfo is also the cinematographer.  He is the son of writer Juan Rulfo (1918-1986) often cited as one of the finest writers in 20th century Latin America.  He wrote the novel Pedro Páramo, a forerunner of magic realism, in which a man goes back to his father’s hometown and finds only ghosts.  One of the films Juan Carlos Rulfo has made is in homage to his father.  He visited his father’s hometown and interviewed its inhabitants.  They were not ghosts, they just had trouble remembering.  Thus, the title Del Olvido Al No Me Acuerdo (I Forgot, I Don’t Remember).

 In his later years the elder Rulfo became a photographer.   Both his visual eye and storytelling abilities may have easily nurtured the filmmaker and cinematographer his son became.

 But family ties don’t stop there.  Juan Carlos Rulfo is married to Valentina Leduc Navarro, the film editor for Those Who Remain.  She also worked on sound editing.  She is the daughter of the Mexican film producer Berta Navarro and film director Paul Leduc.

 In 1991 Berta Navarro visited Atlanta as a guest of the High along with her film, Cabeza de Vaca.  During her stay I took her out for lunch and she told me about her family.  Now her daughter, the next generation, has made one of the films we are showing.  Like I said, every festival seems like a family reunion.

The High will show the film with English subtitles. View the Spanish language trailer here:

Racing Dreams by Linda Dubler
May 25, 2010, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s a stretch to go from the gorgeous machines in The Allure of the Automobile to Nascar racing, but limber up and then run to area theaters before Friday, May 28th, to catch the terrific documentary Racing Dreams. If you can’t make it, or read this after the movie’s closed, add it to your DVD list and keep an eye out — it’s that good. 

Annabeth in Racing Dreams


Made by Marshall Curry, Racing Dreams is a portrait of three young kids intoxicated by speed, who race in the World Karting Association’s National Series, driving open-topped vehicles at speeds of 70 and 80 miles per hour. Josh, 12, is a control freak who seems a tad joyless and talks like he’s got major endorsement contracts; Annabeth, 11, speaks with a  North Carolina twang but don’t sell the girl short — she’s gunning to be a Nascar champion; and Brandon, 13, is a daredevil whose challenges include a temper as flammable as gasoline and parents who’ve chosen drugs and crime over caring for their son. The fillmakers follow this trio through five races, and capture on screen the first stirrings of puppy love, the tough choices their parents and grandparents are forced to make, and the competitive spark that fuels these would-be winners. 

Racing Dreams is perfect for family viewing  — it held the attention of my 21-year-old son, and I’ll bet that kids who are the same age as those on screen would be riveted.  Besides, what other movie has been called Catcher in the Rye , part Talladega Nights?  Here’s the trailer: 

Linda Dubler

More thoughts on Road Movies – Into the Wild and On the Road in Argentina by Linda Dubler
May 3, 2010, 9:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 Some random thoughts on an episodic genre: 

Julie Marateck, the High’s Communications Coordinator, contributed this tribute to her favorite road movie: 

Into The Wild 

If you took a journey across America to find your “self,” but knew there were dire consequences, would you still do it?  This is the question that arises from Sean Penn’s film adaptation of the novel Into The Wild.  At the start of the film (or book), you know the story ends tragically, but you still go along for the ride anyway.  

The film is the true story of Emory University graduate Chris McCandless, who travels across America to make his way to the Alaskan wilderness.  Leaving money, family and society behind, McCandless, who wants to live a life of non-attachment, has to rely on the kindness of strangers to help him reach his end destination.  Along the way, the audience experiences big cities, small towns, beautiful nature and nurturing strangers through the eyes of the film’s 20-something protagonist.   

I love this film because it is a true story, and the truth is often more intimidating than fiction.  A part of me really identifies with McCandless – his open heart and romanticized visions of leaving society to find oneself.  There is sadness at the end of the movie, but the heart and soul of the film is so full of life.  He experiences more in a few short months than some do their entire lives.  

 At the end of the film, I felt brave enough to have taken this journey with Chris McCandless, because I never would be brave enough to have taken this wild journey in person.  Maybe in my next  life. 

Because road movies are by their nature episodic, the genre lends itself to openness and improvisation. Those qualities bring to mind a pair of Argentine filmmakers who excel at creating seemingly spontaneous films that beautifully capture the details of relationships while exploring the rhythm of life on the road. Here are three titles that are in American distribution and shouldn’t be hard to find: 

Rolling Family 

Pablo Trapero cast his grandmother, who had never acted, as the family matriarch who is invited to serve as matron of honor at a wedding, and decides that she’ll only go if her whole family accompanies her. So they pack up their motor home, mounted onto a 1956 Chevy Viking pick-up (the actual vehicle used 30 years earlier for Trapero family vacations) and head out from Buenos Aires to a small town near the Brazilian border.  The ride is long, hot, and slow, and it offers endless opportunities for bickering, embraces, and the inevitable mechanical breakdown. Think “Little Miss Sunshine” without the calculated jokes and vacuum sealed plot. If you need convincing, Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir called Rolling Family ” a profoundly rich and beautiful picture, in its unassuming way close to a masterpiece.  

Intimate  Stories 

Carlos Sorin’s original title is the apter”Minimal Stories,” so if you’re looking for kick-ass action or a good cry then move on. This trio of miniatures looks at the overlapping journeys of three characters — an old man searching for a lost dog, a traveling salesman romancing an attractive widow with a birthday cake for her son, and a young woman hoping to appear on a game show. Their destination is the provincial city of San Julian, and the roads they travel take them through the lonely expanses of Patagonia. The film is melancholy, unhurried, and sometimes funny, but always full of affection for its offbeat protagonists. 

Bombon el perro/aka The Dog 

Bombon the Dog

Sorin next film after Intimate Stories was this thoroughly charming, low-key comedy about a laid off gas station attendant who helps out a stranded motorist and is rewarded with the gift of a large, pedigreed dog named Bombon.  The beast is his entre into the arcane world of show dogs, and to encounters with a dog fancying banker, a passionate dog trainer, and a night club chanteuse. On the BBC website, reviewer Matthew Leyland praised the canine star’s performance — “Of course, it’s the headline canine who scoops first prize. He’s a rare breed of movie mutt: too much of a brute to be cute, but he’ll tickle your belly all the same. His deadpan comic timing puts half of Hollywood to shame.” 

 Linda Dubler

Road Movies: The Rorschach Genre by Linda Dubler
April 20, 2010, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In case you’ve been blissfully secluded on a tropical isle, submerged in viewing movies at the Atlanta Film Festival, or otherwise out of touch, the High has opened a fantastic exhibition called “The Allure of the Automobile.” The  gorgeous cars on view have had me thinking of all things automotive, and naturally that led to my contemplating road movies, a protean genre that seems to bring out both hopeless self-indulgence and/or exquisite observation in directors of all stripes. So while I’ve been going around in circles trying to decide how to pin down this elusive genre, my friend and colleague Johan Harper of the High’s security department, has as usual recognized the essential truth — which in this case is that road movies are like Rorschach’s ink blot test — you can find anything in them that you’re looking for.

Per Johan Harper:

There are as many different kinds of road movies as there are grains of sand on the seashore:

Tragi-Comic Road Movies:Little Miss Sunshine (2006)


Action adventure Road Movies: Duel (1971) (TV) 

Counter Cultural Road Movies: Easy Rider (1969)  

Classic Empowerment Road Movies: Thelma & Louise (1991) 

Thelma and Louise

Horror Road Movies: The Hitcher (1986)  

Rude Comedy Road Movies: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) 

Political Road Movies:The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Hideously Depressing Road Movies:The Road (2009) 

Alternative Lifestyle Road Movies: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) 

And on, and on, and on…Car Culture is nearly universal now, so everybody can have a road movie to suit them!  

Tell us about your favorite road movies and share your drive in movie memories.

Linda Dubler

Cartopia 2 by Linda Dubler
March 18, 2010, 10:33 am
Filed under: High Museum | Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’re starting our engines in preparation for the opening of “The Allure of the Automobile” on March 21.

And the Top Gear £1500 Porsche Challenge video, for good measure:

Sends us links to your favorite car videos on YouTube or share a car memory at High.org/ShareYourStory.

Linda Dubler

Cartopia I by Linda Dubler

We’re warming up for The Allure of the Auto, which opens March 21.