High Museum of Art: Films

In the Garden, YouTube Pt. 2 by Linda Dubler
August 21, 2009, 11:33 am
Filed under: Film Series: Online, High Museum | Tags: , , , , ,

In honor of our final weekend of Monet Water Lilies, another batch of garden-inspired YouTube treasures. Giant veggies from Alaska, another gem from Sir Richard Attenborough — carniverous pitcher plants — and a monarch butterfly caterpillar munching away.

Find tickets and information about the Monet exhibition on High.org; it closes Sunday, August 23.

– Linda Dubler

In The Garden, You Tube Pt. 1 by Linda Dubler

Monet Water Lilies is closing at the High on August 23. In honor of its final weeks here, I’ve looked for unusual YouTube videos that feature a garden theme. Without further ado: bees, giant Amazonian water lilies (see 1-foot blossoms at minute 2:00), and an avant-garde lesson in cross pollination from Bill Nye.

Looking Forward: Oblivion by Linda Dubler
July 21, 2009, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Film Series: High, Top Picks | Tags: , , ,

In anticipation of the High’s upcoming Latin American Film Festival,  (September 25 – October 31), I’m going to be offering in-depth looks some of the 12 films included in this year’s event.  The second film in this year’s line-up, showing on Saturday, September 26, is one of my favorites.

Oblivion was directed by the Dutch documentarian Heddy Honigmann, who was born in 1951 to Holocaust survivors in Lima, Peru. She is an internationally celebrated filmmaker whose Forever, a portrait of the denizens of Paris’s Pere Lachaise cemetery,  was shown as the High as part of French Film Yesterday and Today. Here is her director’s statement and two clips from Oblivion. My review will follow later this week.

Heddy Honigmann

Heddy Honigmann on Oblivion:

If Lima, the capitol of Peru, were to be covered in dust, the city would be invisible. But it’s not and yet hardly anybody ever notices it or gives its people, cheated and neglected by their rules for centuries, any thought.

It takes an earthquake registering 8 on the Richter scale, or the recent discovery, in the most desolate mountains of Peru, of one of the largest mass graves in the history of the dirty war between the Peruvian army and the guerilla movement Shining Path, for the country to be noticed for a few days or weeks.

In Oblivion, Lima represents all other Latin American cities, whose seas or mountains are graveyards. Horror is omnipresent: in its streets, bars, hospitals and neighbourhoods. But the country isn’t “hot news.”

Reminiscence is a recurring theme in almost all of my films. With Oblivion, I wanted to create a poetic celebration of this forgotten city and its people.

A few years ago it was a waiter, at work in a fancy restaurant, who was the inspiration for the rediscovery of my city. This waiter, whom I recognized after many years away from Peru, told me how he had survived humiliation and hardship by smiling. Others manage to hold up their head by silently making fun of the class that oppresses them, remembering with pride that they have survived both economical crisis and political terror from both sides. And some survive by entertaining car drivers with acrobatics, hoping for a few coins.

All my characters are first-class actors. Hardly any of them have ever been in a museum. Nor have they heard of Marcel Proust or Maria Callas, yet all the people you’ll meet in Oblivion are born poets.

Oblivion doesn’t scream at you, it whispers. Oblivion doesn’t sob, it just cries.

Oblivion takes a flight over the forgotten city; like a bird it lands here, stops there, looks around, talks, listens, flies away again and finally turns into a crystal ball that a young man keeps in perfect balance, thereby defying anonymity.

Animation Fever by Linda Dubler
July 7, 2009, 1:57 pm
Filed under: General, High Museum | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In anticipation of the upcoming Georgia Animation on Our Mind show on July 10 at the High, we thought you might like to learn more about ASIFA, the International Animated Film Association, which  was founded in 1960 in Annecy, France, home to one of the world’s most prestigious animation festivals. Visit their U.S. chapters at ASIFA HollywoodASIFA East, ASIFA Central, and of course ASIFA Atlanta.

Can’t wait until July 10? Here are three wonderful films:

Robert Breer’s stream of consciousness Swiss Army Knife with Rats and Pigeons

Oscar Fischinger’s  spirited The Mephisto Waltz

and Larry Jordan’s fantastical  Rime of the Ancient Mariner, narrated by Orson Welles

For more great animated films, news and links to animation sites, visit Cartoon Brew.

Linda Dubler

Summer Movies/YouTube, Part 3 by Linda Dubler
Endless Summer

Endless Summer

Summer bliss has been distilled for as long as moving images endure in Bruce Brown’s 1966 glorified home movie, the surfing classic Endless Summer. A daring example of a filmmaker taking on his own distribution, the film remains a cult favorite.

For the funhouse mirror version of the surfing life, see Doug Pray’s Surfwise. It’s a dysfunctional family doc that will leave you grateful for your own less-than-perfect upbringing. Surfwise focuses on the lives of Paskowitz family, dominated by dad Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, a surfer, health nut, and self-appointed sex god. Doc (a one-time physician) and his Mexican-Indian wife Juliet had nine kids — eight sons and a daughter — who were raised to be natural creatures, not products of American middle-class conformity. Everyone lived together in a minivan and like the surfers in Endless Summer, chased the waves.

Paskowitz, who was 85 when the film was made in 2007, is Jewish, and the film explores how his devotion to fitness, strength, and self-sufficiency was a direct response to the widespread vision of Jews as helpless victims during the Holocaust. As one son wryly comments, “Doc wanted to repopulate the world with Jews.”

YouTube Diversions

Summer Movies/YouTube, Part 2 by Linda Dubler
June 17, 2009, 11:42 am
Filed under: Film Series: Online | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As far as the art film crowd is concerned, the undisputed king of beach comedies is Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, made in 1953. Ephraim Katz, author of the indispensible Film Encyclopedia, describes Tati’s alter-ego, the hapless Mr. Hulot as “a gangling, awkward character whose peculiar gait and odd misadventures set him apart from the gadget-obessessed world around him.” The film tells its barely-there story visually, with very little dialogue; some viewers may find it a tad slow going by contemporary standards.

As Rogert Ebert observes “the movie is constructed with the meticulous attention to detail of a Keaton or Chaplin. Sight gags are set up with such patience that they seem to expose hidden functions in the clockwork of the universe.” Give it a chance and you may find its innocent humor a refreshing antidote to all of the loud, overbearing product out there.

Rowan Atkinson remade the film as Mr. Bean’s Holiday. If Bean sets your teeth on edge I’d skip it; if not, it’s interesting to compare the master and then his less subtle acolyte.

-Linda Dubler

You Tube Diversions

Summer on YouTube by Linda Dubler

As part of the Summer Movies theme for this week, I’ll be scouring YouTube for clips. Enjoy!

YouTube Diversions

Esther Williams was discovered by an MGM scout in Billy Rose’s Aquacade and became a star with Bathing Beauty (1942). Here she is in all her spangled glory. Note the water lily sequence (and the green and pink color scheme), a nice tie to the Monet exhibition currently on view at the High.

Coney Island was America’s playground and was at its hot-dog-eating, sunbathing, boardwalk-strolling, rollercoaster-riding height in the 1930s and 40s. Before air conditioning, suburban sprawl, and urban blight took its toll it was an amazing scene.

Wacky Edwardians invent new ways to pass the long summer afternoons in this clip from the British Film Institute’s fab website.

Ecstatic romance…exotic dances…exciting music in the world’s lushest paradise of song!  Check out Elvis in a tight white shirt and trunks, surrounded by blazing tiki torches and gyrating guys ‘n gals in Norman Taurog’s Blue Hawaii (1961.)