I’ve been on hiatus from FILMS GONE WILD for a little while and there has been a reason for that. I have joined the Film Society of Lincoln Center as a Senior Publicist. And, of course, any time a move like that is made (and in my case, it literally is a big move as I am going to New York after calling Los Angeles my home for the past twenty five years), there are negotiations and back-and-forth and territorial issues and conflict of interest questions, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.
So, what does that mean for this column? Well, I don’t know yet. FILMS GONE WILD was designed to be an insider’s view of the film, film festival and entertainment world and community. And since the aim hasn’t been to offer up pure criticism or to serve as a stock journalistic news outlet, I think the column can find a comfortable place within the parameters Film Threat chieftain Mark Bell and I conceived of originally. And, let’s face it, even if you don’t buy the mantra that the Film Society of Lincoln Center “starts the discussion on film” or accept the argument that it is “the center of film.” The fact of the matter is that my access to world class filmmakers and artisans and immersion into a daily and nightly film lover’s paradise just increased so exponentially I should be getting nosebleeds.
Let me give some quick examples: Friday night, as part of a combination Claude Chabrol/Arthur Penn series of screenings, we’ll have Robert Benton on hand to discuss his work on the Penn’s and Warren Beatty’s classic BONNIE & CLYDE. Now, I have to say there is a somewhat casual nature about the fact that Benton will be here. Yes, he’s won multiple Academy Awards. And yes, he’ll be here to talk about a flashpoint film (for me) that I believe didn’t just pave the way, but mowed down the way in a hail of gunfire for many of the great films of the 70s. And YES, you’ll come for BONNIE AND CLYDE, but probably leave after hearing Benton also offer up some choice nuggets about KRAMER VS. KRAMER, PLACES IN THE HEART, SUPERMAN, WHAT’S UP DOC?, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Sally Field, Kim Basinger, etc.
But having someone like Benton here is what this place does. It’s what the Film Society of Lincoln Center is all about. And the fact of the matter is that the Chabrol side of the film series coin may just garner more cinephile attention than Penn. LES BONNES FEMMES, LE BOUCHER, LES COUSINS on the big screen? But then again, maybe not. LITTLE BIG MAN, THE MISSOURI BREAKS and NIGHT MOVES? How do you lose with that combo?
And FSLC will follow that with Spanish Cinema Now. A two week festival of Spanish films with a lineup including Gael Garcia Bernal in EVEN THE RAIN, JULIA’S EYES (which comes to us from the people that previously delivered THE ORPHANAGE – a big favorite of mine), Javier Mariscal’s and Fernando Trueba’s CHICO Y RITA, and finally Agusti Villaronga’s BLACK BREAD serving as a top liner for a side bar of his films.
And there’s more. Before Christmas hits and before the 2011 light up ball does that New Year’s thing and people are allowed to ask their annual “Has Dick Clark officially handed the baton to Ryan Seacrest? Or will he have a featured role in season two of “The Walking Dead”?” questions the next morning, FSLC will host an evening with Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s films including a double feature of his see it to believe it action film starring Vincent Gallo, ESSENTIAL KILLING, as well as a 40th Anniversary screening of his classic DEEP END.
And now I will be there for all of that.
And January? With two film festivals (Dance On Camera and the New York Jewish Film Festival) surrounded by screening series featuring and highlighted by the attendance of four cool-ass directors (Darren Aronofsky, Peter Weir, William Richert and Jeff Lipsky), I have to get an apartment close to work because I won’t be leaving the office (okay, the theater) all that often.
So, there is a lot to take in (literally) and there are a lot of great film minds that I may have an opportunity to talk to for the purposes of this column. And, of course, there will always be stuff that I’ll be curious about in the film or entertainment world or irritated at, or even pissed off about. Can’t get away from that. Even if I wanted to, there will always be stuff that I don’t see other people addressing. Like tabloid covers at the supermarkets blanketed with pictures and stories about televised teen moms. Because televised rich, pain-in-the-ass housewives around the country have bored us by this point, teen moms are magazine cover material now. The Spirit Awards nominations were just announced and “indie” looks A LOT like mini-studio. I mean, I know indie. I see lots of indie in the Dallas film community and at each of my film festivals. Sub $500K? Try Sub $100K How about $25K? That’s independent. That’s movies without a net.
So….yeah. Suddenly my wife and I are George and Weezy movin’ on up and I’m finding myself in a new arena with a lot of cool new playmates, but if the Film Society of Lincoln Center remains okay with everything and Mark Bell is good to go, then the column will be here and the point and goal of FILMS GONE WILD will remains the same: To give you a view behind the curtain, introduce you to filmmakers that either haven’t been put through the publicity ringer or ask some familiar or iconic artists a few questions I haven’t heard or read as yet.
And then, probably – just rant.