Sunday, May 09, 2010

Geography vs. cinema, plus DOXA note

It's tough for me to know if my lack of excitement at much of the cinema programming visible for the next couple of months is just due to my changed location. From Maple Ridge, even the Pacific Cinematheque's screening of Kiarostami's Close Up - a highly praised film by one of Iran's most respected directors - doesn't get me excited, since it means staying late after work to see it, and then catching a late bus home. Pardon my griping, but living in Maple Ridge makes this really inconvenient - if I were still a few blocks away, I'd be all over it.

I don't think that geographical distance is the only problem I'm facing, though. Much of the upcoming Cinematheque programme is devoted to a Kurosawa retrospective that I wouldn't be excited about if I lived next door to the theatre; given how widely-seen and easily-available most of these films are, it seems a bit wasteful to devote space to them yet again. True, there are some masterful films here - I really enjoyed Throne Of Blood last time I saw it, Kurosawa's adaptation of Macbeth - but that was at the Cinematheque just a couple years ago. Good as it was, are we really in need of another screening of it so soon?

For Shakespeare on screen, it's a bit more interesting that the Vancity - who have a nice new web design, by the way - are playing Branagh's Henry V and Orson Welles' Chimes At Midnight. (They'll also screen a 1974 version of Antony And Cleopatra that I don't know in the slightest, featuring what must be a very early performance by Ben Kingsley). Again, if I lived downtown, I'd possibly come see a couple of these films, especially the Welles, and would probably make it out for Encirclement, about the damaging effects and driving ideology of neoliberalism. But as things stand, about the only thing on the program that sounds fresh and fun enough to make me even consider enduring a bumpy long busride back to the burbs is The Socalled Movie ...

Sigh. This is depressing - having lived a few blocks away from both of these theatres for years makes it difficult to deal with my newfound distance from them. Maybe it's just as well that they're not playing a lot of films that I feel a strong need to see - because I probably couldn't make it out to a lot of 'em, anyways...

There are only two films I *know* I'm going to see theatrically this spring, and both are at DOXA, the ongoing documentary film festival: Bloodied But Unbowed (see also here), local filmmaker Susanne Tabata's much-anticipated Vancouver-centric history of punk, which Mike Usinger writes about here; I'm told that the initial screening, this coming Thursday, has already sold out, but that a few rush tickets may be available at the door, and that a second screening may be added (let's hope!). The gala premiere will feature various interesting guests, however, so that's the night to be at, no doubt... The other must-see is tomorrow's screening of No Fun City, about the difficulties faced by musicians trying to find places to play in Vancouver, which I think will centre largely around the Cobalt "closure" (ie. the decision to screw over and displace wendythirteen, since the venue remains open under another name).

There's lots else to see at DOXA - including a free seminar from filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer, whose film about Andy Goldsworthy, Rivers And Tides, is one of the most moving and compelling documentaries I've seen. (By the way, when Fred Frith led several Vancouver improvisers in performing a composition of his here a few years ago, I believe that the piece he chose was from the Rivers And Tides score). But again, my perspective on the whole thing is changed by geography. A Belgian doc on soccer referees might sound really interesting if it didn't mean two hours battling motion sickness and trying not to inhale the body odour of your stinky bus co-riders. You are where you live, I guess.

Anyhow, thank God for DVD players. Maybe I should start guzzling stamina drinks?

No comments: