Thursday, July 22, 2010

Film note: Vancity series focuses on soundtracks

Still not much interested in writing at the moment, and am unconvinced that it matters much if I do, but I had to mention, for the sake of any Vancouver cinephiles who bother checking in here, that the Vancity Theatre has a great idea for a series this summer, The Score, organized around film soundtracks. There are some really smart choices on the program for anyone craving interesting repertory cinema. For Bernard Hermann night, for instance - this coming Monday - they'll be doing a screening of a 35 mm print of Nick Ray's film noir On Dangerous Ground, in a double bill with Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, a deeply compatible and inspired pairing of films, but also nice alternatives to the more obvious Hitchcock fare they could have used. For Ennio Morricone night, instead of opting for the obvious spaghetti westerns, they'll be screening Once Upon A Time In America - a very interesting late Sergio Leone period piece that welcomes reevaluation (tho' it's maybe not my favourite Morricone work, since I go for the further-out-there stuff that Alan Bishop - not Mike Patton! Get it right, Zorn! - curated for the Crime And Dissonance project, usually drawing from Italian exploitation cinema nearly unknown here. Frankly, tho', I don't even remember the score for Once Upon A Time In America, which I haven't seen for some fifteen years...). For funk night, it's Coffy and Superfly; I haven't seen the latter, but Coffy is a highly entertaining blaxploitation revenge film in which the beautiful and charismatic Pam Grier offers an object lesson in how often a woman can take her clothes off before the camera and still be completely credible as a character; Molly Parker must have taken notes. (I kinda wish Quentin Tarantino had convinced Pam to get nekkid for Jackie Brown, actually; no one was ever as commanding when nekkid on screen as Pam Grier). Walter Hill's best film, Southern Comfort, a violent swamp actioner about incompetent and leaderless national guardsmen battling pissed off Cajuns in New Orleans and mostly losing - which welcomes reading as a film about American masculinity, group dynamics, and maybe even the experience of the Vietnam war - will screen for its terrific Ry Cooder score (tho' alas that one will be a DVD projection). There will even be a Toru Takemitsu night, with Kwaidan screening, and much more, all themed around music - Nino Rota, reggae, you name it - as well as live performances by the Alloy Orchestra to accompany various silent films; you can read Alex Varty on that here. The Vancity Theatre has a great sound system (and the most comfortable seats in a Vancouver theatre), so I can't imagine a better way to see a movie this summer. Check it out.

Oh, um, guys, how about a punk night with Repo Man and Suburbia? Jes' sayin'.

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