Webster Film Series Summer ’08 Preview

film_wufs.jpgThe Webster Film Series will also feature a number of award-winning contemporary narratives this summer.







From restored French classics to American pulp cinema to the finest in the international film circuit, the Webster Film Series will provide a cornucopia of delights this summer. Kicking off with Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt (5/10, 5/11), the summer series will provide a welcome escape from the Hollywood summer blockbusters. Starring Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance and Fritz Lang (as himself), Godard’s Cinemascope, multi-lingual masterpiece examines the failing romance between married Camille (Bardot) and Paul (Piccoli) on the set of a large-scaled adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey. The film will be presented in an all-new transfer from Janus Films, improving on the previous re-releases that have circulated in the past ten years.

Rialto Pictures’ restoration of Alain Resnais’ (Hiroshima mon amour, Night and Fog) Last Year at Marienbad (5/30-6/1) will cap the end of May at the Series. Resnais’ kaleidoscopic, unabashedly avant-garde masterwork, winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and nominated for an Oscar for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s screenplay, stars Delphine Seyrig as the object of Giorgio Albertazzi’s flirtations as he tries to remind her of the affair they may or may not have had last year at Marienbad. Long unavailable on video and DVD, this is a rare, exciting opportunity to see one of the most provocative, famous works of French cinema.

On the documentary front, St. Louis’ own Arch Rival Roller Girls will present Bob Ray’s Hell on Wheels (5/16-5/18), about a group of Texas women’s strides toward the re-popularization of the sport of women’s roller-derby. The film features original music by …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead. A documentary about the imitable David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive), entitled simply Lynch (5/23-5/25) will screen alongside the director’s first feature, Eraserhead. The film chronicles the director’s creative process as he creates his most recent feature, Inland Empire. Rounding out the rest of the documentaries this summer are Allie Humenuk’s Shadow of a House (6/5), about photographer Abelardo Morell’s return to Cuba after fleeing forty years earlier, Todd Darling’s A Snowmobile for George (6/12), with a Q&A with the director following, David Silberg’s Oh My God! It’s Harold Blank (6/19), Alison Murray’s Carny (6/26), with a Q&A with cinematographer Virginia Lee Hunter following, Doug Hawes-Davis and Drury Gunn Carr’s Brave New West (6/20-6/22), about Jim Stiles’ formation of the independent paper Canyon Country Zephyr, and Laura Dunn’s The Unforeseen (7/18-7/20), which follows the strange occurrences of land development around Austin, Texas, and is produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford.

The Webster Film Series will also feature a number of award-winning contemporary narratives this summer. Produced by David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls, Snow Angels) and starring Michael Shannon (Bug, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead), Jeff Nichols’ Shotgun Stories (6/6-6/8) chronicles a long-standing family rivalry between seven men in the vain of an epic Shakespearean tragedy. Shotgun Stories has received wide acclaim and stands as one of the finest American independent features released this year. Jia Zhang-ke’s (Unknown Pleasures, The World) Still Life (6/27-6/29), which won the Golden Lion at 2006’s Venice Film Festival, follows the residents of Fengjie as they witness the destruction of their town. Ronald Bronstein’s "mumblecore" comedy Frownland (7/11-7/13) depicts the daily life of a door-to-door coupon salesman. Alexsandr Sokurov’s (Russian Ark) Alexandra (7/25-7/27), which premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, stars opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya as the title character who visits her grandson at a Chechen military camp. The Film Series will also feature Nacer Khemir’s Bab’Aziz: The Prince That Contemplated His Soul on 6/13-6/15.

Also, don’t forget to free up your Thursday evenings in July to catch a series of films from iconic director Sam Fuller (The Naked Kiss). The series begins with Fuller’s directorial debut, I Shot Jesse James (7/3), which follows a tale similar to that in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford about the infamous betrayal. If you can only make one week, I might suggest attending Pickup on South Street (7/10), Fuller’s brilliant, shocking film noir starring the late Richard Widmark as an ill-fated pickpocket wrapped up in a communist conspiracy. The other screenings will include Underworld U.S.A. (7/17), which is unavailable on DVD, Shock Corridor (7/24) and The Big Red One (7/31) in its restored length. | Joe Bowman

All of the films will screen at the Winifred-Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Visit http://www.webster.edu/filmseries for more information.

About Jim Dunn 126 Articles
Jim Dunn grew up in NY in the 70s and 80s. Even though that time in music really shapes his appreciation it does not define it. Music, like his beloved history is a long intermingled path that grows, builds and steals from its past. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and a wild bunch of animals.

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