The Year in Film

The National Entertainment State Stands Firm--Then Runs Away

 

MY FIRST MISTER. Leelee Sobieski plays a multiply pierced goth-punk chick who strikes up a close companionship with a bland, politically conservative, socially skittish, and terminally ill clothing salesman (Albert Brooks). Anyone who can stomach the premise (or the casting) gets what he deserves.

 

SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK. As sloppy as The Brothers McMullen, but lacking the excuses that come with a $25,000 budget, writer-director-actor Edward Burns's latest stab at romantic vérité contrives a ludicrous documentary device in order to allow more jump cuts than you'd find in a grade schooler's camcorder reel. Though the auteur's press kit has the nerve to name-drop Antonioni, his self-described "weird experiment" is only odder than Woody Allen circa 1992 for how much it reeks of cheap cologne splashed on unwashed cojones. (Don't ask.)

 

SUMMER CATCH. This teensploitation sandlot romance strikes out even more miserably than the sort of junior-high wiffer who'd want to catch it for pointers on how to score during that last, painful week of summer break. I'd rather catch crabs than catch it again.

 

  You Must Remember These

In another great year for local repertory and festival programming, the (many) standouts included: the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Jewish, and LGBT fests at U FILM; "New Asian Currents" (e.g., Platform), "Women With Vision" (e.g., Caesar's Park), "A Look Apart," "Before the Revolution," Jung (War), La Libertad, and the Agnès Varda and Coffin Joe retros at the WALKER; ASIAN MEDIA ACCESS's "Chinese Film Showcase" at Metro State; "SOUND UNSEEN" at Oak Street and the Bryant-Lake Bowl; "Undercinema" and "DV-Cinema" at the DINKYTOWNER; The Man Without a World, the Twin Cities Polish Film Festival, and the 70mm series (e.g., War and Peace) at THE HEIGHTS; Stroszek, Falstaff, Hampton Alexander, and "Films by Joseph Cornell" at CITY CLUB CINEMA; Series 7, Cannibal Holocaust, and Elvis: That's the Way It Is at THE UPTOWN; Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine and Fighter at THE PARKWAY; Storm Over Asia at THE CEDAR CULTURAL CENTER; IFP/North's "Cinema Lounge" at BRYANT-LAKE BOWL; De Palma's Scarface at THE MALL OF AMERICA; ATOMIC SHOCK THEATER's "Guerrilla Drive-In" series in the parking lot of the Grain Belt Brewery; The Doll Squad (with Ted V. Mikels in person) at THE BROOKDALE 8; "Flaming Film Festival," "Fringe Film Festival," and "Women in the Rejected Chair" at INTERMEDIA ARTS; "Who Grieves for Them?" at THE BABYLON GALLERY; Laura and The Passion of Joan of Arc at THE MIA; RED EYE's movies-and-music series in Stevens Square Park, and the Walker's in Loring Park; and Petulia, Weekend, Trade Off, Lumumba, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, "The Heart of the World," "Cinema 80," "Curated by Jean-Luc Godard," the Eric Rohmer and Budd Boetticher retros, and, natch, "Get Real: City Pages Documentary Film Festival" at OAK STREET.

 

  Local Heroes
(alphabetically)

The following dozen Minnesotans (current or former) screened worthy indie work in 2001: John Akre and Trevor Adams (8500); Matthew G. Anderson (Twin Cities); Lisa Ganser ("Janestown"); Dean Lincoln Hyers (Bill's Gun Shop); Lu Lippold (The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall); Tom Schroeder ("Bike Ride"); Tara Spartz (I Hate Babysitting!); Jon Springer ("Heaven 17"); John Swon (peter); Jim Taylor (Run Some Idiot); and Bill Weiss (Now Hiring).

 

  Ten to Watch For (or Hope For) Next Year

Having graced the film-fest circuit in 2000 and 2001, these variously marginalized gems would require only distribution to crack my Top 40 in 2002: Christopher Munch's The Sleepy Time Gal; Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mamá También; Jia Zhangke's Platform; Chris Smith's Home Movie; Bruce Wagner's Women in Film; Manoel de Oliviera's I'm Going Home; Jean-Luc Godard's In Praise of Love; Arthur Bradford's How's Your News?; Hou Hsiao-hsien's Millennium Mambo; and Abbas Kiarostami's ABC Africa.

 

R.I.P.

Samuel Z. Arkoff, Budd Boetticher, Julius Epstein, Dale Evans, Jane Greer, Pauline Kael, Jack Lemmon, Ted Mann, Anthony Quinn, Michael Ritchie, Jason Robards, and Jennifer Syme.

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