film

Free Film Screening: The Beautiful Washing Machine

Courtesy of Doghouse73 Pictures
The Capitol Cinema Collective will hold a free screening for their monthly program—Kino Kafé—on Tuesday, February 10, 7:30PM at La Paloma Sabanera Coffeehouse, 405 Capitol Ave., Hartford. This month is The Beautiful Washing Machine (Mei li de xi yi ji). This is a quote from David Ng’s article in The Village Voice which sums up what the film is about:

Set in present-day Malaysia, [James] Lee’s deadpan exploration of consumer anomie demands at least two viewings—the first to absorb its steady stream of hypnotic, fluorescent-lit images, and the second to parse its intersecting story lines. Teoh (Loh Bak Lai) is a bespectacled cubicle slave who decides on impulse to buy a used washing machine. The unit promptly breaks down, initiating a series of customer service calls that culminates in the appearance of a nameless young woman, who becomes his live-in maid. The movie gets weirder as the woman changes hands halfway through the story, becoming the concubine of a lonely widower. An absurdist allegory on the perils of secondhand ownership, The Beautiful Washing Machine contains Buñuelian flourishes aplenty, but its primary influence lies closer to home: The [Ming-liang] Tsai-chological pall that hangs over the quasi-mute characters is as chillingly humorous as some of the Taiwanese master’s best work.

Included in the program is one of James Lee’s experimental short films titled WALL.

Baraka

from Baraka (Bali, Indonesia)
At this time every year, Cinestudio shows Baraka, a 96-minute film that spans six continents, 24 countries, and does not have dialogue or a plot.

The Spirit of Baraka website describes the film:

Tibetan monks, Orthodox Jews, Whirling Dervishes, a solar eclipse, Buddhist monks, African tribal rituals, Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, rain forests, Ayers Rock, Big Sur country, Hawaiian volcanoes, Brazilian slums, time-lapse footage of car and pedestrian traffic, post-Persian Gulf War shots of Kuwait’s burning oil fields, burning-of-the-dead ceremonies on the Ganges, refuse dumps of Calcutta, Auschwitz, Egyptian Pyramids, Angkor Wat, Mount Everest, Tuol Sleng in Cambodia, Indonesian factory workers.

It will be playing at Cinestudio through December 23rd.

I recommend visiting the Spirit of Baraka website after viewing the film, as there are images from it and explanations of where different segments were shot.

Locally Grown Film

 EDITED (12/2): The screening will not be happening on 12/2/08. It has been rescheduled for 12/9.

Disclaimer: I have sporadic involvement with the Capitol Cinema Collective.

Double Disclaimer: I was involved in Lo Res Fest, so pieces of my footage will be getting screened Tuesday night.

Here is the press release from the Capitol Cinema Collective:

Bored with the same ol’, same ol’ programs on the television? Don’t feel like it’s worth going out to the movies to see the same rehashed plot once again? Then why not enjoy and support some local, DIY, community filmmaking instead!

On Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008, join Capitol Cinema Collective and the community filmmakers of LoRes Fest for a free screening of this year’s completed project at the traditional LoRes Fest HeadQuarters, La Paloma Sabanera Coffeehouse, at 405 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT. (more…)

Final Day of Hartford International Film Festival

The festival, which began on Thursday evening, will be wrapping up today (Sunday). Each block of films costs $8 to see. Here is the schedule for today’s events:

Red Rock Tavern 369 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106

10:00 pm — Breakfast and a Movie- Dean and Me (USA, 2008, 88 min.)
There will really and truly be breakfast to go along with the CT Premiere of a documentary about Howard Dean.
(more…)

Post-Election Madness Weekend

Exhausted? Feeling let down? Disgruntled? Not sure what to do with your life now that you have stopped sending out mass emails telling your friends to vote for Obama?

Life goes on. Life has been going on.

There are two events this weekend that, at times, weave together the political with the artistic.

The Hartford International Film Festival runs from 7pm on Thursday, November 6th through late Sunday evening when it concludes with a hip hop performance. The festival begins with the Hartford premiere screening of Trouble the Water, which won Best Documentary 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival. Trouble the Water documents Hurricane Katrina from the perspective of New Orleans residents before, during, and after the storm. After the film, there will be a discussion with a former FEMA employee.

During the Hartford International Film Festival, a few dozen feature length and short films will be shown at a number of venues including Wilde Auditorium at the University of Hartford, Bow Ties Cinemas (Crown Palace), La Paloma Sabanera, Wadsworth Atheneum, Art Cinema, Real Art Ways, Red Rock Tavern, Hartford Children’s Theatre, and Cinestudio. A pass for $40 will get you into all of the films.

For a full listing of films and HIFF-related events, see the schedule on the Hartford International Film Festival website.

Also this weekend, the 19th annual Open Studio Weekend will be taking place at scattered locations in Hartford. There is no admission fee to what can be the start of your holiday shopping for arts and crafts created by local artists. The main event is at Art Space (555 Asylum), but there will also be art for sale at the Institute for Community Research (146 Wyllys Street), 69 Myrtle ST C2, 84 Barker Street, 30 Arbor Street, and 56 Arbor Street.

The Open Studio runs from 11-5 on Saturday and Sunday, but check the website as certain venues may be open on only one of the days.

For something purely political, go down to the Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Avenue) on Saturday for an event called Spotlight on Anarchism. They describe this as:

Co-Sponsored by the Area Radical Reading Group of Hartford and Hartford Food Not Bombs, this all-day event features panels on diverse topics such as feminism, anti-racism, anti-capitalism and radical queer politics. This event seeks to dispel myths about anarchism, as well as build bridges between activists throughout the region.

The event will feature tables by local activist groups and a free community dinner will be provided by Food Not Bombs. The event will finish off with music by local groups dedicated to social justice. Free.

This event runs from noon until 11pm.

Won’t Rant Won’t Rant Won’t Rant

I find this upcoming presidential election to be less about hope and more about exclusion. While there appears to be diversity in terms of race and sex, there are still only two parties being discussed as viable candidates. Many are not aware that they have choices other than Obama and McCain. I hesitate to get on any rah-rah bandwagon because 1) I can’t get excited about these two frontrunners and 2) the American people are vastly disappointing me, as they are not taking full advantage of the democratic system that we have. By not insisting on an ethical process, by not voting one’s conscience, we allow ourselves to be represented by those who may not be qualified or desirable for the job.

Today, at 1pm, there will be a free screening of An Unreasonable Man, the Ralph Nader documentary. It is at 56 Arbor Street (to be shown at Real Art Ways, but is not sponsored by them). Before casting your vote, please research all of the candidates and look at their voting records and histories, not just at their commercials or their opponents’ mudslinging commercials. A democracy does not function the way it should when citizens are not informed.

Cinema, Cocktails, and Creative Cuisine

In November, the Capitol Cinema Collective will be bringing independent short and feature-length films to the city in its Hartford International Film Festival. This Wednesday (10/22) there will be a fundraiser for the Hartford International Film Festival at Barça Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Parkville at 7pm.

I have had the chance to preview some of the films to be shown in November and will be going on Wednesday to support this. Barça is in the Design Center at 1429 Park Street.