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Little Indidirected by Marc Rechastarring Marc Soto, Sergi López, Eulalia Ramón, Eduardo NoriegaLittle Indi’s an odd one. This movie begins with the kind of charming and bright animated credits that might lead us to imagine a sweet film about Spain's country folk. That's not quite what we get. Instead we're in the Catalunya countryside where times are tough.
Though the movie's pace is unhurried, everyone is quietly scrambling for whatever money they can bring in. The cops are on the take, as is the staff of the prison where the mother of our teenage hero Arnau currently resides. Arnau is played with aloofness and quiet intensity by a spectacularly gorgeous newcomer named Marc Soto. Are Spaniards the world's most beautiful men? It would seem so from the first few films in this year Spanish Cinema Now crop.Arnau trains small birds to sing in the evidently well-known "Singing Finches of Catalunya" competition. He's good at it, too. Surrounded by a family that's only half there and that may be involved in things mildly nefarious -- Uncle (Sergi López), sister (Eulalia Ramón), brother (Eduardo Noriega) and so on -- Arnau moves between them all with deliberation and hesitation. It appears to him (and to us, in fact) that the system is raked toward the rich, so this young man is trying to raise money to pay for a lawyer to get mom out of jail. But given his nodding acquaintance with the world and how it works, he seems doomed to fail.As co-writer (with Nadine Lamari) and director, Recha likes to show rather than tell, which is generally fine. He pace is slow; incidents build up one by one. Chief among these is the greyhound racing that involves Arnau and his uncle -- and the near-dead fox Arnau finds at the river bank and nurses back to health. The director is particularly good at capturing the sad, almost frightening sense of vulnerability that hangs over the boy, the birds, the fox. With maturity might come the realization that you cannot blame nature's creations for simply being true to what they are. Arnau is not there yet, and so he does, and with this blame and anger comes the most unsettling scene in the film. The widescreen images are well composed and lighted (cinematography by the estimable Hélène Louvart (The Last Day, The Beaches of Agnes), and the sense of place and a time that, while it is now might just as well be eternal, is specific and real. If I am not jumping up and down in praise and pleasure, it's because nobody on view is moving that actively or positively. To call Little Indi downbeat is to be very euphemistic. But yes, it does seem like life.Little Indi screens at the Walter Reade TheaterSaturday, December 5, at 1:30; Tuesday, December 8, at 1:30; and Wednesday, December 9, at 8:30
Hierrodirected by Gabe Ibáñezstarring Elena AnayaWe know we're somewhere weird as, in the very first shot of Gabe Ibáñez's dazzling Hierro, a giant lizard crosses the road and a car zooms over it. From the looks of things, a distraught mother is driving too fast with her son beside her and very soon we are treated to one of, maybe the best, cinema car crash ever witnessed. No, it's not complete with huge explosions and muchos effectos especiales. Instead Señor Ibáñez (shown at right) simply shoots superbly, edits with such precision and uses sound for all its worth that we're there inside the car with the vulnerable pair experiencing every jolt and smash and roll that ends with -- oh, god -- a moment of such odd silence and beauty, and then...OK: after the fact, I questioned that the smaller object would have landed prior to the larger, but maybe I don't know my math or physics. But I do know my cinema and this is superb stuff. So's the location. The director and his writers -- Javier Gullón (who wrote last years terrific El rey de la montaña) and Jesus de la Vega -- have set this tale on El Hierro Island, the southernmost point of Europe.
The film tells the story of a young marine biologist and single mother (her best friend and co-worker calls her "strange") and her son, who head off the to the island for a work project, but before they arrive -- whoops. No more plot. Find out for yourself. I will say that the FSLC program notes got it wrong: No "wave" of anything "goes missing" on Hierro. Only two. However, the two are vital to those who miss them. The filmmakers sustain their 90 minutes extremely well; while they serve up only a touch of blood and corpse-gore, there's plenty of surprise, shock, suspense and other things we enjoy with our mysteries. The water motif is ever-present, with a bird motif not far behind; both are used with great imagination & feeling in the film's real and in its dreamlike moments. I do wish the moviemakers had thought a bit harder about one particular plot point: the dog. It is present so often until the one scene in which it absolutely must be there. And, then? What's up, boys -- did someone drop the ball? Otherwise, their movie is a treat, and so is Elena Anaya, the very thin but voluptuous leading lady who is also a fine actress. I'm primed for whatever these guys cook up next. I should also mention that the crack cinematography and editing are by Alejandro Martínez and Enrique Garcia respectively.
Hierro screens at the Walter Reade TheaterFriday, December 4, at 4:30 and Sunday, December 6, at 5:10
For more info go to: http://www.filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale/spanish09.html
An artist, poet, performer and cultural icon, Smith’s passionate engagement with the world has led her to diverse forms of expression. Whether in images, words, or music, her works remain intricately connected, despite the diversity of forms. Her subjects and themes are simultaneously, or by turns, political, spiritual and metaphysical. Smith’s oeuvre encompasses irreverence and solemnity, defiance and tenderness, the elegiac and the celebratory, constantly returning to homage to her creative heroes. This booth seeks to engage with this important theme in her work and will include a large selection of Smith’s drawings and photographs.
In 2008, Smith was the subject of Patti Smith Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporaine, Paris, and Written Portrait - Patti Smith at Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Strange Messenger: The Work of Patti Smith, a 300-work retrospective, was organized by The Andy Warhol Museum in 2005 and traveled to numerous venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Museum Boijsman Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Eki, Kyoto; Haus der Kunst, Munich; the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Smith’s latest book, Just Kids, a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, is scheduled to be released in January 2010 by Harper Collins.
Her 1975 album Horses, established Smith as one of most original and important musical artists of her generation and was followed by nine releases, including Radio Ethiopia; Easter; Dream of Life; Gone Again; and Trampin'.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life, a documentary film by fashion photographer and filmmaker Steven Sebring, was released by Palm Pictures in September of 2008 and will receive its television premiere on the PBS series P.O.V. on December 30, 2009. A collaborative project with Steven Sebring entitled Objects of Life will open at Robert Miller Gallery on January 6, 2010 soon after the film airs.
Also on view will be an important early painting by Jackson Pollock, Naked Man (ca, 1938-41), photographs by the poet and artist Victor Hugo, pastels by Joan Mitchell, photographs by Brâncuşi, two important paintings by Lee Krasner, and a set of Cy Twombly’s iconic Roman Notes (1970). Two double portraits by Diane Arbus, another influence, are of figures that Smith has referenced in her art and are taken in Arbus’ classic style. Finally, the booth will also include a selection of important early works and later portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith’s longtime friend and collaborator.
Patti Smith: Homagea thematic exhibition of poet/rocker Patti SmithRobert Miller GalleryArt Basel Miami Beach 2009 December 3 – 6, 2009Booth BO3
New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) presents two special advance screenings of Astro Boy--a modern take on the iconic character created by Osamu Tezuka, whose original Astro Boy introduced the world to Japanese anime. He is considered one of the most visionary and gifted animators of all time. The film will be screened on Sat & Sun, Oct 17 & 18, 2009, starting at 11:00am at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue (at West Third). Post-screening Q&A with director David Bowers will be held at both shows.
The 95 min. all-new CG-animated 2009 film features a star-studded voice cast including Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Samuel Jackson, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron and Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma.
Read more: Astro Boy Pre-Release Screening
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