Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jim McBride Series in NYC

For anyone in the New York area, or for those who just like to keep up with the goings on here, there is a series on the films of Jim McBride that starts tomorrow night at Anthology Film Archives. McBride, along with star LM Kit Carson, will be on hand for Friday night's screening of David Holzman's Diary, one of the more important underground features of the 1960s. After the screening, they will be in conversation with Jonathan Demme about the film. The full press release on the program is below (complete with a blurb from Out 1 friend Jeremy Richey on McBride's Breathless)! Certainly any of the films are worth checking out, but Friday night should be an especially good one. The press release is posted after the break.

APRIL 8-13


BREAKING NEWS: The star of DAVID HOLZMAN'S DIARY, L.M. Kit Carson will also be in person Friday night!!!

Jim McBride’s DAVID HOLZMAN’S DIARY is one of the wittiest and most accomplished underground features of the 1960s – a parody of the cinéma-vérité school of documentary filmmaking, perhaps the first ‘mockumentary’ on record, and a prescient forecast of navel-gazing, narcissistic, first-person cinema. HOLZMAN was McBride’s first film, and though it is often discussed and occasionally screened, the rest of his career has been badly neglected. And a wide-ranging, even willfully unpredictable oeuvre it has been, careening from HOLZMAN’s two even more experimental follow-ups, to the bizarre post-apocalyptic studio film, GLEN AND RANDA, and leading, after a brief detour into teen sex-comedy (HOT TIMES), to his ballsy Richard Gere-starring remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s beloved and monumentally influential BREATHLESS, which McBride somehow manages to make into a remarkable, distinctive film in its own right.
Anthology is thrilled to host Jim McBride, who will be on-hand to discuss the unique paths his career has taken, and to illuminate the common thread linking his exhilaratingly disparate films.
Special thanks to Jim McBride, Jonathan Demme, David Spencer (North Carolina School of the Arts), and Ross Klein (MGM).

Jim McBride will appear in person, in conversation with director Jonathan Demme, following the 7:15 screening of DAVID HOLZMAN’S DIARY on Friday, April 10.

Screening Schedule:

1967, 74 minutes, 16mm.
Acknowledged as one of the landmark films of late-60s independent cinema, McBride’s first feature is rarely-screened, despite its reputation. The complete cinephile, David Holzman is possessed with a desire to record his life, even if in the process he risks destroying it. He insists not only on confessing his innermost thoughts to the camera, but also on invading the privacy of friends and lovers in his obsessive search for the ‘truth’. Both comic and serious, real and unreal, McBride’s film is a classic of independent cinema.
“Where most independent productions are founded on self-righteous claims of truth and honesty, McBride’s film wittily observes that Hollywood has no corner on illusionism. Even the black-and-white, hand-held cinema still lies 24 times a second.” –Dave Kehr, CHICAGO READER
–Wednesday, April 8 at 7:00, Friday, April 10 at 7:15, and Saturday, April 11 at 9:15.

1969, 60 minutes, 16mm.
A fascinating profile of McBride’s English girlfriend, Clarissa Ainley. With his camera almost entirely trained on her, McBride explores Clarissa’s life and loves, her feelings about her parents and children, and documents her greencard marriage to a man she has only known for a week. However, as the film progresses, the most revealing truths are about the person behind the camera. Originally intended as a short, it’s a fascinating record of a turbulent time, and highlights the subjective nature of the filmmaking process.
“At the time I made it, I was fond of referring to it as a fiction film, because it was very much my personal idea of what Clarissa was like, and not at all an objective or truthful view.” –J.M.
1971, 45 minutes, video.
The third film of McBride’s ‘documentary’ trilogy, PICTURES follows Jim and Clarissa in a journey across the U.S., waiting for a baby and looking for a place to settle. Crude, witty or plain scenes of everyday life compose a moving portrait of early-70s America – an uncharted country, a generation with no direction home.
2008, 9 minutes, video.
The U.S. premiere of McBride’s brand-new follow-up to MY GIRLFRIEND’S WEDDING and PICTURES FROM LIFE’S OTHER SIDE.
Total running time: ca. 120 minutes.
–Wednesday, April 8 at 8:45, Saturday, April 11 at 4:30, and Sunday, April 12 at 7:00.

1983, 101 minutes, 35mm.
“Critics and film buffs in 1982 were positively flabbergasted when Jim McBride announced that he was going to remake Jean-Luc Godard’s incredibly influential BREATHLESS…. McBride’s BREATHLESS plays like a compulsive and flashy pop art piece; one that you stare at for a while trying to figure out whether or not it is actually art or just something hanging on the wall. With its whirlwind pace, Jack Nitzsche score and stunning splashes of sun stroked Los Angeles color, BREATHLESS is undeniably fun and exciting…. Not at all dated, it now plays as one of the most progressive and seminal films of the 1980s.” –Jeremy Richey, THE AMPLIFIER
–Thursday, April 9 at 7:00, Sunday, April 12 at 9:15, and Monday, April 13 at 9:00.

1974, 80 minutes, 35mm.
“A kind of Jewish comic reply to THE LORDS OF FLATBUSH, in which a number of misogynist, Portnoy-esque sex hang-ups are laid bare in a High School USA setting. However, if one peels away the phony zaniness lent by the bleeping out of ‘offensive language’ (defensive tampering by the producers)…one is left with a film surprisingly true to McBride’s underground origins, notable for some persuasively bizarre touches and a superlatively fluid visual style. Best scenes are those involving the shooting of a sex film in which a series of male performers struggle to come-or-not-to-come on cue, and a sequence involving a Times Square pick-up with a ‘liberated’ mother.” –TIME OUT
–Thursday, April 9 at 9:15 and Sunday, April 12 at 5:30.

1971, 93 minutes, 35mm.
Co-written by novelist and TWO LANE BLACKTOP screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer, McBride’s first commercial film portrays the odyssey undertaken by the last bewildered survivors of an atomic holocaust, as they stumble through the wreckage of a vanished civilization. Neither moralizing sci-fi nor melodrama, despite its fanciful premise, the film is rather like a cinéma vérité doomsday documentary – a parable in newsreel form.
“Unaccountably disregarded by critics, this is a poisoned idyll of two young people in an America destroyed by atomic war…. A paraphrase of the counterculture’s sensibilities, the film’s subversive potential lies in its straightforward acceptance and naturalistic portrayal of the destructability of eternal American symbols: a destroyed Howard Johnson restaurant is more difficult to take than newspaper articles warning about the dangers of atomic war.” –Amos Vogel, FILM AS A SUBVERSIVE ART
–Friday, April 10 at 9:30, Saturday, April 11 at 7:00, and Monday, April 13 at 7:00.


Nostalgia Kinky said...

I'm still really thrilled that they are using my quote to promote Breathless. Easily one of the highlights of a not very good year for me so far. Thanks for reprinting it here and man I wish I could be there.

Brandon Colvin said...

Way to go, Jeremy! Wish I could be there!