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7+ Films: May 26, 28, 29, 31; June 3, 4, 15

From: John
Sent on: Monday, May 25, 2009 3:41 PM
Dear Radical Visionaries,

Seven! exciting film programs have been added to our group?s May and June calendar. Please check the links below for more information and to RSVP.

What: Astra Taylor's Examined Life
When: Tuesday May 26, 6:30
Details: Examined Life is an unusually thought-provoking and accessible film comprised entirely of interviews with contemporary Western philosophers and social theorists. It is rare indeed for intellectuals to appear in North American mass media, and rarer still for thinkers as diverse as Martha Nussbaum, Cornell West, Slavoj Zizek, Peter Singer, and Kwame Anthony Appiah to participate and collaborate in a single forum. As this film's program notes put it, director Astra Taylor's "documentary presents several of today's most influential thinkers from a variety of different fields. Slavoj Zizek discusses ecology while sifting through a garbage dump; Judith Butler and disabilities activist Sunaura Taylor wander through San Francisco's Mission District questioning our culture's fixation on individualism; and Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. We also experience Cornel West comparing philosophy to jazz and blues while driving through Manhattan, and ethicist and animal-rights advocate Peter Singer discussing consumption against the backdrop of posh boutiques. Examined Life reminds us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be by revealing philosophy's power to transform the way we see the world around us and imagine our place in it. Also featuring Avital Ronell, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Martha Nussbaum."

Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Robert Frank's Me and My Brother
When: Thursday May 28, 6:00
Details: Join us Thursday May 28 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a rare screening of Me and My Brother (1965?68, 1997). This feature-length film by Robert Frank, renowned photographer and Beat generation chronicler, "places documentary footage of poets Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Peter's brother Julius within a fictional framework. Constantly delineating real and imaginary situations and moving back and forth between color and black-and-white, the film describes the inner and outer worlds of Julius, a catatonic who silently observes the world around him. The film was reedited in 1997 to mark the passing of Allen Ginsburg and also features the late Joseph Chaikin, founder of the revolutionary Off Broadway company Open Theater."

Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Oshima's Cruel Story of Youth and Diary of a Shinjuku Thief
When: Friday May 29, 5:30
Details: Join us Friday May 29 for, two remarkable and intense films by Japanese radical auteur Nagisa Oshima. "Cruel Story of Youth (1960) is the centerpiece of a trilogy--including A Town of Love and Hope and The Sun's Burial--that conveys pent-up sexuality and disillusionment among Japan's postwar generation, the castoffs of a failed democratic revolution. The film contrasts the attempt of two mod lovers to live outside the moral boundaries of their society with the stifled existence of the girl's older sister and her doctor friend, both of whom had been radicals in their own youth in a movement that came to naught. Oshima creates a disparate surface of controlled chaos, consciously drawing on the commercial sex-and-violence films popular in Japan yet investing tabloid sensationalism with an absorbing psychological and political dimension. He subverts CinemaScope by cruelly relegating his two heroes to the far edges of the wide screen; close-ups tend to isolate, and no one finds a center or a mate. The film's sexual surface harks back to the Japanese erotic woodcut, but here, the challenge and the joy lie in noting the passion amid a universe of glaring neon, garish colors, and gleaming motorcycles."

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, made in 1968, explores the political and sexual anxieties of the 1960s student generation. "Tokyo's teeming Shinjuku district is a center for artistic experimentation, intellectual radicalism, and, for the likes of Oshima, adventure. Diary of a Shinjuku Thief is itself a teeming mixture of fantasy and reality, on one level a kind of documentary of the social unrest and counterculture life of Shinjuku, featuring several well-known underground figures. On the level of narrative it is the story of 'a boy and a girl in search of their rightful moment of sexual ecstasy,' in Oshima's words. The film begins brilliantly in a bookstore where a boy who calls himself Birdy Hilltop is caught stealing a book and leaves with the shop clerk. What follows is their labyrinthine search for sexual satisfaction, which takes them to a Freudian sexologist who just doesn?t get it, and to the neo-Kabuki Situation Players led by Kara Juro. Ritual and riot, thievery and fantasy, and ancient forms of role-playing: parts of a complicated analysis of sex, and perhaps of cinema."


What: Karel Vachek?s New Hyperion, or Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood
When: Sunday May 31, 1:00
Details: New Hyperion, or Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood, is a 1992 documentary by the Czech provocateur Karel Vachek and the first film in the Pacific Film Archive's retrospective of the director's work. "After the collapse of the communist regime, Czechoslavakia holds its first democratic elections since 1945. In this period of heightened political activity and social upheaval, the Pope pays a visit, Vaclav Havel is elected president, and both Mikhail Gorbachev and Alexander Dubcek depart. Activists, artists, politicians, spies, and dissidents discuss the unfolding events in a mosaic of points of view, a 'real and incomplete story.'"

Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Philip Kaufman's Unbearable Lightness of Being
When: Wednesday June 3, 6:00
Details: Join us Thursday, June 4 when we see Philip Kaufman's masterful adaption of Milan Kundera's best-selling novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Although this film is more conventionally narrative than most items on the Radical Visions calendar, it manages to preserve much of the Czech novel's playful synthesis of politics and eros, irony and aesthetics. The film boasts cinematography by the great Sven Nykvist and editing by Bay Area genius Walter Murch. The soundtrack, too, is first rate and showcases music by one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, Leos Janacek. The Unbearable Lightness of Being begins "during the Prague Spring of 1968, an optimistic moment when socialism had a gentler hand. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Tomas, a philandering surgeon who favors 'lightness,' a disconnection from the weight of history. His sexual appetite is an aspect of this flight from onerous commitment, and rarely does he repeat himself, frolicking instead from woman to woman with the seductive command 'Take off your clothes.' This ends when he meets two women of weighty will: Sabina (Lena Olin), whose own appetite is ravenous; and Tereza (Juliette Binoche), an innocent from the country with a more provincial palate. Then the Soviet tanks arrive and lightness becomes a luxury. With the handsome trio of thespians at the center of the film, cinematography by the great Sven Nykvist, a script by Bunuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carriere, and cutting by master editor Walter Murch, The Unbearable Lightness of Being finds just the right balance between weighty aesthetics and the desires of the soul."

Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Oshima's A Town of Love and Hope and Diary of Yunbogi
When: Thursday June 4, 5:30
Details: Join us Thursday, June 4 when we see radical filmmaker Nagisa Oshima?s 1959 debut, A Town of Love and Hope. "Impressed by a script Oshima wrote for a contest among assistant directors (who included such future luminaries as Shohei Imamura, Masahiro Shinoda, and Yoshishige Yoshida), the Shochiku studio allowed him a chance to direct. After seeing the finished product, with its slum settings and radical political stance, they promptly banned him for six months. 'This film is saying the rich and poor can never join hands,' raged a studio executive. A bright but poor teenage boy works a carrier pigeon scam to earn money for his sick mother, but things start looking up when he befriends a young girl with a wealthy industrialist father. By the film's astonishing end, though, this 'town of love and hope (a title shoved onto the film by a panicked Shochiku) has neither love nor hope, and old-fashioned, feel-good, slumdog-millionaire narratives have been shot dead--literally."
Also playing is Oshima's short film, Diary of Yunbogi (1965). "A poor Korean orphan takes center stage in Oshima's controversial documentary condemning Japanese prejudice against Koreans, drawn from still images and the boy?s heart-rending diary and powered by Oshima's dialectic fury."

Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

What: Henning Lohner's Revenge of the Dead Indians: In Memoriam John Cage
When: Monday June 15, 6:00
Details: A celebration of the American avant-garde composer John Cage's work, influences, and thoughts, Revenge of the Dead Indians is neither a feature nor a documentary: footage of Cage and performances of his music are assembled together with 42 personalities, from well-known artists to market vendors and street cleaners, ?found? video and audio landscapes, and theatrically directed readings. The result is an unexpected and fascinating combination of intellectual thought, viewpoints, and opinions. This one-time screening, a benefit for the new-music organization Other Minds, includes complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres and a chance to hear well-known figures such as Noam Chomsky, Merce Cunningham, Frank Gehry, Ellsworth Kelly, Yoko Ono, and Frank Zappa, pay tribute to John Cage.

Where: Link for more details and to send or change an RSVP

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