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Punch Drunk Love - from a musician's view

“Odd, touching, and unique, Punch-Drunk Love is also delightfully funny.” Multi-award winner Steve Dawson, a fixture on Canada’s music scene, introduces the film and shares his love of the music. Steve is a musician of many string/percussion instruments and produces such luminaries as Jim Byrnes, Kelly Joe Phelps, Old Man Luedecke, The Sojourners, and more.

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the indie firebrand behind Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Hard Eight, the movie received Best Director at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

About the movie: A small time, nerdy salesman of decorative toilet plungers with a great deal of repressed anger brightens up when he meets a mysterious Englishwoman who actually wants to go out with him. Starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson and a harmonium (a type of reed organ that generates sound with foot-pumped bellows) the film is a fresh new take on the work of both Sandler and director Anderson. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE is full of Anderson’s hallmarks: emotion, style and startling innovation.

The film’s surface simplicity masks the complexity and absurdity of Anderson's vision, from Barry's electric blue suit and the starkness and size of his warehouse workplace to the propulsive percussion of Jon Brion's score and the loopy use of an off-key ditty from Robert Altman's infamous movie musical of Popeye as the central love theme.  Sophisticated film lovers will be more than willing to go wherever he goes--yes, even to an Adam Sandler movie.(

(USA, 2002, 95 mins, 35mm)

This film is part of Vancity Theatre’s Cinema Salon series, where admired Vancouverites introduce their favourite films.

The film is followed by a Q & A session and COMPLIMENTARY snacks. After the show, we'll meet back in the lounge to munch and chat about the movie and music.


Tickets, $13. Buy here: (note annual membership is required but first ticket is free w $12 membership fee)

More about the music: The film’s music is composed by Jon Brion, the producer behind Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, and Beck, who also scored Anderson's 1999 film Magnolia. The score consists of two basic themes, presented in the film's "Overture." The first is a waltz - sweetly sentimental, it first appears on a harmonium, an instrument that has an important plot role. He then transfers it into sweeping strings right out of any early movie musical. The second theme is the "He Needs Me" theme - this gentle love song is borrowed from Harry Nilsson's Popeye score and is finally given full musical treatment, as sung by Shelly Duvall. Brion is master of the sample, and he uses that gift to full effect in his score.(Andrew Granade,

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  • Hilary A.

    I very much enjoyed Steve's introduction to the film. It certainly gave me a different perspective. And nice to meet other film buffs - thanks for putting this evening together Karen!

    April 5, 2013

  • Karen K

    I enjoyed the hosts’ intro; Steve’s instrument stories were fun and Melanie’s cues relating to colors really added another dimension to the film. I feel lucky to have attended this cute & quirky film, thx everyone! “You can go to places in the world with pudding.”

    April 2, 2013

  • Karen K

    Hi Elizabeth, the cost if you already have a membership is $13(this event is a special event so costs $13 instead of the usual $11). Unless you bought one of the special memberships called "Cinephile" or "Premium", then you get extra discounts. For more info, see:

    April 1, 2013

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