The Gene Siskel Film Center is having their annual European Union Film Festival in March. It’ll be my first time attending. As a member, films are only $5 for me, and I want to see as many films as possible. I know I can’t see them all, but I especially don’t want to miss any MUST SEE! films. Since many of the films have already been released in Europe over the last 2 years, some of you might have already seen several of these.
The list is on this page, under, well, Films. I can’t find a simple list to post.
I’ve already bought a ticket to Jane Eyre because I thought it would sell out quickly. I know that it will be opening in regular theaters, but the director Cary Fukunaga will be there, along with Mia Wasikowska. I really liked Fukunaga’s previous film Sin Hombre so I want to meet him.
Does anyone have any thoughts on any of the films?
The Estonian Disco and Atomic War was an awesome documentary. I think it resonates especially with Estonians and Finns but it’s a really interesting piece for anyone to see if you’re interested in the ridiculousness of everyday life in the later days of the Soviet Union. I recommend it heartily.
Also, Letters to Father Jacob was a bit slow-paced but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The European Union Film Festival opened tonight in Chicago with the first film, Bibliotheque Pascal from Hungary, a strange story about a former sex slavery worker with a fanciful imagination spinning a wild and colorful yarn to a social worker in an effort to regain custody of her daughter. I was confused through much of it and I’d like to see it again, but it clashes with my already-scheduled movie for that night. No way am I going to miss my first viewing of Battleship Potemkin on the BIG screen (the newly restored print will be playing at the Music Box the same night).
I’m still looking for suggestions. These are the other tickets I’ve already bought in advance to the festival:
Disco and Atomic War (Estonia)
Habermann (Czech Republic)
The King of Escape (France)
The Army of Crime (France)
Rehearsal For A Sicilian Tragedy (Italy)
Jane Eyre (UK)
Two In The Wave (France)
Letters To Father Jacob (Finland)
The Temptation of St. Tony (Estonia)
Queen To Play (France)
The Trip (UK)
As far as I know now, I plan (hope) to buy these with my next paycheck:
Young Goeth In Love (Germany)
4 Black Suits (Greece)
Le Quattro Volte (Italy)
Protektor (Czech republic)
Rabbit A La Berlin (Poland), showing with The Invisible Frame (Germany)
The Arbor (UK)
The Last Circus (Spain)
La Pivellina (Austria)
The Strange Case of Angelica (Portugal)
Special Treatment (Luxembourg)
Change Nothing (Portugal)
Ha, I had actually sat down and figured out a schedule where I could see 62 of the 64 movies showing, and that’s with working full time, 2 every evening and 3-4 each Saturday and Sunday. Two films wouldn’t work no matter what kind of gymnastics I used to figure out a showing that wouldn’t clash with anything else. I really wanted to do that too, just for the hell of it, because I never have and probably never will again. I want to see the movies too of course, but just for the hell of it, just because I (thought I) could, was a good enough reason to me. Alas, I just won’t have the money for every one of them, not even at $5 each.
I can fit some more in there though, so please feel free anyone to suggest any more.
> Ha, I had actually sat down and figured out a schedule where I could see 62 of
> the 64 movies showing, and that’s with working full time, 2 every evening and
> 3-4 each Saturday and Sunday.
How can you possibly see so many films while working full-time? I believe in another thread you say that you see over 300 films per year. Yes, it’s physically possible, but where would you find time to do anything else? When do you have time to wash your clothes or clean your house or listen to music or watch TV or read a book or post to the SDMB or do anything other than see movies and go to work?
I know somebody who was actually seeing more films than that. He was employed as an engineer. One year he claimed to me that he saw 700 films. The next year he claimed that he saw 800 films. He quit his job at some point and now works as a film writer, although I don’t know how he makes a living at it. While working as an engineer, he must have been (if he was actually seeing 800 films a year) going to two films every weeknight and four each on Saturday and Sunday.
panamajack, I don’t know. I want to see it because I’m completely unfamiliar with him (yes, I am uncultured and uneducated, why do you ask?) and seeing even a fictional movie is better than no knowledge. I think I only found out last year that the word “Goethe” on the printed page and the spoken word “Guer-tuh” were one and the same. Please know that I at least have the self-awareness to be highly embarrassed by that fact.
Well, in this case, the European Film Festival, I’m not. I could have, and would have though, if I’d had the full $310 it would have cost to buy membership-priced tickets in advance.
Not normally, yet. I did see 329 movies in the theater last year, but before last year I’d generally see 100-150 films. The year before last I think I saw 170, my all-time high up to that time. 2010 was different because of three dramatic changes. This is a bit long-winded so I’ll put it in spoiler tags so it can either be read, or easily skipped over.[spoiler]First, I found out that the Music Box theater has “$5 Mondays,” all movies, all showings. It’s a place where, before that I might have gone to once a year, maybe, with several years where we didn’t go at all. Now I’m there almost every Monday and I often see 2 films. There’s something psychological about that $5 difference. A movie has to be super-duper extra super-special to pay full price and even then I probably wouldn’t. I can’t usually ever justify a $10-12+ film. At $5 I can think, “Do I really want to see this? Oh well, it’s only $5, I can take a chance.” This last Monday I saw a sad and beautiful film from Korea called Poetry that I never would have paid full price for. It’s not that these movies aren’t worth full price, but I just don’t have that kind of money to spend on something I wouldn’t ordinarily see. I don’t usually spend it on things I would ordinarily see. At $5 I’m willing to experiment with little films like that, and boy, if I’m paying $5 for something I really REALLY want to see, such as the restored Metropolis (my first viewing of this classic), a restored Breathless (my first ever Jean-Luc Godard), Stonewall Uprising, The Bridge on the River Kwai (something I’d only seen bits and pieces of on TV as a kid), Howl, Enter the Void, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, The Illusionist, or the upcoming restored Battleship Potemkin, it’s like a birthday gift. At $10, I likely would have only seen Kwai, since it’s one of those movies that HAS to be seen on a big screen. I might have seen Metropolis too, but maybe not. I’m not into silent films, and I didn’t know it was as good as it turned out to be. Among the few times I’d been to the Music Box previously was to see movies like Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia, that can’t be fairly judged unless seen BIG.
Second and most important regarding that psychological difference, I became a member of the Gene Siskel Film Center. That’s a place where, in the previous 20 years of living in Chicago, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d been, twice for Dersu Uzala showings, and twice for Oscar shorts showings. They play so many great things but it was too rich and ritzy and expensive for my blood, I thought, so I rarely even looked at their schedule.
I finally became a member late last May when I found out they were having an Akira Kurosawa retrospective. Kurosawa’s a big name but I had only ever seen two of his films, Ran (which I had seen for the first time a few weeks earlier at a $5 Monday Music Box screening) and Dersu Uzala. That’s one of my all-time favorite films and an absolutely MUST NOT MISS if it’s shown on film on a big screen, although I first saw it on video. While I was researching the schedule to try and see when Dersu Uzala was going to be playing I found out something I didn’t know before. Membership was only $50 (I never thought about it, but if I had I would have just assumed that a membership there would cost several hundred dollars), and that, once a member, all movies, all showings, were $5! I did some figuring in my head and, with all the Kurosawa movies still to play that I wanted to finally see, I’d save money if I got a membership. [aside] I had already paid full price for Throne of Blood and as an unexpected bonus, on the day I went there was an advance screening of Winter’s Bone, with the director Debra Granik there to answer questions.[/aside]
I ended up seeing 8 Kurosawa films though I missed several that played before I started paying attention. Once the retrospective was over I had no idea I’d be going as much as I would, but the movies I wanted to see kept coming. The first movie I saw as a paying member wasn’t a Kurosawa, but The Bicycle Thieves, a movie I’d heard about all my life, but had never seen. The next retrospective they had was for Quentin Tarantino: playing all of his movies, movies that influenced him, and movies that were influenced by him. I saw every one of them. I’d seen all of his movies but they were great to see again in the theater, and I saw influential movies I’d never seen before, such as The Wild Bunch, Rio Bravo, 8 1/2. Then there came a Film Noir series. Next was an Henri-George Clouzot retrospective. I’d never seen any of his films and thought I should catch up. He’s best known for Diabolique. Next was a Raoul Walsh retrospective, and he was fairly new to me (I’d only seen White Heat). And of course they play lots of other movies. It became almost addictive. Not obsessive though. I missed many that I can kick myself about. I intentionally skipped Dogtooth because it looked weird, but then it was nominated for an Oscar! KICK That’s made me not want to miss movies that I’ll kick myself for missing later.
From May 22 to Dec. 31 2010, I saw 104 movies at the Gene Siskel Film Center, but I still miss more movies at the Siskel than I see. In February alone I sadly missed an entire retrospective of an important filmmaker from Uzbekistan, Ali Khamrayev. I wanted to see them all but ended up not seeing a one.
The third thing that upped my number of movies seen last year was I went to the Chicago International Film Festival for the first time since 1999. I only saw 10 movies during the fest so it didn’t add that much, but still.
Contributing to the number of movies I/we see are all my other discount options besides the Music Box and the Siskel. “$6 Tuesdays” at a Regal theater chain, $5 Wednesdays at the Portage, $5 double and triple features at the Brew & View, weekday matinees if the timing is right after I get off work, $4 second run features at the Logan, and Costco passes for AMC theaters, which slices $4 off full-price tickets. Even discount money all adds up of course, but we don’t own a car, or a house, or have dependent kids, or credit card debt, or eat out all the time, or have any other money-sink hobbies, so why not? It’s our only vice. I can see way more movies than I could if I had to pay full price for each one. I think I’ve only paid full price twice in the last year, for Micmacs, because I couldn’t wait, and for Another Year, because I thought it would be nominated for an Oscar and wanted to see it before the nominations came out.[/spoiler]
Since I’m not an important person with important things to do, I have plenty of time to kill. I mean, a research scientist with a family, say, is an important person with important things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them. Their time is valuable and precious. Mine is not. I realize how privileged and “lucky” I am. I don’t need to do much of anything else, at this point in my life. It may change next year or the year after. Who knows? But for last year, and hopefully this year, I’m focused on movies.
I do laundry on a regular basis (either on weekend mornings, since the first movies at the Siskel don’t start until around 3pm, or on weeknights when I don’t have a movie scheduled), my house doesn’t need that much cleaning, I listen to music on my iPod Touch or Sansa, I don’t watch TV, I read on the bus and train and while I’m eating, and I post brief and trivial things on the SDMB whenever (you notice I’m not the kind of important poster who spends time composing multiple interesting and informative posts for Great Debates).
And it’s not like I go to the movies every single day. In February I saw 24 movies. Since I usually see 2 or more movies in one trip out, I only went to the movies 12 days out of 28. I didn’t go at all the weekends of the 12th, the 19th or the 26th. In January I saw 22 movies, but did NOT go to the movies 17 days out of the month.
March will be different, because of this film festival. There might only be a handful of days I won’t be going to the movies, but even so, there’s still weekend mornings to get things done.
I can see that, and it sounds like absolute bliss to me. He has to live in a big city where there are a bunch of arthouse/retrospective/alternative theaters. Where? He and I are lucky to live in cities where we can see so many good movies instead of relying on only what the local multiplex has to offer. If I were really REALLY super-obsessed, there are other arthouse/retrospective/alternative theaters I could go to besides the Siskel and Music Box. I never ever go to Doc Films (too far away from me and too expensive) or Facets (too expensive). I never go to the Cultural Center, though I hope to start going this year, since they play a lot of great movies and it’s free. I never see Movies In The Park. There are several other theaters I never or rarely go to. I’m lucky enough to have tons of options but don’t take advantage of many of them. If I did, I can easily picture myself seeing 700-800 films in a year, even even working full time.
I was just riffing on the typo - either Amon Goeth or archaic verb form “goeth”.
I don’t know the film, but I would guess it is either biographical or a dramatized version incorporating elements of Goethe’s own Sorrows of Young Werther (which itself was a sort of autobiographical fantasy of what’s presumably the topic of the film).
Thanks for recommending Disco and Atomic War auRa. It was very entertaining, but with a very dry wit. It was also informative. I had no idea that there was such a tug of war for the hearts and minds of Estonians based on radio and television waves. And who knew that Dallas, Night Rider and Emmanuelle helped end the Cold War!?! I love hearing important but little-known stories like that.
Habermann was a well-made film and I would recommend it. It focused on a group of people I had never thought about, minority German citizens in occupied Czechoslovakia and the emotional tug-of-war between their Czech friends and their own countrymen.
The King of Escape was just too weird for me, and I like weird. It’s not that I totally disliked it, but I wasn’t in the mood to be so confused by what’s kinda supposed to be a comedy. A 40-something gay guy runs off with a 16-year old girl and lots of sex and hi-jinks ensue. I know, right? After seeing the movie I’m still not any clearer about why a beautiful 16-year old girl would fall in love with an old very overweight gay tractor salesman, or why a gay guy with a steady job and a good life would throw away everything for an underage girl he often didn’t even particularly like (he wavered between being enamored of her because she was so in love with him, to thinking she was a pain), or how far they thought they could actually get. Did I mention they were on foot? On foot. And how inept are French police anyway? They were closely tracking the pair with dogs and helicopters, but the pair still had lots of time to stop every 2 minutes and have hot and heavy sex. Did I mention there’s lots of sex? Gay, straight, all kinds of sex, every few minutes it seemed. Intercourse, oral, masturbation, anal, it’s all represented. I get that Armand was desperately lonely and wanted the human connection that Curly promised, but it was all too much for my poor brain. I might like it better if I saw it again in a different mood. I wish I’d seen Amer instead.
The best movie of all was Korkoro, which was the first movie I saw and might end up being my favorite still at the end of the festival. What an good, good movie! Based on a true story, a family of gypsies are traveling through occupied France to get to Belgium when they’re forced to stop at a village because of a new law that forbids nomadism. This is a problem for people who are used to being on the move all the time, and for people who are targets of the Nazis. Some of the residents from the town help them, and some actively hate them. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot. It’s a beautiful-looking film, the characters are interesting and distinctive, it was a fascinating story that I’d not seen depicted before (Gypsy persecution during WWII), and the music, oh my god, the music! I love Gypsy music and there’s a lot of it. I highly, highly recommend this film.