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Catching Up With Films You May Have Missed

Jacob Burns Film CenterJacob Burns Film Center 

Wednesday, December 12---------It's one of the frustrating feelings of the true buff......a film you were hoping to see in theaters that disappears about its first week's run. In this age of the rapid release, where specialty titles often don't have much staying power, unless you catch them in their first week of release, it's possible to miss out on them until them turn on pay television or DVD. This is true not only of the smallest indie titles but of some major releases as well that, for reasons just known to the cinema gods, just do not catch on. Personally, my eye was off the ball for such films as IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, RENDITION, THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES and a host of small documentaries that I just was not fast enough to catch (or were playing in theaters when I was covering a film festival, and presto, were gone when I got back).

Well, the Jacobs Burns Film Center, Westchester's premiere art cinema complex, has been offering an on-going series of the films "that got away", giving audiences a chance to catch up with films that were here in a flash and disappeared just as quickly. The CATCHING UP series allows discerning film buffs a chance to do just that.......catch up with worthy films that had brief theatrical runs, although they may eventually find their largest audiences on television or on DVD rental shelves. One should not deduce that the quick exit from cinemas is a reflection of the qualities of the films involved. Why a film stays in theaters or why it makes a hasty retreat to other markets is mostly a matter of economics, politics and the relative strength of the distributor involved. The largest of the distributors have enough sway to keep even low-grossing films in play for alot longer. But with exhibitors faced with a mounting number of releases to choose from, it is a hard truth that worthy films that need the build-up of that most delicate of qualities, "strong word of mouth", often fall between the cracks, until they are resurrected as "lost gems" or "neglected masterpieces". As the Burns offers its final crop of unfairly shortchanged films for the season, it is offering a great service to its loyal audiences to have among the last opportunities to catch a falling star on the big screen (and put it in your pocket). 

The films range from the latest works from certifiable indie auteurs David Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE) and Tom DiCillo (DELIRIOUS, featuring a fantastic performance from indie stalwart Steve Buscemi). International cinema offerings include a music documentary from UK director Julian Temple (JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN), a meditation on life and death by Holland's Heddy Honnigman (FOREVER) and two award-winning examples of contemporary Spanish-language cinema, the Mexican THE VIOLIN and LIVE-IN MAID from Argentina. As a group, this is an intriguing bunch that certainly shows the vitality of both American indie and international cinema. So, unless you want to screen these in your personal home theater (not a bad notion, perhaps), come out to the Burns Film Center for a final big screen nod to these creative crystals. To get more information on the films and to purchase tickets, log on to the Center's website:



DELIRIOUS Dec. 13, 19
Tom DiCillo. 2007. 107 min. NR. US. Abramorama.
"A strong, bitter movie about a milieu that the director intimately understands." (New Yorker)
Tom DiCillo’s (Living in Oblivion) latest angry comedy takes on his central theme - the elusiveness of fame and the path of destruction it leaves in its wake. A pointed snapshot of the life of a second-rate paparazzo (Steve Buscemi), the street kid he takes under his wing (Michael Pitt), and the consequences of breaking through to the world of real celebrity.


Inland Empire

David Lynch. 2006. 180 min. R. France/Poland/US, in English/Polish with subtitles.
"One of the few films I’ve seen this year that deserves to be called art." (New York Times)
In the latest uncompromising vision from the iconoclastic director of Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, Laura Dern is dazzling as an actress who lands a dream role that devolves into nightmare. How best to approach this movie? Rolling Stone says: "My advice, in the face of such hallucinatory brilliance, is that you hang on."  

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

Dec. 14, 15, *17
Julien Temple. 2007. 124 min. NR. Ireland/UK. IFC Films.
"A rock documentary that’s as good as it gets." (Hollywood Reporter)
As the frontman of the Clash, the charismatic, fired-up Joe Strummer was a punk icon. Four years after his death, he is remembered by filmmaker Julien Temple (who has three Sex Pistols films under his belt) in this inspiring and cautionary celebration. Featuring mountains of Clash footage and interviews.
*Mon. Dec. 17 at 7:15: Reel Talk with JBFC programmer Chris Funderburg.


FOREVER Dec. 15, 18
Heddy Honigmann. 2006. 97 min. Netherlands, in English/French with subtitles. First Run/Icarus Films.
"An exquisite paean to the enduring nature of art." (Toronto Globe and Mail)
Honigmann lets the cameras roll as pilgrims, local and foreign alike, pay their respects at the resting places of artists from Chopin to Proust, Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison, at Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. "Why are you here?" she asks, capturing moments of intimacy and beauty in a deep meditation on art and our abiding bond with those who make it.  

The Violin

THE VIOLIN Dec. 16, 19
Francisco Vargas. 2006. 98 min. Mexico, in Spanish with subtitles. Film Movement.
"One of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year." (Guillermo Del Toro, director of Pan’s Labyrinth)
Set during the Mexican peasant revolts of the 1970s, when a ragtag indigenous army fought to hold onto the local people’s ancestral farmlands, this drama follows the patriarch of a musical family who fiddles his way into the front lines. A deceptively modest movie shot in poetic black and white, with a soulful folk music soundtrack.

Live-In Maid

LIVE-IN MAID Dec. 16, 20
Jorge Gaggero. 2005. 83 min. NR. Argentina/Spain, in Spanish with subtitles. Film Sales Company.
Award Winner, Sundance Film Festival
"Exquisite, diamond-tipped filmmaking." (Salon)
Maybe the best - though least seen - foreign-language film of the year. A pitch-perfect drama starring Argentina’s greatest living actress, Norma Aleandro, as an upperclass divorcée who’s completely broke but can’t quite readjust her expectations, and Norma Argentina, a longtime housekeeper making her screen debut as the maid.

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor



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