7th Annual EbertFest

Discussion in 'Movies' started by BrettB, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    The Films for EbertFest have been announced. I'm going to have to do some research. [​IMG]
     
  2. Jerry R Colvin

    Jerry R Colvin Stunt Coordinator

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    I noticed the festival passes were sold out even before the movies were announced... phooey. (Although you can still buy passes to individual movies).

    Would be nice to know what movies are playing what days.... hard to plan ahead without that info.
     
  3. Jerry R Colvin

    Jerry R Colvin Stunt Coordinator

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    Schedule is up now... looks good...

    Hmmm.... lack of interest in this forum...? One of the best film festivals ever!
     
  4. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    I got my passes a couple of months ago and I know I'm definitely looking forward to it [​IMG]

    Definitely made my decision to go to U of I much easier. The Virginia Theater is only about 4 blocks away from my dorm, while Assembly Hall (where the Illini men's basketball team has dominated all season) is only 2.

    I have about 4 papers due that week (I'm an english/cinema studies major and it's one of the last weeks of the semester before finals), but I'll try and post updates and reactions throughout the fest on this forum.
     
  5. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    So tonight was the opening night of the fest.

    There was a torrential rainstorm I didn't see coming when I left for class this morning, so I ended up having to walk to the Virginia without a jacket or umbrella. Needless to say, I spent most of the time in the theater drying off only to get soaked again on the way home.

    Other than that, it was a wonderful night. Ebert came out on stage at 7:30 and introduced the film, Playtime, as well as explaining that it was a rarely seen 70mm print. In fact, after the screening Ebert himself admitted he had never seen it in 70mm before tonight, only on DVD.

    He walked off stage before returning briefly, as he had forgot to introduce Guy Maddin's short, The Heart of the World, explaining that he couldn't think of a better lead-in to Playtime since both films are such unique visions.

    That was an understatement! The Heart of the World is an amazing little short- A visual feast reminiscent of the silent German Expressionist films but edited at a pace that would give Michael Bay a heart attack. Now I'm definitely looking forward to Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World, which I hear is a feature length extension of the short and will be playing Friday afternoon.

    The true sensory overload didn't begin until Playtime, however. The 70mm picture was amazing, one of the best theatrical presentations I have ever seen of any film. Tati's film uses extensive long shots and deep focus and I was amazed that I could make out distinct facial details of characters who seemed to be over 40 feet from the camera. The film itself is a bit of a visual tone poem on the impersonality of city life (if that doesn't make any sense it's because it's 1 in the morning after a VERY long day...) that's almost like watching a film version of The Sims videogame. There's almost no meaningful conversation or narrative, Tati's camera merely observes the often-comedic going abouts of several tourists in a fictional section of Paris. In 70mm, the large screen ended up being so bustling with activity that it was very easy to miss out on a visual punchline because you were watching separate characters in another part of the frame. In the post-film discussion, Ebert made note of this and mentioned that often one section of the theater would be laughing if they were sitting near that part of the action on screen, while other parts of the audience would laugh at other times, all depending on where they were sitting and what they would be looking at.

    All in all, a great night at the movies, despite the rain. I'm planning on missing a lot of classes through the end of the week as I try to get to as many of the films as possible and I'll be sure to keep this thread updated throughout the fest.
     
  6. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    Kyle, good description of the films and the evening. I believe Ebert also said that it was the first time he had noticed the images of Paris on the scarf.

    I wonder how much stuff I missed in Playtime? Once you get to the restaurant there are scenes where it seems every inch of the frame is being used.

    Not sure if this will help anyone but there is a free showing of Murderball at Huff Hall at 10:30 this a.m.
     
  7. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    The Saddest Music in the World has nothing to do with The Heart Of The World except in a loose stylistic sense, but these aren't the first movies Maddin made in a B&W, silent movie style.

    Both have been available on DVD for awhile. The Heart Of The World is available on a disc containing 2 full length Maddin films titled The Guy Maddin Collection

    Congrats on getting to see Playtime in 70mm. I'm jealous.
     
  8. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    Brook

    My error on The Saddest Music in the World. That showed today at 4:30 together with Heart of the World, and indeed the two have nothing in common except the visual style and director. I thought Saddest Music was a lot of fun. The audience seemed to tire of it after awhile, and I could understand as it does get a bit tedious toward the end, but the visual style was a knockout and I was surprised by how funny it was. Guy Maddin appeared after the movie and though he seemed a bit shy, he was an engaging speaker with a very wry sense of humor.

    The true showstopper of the day though was Murderball. It is by far the best film I've seen yet this year (though I realize that's not saying much) and Ebert commented after the film that it received possibly the longest standing ovation in the history of the festival. If you haven't yet heard, it's a documentary about Quadriplegic Rugby, a full contact wheelchair sport. It details the rivalry between the US and Canadian teams on the road to the Athens Paralympics, focusing on US player Mark Zupan and Canadian Coach Joe Soares. Soares was an all-star US player who was cut from the team as he grew older and then left to coach the Canadians, angering his old American team.

    In addition to being sports story, it's also a truly touching look into the lives of the players. All the players are very frank about how they have coped with their disabilities and how other people react to them. One whole section of the film details Soares' relationship with his son and I think the biggest applause of the movie came when that paid off at the end.

    Zupan and Soares were present after the film for discussion, but had to be separated on stage by the directors as I guess the two really do hate eachother. There was one question asked as to whether Zupan would ever play for Soares and Zupan didn't really give a straight answer. It was really odd to see that drama extend right out of the movie and play out on stage.

    The two again were very frank about their injury and reiterated that they lead very normal lives. All in all it was a very exciting a moving experience at movies that was only enhanced by the post-film discussion.

    Murderball opens in July and I recommend it to everyone.
     
  9. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    This isn't EbertFest, but Murderball is playing at Cinevegas currently.

    Actually As I'm typing this, I just got out of the showing.

    AMAZING FILM!!!

    Afterwards I personally met the director, and asked him about the DVD.

    He said there will be tons of extras, including lots of footage we didn't see.

    Including an amazing food fight sequence.
     
  10. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    Murderball now has a trailer. The trailer completely drops the Soares v. Zupan angle which is somewhat strange. Looks to be hitting theaters in July.
     

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