Sunday, June 30, 2013

Film Forum & Rooftop Films partner with Socrates Sculpture Park Outdoor Cinema, for 8-Week Int'l Summer Fest to begin 7/3

Film Forum programmers Karen Cooper and Mike Maggiore have selected six of the eight films for the Socrates Sculpture Park Outdoor Cinema film festival this summer, with the other two coming via Dan Nuxoll and Mark Elijah Rosenberg of Rooftop Films. The series, to which admission is FREE, begins this Wednesday, July 3, and is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park and AT&T. The annual international festival, now celebrating its 15th anniversary, features open-air cinema, music, dance and food -- held in the 5-acre waterfront park in Long Island City, Queens.

Outdoor Cinema 2013 features eight weeks of movies shown under the stars, Wednesday evenings, July 3 through August 21. While New York City hosts many outdoor movie series, this festival distinguishes itself by its critically acclaimed, international array of titles. This summer's lineup includes work from Chad, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Mexico, Romania, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States. The films are presented in their original language with English subtitles. Each evening features regional cuisine from neighborhood restaurants and performances by local musicians and dancers that celebrate the culture of the film's country of origin.

This year's film subjects range from Richard Nixon (top) and pro baseball (Sugar, below) to a glorious father-son vacation on the coast of Mexico (above) and a new film from Romania (at left) which I beieve is having its U.S. premiere here under the stars. Pre-screening performances take place at 7:00pm and films begin at sunset (weather permitting). Admission to films and performances is free of charge. The evening's food and performance line-up is announced the week prior on the park's web site: "All these years, notes Film Forum's Karen Cooper, "we've been committed to the 'hardtop,' but now we are pleased to be able to screen some of our favorites from around the world out-of-doors in this glorious park."


(The descriptions below come from the press release 
on this festival. Any additional comments 
by TrustMovies will appear in parentheses/italics.)

July 3: OUR NIXON (U.S.)
Throughout Richard Nixon's presidency, three of his top White House aides obsessively documented their experiences with Super 8 home movie cameras. Young, idealistic, and dedicated, they had no idea that a few years later they'd all be in prison. (Golly: I wonder why we can't say the same about members of this last Bush administration, not to mention all those bankers and Wall Streeters who helped cause our current recession? We once lived in a world that punished criminals. This movie ought to remind us, and how dreadfully, times have changed.) OUR NIXON is an all-archival documentary presenting those home movies for the first time, along with other rare footage, creating an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before. 2013, 84 mins. Directed by Penny Lane. Not Rated. Courtesy of Cinedigm. Programmed by Rooftop Films. 

July 10: A SCREAMING MAN (Chad)
Ironically titled, this drama set in Chad follows the fortunes of Adam, a former swimming champion, now a 60-year-old "pool man" at a tourist hotel. Tensions between Adam and his grown son are exacerbated when the former loses his job to the younger man and his fragile world begins to crumble. The country's endless civil war plays a decisive role in defining the two men's psychic reality in this smart, subtle, and deeply moving story of modern Africa. Winner, Jury Prize, 2010 Cannes Film Festival. 2010, 92 mins. Written & Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. Not Rated. Programmed by Film Forum.

July 17: ALAMAR (Mexico)
A love story between father and son, man and nature, water and sky, ALAMAR is set in the turquoise waters of Banco Chinchorro in the Caribbean, home to thousands of species of fish. The film – somewhere between fiction and documentary – tells the story of a young boy whose divorced parents (Italian mother, Mexican father) make him a child of two worlds. A father transports his urban son to this natural paradise to teach him to dive for lobster and fish for barracuda, spending days on a tiny fishing boat and nights in a reed-roofed cabin that floats atop the water. (TM's earlier review and interview with the filmmaker can be found here.) 2009, 73 mins. Written & Directed by Pedro González-Rubio. Rated G.
Programmed by Film Forum.

July 24: IN ANOTHER COUNTRY (South Korea)
French actress Isabelle Huppert stars (three times!) in this comedy/drama – a triptych set in a Korean seaside town. Huppert plays three different Annes – a successful film director on holiday with a Korean director and his wife; a married woman having an affair with a Korean man; and a recent divorcée whose husband left her for a Korean woman. Three breezy tales of love, lust, and misunderstandings, all peppered by the dimly jovial propositions of one persistent lifeguard. 2012, 89 mins. Written & Directed by Hong Sang-soo. Not Rated. Programmed by Film Forum. 

July 31: DOMESTIC (Romania)
Wonderfully surreal, painfully real – this is the story of children, adults, and animals that live together trying to have a better life, but sometimes death comes unexpectedly. In the bittersweet comedy Domestic, it is all about us – people who eat the animals that they love, and the animals that love people unconditionally. (With no U.S. distribution that I know of, this movie might not be seen again soon, or ever, so you might want to catch it now.) 2013, 82 mins. Directed by Adrian Sitaru. Not Rated.
Programmed by Rooftop Films.

August 7: SUGAR (U.S. / Dominican Republic) Miguel, a Dominican baseball pitcher from the small town of San Pedro De Macorís, single-mindedly focuses on training at a pro baseball academy – as so many in his country do – awaiting his chance to graduate to the minor leagues in the U.S., and to help pull his family out of poverty. At 19, he gets his break – a call-up to spring training for a team in Iowa – but what happens when his game falters? And were all the sacrifices worth it? A beautifully filmed, exquisitely acted drama from Brooklyn filmmakers, Boden & Fleck (HALF NELSON), that takes a bracing new look at a fractured American dream. 2008, 120 mins. Written & Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck. Rated R. Programmed by Film Forum.

August 14: THE GLEANERS AND I (France)
Considered "the grandmother of the New Wave" in France, Agnès Varda melds literary and documentary conventions with the politics of feminism and compassion, and a whimsical touch that is all her own. THE GLEANERS AND I, inspired in part by the Jean-François Millet painting, uses the subject of gleaning (the act of gathering leftovers) to create a warm and witty discourse on, among other things, the nature of consumerist society and the role of creativity in survival. 2000, 82 mins. Directed and narrated by Agnès Varda. Not Rated. Programmed by Film Forum.

August 21: THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (Germany/Turkey)
This drama from the German-born, Turkish-descended filmmaker explores the lives of six characters, including two young women: a Kurdish political activist wanted by the German authorities, and Lotte, a naïve German student who becomes sexually entangled with her. Fassbinder muse, Hanna Schygulla, plays Lotte's suspicious mother in this tale from a new Europe – one in which national boundaries are disappearing as quickly as traditional sexual norms. 2007, 122 mins. Written & Directed by Fatih Akin. Not Rated.
Programmed by Film Forum.

Rain Date: August 28

Socrates Sculpture Park is located at 
32-01 Vernon Blvd (at Broadway) in Long Island City. 

Queens Public Transportation to Socrates Sculpture Park: 
SUBWAY N or Q train to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk eight blocks west on Broadway (toward the East River) to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard. 
BUS Q103, Q104 to Broadway and Vernon Boulevard Q19A to Broadway and 21st Street.

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