Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Films with (very) limited release

I haven’t seen a whole heck of a lot of films lately but here’s what I have seen, and they’ve been a little special....At the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, as part of the museum’s Liberation Film Series, the 1970 documentary Finally Got the News (left). This is a film I’ve always wanted to see. Growing up in the Windsor-Detroit area in the early 1970s was a very formative time. Detroit in those days was a cauldron of racial and radical politics and this film exemplifies both in the context of the era’s labor movement. It’s about what was then the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, which organized within the auto plants and took confrontational stands to both management and the traditional UAW over the treatment of black workers. Says General Gordon Baker, one of the key labor organizers of the era, the movement "pretty much brought Chrysler to its knees." The soundtrack features Miles Davis's Bitches Brew. The film also focussses on a very young lawyer but soon to be Detroit radical icon, Ken Cockrel, father of current Detroit councilman Ken Cockrel Jr. For more about the film go to http://icarusfilms.com/new2003/fin.html. For more about the – free – Liberation Film Series go to http://thewright.org/liberation-film-series. Each screening features a panel discussion.....

I’ve always loved short films and can’t understand why they don’t get more screen time, even ones starring famous actors. Like those I saw last weekend and which continue this weekend at the Detroit Film Theatre. The DFT of course always shows its Oscar nominated shorts during Academy Awards season. But this series, called Stars in Shorts, features seven films starring Keira Knightley, Lily Tomlin, Colin Firth, Judi Dench, Julia Stiles and Jason Alexander. I like short films because they force directors to pack a lot into a small segment of time, and usually deliver punchy or unexpected endings. But I was little disappointed in this collection. Sexting with Julia Stiles (above left) was the best - a sort of embrrassing run off at the mouth - followed by Neil Labute’s After-School Special. It's another in Labute's look at the scary edges of human relationships. And Judi Dench in Friend Request Pending is abou online dating for the old (okay, well-preserved septuagenarians). I missed the first film The Procession starring Lily Tomlin but hear it’s hilarious. For more go to http://www.dia.org/auxiliaries/event.aspx?id=3382&iid=&aux_id=14&cid=100.


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