A Summer Season of Film as Art/Art as Film

A Summer Season of Film as Art/Art as Film

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By Tench Phillips

It’s only appropriate for the summer that The Naro showcase films that indulge the passions of the arts. Our New Non-Fiction Film series on Wednesday nights will feature an acclaimed film about musical mentor Seymour Bernstein, whose authenticity and wisdom transcend the competitive world of musical performance. Produced by Ethan Hawke, this is an intimate film about his relationship with Seymour. It recalls the recent documentary about the musical student-teacher relationship between the local young jazz pianist Justin Kauflin and the late jazz great Clark Terry in Keep On Keepin’ On.

Other Wednesday night documentaries about artists include a rare glimpse into the strange life and haunting work of  the late visionary artist H.R. Giger. We’ll also present the third film by The Yes Men, the provocative activist artists who persistently poke their collective thumb in the eye of corporate culture by way of their elaborate performances and staged acts of civil disobedience.

The Naro also inaugurates the first film in the new series Exhibition On Screen showcasing recent exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe of master artists curated by the world’s great art museums. ‘Matisse: From Tate Modern and MoMA’ will be shown in conjunction with the current exhibition at The Chrysler Museum – ‘Henri Matisse: Harmonious Color’.

The art of great Hollywood vintage film will be showcased in the 12th Annual Mal’s Summer Classics hosted by Mal Vincent who will dazzle us with stories about his life among the stars. We will all be celebrating fifty years of Mal’s writing and reviewing for the Virginian-Pilot. The series of seven classic films on consecutive Monday evenings starts July 6 with The Long Hot Summer. The complete lineup and dates will be announced in the upcoming July/August Naro calendar publication.

And of course we are programming the premieres of a fine slate of American independents as well as the best films produced in other countries. So join the grand tradition of escaping the oppressive heat of the summer by entering into the cool, dark, collective unconscious of the cinema.

 

New Non-Fiction Film at The Naro

 

LAMBERT AND STAMP

In celebration of the current fiftieth anniversary tour of The Who, this new documentary goes back in time even further. In the early sixties, aspiring young filmmakers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert were searching for the right subject for a film about disaffected youth and the music culture. They found in a rock band called the High Numbers a rebelliousness that was just what they were looking for. Eventually abandoning their plans to make the film, they began to mentor and manage the group, which evolved into the iconic band known as The Who. The result is rock ‘n’ roll history. Opening Friday, June 12 for one week.

 

ANTARCTIC EDGE: 70 Degrees South

A thrilling journey to the world’s most perilous environment, we join a team of world-class scientists as they explore the fastest warming place on earth: the West Antarctic Peninsula. While navigating through 60-foot waves and dangerous icebergs, the film follows the team as they make land on rugged, inhospitable Charcot Island to study the rapidly declining Adelie Penguin. For the scientists, these birds are the greatest indicator of climate change and a harbinger of what is to come. The post-film discussion will feature research scientists from ODU and the Center for Biological Diversity. Shows Wednesday, June 17.

 

SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION

Meet Seymour Bernstein: a virtuoso pianist, veteran New Yorker, and true original who gave up a successful concert career to teach music. In this wonderfully warm, witty, and intimate tribute from his friend, Ethan Hawke, Seymour shares unforgettable stories from his remarkable life and eye-opening words of wisdom, as well as insightful reflections on art, creativity, and the search for fulfillment. Shows Wednesday, June 24.

 

THE WOLFPACK

Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed the Wolfpack, the brothers spend their childhood re-enacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. With no friends and living on welfare, they feed their curiosity, creativity, and imagination with film, which allows them to escape from their feelings of isolation and loneliness. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. The Wolfpack must learn how to integrate into society without disbanding the brotherhood. Filmmaker Crystal Moselle has directed a mesmerizing documentary that’s stranger than any fiction. Shows Wednesday, July 1.

 

THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING

For two decades, the Yes Men have pulled off elaborate media hoaxes to draw international attention to environmental and social crimes perpetrated by Shell Oil, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Congress. Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are the brave revolutionaries who lie their way into business events and government functions to expose the dangers of letting greed run our world. Their performance work has been shown in the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennale, ARS Electronica, and other art exhibitions. They are the authors of several books and lecture widely about art and social movements. This is their third feature film. Shows Wednesday, July 8.

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DARK STAR: H.R. Giger’s World

The late surrealist artist H. R. Giger terrified audiences with his Oscar-winning monsters in Ridley Scott’s Alien. Giger’s dark, intricate work depicting birth, death and sex have for decades influenced and inspired sci-fi and horror movies, music, and other artists. Behind the ivy-covered walls of his residence in Zurich, Switzerland, Dark Star brings viewers into Giger’s mysterious realm. His prolific output includes sculpture, painting, drawing, film, architecture and album covers for such musicians as Debbie Harry and the Dead Kennedys, integrating meticulous technique with an instantly-recognizable sensibility that has inspired generations of nightmares. Shows Wednesday, July 15.

 

SALAD DAYS: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)

This documentary examines the early punk scene in the Nation’s Capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and others released their own records and booked their own shows—without major record label constraints or mainstream media scrutiny. Date to be announced.

 

Exhibition On Screen at The Naro

Presented with The Chrysler Museum

 

This new film series explores recent blockbuster exhibitions curated by the world’s great art museums. There will be one film a month showing on Tuesday nights. The first title is ‘Matisse: From Tate Modern and MOMA.’ Other films about world-class exhibitions of great artists include Van Gogh, Manet,Vermeer, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Munch, and more. A staff member of The Chrysler Museum will introduce each of the films.

 

MATISSE: From Tate Modern and MoMA

Hailed as the most successful exhibition in Tate Modern’s history, the Matisse Exhibit then traveled to sell-out crowds at MoMA in New York City. This beautiful new film is a revealing behind-the-scenes look at the show, the artist, and his exquisite work. We hear from the all the experts: curators, historians, Tate director Nicholas Serota and MoMA director Glenn Lowry. Acclaimed British actor Simon Russell Beale brings insight and emotion to the words of Matisse himself. The film is presented with The Chrysler Museum whose current exhibits include ‘Henri Matisse: Harmonious Color’. Shows Tuesday, June 23.

 

VINCENT VAN GOGH: A New Way of Seeing

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death, The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam mounted a major re-showing of the artist’s work. Experience his work anew on the big screen as world-renowned curators and art historians offer their interpretations and explanations of his work. With exclusive new research revealing incredible recent discoveries, the Van Gogh Museum has helped craft a rich cinema experience. Shows on a Tuesday in July, date to be announced.

 

Faith In Film: STRANGE CARGO is a rare and neglected treasure in the canon of director Frank Borzage (The Big Fisherman) in which Clark Gable, fresh off the plantation of Gone with the Wind, and Joan Crawford playing one of her most compelling unglamorous roles, seek to escape a penal colony, a sort of Devil’s Island.  The allegorical melodrama, spiced with the witty sexual tension of Gable and Crawford reading the Song of Solomon, raised controversies when it was released, and remains a strange, but fascinating poem on mystery and grace. (1940) Introduced by Terry Lindvall of Virginia Wesleyan College. Shows Sunday, June 21.