DAILY NEWS: New This Week and An Invitation to Discuss
by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> NEW THIS WEEK: Political Films Emerge in Wake of Tragedy; Film Sched in Flux
(indieWIRE/09.19.01) -- While mainstream audiences will likely flock to the
escapist entertainment of Mariah Carey's acting debut "Glitter" (the only
Hollywood film opening Friday), discerning viewers have decidedly more
serious options this weekend.
Lions Gate Films is going forward with its release of Stephen Frears'
"Liam," which world premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival. British
director Frears returns to the socially-conscious British dramas of his
early career ("My Beautiful Laundrette," "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid," "The Snapper") with this small, riveting tale of a poor Catholic family in 1930s
Liverpool, told from the perspective of a 7-year-old boy (young first-timer
Anthony Burrows has been universally hailed for his performance). As a
result of the poverty, the boy's father (Ian Hart) joins a fascist group as
a way to vent his frustrations. In a conclusion that feels especially
poignant right now, the group blames the neighboring Irish and Jewish
communities for their problems, which eventually leads to violence. Eddie
Cockrell's review from Toronto 2000 will appear in tomorrow's indieWIRE.
After screening at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
earlier this year and receiving a short theatrical run in New York,
Stephanie Black's documentary "Life and Debt" will receive an official
theatrical release through New Yorker Films. Opening Friday at New York's
Cinema Village and Long Island's Cinema Arts Centre, the film documents the economic repercussions of globalization in Jamaica. In indieWIRE's coverage
of the Human Rights Watch fest, critic Mia Mask spoke of Black's work with
clarity. "'Life and Debt,'" writes Mask, "links Caribbean colonial history
to current economic conditions, reminding us that existing debtor nations
are former colonies whose arrested development has been exacerbated by
global fast food chains, not-so-free-trade agreements and un-payable loans."
Other politically minded documentaries will also see screen time this
weekend: New York's Film Forum opens Edet Belzberg's bracing first film,
"Children Underground," which observes the lives of Romanian street children
in a Bucharest train station. For more on Belzberg's powerful debut, which
premiered at Sundance 2001 where it received a Special Documentary Jury
Prize, read indieWIRE's interview with the filmmaker today.
Mini-distributor Seventh Arts Releasing will put out the aptly titled
documentary "In Search of Peace, Part One: 1948-1967," a chronicling of the
first two decades of Israel's existence, at the Quad in Manhattan. Less
timely is "Won't Anybody Listen," a humbling account of two musicians'
struggle for a record deal, opening at NYC's downtown venue The Pioneer
Theater. Also opening around Manhattan are a trio of ultra-independent
releases: Paul Leaf's comedy "God, Sex, & Apple Pie," Shanti Guy's
surrealist "Texas Night Train" and Geoff Cunningham and Nicole Smith's film about interracial dating, "Rocky Road."
Originally scheduled for this Friday, both Corey McAbee's black and white
space cowboy musical "The American Astronaut," and George Butler's survival documentary "Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition" were pushed to later release dates by distribs Artistic License and Cowboy
Pictures, respectively. "Astronaut" will come out later this fall;
"Endurance" is looking at an Oct. 5 or Oct. 12 theatrical outing.
While Hollywood's guilt-ridden reactions to last week's tragedies have
already been well documented (the shelving of "Collateral Damage," the
digital removal of the World Trade Center from such films as "Spiderman" and "Zoolander"), indies are facing the same need for cultural sensitivity. Last
week's atrocities have lead Lot 47 Films to postpone the release of Gary
Burn's Canadian comedy "waydowntown" because of "darkly comic images,"
according to the film's publicist, "that may be upsetting to some,"
including fantasy sequences of an employee jumping out of an office
building. Originally scheduled for next Friday, the film is now scheduled
for release in early 2002. [Anthony Kaufman]
>> Yesterday in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: New York City One Week Later, Reactions as Work Resumes
(indieWIRE/09.18.01) -- Much is being written now by citizens, critics,
pundits and politicians, but we are most concerned about the thoughts and
reactions of our colleagues and readers. With that in mind, last night we
created a discussion board on the indieWIRE site. And, like many New
Yorkers, the film community here faces obstacles in the transition to a
semblance of normalcy.
GET YESTERDAY's indieWIRE Daily News @ indieWIRE.com: