Daily Archives: November 24, 2006

The Cry Of Jazz

The talk and the music in Edward O. Bland’s eccentric 1959 Chicago-made short are equally important. The paradox is that Bland’s film centers on jazz and needs various kinds of performance to illustrate its points, yet what’s being played by Sun Ra and others is only adequate; if the music were good enough to distract one from the talk, the film wouldn’t work as well. Lucid and provocative, this is recommended viewing for any jazz novice, one of the best social readings of jazz form I know. 31 min. (JR)… Read more »

Women Of Brazil

Five women writers supply the five episodes for this Brazilian feature, described as a mixture of documentary and fiction. Malu De Martino directed. In Portuguese with subtitles. 113 min.… Read more »

Jlg/jlg: Self-portrait In December

Jean-Luc Godard films himself in his native Switzerland, pondering his childhood and, as usual, ruminating about art and life. If you can put up with the brooding self-regard, which occasionally suggests German romanticism at its most narcissistic (imagine Goethe contemplating a bust of himself), this 1995 film shows Godard at his most accomplished, at least when it comes to composing in sound and image. In French with subtitles. 59 min. (JR)… Read more »

Informe General

Documenting the last gasp of the Franco regime, Pere Portabella’s 1977 film devotes most of its 158-minute running time to Spaniards’ answers to the question How do you envisage the change from a dictatorship to a democratic government? This starts off with an eerie tour of Franco’s tomb that suggests a color remake of Portabella’s 1970 masterpiece Cuadecuc-Vampir, then proceeds with footage of 1976 demonstrations in Barcelona and Madrid, archival propaganda, and discussions with socialists, communists, union representatives, lawyers, engineers, and artists, among others. Portabella intersperses tours of other locations and concludes with a classical music concert. The full title translates as General Report on Some Interesting Facts for a Public Showing. In Spanish, Catalan, and Basque with subtitles. (JR)… Read more »

Bobby

Old-fashioned in both its liberal humanism and its commitment to classic Hollywood storytelling, Emilio Estevez’s fictional account of what happened in LA’s Ambassador Hotel the day Bobby Kennedy was shot is also a fine example of old-fashioned studio craft. Deftly juggling over a dozen characters, ranging from hotel personnel and guests to Democratic Party volunteers, Estevez offers a sharp cross section of the issues and attitudes surrounding Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Without privileging any member of the talented cast, he gives many of them chances to shine, especially Sharon Stone, Freddy Rodriguez, Laurence Fishburne, and Martin Sheen. I can’t buy the film’s premise that RFK was this country’s last chance to save itself, but I’m stirred by the passion and thoughtfulness with which Estevez builds on it. With William H. Macy, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Demi Moore, Estevez, Lindsay Lohan, and Christian Slater. R, 120 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. a Century 12 and CineArts 6, Crown Village 18, Ford City, Gardens 7-13, Lake, Webster Place. … Read more »