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"Access to the Danger Zone," a new documentary about the harrowing effort to bring emergency medical care to some of the world's least secure, most violent places, will be screened for free at the Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis at 7 p.m. June 12.
The documentary, directed by Peter Casaer and Eddie Gregoor and narrated by actor Daniel Day-Lewis, looks at humanitarian groups -- Doctors without Borders, Red Cross, the United Nations -- that seek to reach people in need. It includes footage from such war-torn places as Afghanistan, Somalia and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The June 12 screening will be followed by a Q&A with Minnesotans who have worked with Doctors without Borders in various parts of the world.
After taking a very unwelcome year off two summers ago, Walker Art Center’s beloved Summer Music & Movies series will return July 29 to Loring Park for the second straight year.
Scheduled again for four Mondays in a row, the lineup -- centered around the theme “Roadways”-- was announced today with Prissy Clerks, Charlie Parr, Zoo Animal, Aby Wolf, the Roe Family Singers and this summer’s It Band, the Chalice, all slated for the musical halves of the shows. Alas, the Walker did not commission a live score like the one Brute Heart created last year, but many of the aforementioned acts are cinematic enough in the first place.
The movies were all selected by Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas, whose exhibit “The Autoconstrucción Suites” recently opened at the Walker. Save for one obvious choice, the road films he picked are all pretty obscure to Western audiences – as one would expect in the case of this. Here’s the schedule:
MUSIC BEGINS AT 7 PM; MOVIES BEGIN AT DUSK (APPROXIMATELY 8:45 PM)
Monday, July 29
Music: Prissy Clerks
Movie: "The Hawks and the Sparrows" ("Uccellacci E Uccellini")
Monday, Aug. 5
Music: Roe Family Singers + Charlie Parr
Monday, Aug. 12
Music: The Chalice
Movie: "In the Pit (En el Hoyo)"
Monday, Aug. 19
Music: Zoo Animal + Aby Wolf + Grant Cutler
Movie: "Pee Wee’s Big Adventure"
Pretty much the same format as the Walker's series, but a little more populist in nature, Vita.mn's Music & Movies series will take place around the same time. That lineup was announced last month, with highlights including a pairing of Now, Now with "Adventures in Babysitting" and John Mark Nelson with "The Goonies."
Over there is Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now" (1979) and John Belushi in "The Blues Brothers," (1980). And Johnny Depp in "Sleepy Hallow," 1999 and Nicole Kidman in "Australia," 2008.
The name dropping is inevitable in Mark's first solo show at Weinstein in more than a decade. The gallery persuaded the photographer to sift through 40 years of her behind-the-scenes shots taken on film sets over the decades. The photos are, for the most part, candid and casual snaps made during rehearsals or while the cameras are rolling --but taken from a different vantage and without a story line to drive a narrative. So we'll see Sean Penn in his New York dressing room and Woody Allen adrift on his Manhattan balcony, and even the "Lone Ranger" (Clayton Moore) at home in Los Angeles.
Mark herself will be on hand for the opening party, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6, free. Weinstein Gallery, 908 W. 46th St., Minneapolis. "Seen Behind the Scene/ Forty Years of Photographing on Set," runs through July 27, free. 612-822-1722 or .www.weinstein-gallery.com/
Does Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” make people crazy? Or are batty people naturally drawn to his moody, mesmerizing 1980 chiller?
On the surface, the Stephen King adaptation concerns an alcoholic writer (Jack Nicholson), his feckless wife (Shelley Duvall), their telepathic son (Danny Lloyd) suffering ultimate cabin fever in a haunted resort hotel. But some viewers argue that the famously intellectual and fastidious Kubrick deliberately packed the film with jarring continuity errors and arcane symbols.
Acolytes have obsessed over the film’s “hidden themes” for more than 30 years. Beneath its story of a man who tries to kill his family they have detected subliminal references to historical injustices, sexual abuse and the Minotaur myth. The film has inspired scores of websites devoted to unraveling its secrets (real or perceived.)
Rodney Ascher’s odd, witty, engaging documentary “Room 237” (playing this week at St, Anthony Main) combines clips from the movie with interpretations from five deep-digging commentators who have watched it scores, even hundreds of times. Some offer plausible hypotheses, others have tumbled down theoretical rabbit holes. Commentator Jay Weidner is convinced that “The Shining” is Kubrick’s coded confession that he colluded with NASA to fake the video broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I recently spoke with Ascher about his encounters with the “Shining” cult.
Q: Why do you think “the Shining” has drawn such passionate interest?
A: Kubrick’s films are the perfect intersection of art and entertainment. His movies are thought out and beautifully executed and packed with really provocative metaphors. More often than not they’re entertaining genre pictures on their surface, highly elevated ones. He started out back in the 50s and made a couple of amazing, suspenseful film noirs. He moved on to war films and science fiction, comedy, a sword-and-sandal film, costume drama and an erotic thriller. There’s nothing medicinal or didactic that people who are resistant to subtitles might take as an obstacle. They’re wildly entertaining but they’re also meticulously crafted. He was able to perfect films from wildly different genres time after time, and in “The Shining” he did it with horror.
Q: Your five commenters all look deeply at “The Shining” and offer wildly contradictory explanations of “what it really means.” Isn’t it rather like the parable of the blind men describing the elephant? It’s like a rope, it’s like a tree, it’s like a boulder.
A: But the fact is, they’re all right.
Q: Is that the hallmark of a work of art that is truly great? That when you look at it from different angles you see different realities? Or is it just that people can over-analyze things and follow a pet theory to ridiculous lengths? I’m pretty sure that we did land men on the moon, for example.
A: So is Jay [Weidner.] He just says it’s the footage that’s not authentic.
Q: The first theory we hear comes from ABC international correspondent Bill Blakemore as he talks about being stationed in Europe and encountering a “Shining” poster before seeing the film. How did that provide him a clue to the movie’s alleged hidden theme of deep-seated guilt about native American genocide?
A: The poster for the film’s European release said, "The tide of terror that swept across America IS HERE!” Bill is a guy who is incredibly articulate so he started to parse the language, wondering if the “tide of terror” it’s referring to is not even necessarily “The Shining,” but part of American history. Bill is an incredibly heavy guy. He wrote the Encyclopedia Britannica article about Pope John Paul. He travels the world reporting for ABC.
Q: Which of the contributors impressed you most with a grasp on the film that made you consider it in a new way?
A: Juli Kearns’ maps [3D schematics charting the Overlook Hotel set’s “impossible” configurations] were things of beauty and wonder and I was delighted we were able to get them into the film. Every one of the people we spoke to changed the way I looked at the movie. If I had to arbitrarily choose one, I would pick John Fell Ryan’s analysis of Kubrick’s use of dissolves to call into question the reliability of what we see and what we hear.
Q: Is your documentary arguing that “The Shining” contains all those meanings, or is it more about the way we comprehend the world, each of us using our own toolkit and reaching our own individual conclusions? Is it a documentary about a movie or epistemology?
A: Can I have my cake and eat it too? It started as a film about “The Shining.” Then at a certain point we became equally interested in the way “The Shining” could be used as a case study of the way people make sense of all sorts of puzzles. Whether it be art or the world around them.
I was more excited when I found theories coming together than being mutually exclusive. You hear a theory coming together and you hear supporting points and you start to feel it’s very persuasive. There were these very interesting moments when one person’s idea would shed light on another. Bill Blakemore and Jay Weidner are both coming from very different places but by the end of the movie they’re both seeing very sexual images in the frame. Bill sees it in the design of the carpet pattern. Jay sees it in the placement of a paper tray in the [hotel manager’s] office.
Q: Did you get the sense that the film was functioning as a Rorschach test for viewers, or do you believe that there is intent to create multiple hidden themes?
A: I’m not sure we can answer that definitively. A Rorschach test is created to be as random as possible. “The Shining” is a lot of things but it’s not a random object. It’s something designed very carefully by, mostly, a singular voice. Our commentators have provocative thoughts about “2001” or “Eyes Wide Shut” or “Full Metal Jacket” as well. But you get more of this discussion about “the Shining” than any other film. It’s really the perfect storm for this kind of stuff.
Q: The film images are almost entirely collaged from Kubrick’s body of work and other feature films. Did you ever worry about copyright issues and getting legal clearance to distribute the film?
A: We were hopeful because there were precedents from things like 90-minute “Star Wars” reviews that a lot of people had succeeded in getting films out that were made from existing source material. The project was done at an expense of much more time than money. So if we only played once or twice and that became a collectible DVD-R or something that existed on YouTube, that would have been perfectly fine. Nobody wrote a check for a million dollars to make this movie who would have been mad if they had to eat that.
Al Milgrom with the neck brace he'll need to wear for at least a couple more months as he recovers from an accident in Berlin.
That was the question on the minds of many Twin Cities cinephiles when the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival launched two weeks ago without its founding father, Al Milgrom, banging the gong that echoed through so many opening nights over the decades.
And that was our question this week as we wandered the labyrinth of a St. Paul care center. A nurse smiled when we told her we were looking for Al. (No last name needed). “He’s great!” she said brightly, and directed us to a room where Milgrom, 90, looked leonine even in a flesh-colored neck brace.
You could tell he hadn’t been there long. The stack of papers beside the bed of this notorious packrat was only a couple inches high.
“Kafkaesque” is how he described his experience during the past two months, which found him marooned in Berlin. In short, this is his tale:
In early February Milgrom flew to Germany for his annual scouting trip at the Berlin Film Festival. Jet-lagged, he checked into his hotel but had trouble sleeping. He took an Ambien, then stumbled in the dark and fell against the wall, fracturing his neck.
In the morning, with Al literally holding his head in his hands, a correspondent helped get him to a hospital. Doctors fused his first and second vertebrae and braced them with a titanium plate. While the operation went well, he soon developed pneumonia.
Things were a bit touch and go for a time. Milgrom’s lung capacity has been impaired since his first stay in Germany as a soldier 63 years ago, when he contracted tuberculosis, and part of one lung was removed. Antibiotics were not available to him then, but this time of course they were. He responded to treatment and was eventually transferred to a convalescent home.
Weeks passed, bills mounted and Milgrom itched to return home. Because of his condition, it took him considerable time to gather the necessary permissions (this is where Kafka comes in, but even he would have had trouble making narrative sense of it all). Ultimately, though, a shuttle jet carried him (and an oxygen kit) to Amsterdam, where he boarded a KLM flight to Chicago. His son Benjamin met him at the gate and drove him to the Twin Cities.
At this point, Milgrom appears frail but physically vital and mentally vibrant. Though he hopes to return home soon, his family worries about his ability to negotiate a house that is piled with books and papers, and has no first-floor bathroom.
Reached by phone late Wednesday afternoon, he was preparing to move in with his daughter, Marsha, who has a basement apartment. He also hopes to make it to the festival before it closes Sunday. (Al being Al, he had a highlighted tipsheet at hand, and recommends “The Virgin, the Copts and Me,” a film by Egyptian-born director Namir Abdel Messeeh that is being shown at 4 p.m. Thursday.)
While he has health insurance, he incurred tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs, which he covered by maxing out his credit cards and taking out loans against his home. So friends are working on various fundraising ideas. We’ll keep you updated as those plans develop.