NYC Happenings: Film Comment Selects Starts Tonight

Ben Umstead, East Coast Editor
...And it runs through the 28th. An eclectic selection from old guard masters and young upstarts the world over, with a few little seen oldies in the mix, the 2013 edition of Film Comment Selects at The Film Society of Lincoln Center is bound to have something for every kind of Twitch reader. On one end of the spectrum there's Ben Wheately's Sightseers and on the other end we have the U.S. premiere of Phillipe Grandrieux's White Epilepsy, which on the title alone piques my interest. Dustin Chang was fortunate enough to catch the selections Gebo And The Shadow, from Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveria, as well as Marco Bellocchio's Dormant Beauty. Here are his thoughts on both: 

105 year old Manoel de Oliveira's latest film is based on a century old Portuguese play which was a basis for Waiting for Godot. It tells a story of the poor, suffering Gebo clan. Gebo (Michael Lonsdale) is a lowly money collector for a firm, quietly suffering from the life of servitude and humility while his unhappy wife, Doroteia (Claudia Cardinale) longs for their destitute son's return. Gebo and their daughter-in-law lie about the missing man to Doroteia to keep her hopes alive and make her happy. But when their son miraculously reappears, Gebo realizes that he is not what they hoped for. Shot mostly in one setting with long takes and no close ups, Gebo and the Shadow is more like a stage play. Nobody makes films as old fashioned as this anymore. Supporting actors include legendary Jeanne Moreau as a neighbor and Leonore Silveira as the long suffering wife of the wretched son.

Marco Bellocchio puts the much publicized, real life euthanasia case of Eluana Englaro in the background of a film that skillfully orchestrates 3 interweaving stories: conscientious politician and his daughter, a famous actress and her comatose daughter and a suicidal junky and her caring doctor. Compared with Michael Haneke's unblinking
treatment of the same subject in Amour, Dormant Beauty is much more melodramatic and stylized. Nonetheless it is a good film, emphasizing an issue that isn't so clear-cut when love is involved with pulling the plug. It's an extra treat seeing Isabelle Huppert speaking in Italian.

In the coming days look for a few full reviews from FCS, including Dustin's thoughts on the aforementioned White Epilepsy, Joshua Chaplinsky's take on Antonio Campos' Simon Killer, and our resident Austinite-in-NYC John Jarzemsky on Call Girl.

For the full program and tickets click right here.

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  • mightyjoeyoung

    "and our resident Austinite-in-NYC John Jarzemsky on Call Girl."
    Shall be interesting to see what he thinks of it, thanks for the info Mr Umstead.

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