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Fall Film Preview: Underground big-screen shows

The local film scene revs up for fall
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 15, 2010

fallprev_localfilm_Cremaste
CREMASTER CYCLE Five installments, screening November 18-21 in Portland.

One of the happiest and most unexpected developments in local arts culture over the past year has been the subtle yet persistent proliferation of DIY and/or locally-oriented movie nights in the area. The Nickelodeon has become a de facto red-carpet venue for local film premieres, and it’s rare these days that a Monday passes without a curious film event of one form or another at Geno’s. Meanwhile, a couple of regional film festivals continue to boost their profile nationally, and SPACE Gallery is in the midst of a calendar unusually focused on films by and about artists. Here’s a roundup of some notable dates to mark on your calendar, loosely organized by venue and screening date.

The Nickelodeon
As one of just a few local venues that still even offers 35mm projections, the Nick is a natural home for the first big revival screening of the fall, a Grindhouse Releasing production of Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic EVIL DEAD. The film will screen September 23 at 8 and 10 pm.

Continuing its local film series after a summer hiatus, our mole at the theater says that September 29 will offer works from “a buffet of local talent, everything from short films, documentaries, and animation to music videos.” Come October 28, it’s the beginning of a special event (which will repeat at the Portland Museum of Art on October 29) called DAMNATIONLAND. The evening will consist of seven short horror films by local talent, with filmmaker Q&As to follow. (The quippy tagline: “The Way Life Should Bleed.”)

Telluride by the Sea | Sep 24-26
The Music Hall of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hosts this annual festival in miniature, a collection of highlights from the early-September Colorado film festival. It’s a handy chance to see some high-profile fall art films before their Oscar buzz becomes sweltering or, in other cases, diminished. Films include TAMARA DREWE by Stephen Frears (The Queen); Mark Romanek’s highly-anticipated take on the bestselling cloning novel NEVER LET ME GO, by Kazuo Ishiguro; and THE ILLUSIONIST, Sylvain Chomet’s first film since the animated French hit The Triplets of Belleville. The film is based on a never-produced script written by the great French director Jacques Tati.

Movies at the Museum
The first of two co-presentations with SPACE Gallery begins a busy autumn in the Portland Museum of Art’s auditorium-cum-arthouse cinema. The purportedly excellent documentary EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, directed by the anonymous street-art icon known as Banksy, which is about a French shopkeeper attempting to reveal the artist’s identity (and then, somehow, befriend him). It screens September 24-26. In November, the two venues co-present a rare weekend of screenings of art-world jock Matthew Barney’s complete CREMASTER CYCLE, a wildly diverse, five-installment and six-plus hour budget-busting extravaganza that is sure to test both your endurance and your sense of logic. The piece will never be released on DVD, and has only once been shown in New England; the weekend of November 18-21 will offer a variety of opportunities to see some or all of the work.

Other indie highlights at the PMA this fall include LAST TRAIN HOME (October 1-3), a stirring documentary about the annual migration of millions of Chinese factory workers back to their rural homes for the holiday season, and MICMACS (October 22-24), the latest exercise in tweedom from Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie).

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