Sometimes I forget just how close to Buffalo Rochester’s George Eastman House is, and that’s a major oversight. Many, many films that never make it to Buffalo screen at Eastman’s Dryden Theatre, including August’s “Reality” and “Post Tenebras Lux.”
But the real score is “The Act of Killing.” It is no exaggeration to say that Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary is the most acclaimed film of 2013, and that makes its two Rochester screenings — 8 p.m. on August 16 and 2 p.m. on August 18 — important WNY cultural events.
The controversial film about 1960s Indonesian death squad members who murdered thousands of dissenters actually features the subjects themselves reenacting the killings. You can see how that would be controversial, right?
Two greats, Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, are executive producers, and both had insightful remarks on “Act of Killing.”
“I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade … unprecedented in the history of cinema.”
“Like all great documentaries, ‘The Act of Killing’ demands another way of looking at reality. It starts as a dreamscape, an attempt to allow the perpetrators to reenact what they did, and then something truly amazing happens. The dream dissolves into nightmare and then into bitter reality. An amazing and impressive film.”
It is, then, a film about history, but also about cinema itself. I can’t wait to see it.
Now, on to the rest of this week’s round-up:
- More George Eastman news: a lost Orson Welles film is found, and is coming to Rochester.
- TIFF’s Cameron Bailey looks at some “undiscovered” films playing the festival — which starts in 22 days!
- In other TIFF news, Indiewire looks at all that has been announced so far.
- This made major waves over the weekend: new footage from Jerry Lewis’s “The Day the Clown Cried.”
- Richard Brody on “vulgar auteurism.”
- The New York Times profiles “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” director David Lowery.
- The Playlist on directors who “hit the reset button” with low-budget films.
- Also from The Playlist, watch the episode of “Agatha Christie’s Marple” directed by one Nicholas Winding Refn.
- A detailed analysis of “Inland Empire.”
- Jonathan Rosenbaum on Spielberg’s “A.I.”
- James Cameron has announced THREE (!) “Avatar” sequels. So why is no one excited?
- And last but not least, here is my review of “Elysium: The Art of the Film” for The Film Stage.
A scene from the documentary “The Act of Killing”; courtesy of Drafthouse Films.