Friday, August 31, 2007

Films for a Long Holiday weekend

Technically this weekend marks the end of summer. I say technically because we who have lived here for awhile know that just because it is Labor Day, that doesn’t end the summer like weather in our beach side paradise. So, what will you be doing?? BBQing?? Hanging at the beach?? Or escaping the heat by staying home and watching a few good films. Here are some recommendations for films you might have missed (all available at HBPL):

Story of the Weeping Camel: I saw this film a few years ago at the Toronto Film Festival and it was one of my absolute favorites that year. It is based in Mongolia and follows the trials and solutions used by a nomadic tribe to get a mother camel to accept her new baby. Heart wrenching but charming. It was nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2005. Although it didn’t win the Oscar, its directors did win the Directors Guild award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary.

Little Dieter Needs to Fly: This documentary was made by celebrated documentary filmmaker, Werner Herzog. Herzog has another movie in the theaters now. That film is called “Rescue Dawn”. Why do I bring that up? Because Rescue Dawn is the fictionalized version of what happened to Dieter Dengler, the subject of both films. Dengler was a boy in Germany and survived Allied bombings during WWII. He became fascinated by the pilots and when he turned 18 he came to America and became one.

The Machinist: I was lucky enough to see this film at the Chicago Film festival. I was totally blown away by Christian Bales’ performance. Trevor Reznik (Bale) is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn't slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home. A mesmerizing film.

Twelve Chairs: Just last weekend I was up in Seattle to see the new musical “Young Frankenstein” based on the Mel Brooks movie. Although it is a terrific movie (available at HBPL), it is not my favorite Mel Brooks film. My favorite is probably one of his least known. The Twelve Chairs stars Ron Moody and a very young Frank Langella as two men trying to locate 12 dining-room chairs, once owned by a wealthy woman who confesses on her deathbed that years before she had secreted all her jewels in the upholstery of one of them. It is funny and touching at the same time.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

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