Posted at 11:18 AM on January 11, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Despite suffering from a bit of a cold Sheryl Mousley was in buoyant mood when we chatted about upcoming events in the Walker Art Centers film program. As Film Curator she's just got the line up ready for pretty much the rest of the year, starting with the "Expanding the Frame" series which opens this weekend. She says the Walker wants to present film makers who are expanding the frame literally and figuratively.
"We are really looking for things which are unusual, innovative, the artists that are working with cinema in new ways or challenging us in new ways," she says.
She points to Piotr Uklanski's "Summer Love" which opens the series this weekend. It's a wild homage to the Western complete with gunslingers, a saloon, and a posse, shot entirely in Poland. Under Uklanski's direction the Polish actors deliver their lines in thickly accented English in what is ultimately an allegory on Poland's history during the collapse of communism. Uklanski will introduce the film on Saturday and Sunday.
Mousley is also excited about "Flying," Jennifer Fox's six hour documentary investigation of modern womanhood, which uses interviews gathered in 17 countries.
And there's local film maker Esther Robinson's "A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory." the story of her uncle Danny Williams who apparently committed suicide. He'd worked as an editor for the Maysles Brothers and then for Andy Warhol's Factory where he made more than 20 films.
On January 18-20th Robinson will introduce her documentary, which won the Best Documentary Film award at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival. Also on Sunday the 20th the Walker will present a program of Williams' Factory films, with live musical accompaniment.
The series also includes 2007 Palme d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days" by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu. The film tells the story of a woman having an abortion at a time when the procedure was illegal in Romania. It's Romania's official submission in the Best Foreign Language category for the 2008 Academy Awards.
When "Expanding the Frame" is done the walker then plows into "Women with Vision" in March, pulling in movies from around the world.
In April Milos Forman will come for a Regis Dialog, and as always the Walker will screen a retrospective of his work from his early Czech films, through his Hollywood heyday with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus" right up to his most recent film "Goya's Ghosts" which he made after giving up film making for seven years to concentrate on teaching.
Mousley says she got the idea for the retrospective after seeing Forman's films screened in Prague last year, and then returning to the US just as "Goya" was in theaters. The film is about the turbulent time after Napoleon invaded Spain, and then how the Spanish Inquisition seized control of Spanish life after the French left.
"I thought it hit such a tone of what is going on in the world right now, when we look at what it is when a government or an idea or the church decides to regulate what one can and cannot do," she says. "So I was very curious to show his whole retrospective."
She says Forman's films are all about the triumph of the human spirit against oppression, and they reflect Forman's own struggles. He lost his parents to Nazi concentration camps, and then suffered through the totalitarian regime in his homeland after World War II.
"The time frame that he spans is really the 20th century," Mousley says. "And he has a voice that really can help us see the future because of that."
In May the Walker presents it's "Global Lens" series looking at the best of new world cinema, then in June it's "Queer Takes" the GLBT festival. For "Summer Movies in the Park" Mousley promises films to fit in with the political season.
Mousley says the program at the film department has greatly benefited from the Walker expansion which has given it what amounts to a dedicated cinema.
"It really gives a space where we can show a film more than once, which we are doing with the Danny Williams film, or we can expand the way we think about cinema, so that's been giving us a lot of energy," she says.
You can listen to our conversation here.