Unlike many large, university-heavy urban areas, Dallas-Fort Worth has never hosted an event celebrating the work of young film students. And that's a shame, because once you wade through the usual undergraduate film program combo platter of angst, dreck, technical incompetence, and brain-numbing cliches (I'm-sad-because-I-just-killed-my-girlfriend movies, all-this-nudity-proves-I'm-a-brave-artist movies, I-just-saw-Reservoir Dogs-and-want-to-have-fun-with-blanks-and-squibs movies), there's some mighty interesting student work lurking out there, by people whose naivete and poverty inspire them to take risks that more experienced and better-funded artists wouldn't dare consider.
In terms of sheer variety of work, The University of Texas at Arlington ranks near the top of the state's undergraduate heap. Part of this might be due to osmosis: the program's faculty employs local vets like indie filmmaker Andy Anderson (Positive I.D.), offbeat videomaker Mitch Geller, and ace cinematographer Bob Cook. And word has it that the phenomenally talented UTA student David Jahns, whose cyberpunk short film Dream of the Machine won him a 1993 Best of Dallas citation as "Best New Filmmaking Talent," is currently hanging out there teaching the young uns while he works on various personal projects.
The UTA Film and Video Department's fall show takes place Friday, December 9, from 7-9 p.m. in Room 100 of Nedderman Hall, and it's worth checking out. I can't guarantee that you won't see cliched, bad, or asinine work; I can guarantee, however, that you'll see hardly anything that's boring. Call (817) 273-2891 for directions.
When people talk about silent movies, they often neglect one crucial fact: they weren't silent. Even the earliest narrative shorts were accompanied by music, whether it came from a rusted-out baby grand piano, a toothless old man on bluegrass fiddle, or a 40-piece orchestra at the Radio City Music Hall. To understand this in wondrous totality, check out local jazz-classical ensemble B.L. Lacerta's accompaniment of Charlie Chaplin's classic Yukon comedy The Gold Rush at Club Dada, 2720 Elm, on Thursday, December 8, at 9 p.m. If you've doubted the allure of silent cinema, the experience will make you into a convert. Tickets are $6. Call 744-DADA for more information.
The answer to the trivia question in Rushes two weeks ago was "Gabriel Byrne in Miller's Crossing." For a free pass to an advance screening of the romantic comedy Speechless, identify the film that contains the following line of dialogue and name the actor who delivered it: "We are here to ruin ourselves, and love the wrong people, and die! The storybooks are bullshit!" Call 757-8449 with your answer.
--Matt Zoller Seitz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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