I am none too pleased about how my AFI Dallas International Film Festival schedule worked out for today: Instead of attending the Very Special Screening of Frederick Wiseman's Neiman Marcus documentary The Store, scheduled for the AMC NorthPark at 4:15 p.m., I'll be moderating a 5:30 panel about the state of indie film post-Slumdog Millionaire. Double damn. Which shouldn't stop you from heading to NorthPark -- especially since the screening's free to all comers, though it's said to be "cut off." (Me, I just ordered the DVD -- only cost $29.95. So, there's that.)
Plenty of highlights otherwise today, chief among them the debut of writer-turned-director Guillermo Arriaga's The Burning Plain starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger in a story whose slow-to-unfold format will feel familiar to those who've seen Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros, all of which Arriaga wrote. It screens at NorthPark at 7:30 p.m. Another must-see is Robert Kenner's Food, Inc., otherwise known as the documentary about what's in what we eat that's sure to turn you off food (veggies too) for, oh, ever? Really, try walking out of the Magnolia following the 7:30 screening and grabbing a bite 'round the corner afterward. Dare you. (The fest shoulda double-billed it with Hunger.)
If you're dying to see a thawed-out Ice Storm set in Long Island starring Alec Baldwin, Tim Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, the two Culkin brothers not named Macaulay and copious Star Wars references, there's always the Sundance dramedy Lymelife at 10:15 at the Magnolia. Classic-funk fetishists should line-up early for Jeffrey Levy-Hinte's Soul Power, which is essentially the performances from James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers and myriad others left on the cutting-room floor during the making of When We Were Kings. This rumble in the jungle sparks up at 7 p.m. at the NorthPark.
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But my personal pick of the day? Hint: It's a locally made mash-up scored to, among others, the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix and Vietfuckingnam. And, right, that's the poster above. Hint hint.
Yesterday at the Nasher Sculpture Center, I moderated a panel on copyright -- or copywrong, depending on your interpretation of a law that disallows the reconfiguring of culture even when it's rendered unrecognizable. Among those seated on the panel was Justin Wilson, the Red Animal War-rior who works by day cutting spots at Charlie Uniform Tango. Wilson's among three editors (along with Jack Waldrip and Tony Wann) credited for assembling a doc making its fest-circuit bow in the AFI: One Nation: 1968 in Picture and Sound.
The doc's precisely what it sounds like: a running history of 1968 represented by TV news clips and songs from the period, sans any further running commentary. It's a a brilliant concept that runs a wee bit too long, but no matter -- you've never seen anything like it, as the threesome render a history lesson a living, breathing document. And you'd best take advantage of these two screenings (tonight's at 7:15 at the NorthPark, and Wednesday's is at 4:15 p.m. at the Magnolia), because it may never screen again -- at least, not till HBO comes calling and demands the trio turn their one-off into a series. Because, see, given the myriad copyright issues involved, the thing probably won't see the dark of a theater outside the festival circuit, where limited rights are significantly easier and cheaper to acquire. So act now.
The trailer's below. Dig it.
One Nation Trailer