Liz Takes Center Place, Wide-Screen Cinemascope Celebrated on Special Weekend, "Close Up and Black" Exhibition Highlights African-Americans in Film, And Orson's Oscar® Up For Grabs.

(August 2003)

  • Liz Taylor is the star player in the festival taking place this summer at the Netherlands Filmmuseum in the Vondelpark. Screenings of her best (and worst) films will continue through September 3rd. Among the toppers scheduled are Joseph L. Mankiewicz's "Suddenly, Last Summer" and Mike Nichols' "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". Let's hope this all cheers her up a bit, considering the recent incidents she's forced to endure concerning her groundkeeper, Willem van Muyden, and her butler, Luc Lacquement. More information about the Summer of Liz (the one taking place on screen) at: www.filmmuseum.nl.

  • In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Cinemascope format, a wide-screen weekend will commence on August 22nd, will take place at the Netherlands Filmmuseum at their located at the Cinerama Cinema near the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. Among the features to be screened are: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "Brainstorm" (1983), "Krakatoa, East of Java" (1968), "Circus World" (1964), "That's Entertainment" (1974), "Porgy and Bess" (1959), "Silk Stockings" (1957), "Raintree County" (1957) >>there's our Liz again!<<, "Les Mans" (1971), and "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962). More information about screening times available at: www.filmmuseum.nl.

  • Take advantage of the early introduction to an upcoming festival on August 21st and 22nd (21:00 hours) at the Marie Heinekenplein (Marie Heineken Square) as two of the representative films from "Africa in the Picture" are screened in the open-air during these two wonderful and sultry Dutch evenings. Not only is it the perfect introduction to the festivities on offer, but it's absolutely free!

    Africa can be found indoors next month in Amsterdam (as well as in Rotterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht, and Eindhoven) between September 3rd and 14th at the seventh bi-annual edition of the "Africa in the Picture" festival. Both the largest and most swinging African film festival to be found in Europe, it offers a mixture of feature films and short films as well as documentaries. The schedule includes the two films to be shown this month on the Heinekenplein:
    August 21st: Yamina Bachir's "Rachida" (in Arabic with Dutch subtitles)
    August 22nd: Moussa Sne Absa's "Madame Brouette" (in French with English subtitles).

    "Rachida" takes place in Algiers and is the story of a teacher in a working class neighborhood. One morning on the way to school, she is attacked by a gang of terrorists that includes some of her past students. After being asked to place a bomb in the school and refusing, the gang retaliates by shooting her in the stomach. Everyone runs away and leaves Rachida bleeding on the street. Surviving this attack, she moves to a village far away from the city, but makes a surprising discovery there.

    "Madame Brouette" is the story of Mati, nicknamed Madame Brouette, who has already been through a divorce and no longer has any interest in men. She pushes her cart of wares through the streets at Sandaga marketplace while dreaming of someday opening her own restaurant. When she meets the charming policeman Naago, who is free with his money as well as his pretty words, Mati falls in love once again. When she discovers she's pregnant, however, her father shows her the door and Mati is in for a rude awakening after entering the real world surrounding her police officer.

    These films are two of the high points from the "Africa in the Picture" festival next month. Filmtheater Rialto is the main location in Amsterdam. Besides some eighty films and dozens of guests, there will be a symposium, workshops, a school's program and a number of interviews that take place at Rialto's Filmcafé. More information about the schedules as well as the entire festival is available at: www.africainthepicture.nl.

  • The 30th edition of the Flanders Film Festival music highlights the symbiotic effect of music on film and vice versa once again. Guest of honor this time at the World Soundtrack Awards evening will be French composer Maurice Jarre, famed for his compositions heard in such films as "Ghost", "Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago", and "Dead Poets Society". He will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for his enormous career, body of work, and dedication. Winner of the World Soundtrack Awards in 2001 and 2002, Patrick Doyle, will be performing live at this year's events and Oscar winner Nicola Piovani will round off the festival with a panorama of scores from Italian movies. Ticket sales for the World Soundtrack Awards concert and the closing night with Nicola Piovani have already started during July. More information available at: www.filmfestival.be.

  • Principle photography started during the heat wave last month (and will continue during the tropical heat wave this month) on the new romantic comedy "Feestje" ("Party"). Director Ruud van Hemert ("Schatjes!", "Mama is Boos") has lined up a cast including Antonie Kamerling and Daphne Bunskoek alongside such familiar names as Chantal Janzen, Beau van Erven Dorens, Guus Dam and Trudy Labij. This party is set for release in February of next year.

  • Warner Bros. has recently obtained the rights for the Flemish/Dutch co-production "Verder Dan De Maan" ("Further Than The Moon"), due for release this autumn, Directed by Belgian Stijn Coninx who has scored previous successes as "Daens", "Hector", and "Koko Flanel".

  • Ever heard of Beatrice Welles? She's the renowned filmmaker's youngest daughter who recently offered up her father's 1942 "Citizen Kane" best screenplay Oscar® for auction at Christie's. Don't gasp, all you terrified buffs, because the golden man was saved at the last moment by the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who purchased it for the princely sum of one dollar after it was withdrawn from auction. Since 1950 all recipients of these statuettes have had to sign an agreement which offers the Academy first right of purchase (at this same price) for any Oscar® intended for sale by its owner. Although this particular Oscar® pre-dates the agreement, the Academy successfully evoked the agreement at the auction last month when the prize appeared among the Welles memorabilia on offer. It looks like it will now more properly find a home where countless admirers can get a glance at it. Is "O" for Oscar or Orson? Looks like he's still up to his old games. F is for Fun.

  • A unique and extensive collection of film posters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will go on display at the California African American Museum beginning August 7. "Close Up in Black: African American Film Posters" was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), in collaboration with the Smithsonian's Anacostia Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Academy. It chronicles the journey of American actors, directors, writers, designers, camera crews, technicians and graphic artists who fell in love with a medium and brought their talents to its service. Because many of these artists lived during and through times of social, political and cultural segregation, "Close Up in Black" illuminates the journey of a nation as well as an art form. The exhibition continues at the California African American Museum through October 11th. This will be the exhibition's only Los Angeles stop on its two-and-one-half-year national tour. The Museum is located at 600 State Drive in Exposition Park. Admission is free, parking is $6. For more information about the exhibition visit: www.oscars.org or by calling (+1) 310-247-3000, ext. 185.

    In conjunction with the exhibition, the Academy will screen two musicals (Friday, August 15, at 7:30 p.m., in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater), each an example of the ways African Americans were portrayed in studio films of their respective eras. "Hallelujah" (1929) tells the melodramatic tale of a Southern field hand's struggle to become a virtuous preacher. Directed and produced by King Vidor, "Hallelujah" will be presented in a new sepia-toned print, made to replicate the film's original release print, courtesy of Warner Bros. and the collection of Martin Scorsese. The film's screenplay was written by Wanda Tuchock, Ransom Rideout and Richard Schayer, based on the story of the same name by Vidor. "Carmen Jones" (1954) stars Dorothy Dandridge in her landmark Oscar-nominated performance. The cast also includes Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey and Roy Glenn. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film also features the screen debuts of Diahann Carroll and Brock Peters. Herschel Burke Gilbert earned a nomination for the film's musical score. The screenplay was written by Harry Kleiner.

  • Speaking about exhibitions, there are a little more than two weeks left to see the work of Sir Kenneth Adam (winner of two Oscars® for "Barry Lyndon" -1975- and "The Madness of King George" -1994- and nominee for five Academy Awards® in the category of Art Direction) at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before it closes on Sunday, August 17. The war room from "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," the interior of Fort Knox in "Goldfinger" (1964), and the gadgetry and intimidating interiors of several other films in the James Bond series are but a few examples of the work for which he is admired. Installed in both the Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor Galleries of the Academy, "'Moonraker', 'Strangelove' and Other Celluloid Dreams: The Visionary Art of Ken Adam" includes original production design sketches, models and large format set photographs. This exhibition recently concluded successful runs at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Frankfurt Filmmuseum and the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. (Shame it didn't turn up in Holland!) Free and open to the public, gallery viewing hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

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