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Film Scene: SCAD Savannah Film Fest continues, disco on Tybee and ‘Dr. Strangelove’

 

Film Scene: SCAD Savannah Film Fest continues, disco on Tybee and ‘Dr. Strangelove’

02 Nov 2017

Those of you who still have not managed to catch any screenings or panel discussions at this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival still have a few days left to take in a bevy of the year’s most acclaimed and/or promising features from around the globe, as that major annual event continues through the evening of Nov. 4.

So far, there have been several truly outstanding gems shown at the fest (some of which will likely be major contenders come awards season) and I’ve been lucky enough to see my fair share of them. Please head here for reviews of some of those motion pictures, if you’re so inclined.

Emotional journey

Looking ahead to the next seven days’ worth of alternative cinema happenings in our area (other than the film fest, that is), FathomEvents has four different high-def digital streaming events taking place in corporate multiplexes in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, starting with a Nov. 2 engagement of the just-released indie documentary “I’ll Push You,” which received the well-known Newport Beach Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award for Best Doc. It’s the true tale of two lifelong friends who join together on a 500-mile hike that takes more than a month to accomplish.

Their path takes them through the mountainous desert locale of Northern Spain, and, if that did not sound difficult enough, one of the pair is confined to a wheelchair, due to a neurological disease. Hence the title. This one sounds extremely emotional, no? Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at both the Regal Stadium 10 and Bluffton, S.C.’s Cinemark. Admission prices to all films in this column can be found in the accompanying sidebar listings.

Big-screen Pokemon

A few nights later on Nov. 5, the AMC Savannah 11 (formerly known as the Carmike Wynnsong) and Bluffton’s Cinemark both host Fathom’s premiere of “Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!” It’s the latest full-length animated film based on the incredibly successful cartoon series/plastic toy/videogame franchise. Now, just based on the title alone, you’re either gonna rush to see this or avoid it like the plague, so there’s really no point in me adding anything of substance about this particular film, right? It screens at 12:55 p.m. that day and again at 7 p.m. the following night at both venues, and is dubbed in spoken English.

Wrestler’s rise and fall

Just two days after that, Fathom has another “faith-based” documentary up for grabs. Digital streaming events featuring “faith-based”(read: Christian-oriented) docs have become something of a cottage industry for this and a few other companies that specialize on squirting niche content into otherwise empty auditoriums, and urging Protestant clergy to mobilize their flocks to support these events with their wallets and pocketbooks.

The result is that Evangelicals and Fundamentalists now have a wide variety of rather exclusionary big-screen entertainment to choose from. However, many folks in that demographic would counter that they have been quite underserved for decades now, as it has taken the advent of narrowcasting and the use of digital programming (as opposed to 35 mm prints which were expensive to create and prohibitively pricey to ship from theater to theater) to facilitate the boom in such titles. This time out, it’s “The Price of Fame,” a new feature which purports to be a tell-all portrait of real-life professional wrestler Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase, who was not only considered one of the most technically proficient athletes in his field, but also stood out as portraying one of the most villainous characters in that highly scripted fantasy world.

DiBiase’s namesake son directs this look at his father’s “rise, fall and redemption.” Sound familiar? The film includes appearances by such old-school wrestling luminaries as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and “Mean” Gene Okerlund. 7 p.m. showtime Nov. 7 at the Regal Stadium 10 and Bluffton’s Cinemark.

‘Mully’ encore

Then finally, on Nov. 9 at the same two venues, Fathom presents yet another encore showing of the newly released inspirational documentary “Mully.” It profiles Charles Mully, a man who was abandoned by his family at the tender age of 6 in poverty-stricken Kenya, yet raised himself on the streets — eventually becoming a wealthy man determined to use that hard-won wealth and influence to help Kenya’s huge orphan community. It screens at 7 p.m.

Scandi-Noir

Moving to downtown Savannah, the Psychotronic Film Society (the longest-running independent cinema organization in the area)continues its ongoing Wednesday night series of overlooked, underappreciated and otherwise marginalized feature films Nov. 8 with a rare public viewing of “Girl with Hyacinths” at The Sentient Bean.

Virtually unknown in the U.S., where it has never been officially released on home video in any format, this incredibly under-the-radar black-and-white Swedish mystery drama is considered one of the earliest and best examples of so-called “Scandi-Noir,” or the Scandinavian genre of crime dramas and suspense thrillers rooted in the initial wave of Hollywood film noir of the 1940s and early 1950s.

Shot in 1949 and released in Sweden in 1950, it also played theatrically in Finland in 1953, and was essentially forgotten until it was showcased in a retrospective at Taiwan’s Taipei Film Festival in 2012. Directed by Hasse Ekman, it’s the tale of a man who doggedly investigates the final hours of his late neighbor, a beautiful yet secretive young girl named Dagmar Brink who has mysteriously committed suicide.

Beautifully photographed and ably acted, this lost gem impresses most who view it. In fact, it led no less a filmic genius than iconic Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (“The Seventh Seal,” “Persona”) to declare this unpretentious motion picture “An absolute masterpiece… Perfect.” Showtime is 8 p.m., with discounts on organic wine and craft beer during the screening.

For the veterans

The next night, Nov. 9, is jam-packed with disparate cinematic events, starting with a special, one-show-only engagement of the new indie documentary “Blood Road” at downtown’s Service Brewing Co. This acclaimed true story of a high-endurance female mountain biker who pedals 1,200 miles along Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh trail in search of answers pertaining to her father’s death in that country is being presented by MountainFilm on Tour Savannah as its annual Veterans Day movie.

These Veterans Day weekend screenings of military-themed documentaries at this veteran-owned brewery have become something of a tradition, and are free to all veterans (the public can purchase tickets in advance or at the door). Special guests with a connection to the country and the military will be on hand to discuss the movie afterward, and there is a reception with food and drink at 5:30 p.m., with the film showing at 6:30 p.m. See my feature article here for more details on this noteworthy event.

Satire at its finest

A couple of hours after that Service Brewing screening kicks off, Trustees Theater offers another in its SCAD Cinema Circle series of classic and/or influential motion pictures when it screens director Stanley Kubrick’s infamous 1964 satirical smash “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

Starring Peter Sellers (“The Pink Panther”), George C. Scott (“Hardcore”) and Slim Pickens (“Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid”), it’s a farce concerning a mentally unstable U.S. Air Force general who orders a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The film deals with the frantic machinations of the president of the United States, his advisers and other government figures as they scramble to “defuse” the situation and stop an impending atomic holocaust.

Co-written by Kubrick, counterculture author and provocateur Terry Southern and novelist Peter George (who also wrote the book the script was based on), it stands as one of the quintessential examples of ‘60s cinema, and is listed at No. 3 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Comedies of the Last 100 Years.

If you’ve never seen “Strangelove,” or never seen it uncut on the big screen as its creators intended, now is your best chance to do so. As with all Cinema Circle screenings, the film will be introduced by local film historians and educators, who will also lead a post-show discussion with the audience on the movie’s making and legacy. This time around, those hosts will be Oscar-winning sound editor David Stone and yours truly. Please join us if you can. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Disco island

And finally, at 7 p.m. the same night out on Tybee Island, the historic Tybee Post Theater offers up another of its monthly “Date Nights,” featuring a beloved film in which some sort of romance plays a key role in the plot, paired with a glass of wine and a small piece of chocolate — all for one low admission price. This month, it’s director John Badham’s 1977 drama “Saturday Night Fever,” starring a young John Travolta as Tony Manera, an undereducated Brooklyn hunk who devotes himself to becoming a standout disco dancer in New York City’s drug- and sex-fueled nightlife scene of the mid-1970s.

What may sound like a lighthearted romp is actually a fairly grim and depressing tale of teen angst, gang violence and casual misogyny. However, the film’s soundtrack is packed with era-defining dance tunes and shattered sales records at the time, propelling the film into an international sensation and promoting discotheque culture worldwide. It’s routinely shown on cable TV in a heavily edited form; however, this screening should feature the full-length, uncensored theatrical cut. Showtime is 7 p.m.

PFS fundraiser

Don’t forget: The Psychotronic Film Society’s big fundraiser at the Lucas Theatre takes place the very next night, Nov. 10. The Lucas is one of only a couple of handfuls of U.S. theaters screening the just-released, 40th anniversary digital 4K restoration of famed director Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece of supernatural horror, “Suspiria.” Tickets are on sale now at the Savannah Box Office for what will surely be one of the scariest and most beautifully made films to be shown in our area all year. Look for a full article on “Suspiria” in next week’s Do, and I hope you can all attend.

See you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don’t forget to turn off that cell phone.

Jim Reed directs Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Email psychotronicfilms@hotmail.com.

 

IF YOU GO

What: SCAD Savannah Film Festival

When: Through Nov. 4

Where: Downtown Savannah

Cost: $5 and up

Info: filmfest.scad.edu

 

What: “I’ll Push You”

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $14.98

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!”

When: 12:55 p.m. Nov. 5 and 7 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: AMC Savannah 11, 1150 Shawnee St., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “The Price of Fame”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 7

Where: Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Girl with Hyacinths”

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 8

Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Blood Road”

When: 5:30 p.m. Nov. 9 (film at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Service Brewing Co., 574 Indian St.

Cost: $15; free to veterans

Info: mountainfilmsav.org, 912-344-1278

 

What: “Mully”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 9

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $14.98

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 9

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $5-$8 or free with SCAD ID

Info: savannahboxoffice.com

 

What: “Saturday Night Fever”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 9

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10, includes glass of wine and chocolate

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

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