Johns Hopkins Film Fest
Published: March 30, 2011
Johns Hopkins Film Fest
At the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus March 31-April 3
The 15th annual Johns Hopkins Film Fest runs March 31-April 3 at the Homewood campus, kicking off March 31 at Gilman Hall with the panel discussion “Film Fest Forum: Baltimore, Film, and the Arts,” featuring filmmaker Matthew Porterfield, video artist Jimmy Joe Roche, and visual artists Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrom and Andrew Laumann. Admission is free to JHU students and affiliates with proper ID; $5 per screening general admission, with day passes running $10 and a festival pass $20. Visit hopkinsfilmfest.com for a complete schedule of shorts and the Young Filmmakers Showcase.
BEAUTIFUL LOSERS Usually it takes a good 20 years to start romanticizing your youth, but thanks to the acceleration of everything, we’ve been putting just yesterday in amber for almost a decade now. Witness the hagiography Beautiful Losers, which follows the 1990s emergence and rise of a group of artists passing through the Alleged Gallery located in New York’s Lower East Side. Owned/curated by Aaron Rose—one of Loser’s co-directors—Alleged transplanted the punk/DIY ethos into New York’s art world with vibrant and commercially successful results, thanks in large part to the artists who migrated through it: Chris Johanson, Shepard Fairey, Harmony Korine, Margaret Kilgallen, Barry McGee, Mike Mills, Ed Templeton, and others, all featured and interviewed here. Hours of footage were culled to tell the artists’ stories and their almost meteoric rise in the mid- to late 1990s, but the entire affair feels self-serving, like a feature-length advertisement for the traveling exhibit of the same name and its book monograph. And all everyone can recall about Alleged’s gestation and evolution is that it was filled with people who just wanted to share ideas and create things. Isn’t that what adult artists, you know, do? (Bret McCabe) At Shriver Hall April 1 at 8 p.m.
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP Don’t be misled by Banksy’s director’s credit: Exit Through the Gift Shop isn’t about the British street-art provocateur who has bombed everything from the Israeli West Bank barrier to the interior walls of the Tate Britain with his insouciantly political works, nor is it about the 1990s through 2000s explosion of street art from the sides of buildings into white-box galleries. Instead, Exit’s narrative follows Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman in America who starts videotaping street artists before deciding to become a street-artist brand himself as Mr. Brainwash. “Brand” is the operative word here, for if this frenetic doc is about anything, it’s about how absolute bullshit becomes marketable product able to fetch inordinate sums of money. An unmistakable middle finger to the so-called art market and the people who power it. (BM) At Shriver Hall April 1 at 10 p.m .
PIERROT LE FOU Every Godard fan has a favorite movie from his prolific 1960s first decade of filmmaking—some favor the intimate black-and-white pictures of the early 1960s, some the increasingly structuralist poisonous political allegories of the late 1960s in Made in USA, La Chinoise, and Week-End. Pierrot le fou, his 1965 outing and first color picture, straddles the two eras, emerging as the closest Godard ever came to making a purely Pop Art movie. Advertising imagery and its imperative aphoristic speak collide with an unabashed love for cinematic genres and a still giddy intellect as Jean-Paul Belmondo’s Pierrot leaves his wife and takes up with Anna Karina’s Marianne—who happens to have a dead body in her flat—and the pair hit the road on the lam. Cinematographer Raoul Coutard wryly frames Godard’s cinematic allusions, catches every hot primary color in the director’s glossy-magazine compositions, and indulges in the high-contrast tints used during certain sequences and disorienting closeups. The U.S. escalation in Vietnam informs the movie’s elusive politics, but not even that shadow can tarnish the glee of Karina singing “Ma ligne de chance” or Samuel Fuller’s brief cameo. Arguably the last time Godard’s mind distilled cinematic pleasure purely for its own sake. (BM) At Shriver Hall April 2 at 7:30 p.m.
THE WIZARD OF OZ Everyone’s seen it—it must be the most-rerun movie in TV history. But how long has it been since you sat down and watched it—as a film, not as an iconic strip of celluloid Americana? First, check out the art direction—pretty trippy for 1939, eh? And forget the fantastical setting and story for a moment and get a load of the performances. Judy Garland bleeds vulnerability right off the screen as Dorothy, and Ray “Scarecrow” Bolger, Jack “Tin Man” Haley, and Bert “Cowardly Lion” Lahr are even funnier, sweeter, and more skilled under close examination. And while “Over the Rainbow” is the acknowledged classic number, Harold Arlen wasn’t wasting his score paper on the likes of “If I Only Had a Heart” either. You can spend 101 minutes contemplating the film as a thoroughgoing allegory for the political situation in late 19th-century America (seriously—type “wizard oz political allegory” into a search engine and see what comes up). Or you can just sit back and take in one of cinema’s most beloved and influential works, as it was meant to be seen. And if you know one, take a kid who hasn’t seen it before, because he or she won’t get many chances to see it like this. (Lee Gardner) At Shriver Hall April 3 at 4 p.m .