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The festival for independent electronic music and political media art, c.sides, will be taking place at Binyenei Ha'uma, the new (temporary) home of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, from August 29-31. Every evening will feature a screening connected to the festival at 7 p.m. You can get further details at the festival's Website, www.csides.net.
Director Tanya Ury, the London-born daughter of German Jewish refugees, will be on hand for a discussion following the screening of her "experimental diary," called Promised Land, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. On Wednesday, director Hito Steyerl will be present at a showing of The Empty Center, a "mixture between video-art and documentary film," about Potsdamer Platz, a square in the center of Berlin.
Anything billed as "experimental" brings to mind Paul Verlaine's usually all-too-apt observation that "Everything changes but the avant-garde," but these two works do sound promising. The festival, which involves performances and discussions lasting all night, could be fun for Jerusalem intellectuals.
THE 63RD VENICE International Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday but, unfortunately, Israeli films will have a lower profile than in previous years. Israel will be represented in the short films category by Shimon Shai's Road Marks. Road Marks, which was shown at this year's Jerusalem Film Festival and won the Wolgin Award for Best Short Film, stars Moshe Ivgy as a tyrannical father whose family turns against him. Shai is a third-year student at the Sam Spiegel School of Film and Television in Jerusalem.
Venice is one of the largest film festivals in Europe, and most of the action there centers on big-budget films, as well as art movies by established directors such as Oliver Stone, Kenneth Branagh and Manoel de Oliveira, all of whom have films showing out of competition. Well-known names Darren Aronofsky (Pi), Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Brian de Palma (Carrie), Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons), and Alain Resnais (Stavisky, Same Old Song) have movies in competition, as does Paul Verhoeven, best known for sexy (and sometimes unintentionally hilarious) Hollywood films such as Basic Instinct and Showgirls.
Verhoeven's Venice entry, Black Book, sounds serious and well-intentioned. It's a thriller about a young German Jewish woman who survives the Holocaust in Holland and later tries to avenge the deaths of her family. But there are hundreds of films showing both in and out of competition, so it's too early to guess which will win or which will generate controversy.
NOW THAT CLINT EASTWOOD is one of Hollywood's most celebrated directors, with two Best Director Oscars to his credit (for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby), it makes sense to look back at his directorial debut, Play Misty for Me (1971), which is showing at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. A low-budget film starring Eastwood, Jessica Walter and a very young Donna Mills (who would later become a big name in primetime soaps when she appeared on Knots Landing), it added a new dimension to Eastwood's career. Previously, he had traded on his macho good looks in a television career (Rawhide) and a handful of spaghetti westerns (A Fistful of Dollars), but there was nothing in his work to suggest that he possessed the intelligence or style to direct a suspenseful, at times terrifying thriller. Misty tells the story of a late-night DJ (Eastwood) who has an ill-considered one-night stand with a listener (Walter), who then turns into a violent stalker. This plot served as the template for many later movies such as Fatal Attraction, but none of them are as scary as Misty. Set on the rugged California coast, it's also great real-estate porn, and is worth seeing on the big screen.
The Jerusalem Cinematheque is also featuring another arresting directorial debut, Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It (1986) on Monday at 9:30 p.m. Although Lee has courted controversy (including charges of reverse racism and anti-Semitism) throughout his 20-year career, and has made more than his share of bombastic and forgettable films, there's no denying the talent on display in She's Gotta Have It. In spite of uneven acting and a meandering storyline, this low-budget tale of a free-spirited young black woman and her three admirers (an uptight buppie, a macho bodybuilder and a goofy bicycle messenger played by Lee) earned the writer/director a permanent place in the indie-film world.