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A Tribute to William Eggleston: Photography and Film


A Tribute to William Eggleston: Photography and Film

Thursday, November 4th at 7:30 pm

NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1959/color/131 min./VistaVision
Scr: Ernest Lehman; dir: Alfred Hitchcock; w/ Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau.

In Hitchcock's thrilling chase movie, debonair adman Grant is wrongly fingered as the secret operative behind a UN murder and hits the road pursued by everything from enemy agents, a homicidal crop duster and ravishing Eva Marie Saint. A classic Hitchcockian parable of guilt by mistaken identity that culminates in an edge-of-the-seat tussle on Mount Rushmore, North by Northwest dazzles with its high-modernist VistaVision compositions, thunderous Bernard Herrmann score and labyrinthine plot twists. "It was in North By Northwest that I first discovered how well color can be used."—William Eggleston.

Friday, November 5th at 7:30 pm

MYSTERY TRAIN 1989/color/110 min.
Scr/dir: Jim Jarmusch; w/ Masatoshi Nagase, Youki Kudoh, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Joe Strummer, Steve Buscemi, Cinqué Lee.

In Jim Jarmusch's first color film, shot by longtime Wim Wenders cinematographer Robby Müller, Eggleston's hometown of Memphis is paid homage. "Set in the mythic birthplace of American popular music, Mystery Train consists of three separate stories that pass through the same ramshackle hotel. Each involves a different type of outsider: tourists with an itinerary, an accidental visitor on a forced layover, an immigrant who has lost his bearings. Mystery Train is a puzzle movie as humanist manifesto. The cubist structure, descended from Rashomon, allows for a strong sense of place to emerge, a selectively depicted Memphis—a Memphis of Jarmusch's mind—that we get to know as we see the same parts of town over and over, from slightly different angles and under slightly different circumstances. Mystery Train mostly hangs out in the city's run-down pockets, a half-dead zone of abandoned lots, boarded-up storefronts, and newspapered windows. We never see Graceland, though we do stumble upon the more modest Sun Studio. Much of our time is spent in the vicinity of the hotel, a flavorsome fleabag with battered furniture, peeling walls, and an Elvis portrait in every room, the kind of place that might have inspired Jarmusch's fellow road-trippers and Americana connoisseurs Edward Hopper and Robert Frank."—Dennis Lim.

Friday, November 5th at 9:30 pm

TRUE STORIES 1986/color/90 min.
Scr: David Byrne, Beth Henley, Stephen Tobolowsky; dir: David Byrne; w/ David Byrne, John Goodman, Spalding Gray.

Inspired by tabloid clippings, David Byrne's only feature film is a faux documentary set in the fictional Texas town of Virgil. Sporting a black Stetson and driving a cherry-red convertible, the Talking Heads front man, accompanied behind-the-scenes by Eggleston and cinematographer Ed Lachman, explores this suburban oasis of tract housing, computer factories and gaudy shopping malls on the edge of vast, empty plains. Reveling in the surreal Americana of lawnmower parades, cumbersome gadgetry, and Astroturf fashion, True Stories is a visionary work of absurdist comedy set to some of Byrne's catchiest music. "This movie does what some painters try to do: It recasts ordinary images into strange new shapes. There is hardly a moment in True Stories that doesn't seem everyday to anyone who has grown up in Middle America, and not a moment that doesn't seem haunted with secrets, evasions, loneliness, depravity or hidden joy—sometimes all at once. This is almost like a science-fiction movie: Everyone on screen looks so normal and behaves so oddly, they could be pod people."—Roger Ebert.

Saturday, November 6th at 9:00 pm

TRASH HUMPERS 2009/color/78 min.
Scr/dir: Harmony Korine; w/ Harmony Korine, Rachel Korine, Brian Kotzur, Travis Nicholson

Korine's ghoulish comedy follows a group of elderly troublemakers as they torment Nashville's suburbs. This band of mutant miscreants—the agility of their bodies betraying the ripples of drooping flesh on their faces—improvise pranks for the squealing delight of their cameraman. Shot on low-grade stock rendering everything in a smeared VHS haze, Korine's fearless provocation is inspired in part by Eggleston's freewheeling 1974 video Stranded in Canton (screening at The Cinefamily on November 2) in which the photographer documents the nighttime antics of friends, family, and oddball types.

Free with panel admission, $5 for film only.