Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray – BIGGER THAN LIFE on 35mm

Bigger Than Life 2

Moving to 20th Century Fox for this indictment of traditional masculinity in the American home — in addition to the perils of substance abuse under a pearly-white façade of self-improvement—Ray contin-ues to hone his storytelling ability, here focusing explicitly on the crisis of the American Dream. Ed Avery (James Mason), a schoolteacher and father, begins experiencing debilitating pain, and, told he has only months to live, begins an experimental treatment with cortisone. But when his pain diminishes, Avery continues on the cortisone, transitioning to an abuser of the drug, which threatens not only his career but also his family and, ultimately, their safety. “In their intricate imbrications of star text, iconic Americana, and insinuating directorial commentary, [BIGGER THAN LIFE and films like it] systematically subverted the reassuring conventions of classical Hollywood.”—Paul Brunick, Film Comment. (95 mins.)

BIGGER THAN LIFE screens Saturday, May 23 at 6pm and Sunday, May 24 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences): EYES WIDE SHUT on 35mm

Eyes Wide Shut

In the late 1990s, near the end of his career, Kubrick, known for his painstakingly crafted visions of Western culture— infused with a deep, unsettling malaise—enlisted Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, at the time Hollywood’s hottest power couple, for a visceral exploration of marital un-fulfillment and existential dread. While at a lavish party, the couple is torn in different directions, both sexual and adulterous, which sets them off on a deeply disconcerting journey that will shake the foundations of their marriage. One of Kubrick’s most unjustly maligned films, and a passion project for which the director had long owned the adaptation rights—the film is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novel TRAUMNOVELLE— EYES WIDE SHUT provides a dream-like, otherworldly vision of late 20th-century upper-crust marital politics. (159 mins.)

EYES WIDE SHUT screens Saturday, May 23 at 2pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences) series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray – REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE on 35mm

Rebel Without a Cause 7

Ray reinvigorated and expanded upon the generational-crisis motif of his earlier works in this Warner Brothers-made, mythical tale of a trio of troubled teens. Jim (James Dean), Plato (Sal Mineo), and Judy (Natalie Wood) meet while in jail, each there for a minor transgression stemming from problems at home. Jim, new to town and at odds with his parents, befriends the outcasts but gets into hot water when he crosses Buzz (Corey Allen), one of Judy’s delinquent “friends.” Jim and Buzz are immediate rivals, but after Buzz has an accident during a game of chicken, his friends latch onto the idea that Jim had something to do with it, setting up a showdown at Los Angeles’ famed Griffith Observatory. Featuring beautiful Cinemascope lensing by Ernest Haller, an unsettling score by Leonard Rosenman, and the nexus of the expansive myth of James Dean following his death just before the film was released, Ray’s film remains a American masterpiece of the era. (111 mins.)

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE screens Friday, May 22 at 7pm and Saturday, May 23 at 8pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences): Alan Clarke’s ELEPHANT

Elephant Alan Clarke

Via the depiction of a series of anonymous murders drawn from real police reports during the late 1980s, Clark offers a highly original, affecting look at the troubles in Northern Ireland. Conceived by Danny Boyle during his tenure at the BBC, Clarke’s film is especially noteworthy for its use of Steadicam 16mm in its view of the Northern Irish countryside gripped by fear, but also for its unflinching—and at the time highly controversial—view on the intense social issues on the forefront of the nation’s mind. (39 mins.)

FREE ADMISSION

 

ELEPHANT screens Thursday, May 21 at 8:45pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences) series.

Essential Gus Van Sant: ELEPHANT on 35mm

elephant (gus)

Winner of the Palme d ‘Or and Best Director awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Van Sant drew inspiration for his key protagonists from the real-life Columbine High School tragedy. Rather than attempting to offer easy explanations, Van Sant creates a highly stylized evocation of a day in the life of a “normal” American high school, conveying a surface that in its very universality provides a telling portrait of an undercurrent of complexity and unease untied to specific events. Long, rhythmic takes and tracking shots subliminally map a topography in the viewer’s mind that is later revisited by the student killers. (81 mins.)

ELEPHANT screens Thursday, May 21 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences) series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Northwest Tracking: A RIVER BETWEEN US

A RIVER BETWEEN US

A three-term State Senator, Jason Atkinson took a sabbatical from politics in 2012 to produce this film about the decades-old water war centered on the river he grew up on. At the heart of the story are four dams along the Klamath River’s over-allocated basin—symbols of freedom and prosperity to some and symbols of the cause of poverty and downfall to others. The sometimes violently opposing views on how to manage this majestic resource have informed generations of conflict between farmers, who need the river’s water; Pacific Power & Light, which manages the dams; environment activists and experts; fisherman; members of the native tribes, who’ve lived and worked along the Klamath River for centuries; and a myriad of federal, state, and local politicians looking for solution. “The film isn’t about fish or water rights, or even a forty-year water war, it’s about the harm people do to each other, and by extension, the damage people have done to one of this country’s greatest wild rivers.”—Jason Atkinson. (90 mins.)

Director Jeff Martin will be in attendance.

 

A RIVER BETWEEN US screens Wednesday, May 20 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our ongoing Northwest Tracking series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Northwest Tracking: DEATH ON A ROCK with director Scott Ballard in attendance

Death on a Rock

Portland filmmaker and Film Center instructor, Scott Ballard’s (A STANDING STILL, WELCOMING DEPARTURE) latest feature follows a young woman coming to terms with a trying event in her life. Lillian’s (Rachael Perrell Fosket) bright outlook—she loves her job in a flower shop and has a sweet budding relationship with her boyfriend (Joe Von Appen)— is rocked by illness. Days spent in long term care at the hospital bring reflection, desperation, and some family tension. This vibrantly shot tale follows Liliian’s year of happiness, pain, and growth, told through flashbacks and drifting between memories and shifting consciousness. Seen through a framework of loss, Death On A Rock is a bittersweet tale balanced between tragedy and levity. (82 mins.)

Director Scott Ballard will be in attendance.

 

DEATH ON A ROCK screens Sunday, May 17 at 4pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our ongoing Northwest Tracking series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray – THE LUSTY MEN on 35mm

The Lusty Men 4

Shot primarily in Pendleton, Oregon, THE LUSTY MEN was produced during the Howard Hughes RKO era, a period of relative financial failure. Naturally, Ray does his best with meager resources, directing Robert Mitchum as Jeff McCloud, an injured cowboy who decides to hang it up and return to his hometown after many years away. He signs on with a local ranch and quickly befriends Wes (Arthur Kennedy), a fellow hand with big dreams, who convinces Jeff to train him in the rodeo. Wes’s wife Louise (Susan Hayward) sees the reality of ranch-hand life, however, and fears that Wes is going down the wrong path. Despite immediate success and minor fame, Wes must grapple with this harsh reality when Jeff, by now fully washed-up, decides to re-enter the rodeo. “This film is not a Western. This film is really a film about people who want a home of their own.”—Nicholas Ray. (113 mins.)

THE LUSTY MEN screens Saturday, May 16 at 7pm and Sunday, May 24 at 4:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences): WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES on 35mm

werckmeister harmonies

During the Soviet era in a bleak and brutal unnamed town on the Hungarian plain, a mysterious circus arrives in the dead of night touting the appearance of the biggest whale in the world. Despite the fact that it’s only a carcass, in the following days people gather from miles around, slowly filling the dreary hamlet. János, a young, average citizen, along with his uncle György, a composer in the romantic vein, live a peaceful existence. However, the Prince, the faceless, magnetic authority behind the circus, has the power to incite riots and chaos—which, as the mob increases in size and fury, threatens the already tenuous existence of the small town and its inhabitants. Shot in glorious black and white, meticulously paced, lit, and edited, WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES remains one of contemporary cinema’s most influential works. (145 mins.)

WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES screens Saturday, May 16 at 2pm and Sunday, May 17 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences) series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray – IN A LONELY PLACE on 35mm

In this second of two collaborations with Humphrey Bogart, Ray portrays the murderous side of the movie business, Bogart starring as Dixon “Dix” Steele, a down-on-his-luck, drunkard screenwriter with a proclivity to extreme fits of rage. When Dix is accused of murdering a young woman hired to help him with a script, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame)—a neighbor who can’t quite see what Dix is made of—comes to his rescue by providing an alibi. With Dix cleared, the two enter into a torrid love affair, and Laurel falls victim to Dix’s considerable charm while helping him get on the wagon and renew his career. But in true noir fashion, all that seems well can’t last, and Laurel comes to realize that Dix isn’t quite who she thought he was. “A superb example of the mature Hollywood studio system at the top of its form.”—Roger Ebert. (94 mins.)

IN A LONELY PLACE screens Friday, May 15 at 7pm and Saturday, May 16 at 5pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

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