Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences): THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK on 35mm

The Times of Harvey Milk

Epstein’s landmark portrait of Harvey Milk (1930-1978), the first openly gay public-office-holder in United States history, retains its original power through the use of extensive archival footage that brings Milk’s singular, infectious charisma into clear view. Milk, a small business owner in San Francisco’s Castro district, ran for city office in an attempt to uphold community, rather than succumb to corporate interests. But upon election and brief service was, in late 1978, assassinated along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, by rival politician Dan White. Epstein covers Milk’s early life, political service, and the aftermath of his untimely death with aplomb, creating both a portrait of a fearless man and a city overcome with terrible grief over a senseless tragedy. Winner, Academy Award for Best Documentary. (90 mins.)

THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK screens Thursday, June 4 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.

Essential Gus Van Sant: LAST DAYS on 35mm

Last Days

Michael Pitt portrays a hauntingly familiar figure in this meditation—dedicated to Kurt Cobain—on the final days in the life of a famed musician retreating from the clamor of the world and its myriad, insistent demands. “Success is subjective,” an earnest Yellow Pages salesman tells Blake (Pitt), as he invites him to consider how a directory listing may best serve his “business needs.” Blake, however, doesn’t need more calls and prefers to wander the grounds of his secluded estate, build himself a campfire and ironically sing “Home on the Range” to no one in particular. (97 mins.)

LAST DAYS screens Thursday, May 28 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.

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.

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.)

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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.

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.

Essential Gus Van Sant: GERRY

Gerry 2

Filmed in the stunning deserts of northern Argentina, Utah, and Death Valley, GERRY falls into the category of minimalist road movie—trek movie, actually—as two friends (Casey Affleck and Matt Damon, both named Gerry) set off on foot in the wild in search of the elusive. Very soon they are com-pletely lost, disoriented, and in peril. Inspired by a real-life story and largely improvised on location, the film calls to mind Antonioni’s searching, existential meditations of the ‘60s, or perhaps the mystical visions of Andrei Tarkovsky or Béla Tarr. While the mystery of their destination challenges, the com-plexities of the journey provide a visually striking opportunity to think about where you might be going, the power of nature, the bonds of friendship and Van Sant’s continuing willingness to explore the possibilities of filmmaking. (103 mins)

GERRY screens Thursday, May 14 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences) series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Essential Gus Van Sant: MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO on 35mm

idaho 3_500

Mike (River Phoenix) is a prostitute with narcolepsy—a handicap in any case, but especially when one’s profession involves letting your guard down in the presence of strangers. We see the world through Mike’s eyes, falling into slumber when he does, sharing the disjointed sense of time he feels and experiencing his confusion about where he is and how he got there. His only protector is his friend Scott (Keanu Reeves), another hustler, but one who is biding his time until his 21st birthday arrives and with it, a huge inheritance. They are an odd couple; Scott rejects his wealthy politician father, while Mike longs for the mother that abandoned him. The story’s parallels to “Henry IV” and the use of Elizabethan dialogue marks a high point in Van Sant’s examination of the hidden eloquence of the lives of the underprivileged on the streets of Portland. “Invigorating—written, directed, and acted with enormous insight and comic elan.”—Vincent Canby, The New York Times. (105 mins.)

MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO screens Thursday, May 7 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.

Essential Gus Van Sant: EARLY INFLUENCES

Early Influences

This program presents a selection of experimental works from the 1960s, made by some of the foremost practitioners of the personal cinema style that reached its early peak during this period. Included in the program are: Robert Enrico’s INCIDENT AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE (1962), an award-winning adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War story of a martial hanging gone awry; Arthur Lipsett’s VERY NICE, VERY NICE (1961), a rapid-fire, mid-20th-century slice-of-modern-life portrait; Bruce Conner’s A MOVIE (1958), an idiosyncratic, free-associative collage with—of course—movies as its target; Kenneth Anger’s SCORPIO RISING (1963), a legendary occult-biker mythological tale piercing the cult of male celebrity; Stan Brakhage’s SCENES FROM UNDER CHILDHOOD SECTION ONE (1967), the filmmaker’s vision of his children’s view of the world; and George Kuchar’s HOLD ME WHILE I’M NAKED (1966), one of Kuchar’s finest works, an exploration of sexual isolation with a twist. (117 mins.)

EARLY INFLUENCES screens Saturday, May 2 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.

Essential Gus Van Sant: DRUGSTORE COWBOY on 35mm

Drugstore Cowboy 1

Van Sant’s acclaimed second feature is a daring and uncompromising look at outlaw junkie life based on the novel by James Fogle. Set in Portland in the early ‘70s, Matt Dillon gives the performance of his career as Bob Hughes, the superstitious leader of an awkward band of addicts who go directly to the source for drugs by robbing drugstores. Bob’s extended family includes his wife, Dianne (Kelly Lynch), the dim Rich (James LeGros) and his teenage girlfriend Nadine (Heather Graham). With a good dose of black humor, Van Sant follows the group’s escapades, which finally come undone when Nadine overdoses. Understanding that “Just Say No” doesn’t say anything to the drugged out, Van Sant neither romanticizes nor condemns drug use, but probes the addict’s psyche without giving way to moralistic overtures. “Compelling, unnerving and often darkly funny . . . Every minute is vital and alive.”—David Ansen, Newsweek. (100 mins.)

DRUGSTORE COWBOY screens Thursday, April 30 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences) series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.