Joe Dante’s famed film blender Movie Orgy finds an audience at the Monaco Charity Film Festival this year in a special one-night event. The evening includes the four hour movie, a keg, and Joe Dante in the flesh. This is a night no one can afford to miss.
Bucking historical inevitability even as it serves history, the Museum of Modern Art’s month-long annual festival of film preservation, “To Save and Project,” could be retitled “To Save and Project . . . Film.” The Movie Orgy—which opens TSAP this Friday—is a digitally preserved version of the four-hour found-footage extravaganza first orchestrated by Joe Dante and Jon Davison back in 1968. But this anarchic assemblage aside, the only digital presentations in the series are the two 3-D programs (necessary in that their original format is no longer viable) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ preserved print of the 1968 Saul Bass short Why Man Creates. The remaining 30-odd movies and programs are being presented on old-fashioned film stock, showing celluloid fans the actual stuff.
Film preservation takes many forms, some perilously close to Dumpster diving.
When the director Joe Dante was assembling his epic-length mash-up, “The Movie Orgy,” in the late 1960s, he scoured the East Coast for castoff footage — educational films, commercials, TV shows, forgotten drive-in features — that would lend itself to being creatively re-edited.
“Back in the day,” Mr. Dante said, “there were lots of mom and pop 16-millimeter rental sources, often attached to camera stores. When the prints became too tattered, they were often junked, in pieces. If you knew the guy behind the counter, sometimes he’d just give the stuff away.”
Working with Jon Davison, a friend and fellow student at the Philadelphia College of Art, Mr. Dante massaged his found material into a hilarious metamovie in which five or six stories seem to be going on at once (giant grasshoppers invade Chicago, as flying saucers attack Washington), constantly interrupted by prom night dos and don’ts, stomach-churning commercials for laxative pills and disturbing excerpts from children’s television shows (including a stuffed cat and mouse who perform “Jesus Loves Me” on piano and drums).
OUT OF COMPETITION – WORLD CINEMA –WORLD PREMIERE Kiev – the city of love!
Ukraine 2011 – Comedy/Melodrama – 96mn Directed by Ilia Yablokov, Nataliya Klimenko, Artem Semakin, Olga Gibelinda, Valery Bebko, Denis Gamzinov, Taras Tkachenko & Oleg Borshchevsky. Produced Vladimir Horunzhy
Cast: Grigory Kalinin, Artem Semakin, Dasha Astafieva, Alexander Yatsenko, Ilia Isayev, Ada Rogovtseva, Mykola Olyinik, Vitaliy Linetsky, Olga Fesunenko & Joseph Naiduk.
SHINING SPIRIT, filmed in Canada, India & Tibet (2006-2009) documents a recording project that brings together the family of Jamyang Yeshi, through music and the use of multi-tracking recording technology. With the help of Western friends, Jamyang, in exile in Canada, and his brother, Tsundue, in exile in the United States, join voices with the family they left behind in Tibet. For the first time in over a decade, they sing together once again. Shining Spirit is a testament to the power of music, the resilience of the Tibetan culture, and the enduring bond of a family separated by politics & geography. For background information on our documentary, please go to the “Shining Spirit” page
Directed & Written Obi Emelonye – Produced by Patrick Campbell
Cast: Stars: Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme, Edward Kagatuzzi Main: Fatima Jabbe, John Charles, Victor Carvalho, Modu Musa Sesay
OUT OF COMPETITION – SPECIAL GALASCREENING EVENT Mirror Boy is an enthralling journey through Gambia, seen through the eyes of London-born 12 year old Tijan (Edward Kagutuzi). Getting involved in a street fight, in which a boy is hurt, his mother (Genevieve Nnaji) decides to take him to the Gambia to live with her sister. On their arrival in Banjul, Tijan encounters an apparition of a boy smiling at him in a mirror and vanishing. Seeing the same boy in a crowded street market the next day sets in motion a chain of events that culminates in him getting lost. While Tijan’s panic-stricken mother struggles to find her son in an intriguing game of survival brinkmanship, Tijan is left alone in the company of the enigmatic Mirror Boy, who is only visible to him. A bruising spiritual rite of passage, Mirror Boy takes Tijan on a magical and mystical journey.
UK 2010 – Drama/Adventure – 100mn
Directed by Alexandru Maftei – Written by Lia Bugnar – Produced by Antoni Sole, Maurizio Santarelli, Tudor Reu
Cast: Dana Voicu, Ionel Mihailescu, Paul Diaconescu & Ana Popescu
COMPETITION – 1st Time Director – WORLDCINEMA Musician Gabriel and dimpled dry-cleaning proprietress Gabriela live like two strangers who no longer see each other. But in humorous contrast to their staid, passionless lives, characters in a constant state of sexual arousal surround them. Their libidinous teen son, whose hilarious voiceover commentary intermittently provides important narrative information, prides himself on being the high school stud and aspires to a career in porn. Gabriela’s sexy employee switches boyfriends the way she changes clothes. And despite being married, Gabriel’s colleague is working his way through the female members of their orchestra. Ultimately, the two Gabys find their virtual affairs reconnect them with their own desires, but in a way less movie-fantasy and more satisfyingly real-life.
Romania 2010 – Dramedy – 105mn