FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: July 13, 1999

Contact:

Margot Gerber, American Cinematheque, 323/461-2020 ext. 115

Henry Eshelman (B\W\R) 310.550.7776

Iris Gelt (Universal) 818.777.9775

 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HITCHCOCK INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR SERIES FEATURING THE ABSOLUT NEW DIRECTORS SHOWCASE

INAUGURAL EVENT SHOWCASES WORKS BY ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING AT EGYPTIAN THEATRE

Sponsored by United Airlines

 

July 27 - August 2, 1999

 

HOLLYWOOD - In a groundbreaking new partnership in support of filmmaking around the world, the American Cinematheque presents the inaugural

Universal Studios Hitchcock International Director Series (July 27 - August 2, 1999), featuring the ABSOLUT New Directors Showcase to honor

the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The series is

sponsored by United Airlines. During this weeklong program ten international directors - both established and emerging - will visit Los Angeles for a series of

screenings, question and answer sessions, and panel discussions. In announcing the event, Ron Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer,

Universal Studios said, "We wanted to create a lasting tribute to Alfred Hitchcock in honor of his centenary year and his legacy to Universal

Studios. We are proud to help establish an annual tradition that provides showcase opportunities for filmmakers around the world. " Five

evenings are dedicated to the presentation of a film by, and discussion with, a major international director. Acclaimed directors Ken Loach

(England), Arturo Ripstein (Mexico), Kinji Fukasaku (Japan), Idrissa Oudraogo (Burkina Faso, Africa) and Claire Denis (France) join us this

year to discuss their work. The series will include a panel discussion, moderated by Variety film critic and author, Emanuel Levy, in which five

renowned directors will share their views on national vs. global filmmaking. The ABSOLUT New Directors Showcase spotlights five directors

whose first films have shown the promise of exciting careers. Deepa Mehta (India/Canada), Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), Lynne Ramsay

(Scotland), Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan) and Eric Mendelsohn (United States) will showcase their work on Saturday, July 31st and Sunday, August 1st.

Each screening will be followed by a discussion with the director. All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the

historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.

 

Universal and the American Cinematheque have assembled a distinguished honorary host committee of American directors. Serving on the host

committee so far are: Kathryn Bigelow; Joe Dante; Randa Haines; Taylor Hackford; Curtis Hanson; Arthur Hiller; Ron Howard; Mimi Leder; Rob

Reiner; Martin Scorsese; Tom Shadyac; John Singleton; Steven Soderbergh; and Steven Spielberg.

 

Tuesday, July 27, 1999

The Tuesday, July 27th program begins at 7:30 pm with Ken Loach's LADYBIRD LADYBIRD (England) (1994, British Consulate, 101 min.) Based on

true events, LADYBIRD LADYBIRD is the story of Maggie Conlan, a woman barely in control of her life, who is declared an unfit mother and whose

children are taken from her by social services. The film is dominated by Crissy Rock's ferocious, emotionally wrenching performance as Maggie as

she desperately battles to reclaim her family and her humanity from bureaucrats who keep pushing her down. "LADYBIRD LADYBIRD is a good one

- more painful to watch than any slasher filmbecause its emotional violence literally hits home" - Richard Corliss, Time. Followed by a

discussion with Ken Loach. One of Great Britain's leading filmmakers for more than thirty years, Ken Loach has long been held up as a pioneer of "realist" cinema.

Loach's films champion the plight of the British working-class, often portraying these characters in such a harsh, unflinching light that the films seem to approach the realm of docu-drama. The 1990's have shown Ken Loach to be a master filmmaker working at the peak of his craft and

such films as RIFF RAFF, RAINING STONES, LAND AND FREEDOM, and MY NAME IS JOE have been honored with numerous prizes at Cannes and other

festivals throughout Europe. "There was this genius Ken Loach making these films, and you started to know what the faces looked like and what

the language was…. There wasn't anything you could learn because Ken was showing it so much better than anyone else." -- Stephen Frears

 

Wednesday, July 28, 1999

The Wednesday, July 28th program begins at 7:30 PM with Idrissa Oudraogo's TILAI. 1990 (Burkina Faso) (New Yorker, 81 min.) Shot

entirely in Oudraogo's native Burkina Faso, TILAI is a film about a man whose affair with his stepmother is discovered and whose brother is

assigned by law to kill him. An austere tragedy of generational conflict and inflexible tradition, TILAI garnered Oudraogo a reputation as a

world-class filmmaker. "TILAI is an extraordinary film. It is one of those rare cases when you discover a film artist, as we did with YAABA,

and like his next movie even more than his previous one." -- Richard Pea, Film Society of Lincoln Center. Followed by a discussion with

Idrissa Oudraogo.

Born in 1954 in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), Idrissa Oudraogo's earliest impressions of cinema were formed by the films of Charlie

Chaplin. After working in local theatre and making short films for the government, Oudraogo pursued his film studies abroad in both the Soviet

Union and France. He made his feature debut with YAM DAABO in 1986. Since then he has directed five more features, including YAABA and

TILAI, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. Compared to Jean Renoir and Satyajit Ray for his

non-simplistic humanism, Oudraogo's films are defined by a strong sense of place and character, and a refined visual style based on long takes

and natural sounds.

There is no program on Thursday, July 29th

Friday, July 30, 1999

The Friday, July 30th program begins at 7:30 PM with Kinji Fukasaku's CREST OF BETRAYAL (Japan) (Chushingura Gaiden - Yotsuya Kaidan) (1994,

Shochiku Film Co. 105 min.) Genre maverick Fukasaku cultivates a hothouse hybrid of two of the most famous Japanese period scenarios.

Koichi Sato (son of famous Japanese star Rentaro Mikuni) is Lemon, one of the forty-seven masterless samurais plotting revenge after their lord

is forced to commit hara-kiri. He is also being haunted by Oiwa, the wife he murdered to marry insane rich girl, Oume. Phantasmagorical

imagery punctuates samurai sword fights and colorful kabuki production design in this examination of the spiritual microcosm and ethical

macrocosm of the feudal Japanese psyche. With Saki Takaoka, Tsunehiko Watase, Masahiko Tsugawa. Followed by a discussion with Kinji Fukasaku.

Acknowledged as the master of the Yakuza genre, or Japanese gangster film, Kinji Fukasaku has managed to create and mold a unique style while

simultaneously walking the sometimes-difficult line between art and box office. During more than thirty years of filmmaking, Fukasaku has

directed more than fifty theatrical films including, BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY, BLACK LIZARD, WOLVES, PIGS AND PEOPLE, and TORA! TORA! TORA! (co-directed by Richard Fleischer who will appear for an in-person tribute at the Cinematheque in August).

 

Saturday, July 31, 1999

The Saturday, July 31st program begins at 10:00 AM with a panel

discussion on National vs Global Filmmaking in the New Millenium

moderated by Emanuel Levy, Variety Film Critic, professor, author and

President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Participants in

the discussion include Ken Loach, Idrissa Oudraogo, Kenji Fukasaku,

Arturo Ripsten and Claire Denis. The panel concludes at Noon with an

introduction of the five emerging directors of the ABSOLUT New Directors

Showcase.

 

The Absolut New Directors Showcase

On Saturday, July 31st at 2:00 PM, is the first film in the ABSOLUT New Directors Showcase, Lynne Ramsay's RATCATCHER (Scotland) (1998, G2

Films, 93 min.). During a sweltering Glasgow summer in the 1970s, a 12-year-old boy engages in an awkward relationship with an older girl…

and suffers under the weight of an emotionally destructive secret. Gracefully treading familiar ground with fresh foot-steps, RATCATCHER is

alternately bleak and hopeful, a powerful film by any comparison. "The film's charged images and situations ultimately suggest a cinema of

memory compulsively struggling to reconcile trauma and nostalgia, oscillating between violent eruption and becalmed suspension." - Gavin

Smith, VILLAGE VOICE. Followed by a discussion with Lynne Ramsay.

Lynne Ramsay won the Prix du Jury at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for her short, GASMAN, and her feature debut RATCATCHER was received this

year with a standing ovation. Hailed in Variety by David Rooney as "a resonant new voice," Ramsay has quickly risen to the front ranks of

emerging European directors.

Following at 4:30 PM is a screening of Tsai Ming-Liang's THE RIVER (Taiwan) (1997, CMPC, 115 min.). Employing Ming-Liang's trademarks,

precipitation and pessimism, THE RIVER focuses on the disintegration of family. Water, so often portrayed as a source of cleansing and

redemption, is used here as a river, flowing through Taipei, that carries nothing but moral decay and emotional agony. As a father and son

set off on a journey in search of a faith healer, the spare use of dialogue and absence of music forces the viewer to inhabit the alienated

lives of these characters as they hurdle toward an inevitable, truly shocking climax. Followed by a discussion with Tsai Ming-Liang.

Raised in Malaysia, Tsai Ming-Liang moved to Taiwan to study film and has since completed four features including REBELS OF A NEON GOD, VIVE

L'AMOUR and THE RIVER, a minimalist, modernist trilogy exploring the decay of modern society. His most recent film is the critically

acclaimed THE HOLE.

 

Sunday, August 1, 1999

The Sunday, August 1st program begins at 11:00 AM with the third film in the ABSOLUT New Director Showcase, Eric Mendelsohn's JUDY BERLIN

(United States) (1999, Shooting Gallery, 97 min.). The film explores a day in the life of David Gold, recently returned home from California,

where he failed to make it as a filmmaker. Wandering the streets on the day of a solar eclipse, David crosses paths with a former girlfriend who

is preparing to leave for Los Angeles with hopes of becoming a star. An acute observance on the complex needs and weaknesses in human

relationships, JUDY BERLIN is packed with standout performances that are delivered with wit, charm and bittersweet melancholy. Followed by a

discussion with Eric Mendelsohn

A talented writer/director/editor Eric Mendelsohn recently won the Director's Award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival for his debut

feature JUDY BERLIN, which was also invited to the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard. The film also opened the New York festival New Directors New FIlms. Mendelsohn's work on JUDY BERLIN has brought on favorable comparisons to the films of Woody Allen and even inspired critic Ray Greene to write

that "JUDY BERLIN is better Woody Allen than Woody himself has pulled off in close to ten years."

Following at 2:00 PM is a screening of Garin Nugroho (Indonesia) ...AND THE MOON DANCES, (1995, 125 min.). In this strikingly exotic film, a

troubled young boy and girl are forced to confront the violence of their society when their mentor, a master in Javanese arts, is accidentally killed in a fire. "Nugroho's film doesn't so much tell a story as it explores ambiguities of mood, texture, light and meaning.

There's nothing folksy or 'third-world' about this daringly modernist film which uses a rich sound design to point up submerged emotional

truths." - Tony Rayns, TIME OUT FILM GUIDE Followed by a discussion with Garin Nugroho.

A native of Indonesia, Garin Nugroho has earned a strong following on the international festival circuit for his stunning, naturalistic style.

He has completed four films, including BULAN TERTUSUK ILALANG (...AND THE MOON DANCES) and DAUN DI ATAS BANTAL (LEAF ON A PILLOW), which have won numerous awards and helped Nugroho to become an inspiration to young Indonesian filmmakers. "Nugroho is certainly the most audacious

filmmaker in Southeast Asia."-John Powers

Following at 5:15 PM is the last in the five film ABSOLUT New Director Showcase, the US Premiere of Deepa Mehta's (India/Canada) EARTH (1998,

Zeitgeist Films, 110 min.). The second film in a series of three films based on the elements, Earth is an achievement of epic scope. Set in

1947, as India heaves violently forward towards independence, the film examines the life of Lenny, a young polio-stricken girl who has grown up

in a wealthy, nonpartisan family, and who must contend with the deep divisions, personal and religious, that are beginning to scar her

country. Followed by a discussion with Deepa Mehta.

Born in India in 1949, Deepa Mehta emigrated to Canada in 1973 where she has worked as a writer, producer, editor and director. Her debut

feature, SAM AND ME, won an honorable mention at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. She has since directed three more films including FIRE, which

inspired a riotous reaction in India, and her most recent film, EARTH. The Saturday, July 31st program continues at 7:30 PM with Arturo

Ripstein's EL EVANGELIO DE LAS MARVILLAS (DIVINE) (1998, 112 min.) A black comedy about the end of millenium, DIVINE, follows the rites and trials of a cult-like religious community as its members prepare for the end of the world. Followed by a discussion with Arturo Ripstein. The previously announced screening of EL CORONEL NO TIENE QUIEN LE ESCRIBA (NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL) has been replaced by DIVINE.

The son of a film producer, Arturo Ripstein grew up surrounded by the world of cinema. In 1962, he worked as an assistant to Luis Buuel on

THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL and in 1965 he made his directorial debut with TIEMPO DE MORIR (TIME TO DIE), an unusual Western based on a screenplay

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes. Crossing over genres and cultural references, Ripstein's cinema is a provocative world rife with

lost, marginal characters inhabiting a seductive landscape of forbidden love and tragic violence. Considered one of Mexico's greatest

filmmakers, Ripstein has made more than twenty-five films, including EL IMPERIO DE LA FORTUNA (REALM OF FORTUNE), LA MUJER DEL PUERTO (WOMAN OF THE PORT), and PROFUNDO CARMESI (DEEP CRIMSON).

 

Monday, August 2, 1999

The Monday, August 2nd program begins at 7:30 PM with Claire Denis' J'AI PAS SOMMEIL (I CAN'T SLEEP) (1994, New Yorker, 110 min.). Based on the

events surrounding the murders of the notorious "Granny Killer," that occurred in Paris during the late 1960s, the film follows the

crisscrossing lives of a number of immigrant inhabitants. Denis creates an eerie probing mood piece that emphasizes the isolation of strangers

living in a strange and violent land. "The film calmly lures viewers into an ordinary world where the sinister and the benign wear the same

face," -- Caryn James, New York Times. Followed by a discussion with Claire Denis.

Born in France and raised in West Africa, Claire Denis has become one of France's most gifted writer-directors. After learning her craft as an

assistant director to such filmmakers as Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Rivette, Denis burst onto the scene in 1988 with the critically

acclaimed CHOCOLATE. She has since gone on to make six more feature films including J'AI PAS SOMMEIL (I CAN'T SLEEP) and NENETTE ET BONI.

With a focus on the relationships between alienated characters living on society's fringe, Denis has demonstrated a remarkable story-telling

ability that allows the viewer to get deep inside the lives of her characters, to feel with them, and, hopefully, to understand the

inner-conflicts that drive them towards the difficult decisions they must make.

 

ABOUT ABSOLUT VODKA AND FILM

Through underwriting, production and cause-related marketing, ABSOLUT

VODKA has established itself as a longtime supporter of filmed

entertainment on numerous levels. ABSOLUT began its involvement in film

in 1995 with the American Film Institute's 23rd Life Achievement Award

dinner and tribute honoring filmmaker Steven Spielberg. At that time,

ABSOLUT helped launch the AFI's film preservation program. Since then,

ABSOLUT has been involved in film through many different channels. They

include: ongoing relationships with the Sundance Film Festival and

Sundance Institute, the Independent Feature Project (IFP) and GEN ART;

support for some two dozen film festivals nationwide, including the

Urbanworld Film Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and the

Aspen Shorts Film Festival; the commission of ABSOLUT PANUSHKA, a

collection of thirty-one original ten-second animated films; and two

feature film trailer spoofs: BEAT CRAZY and HEY STRANGER. This fall,

ABSOLUT HONORS supervises the production of three film shorts by

graduate students at three leading US film schools.

Seagram Americas is the sole importer and distributor of ABSOLUT VODKA

in the US. The ABSOLUT Company is the brandowner and producer of

ABSOLUT VODKA, ABSOLUT CITRON, ABSOLUT KURANT and ABSOLUT PEPPAR.

ABSOLUT is one of the top ten international distilled spirits in the

world, and is marketed in more than one hundred countries. ABSOLUT

VODKA is made at the distillery near hus, Sweden.

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

 

BLACK & WHITE & COLOR PHOTOS AND PRESS KITS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

All directors are available for interview. Please call for a contact list.

 

WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS

RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

 

REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS MUST BE IN WRITING AND

SHOULD BE FAXED TO 323.461.9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO

SHOW TIME.

 

ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR SOME TITLES. MOST FILMS

WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE ON VIDEOTAPE (NTSC) AT THE OFFICES OF THE

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE CALL 323.461-2020 ext. 115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE

SCREENINGS.

 

Tapes Available:

*EARTH,  AND THE MOON DANCES, RATCATCHER

CREST OF BETRAYAL, LADYBIRD LADYBIRD

 

*EARTH is available for capsule review only as it slated for release

through Zeitgeist Films later this year. For more information please

call Elizabeth Greenbaum at DDA: 323.692.2351.

 

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

 

Upcoming at the American Cinematheque:

The Films of Edgar G. Ulmer including his Yiddish films - August 4 -15

Sleep (LA Premiere of new independent feature) - August 12

Twisted Hollywood Shorts - August 25

The Films of Natalie Wood - September 1 - 12

The Films of Russ Meyer - September 16 - 25