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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

This week at SFC: Cracked Actor + Wendy and Lucy

Building 7
Fernandes Industrial Centre
Eastern Main Road
Port of Spain

Thursday December 10th

Free for all!

first film 8:15pm, doors open 7:30pm

Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob/UK/1974/52')

A documentary from the BBC archives about an extraordinary period in David Bowie's evolution. Shot in 1974 and transmitted in January 1975, it follows Bowie in Hollywood as he begins to discard the elaborate costume and make-up of his legendary character Ziggy Stardust and assume a new, more enigmatic role. Rake thin, beautiful and chemically nourished Bowie was arguably at the peak of his creativity - Diamond Dogs into Young Americans. Open and astonishing this is voyerism that is compulsive viewing.

Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt/USA/2008/80')

If the cinema houses our dreams, what more beautiful, gentle hostess is there than Michelle Williams? Ever since the now twenty-nine year old actress first became known to American audiences while a regular on the television series, "Dawson's Creek" (which also featured the present Mrs. Tom Cruise--Katie Holmes), Williams has always been greater than most of her projects. Her face and manner are reminiscent of actresses from a by-gone era; she's of a piece with movie star Jean Arthur playing a simple shop girl who wanted to change the world in the nineteen-forties, and Barbara Stanwyck insisting we meet John Doe in a post-Depression US. With her soft good looks--her mouth is a wound--Williams didn't really come into her own until Ang Lee cast her against type in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain," which featured her late partner, Heath Ledger. One felt for her during the media's near pornographic dissection of Ledger's last days. Still, Williams triumphed--through her art. In independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt's 2008 feature, "Wendy and Lucy," the actress gives a performance of such singular intensity that the movie amounts to a near documentary about performance. As Wendy Carroll, a young woman who's down on her luck and trying to get to Alaska to change her life, Wendy's only companion is her dog, Lucy. Broke, her car busted, Wendy ends up in a small town in Oregon where no one knows her name and she tries to steal food to feed her dog--but fails, and is arrested, but not before she's almost assaulted, and brushed off by the only family she has. Has there been a more heart-piercing performance or movie about female despair and poverty since French master Robert Bresson's 1967 study, "Mouchette"? Not in America, certainly, where optimism generally overrides the truth. Hilton Als 2009


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