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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This week at SFC: Why Jamaicans Run so Fast + Wizard of Oz

Building 7
Fernandes Industrial Centre
Eastern Main Road
Port of Spain

Thursday December 17th

Free for all!

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

This week is our Christmas selection. Firstly a great new documentary out of Jamaica about their outstanding Olympic athletes.
Special thanks to the filmmakers for allowing us to screen their film in Trinidad.
Secondly the newly remastered 'The Wizard of Oz' on 'blu ray'. See this strange and mesmerising work of genius like you never have before...

Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast (MIQUEL GALOFRÉ/Jamaica/2009/53')

Filming months before the Olympics and continuing the journey from Beijing and back, the 53 minute documentary is the only non-American film nominated at this year’s American Black Film Festival where it won best documentary.
Producer Garcia-Guereta strives to find the answer to Jamaican athletes’ speed in the film and in the process, beautifully captures the spirit and zeal of Jamaicans. Garcia-Guereta said he fell in love with Jamaica at the tender age of 15 when he heard reggae legend Bob Marley for the first time. His love for his second home and its people drove him to document one of the nation’s greatest achievements – a record 13 Olympic medals, including six golds.
After making an overseas call to director Miquel Galofré, the two followed the sport from July of last year with the National Trials, through to the Olympics while in Jamaica and awaiting the athletes as they returned to the Norman Manley International Airport.
As the athletes wowed audiences each week, the two filmmakers hit the streets, capturing the reaction of the public and interviewing a wide array of persons, including Yendi Phillipps, Lisa Hannah, Big Youth, Etana, Vybz Kartel, LA Lewis, Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt and his family, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Melaine Walker and her family, Shericka Williams, as well as Bruce James and Glen Mills.
“Everybody is asking why Jamaica, as such a little country and reach so far, unlike America where they have their big stadiums and fancy doctors,” he said. “But I think the main answer is from school competitions. We looked at how the athletes started running, how difficult it was for them and how some had to walk to training each day to try to make it into a big track star. How strong the culture in schools is and the competition among students of who is better than who and the readiness to compete.”

THE WIZARD OF OZ (Victor Fleming/USA/1939/101')

You don't have to be gay to love "The Wizard of Oz," but a belief in the power of Judy Garland certainly helps when it comes to maximizing your pleasure watching this 1939 masterpiece. Directed by Victor Fleming, the film is based on L. Frank Baum's strange 1900 children's novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," which was adapted for the screen by Noel Langley, Edgar Allan Woolf, among others. In the film, Dorothy (Judy Garland; the producers originally wanted Shirley Temple for the part) is a twelve year old girl who lives on a farm in Kansas with her devoted guardians, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. Dorothy has a constant companion--her little terrier, Toto. But Miss Gulch, the town bully (the brilliant Margaret Hamilton) feels Toto's a nuisance, and would like nothing better than to have the dog put to sleep. Of course, in an effort to save her pet, Dorothy runs away, only to return home during a hurricane; a blown out window knocks her unconscious, and she wakes up in a fantasy-land saturated in colors as thick and oozy as melting butter laced with psychedelics. But it's in that phantasia that Dorothy's real life begins, in that dreams often tell us who we are, or mean to be, long before we're cognizant of either. While Dorothy takes up with the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), the Tinman (Jack Hailey; Buddy Ebsen was supposed to play the role, but proved to be allergic to the make up) and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), it's Dorothy's inner journey towards self-discovery that gives the movie its propulsive energy. The only foils on Dorothy's journey down the yellow brick road of life are her self-doubt, the cruelty of older women to younger females, and a deep, dreamless sleep that's brought on when she and her cohorts try to run through a field of scarily vivid poppies. Garland's daughter, Liza Minelli, said that she didn't like watching the film; her mother had to overcome so much in it. And so do we, especially when Garland bruises us with wistful longing when, at the film's start, she sings her signature tune, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Hilton Als 2009


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