Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Magic Lantern satisfies cinema lust

Film fest covers all genres

Express Staff Writer

Luke Wilson, Tea Leoni and Sir Ben Kingsley star in ?You Kill Me.?

If this summer's blockbuster films left you less that satisfied, attend the Magic Lantern's 19th annual Fall Film Festival in Ketchum where hip indie films, well-done documentaries and hard-to-find foreign films will grace the screens from Friday, Sept. 7, to Thursday, Sept. 20.

"We are not funded," said the Magic Lantern Cinema owner Rick Kessler. "We don't even try to raise money."

Kessler said he gets many requests for more art-house films, independent movies, film festival winners, foreign-language films and documentaries, but they are hard to schedule when he has to fulfill his obligations for mainstream market films.

"When we started with a single screen, we could show six different films a week," Kessler said. "We had the ability to play classics such as Bogart, W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers. In 1974 "Harold and Maude" and "The Harder They Fall" were staple films every month."

However, as Ketchum grew over the past three decades, so did the movie business, making Magic Lantern a high profile, first-run theater. Kessler said he would have to screen one film for almost two weeks, and decided that doing a fall festival would allow him to screen more interesting films rather than the regular Hollywood movie diet.

"We don't go at it with any particular theme in mind," Kessler said. 'We try to find accessible films—nothing too far out there. On this year's schedule, there are some great performances, so acting could be a theme."

The Magic Lantern will screen nine films over a two-week period, with a special weekend of documentaries including "Darius Goes West" and part-time Sun Valley resident and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Frieda Sander's documentaries "Maya Lin: A Strong Clear VIsion" and "Wrestling with Angels: Tony Kushner."

All proceeds from "Darius Goes West" will go to Charlie's Fund and all proceeds from "Maya Lynn: A Strong Clear Vision" will go to the Community Library in Ketchum.

"It is the perfect time¾the first two weeks of September and end of the summer season," Kessler said. "It gets you ready for fall. The quality of films through January will be more adult driven. It is a far superior time of year for films than the summer. Also, it will be a great place to go to get out of the smoke!"

Kessler said the film festival generates excitement about going out to see a movie in the theater.

"There is a quantum difference between sitting in a movie theater than to watch a movie in any other place," Kessler said. "Going to see a movie in a theater is an experience. Your brain receives more information in a theater that from any screen at home, which certainly has an effect on how a movie touches you."

The following films will be screening from Friday, Sept. 7, through Thursday, Sept. 13. For a full schedule of screenings visit

"You Kill Me" (2007) directed by John Dahl

John Dahl's "You Kill Me" is a twist on the family mob story, only the Mafia is Polish and located in Buffalo, N.Y. Sir Ben Kingsley plays Frank Falenczyk, an alcoholic hit man, which has put the family business in danger due to his drunken misjudgments. Sent by his uncle to San Francisco to sober up, Falenczyk meets an array of oddball characters played by Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson, Philip Baker Hall, Dennis Farina and Bill Pullman who help a sober Falenczyk become a better hit man, which eventually redeems him. The film was a 2007 Sundance Film Festival favorite.

"The Golden Door" (2006) directed by Emanuele Crialese

"The Golden Door," directed by Emanuele Crialese and named Italy's Best Foreign Language Film, stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato, Aurora Quattrocchi, Francesco Casisa, Filippo Pucillo, Federica De Cola, Isabella Ragonese and Vincent Schiavelli. This tale of an immigrant coming to America is about a widowed and poor farmer and his family. Their dreams and fears of arriving in the United States by steamship hinge on the hasty decision the farmer has made to marry an English woman he meets on board. At Ellis Island their fate hangs in the balance as they try to pass tests of immigration while in quarantine.

"Resurrecting the Champ" (2007) directed by Rod Lurie

Director Rod Lurie, known for "The Contender," directs Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, David Paymer, Teri Hatcher and Alan Alda in a classic story about resurrecting a former heavyweight contender from his state of homelessness. Boxer Bob Satterfield, played by Jackson, is found by soul-searching sports reporter Josh Hartnett, who learns of the boxing legend's story when he rescues him from a mugging, however there is a twist.

"Interview" (2007) directed by Steve Buscemi

"Interview," by director and actor Steve Buscemi, is a sexually charged drama about war reporter Pierre Peders, played by Buscemi who has to cover Katya, a pop diva, television and movie star, played by Sienna Miller. Entering the superficial world of celebrities is far from Peders' beat of covering violence and humanity's ills. However, he discovers that Katya's world is not as plastic as it seems. Filled with wit, suspense and lots of sexual tension, "Interview" has surprising plot turns.

"Eagle vs. Shark" (2007) directed by Tiaka Cohen

Described as New Zealand's "Napoleon Dynamite," this offbeat comedy/love story stars up-and-coming actress Jemaine Clement, who can be seen in HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," and is directed by Tiaka Cohen. It involves an awkward romance between two misfit lovers who set out on a revenge mission. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, "Eagle vs. Shark" reveals the strange and hilarious state of the human condition.

Special film events

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision

The Academy Award-winning documentary features sculptor and architect Maya Lin who, at 21 years old, designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The film tells the gripping story behind the Vietnam Memorial and explores a decade of her creative work.

The film will screen Saturday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. followed by a Q&A with director Freida Lee Mock. All proceeds from the screening will benefit the Community Library in Ketchum.

Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner

A documentary film about the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Caroline or Change, Homebody/Kabul). The film tells the story of a relentlessly creative spirit at work and of how Kushner, raised in the Deep South in Lake Charles, La., would become an outspoken activist, a compassionate spokesperson for outsiders and one of today's most important and entertaining playwrights.

The film will be screened Sunday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. followed by a Q&A with director Freida Lee Mock. All proceeds from the screening will benefit the Community Library in Ketchum.

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