These capsule reviews are part of an ongoing series covering films appearing in the 2017 Calgary Underground Film Festival, published simultaneously with www.danielmelvilljones.com. For a guide to this year’s CUFF, click here. For full reviews on Reel World Theology of films featured at CUFF, click here.
The infamous shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho shocks every viewer, but it also shook up the filmmaking industry. 78/52 (referring to the number of set-ups and cuts) analyses this scene. It features interviews with 40 accomplished filmmakers and actors genuinely fascinated by this iconic moment to which their own careers are indebted to. This documentary is utterly engrossing and surprisingly elegant, thanks to being almost entirely shot in black and white and a haunting string score. Go see it, but I would recommend catching up on, and preferably rewatching Physco before coming.
78/52 is playing on Tuesday, April 18th at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are available here.
Dave Made a Maze
Utterly engrossing, Dave Made a Maze is the story of a frustrated creative who spends a weekend making a cardboard maze in his apartment. The maze takes on a life of its own, forcing his wife and a group of friends make their perilous way through its booby traps and monsters in an attempted rescue. The maze itself is the star attraction, featuring a set design more delightfully inventive and wildly creative then anything in memory. The story struggles to be as imaginative, but is unexpectedly sincere and works as an examination of the pitfalls of the creative life. This film is great fun and deserves to be seen.
Dave Made a Maze is playing on Saturday, April 22nd at 9:00 p.m, and Sunday, April 23rd at 9:45 p.m. Tickets are available here.
Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present
Minimalism is a genre I’ve always scoffed at and have pictured its creators as dour and serious. Tony Conrad’s impact on the art world is immeasurable, with his intertwining careers as musician, filmmaker, and teacher. While Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present analysis these roles and how his work in each shock up the art community, what emerges is a warm portrait of the man himself. Tony is larger than life, filled with vigour, and in love with any opportunity to bash open the establishment. Like his drone music, this film is at times dreary and tough to endure, but the longer I sat with it the more layers opened up. His art may be uncomfortable, yet spending time in his company is refreshing.
Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present is playing on Sunday, April 23rd at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are available here.