the-assassination-of-jesse-jamesDear Film Club Members & Movie Lovers:

April is waning, first too cold, and then almost too hot, with flowers and vegetables almost not sure how to proceed. April will make its exit this week, and this Friday, May 1, 2009, on May Day, after your heads quit spinning from pole dancing, and you pull the flower petals from your hair, join us at CSL for the TFC first screening in May. We proudly will show a modern classical revisionist Western, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007). This epic high wire act was directed by New Zealand native Andrew Dominek. This film, never shown in Tacoma at all, is already being compared to many of the revisionist westerns of the 1970’s, like McCABE AND MRS. MILLER, THE LONG RIDERS, TOM HORN, THE GREAT NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA RAID, and many others. Dominek, who has made a young career out of directing rock videos and commercials in Australia, talked Nick Cave into to composing the sound track, and appearing in a cameo in the movie.
Dominek has only directed one other film, CHOPPER (2000), about the life of one of Australia’s most infamous outlaws, and it already is a cult classic on a par with ROMPER STOMPER, starring a young Russell Crowe. 

Dominek scored high marks by corralling ace-cinematographer Roger Deakins. Deakins, who works a lot with the Coen Brothers, has been the lenser on 64 film since 1975. Some of them that caught my eye included SID & NANCY (1986, THE KITCHEN TOTO (1987), AIR AMERICA (1990), BARTON FINK (1991), THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (1994), THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994), FARGO (1996), the incredibly Noir black and white THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE (2000), A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001), NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007), IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (2007), and then last year incredibly did DOUBT (2008), THE READER (2008), and REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008). 

Roger Ebert wrote, “Brad Pitt embodies Jesse James’ myth as if long accustomed to it. Casey Affleck plays the kid like Mark David Chapman–a nobody killing the one he loves. Bob Ford’s hero worship of Jesse shades into lust, and since sex is out of the question, their relationship turns into a curiously erotic dance of death.”
Todd McCarthy of VARIETY wrote, “A ravishing, magisterial, poetic epic that moves its characters toward their tragic destinies with all the implacability of a Greek drama.”

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007) Directed by Andrew Dominik @ 160 minutes.
The film stars Brad Pitt, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker, Casey Affleck, and Sam Rockwell. Synopsis: This is a familiar tale told more completely than usual, standing tall amongst the dozens of films that depicted the life and death of Jesse James—being concerned with showing us the endgame, those twilight months of the infamous James Gang, how years of violence, murder, crime, and seclusion had taken their toll on the few remaining gang members, how Jesse descended into eccentricity, paranoia, and terribly unpredictable behavior. The focus this time is on young Bob Ford, illustrating how his heinous act came to bloody fruition, and what it really cost him. There were two Oscar nominations for the film—one for Affleck, and one for cinematographer Robert Deakins. Tagline: “Beyond the Myth lies America ’s greatest betrayal.”

So come and join us for the screening of this extraordinary film on Friday, May 1, 2009 at the Center for Spiritual Learning, 206 North J Street, on the corner of Division and J, in Tacoma. For those of you bursting with fellowship, doors will be open at 6 p.m. Many of us gather downstairs in the kitchen area for pre-discussion and socialization. As per is our custom, the Phantom Director and Farishta will prepare some kind of sumptuous entrée for us. Those of you who want can bring other goodies; beverages, bread, cheeses, crackers, and desserts. There will be a fun raffle again, at one dollar per ticket, and the two winners take home either 40% of the gathered funds, or a wonderful DVD movie. A short film will show promptly at 7pm, and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD will screen immediately afterwards. Do not miss this incredible Western as it makes a brief appearance for us. See you at the movies!



One thought on “ASSASSINATION @ CSL

  1. Yes, I think it was good that Emily saw us viewing an unusual film, a
    generally dismissed film by normal distribution standards, and yet a
    stunning masterpiece on the basis of its cinematographic indulgences.
    Casting was ingenious. So much was exemplary. Like Altman’s “McCabe and
    Miller”, pace was interesting. Costuming was authentic, too. Eye make-up
    too, though faces hardly needed color, since the impression was one of
    wasted humans, barely articulate, animate ghosts. Once in awhile I caught a
    line that was rather poetic from the mouth of Bob Ford, but like most of his
    unprojected delivery, the troubled words hardly escaped the barrier of his
    teeth. It’s a shame few will evr see his angst-ridden performance. But the
    scenic composition–out of this world! Only a photographer would want to
    constantly crop a huge area to depict a gray, barren landscape through a
    square of blurred, dirty glass pane, one sixth the size of the normal
    screen. This was a dream film for Deakins, a nightmare for the distributors
    who must have wondered what audience would come for this durge-like
    pseudo-documentary on legend making/unmaking. Who wants to know the psycho-centric world of crude men? Perhaps Ron would wish to include
    sections of this film in his classroom illustrations of types of paranoia.

    David Gilmour
    [David sent this to me in an email. I wanted to share it.]

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