May has meandered, leaving sultry late spring temps and light-footed wanderings for all of us. June has come onto the stage of our lives, yet again, and this Friday, June 5, 2009, we are pleased to present a screening of THE VISITOR (2007). This film was well received at the Grand Theater last year, and some of you were lucky enough to see it. Staying with our theme of “immigrants in America”, our new America where suspicion, bureaucratic arrogance, apathy, and ignorance reign in the hallowed halls of officialdom, this film is a fine book end for GOODBYE SOLO, presently enjoying its run at the Grand Theater; be sure to get out and see it too.
THE VISITOR (2007) was written and directed by Tom McCarthy (ironically whose middle name is Joseph). I think he is mostly considered an actor, having appeared in 33 film roles since 1992–mostly on television series until he was in THE GURU (1992). We also enjoyed him acting in GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK (2005), SYRIANA (2005), ALL THE KING’S MEN (2006), FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006), and was a regular on HBO”s THE WIRE (2008). The only other film he wrote and directed was the wonderful movie, THE STATION AGENT (2003)–which TFC screened and discussed in the past.
John Anderson of VARIETY wrote, “Some films click from the moment they’re cast, and that is certainly the case with “The Visitor,” writer-director Tom McCarthy’s first feature since his popular “The Station Agent,” and a perfect vehicle for Richard Jenkins. An actor whose face is far better known than his name, Jenkins plays McCarthy’s transfigured hero to a tee. A combination immigrant/resurrection tale, “Visitor” tilts toward the soulful rather than the political, and could be this year’s humanistic indie hit.”
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek wrote the musical score for THE VISITOR. A very imaginative composer, he wrote the scores for 41 films since 1984. He won an Oscar for his score on FINDING NEVERLAND (2004). McCarthy used his friend, Oliver Bokelberg as the cinematographer on THE VISITOR. He was top lenser on 35 films since 1995; prominent among them were THE STATION AGENT (2003), and working with Martin Scorsese on NO DIRECTION HOME: BOB DYLAN (2008).
Roger Ebert wrote: “This is a wonderful film, sad, angry, and without a comforting little happy ending. But I must not describe what happens, because the whole point of serious fiction is to show people changing, and how they change in “The Visitor” is the film’s beauty. So much goes unsaid, and unseen. Events in Walter’s professorial job happen off-screen. We are left to listen to the silences and observe the spaces.
Of course the film, written and directed by Tom McCarthy, is about a great deal more — about illegal U.S. residents and stupid bureaucrats and drums and love and loss.”
Richard Jenkins was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his leading role.
Professor Walter Vale: [Walks up to the phone number on the wall, walks back to the window] You can’t just take people away like that. Do you hear me? He was a good man, a good person. It’s not fair! We are not just helpless children! He had a life! Do you hear me? I mean, do YOU hear ME? What’s the matter with you?
THE VISITOR (2007)
Directed by Thomas McCarthy @ 104 minutes.
Starring Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleimn, Danai Jekesai Gurir, and Hiam Abbass. Synopsis: A recently widowed lonely and bitter college professor keeps an apartment in NYC that he has not been to for a time. Traveling there he is suddenly confronted with a Syrian musician and his Senegalese girlfriend living in it; apparently victims of a real estate scam. He decides to share the apartment with them and an unlikely friendship develops. This is a story torn from today’s events, wonderfully heartfelt–a tale of growth, change, and renewal. Tagline: Connection is everything.
So let’s have a good turn-out this Friday, June 6, 2009 when we screen THE VISITOR at the Center For Spiritual Learning, at 206 N. J Street, on the corner of Division and J in Tacoma. Come early and come downstairs to the kitchen area to enjoy both fellowship, a raffle, and a delicious entrée set up for us by the Phantom Director and Farishta. Food will be served at 6:15 pm, and those of you who would like to contribute to the festivities by bringing bread, cheese, a dessert, wine or soft drinks–please feel free to do so. There will be a short film shown promptly at 7pm, and then we will pick the raffle winners, providing a cash prize, followed by a DVD prize, and then introduce our film, THE VISITOR, which will screen right after that. See you at the movies!