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Cinema Arts Festival Houston

Submitted by MBergeron on November 9, 2011 – 4:56 pmNo Comment
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You know the drill, put everything to the side for the next five days and prepare to max out on films. The Cinema Arts Festival Houston unwinds November 9-13 in a multitude of settings.

In addition to films at the Edwards Grand Palace, the MFAH and the RMC, select films will play at venues suited to their purpose. So the River Oaks Three hosts the film music documentary Echotone, which is followed by a live performance (Thursday, 10 pm.). On closing night the world premiere of Art Car: The Movie takes place at Miller Outdoor Theatre (Sunday, 7 pm.), also with a live performance and director Q&A. There’s plenty of places to park art cars that can also be seen from the vantage point of the hill that surrounds Miller Outdoor. The Art Car world premiere is also free and open to the public.

All in all there’s nearly 40 films scheduled, so that means you’re going to miss something awesome while you’re watching something awesome. Check out the complete list of events on the CAFH website.

Personal appearances include Godfrey Reggio presenting a new print of Kayaanisqatsi (Friday, MFAH, 7 pm.); Ethan Hawke presenting his new film The Woman In The Fifth (Saturday, MFAH, 7 pm.); Hawke also does a Q&A with Richard Linklater for the film Tape (Sunday, Edwards, 1 pm.); French experimental filmmaker Pip Chodorov presents films Sunday afternoon at the Rice Media Center; and Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman hosts several of his films each night at the RMC.

A series of art installations accompany this year’s festival at specific buildings and spaces.

If I had to choose some highlights among everything I would narrow down choices to rare films like the Frederick Wiseman Parisian dance documentary Crazy Horse (Saturday, MFAH, 12:30 pm.), and a restored version of the lost John Ford silent film Upsteam (Sunday, MFAH, 1 pm.). As far as a hot ticket item, that would be the closing night screening of Pina 3D at the Edwards, Sunday night at 7.

Pina 3D makes a solid case for German filmmakers using 3D technology the way it’s supposed to be used. Pina celebrates the dance choreography of Pina Bausch. One dance looks like a conga line, with all the dancers walking and doing hand movements in front of their face. Wenders reprises the dance later in the film by taking it from the stage to a hilltop. After Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D and now Pina 3D there’s a new cinematic benchmark for how to light and display documentary space on film.

- Michael Bergeron

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