Thursday, August 1, 2013

Plaza Classic Film Festival: A Preview

It's that time again.

The 2013 Plaza Classic Film Festival at the Plaza Theater (and surrounding area) in El Paso, TX. August 1-11.

This year's festival will be an especially rewarding one for me.  It is the first time I have been granted a press pass, which I consider a personal triumph.

I always try to focus on films I have not seen before, and this year is no exception.  One film that I am especially looking forward to is Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  I have never seen it and at last I will get a chance to.  However, I also know that sometimes I'll go to the same films I've seen before (Ben-Hur, Goodfellas...the last more for my Brother Gabe than for myself.  The guy LOVES his gangsters). 

However, I am running into an unexpected snag.  This is the first year of my graduate school work, and wouldn't you know it: I have papers due the same week as the opening.  As a result of this (and work schedule) I will have to miss the opening night, a real shame since Oscar-winner Rita Moreno will be on hand to introduce West Side Story

Anyone want to get Miss Moreno (Oscar/Tony/Emmy/Grammy winner) a Kennedy Center Honor?  I do.

This is my tentative schedule of films (previously seen ones marked with an asterisk):

Friday, August 2

Dirty Harry
Goodfellas *

Saturday, August 3


Sunday, August 4

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Tuesday, August 6

Sullivan's Travels
Ben-Hur *

Thursday, August 8

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Friday, August 9

The Earrings of Madame de...

Saturday, August 10

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Sunday, August 11

Burden of Dreams
Local Flavor: Ghostlight 48 Hour Film Slam
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

There are as always some conflicts.  Saturday, August 10 I have Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, I have Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, and I have Koyanananisqatsi all playing at the same time.  Why therefore Beyond the Valley of the Dolls?  I'm intrigued by how Roger Ebert was as a screenwriter (and a I have a weakness for camp).

Also, since this is tentative I may not be able to go to all of them.  Burden of Dreams is scheduled to end after the Film Slam begins.  Decisions, decisions....

Sadly my work schedule will prevent me from seeing some of the independent/local films I did so want to see, but there is an independent filmmaker seminar on Sunday that I probably will drop in on.  Saturday, August 3 also has a free concert by local up-and-coming band The Royalty (of which I've heard much of but have never had a chance to hear).  I tend to be disappointed in live concerts by local bands: they tend to sound a bit amateurish.  The same can be said of some big acts (only Bob Dylan and Skillet ever sounded as good as the albums, at least they are the ones that come to mind immediately). 

I might drop in on at least one film in the "Local Flavor" series on Sunday, though I have to consider whether or not total exhaustion from work, school, and screenings will overtake me, requiring a day of rest.  Of course, if anyone participating in the Plaza Classic Film Festival wishes to speak to me, I'm all ears. 

I hope to interview people who attend, to see the perspective of those who pay $4 or $8 for a film (and given that a weekend adult ticket for a new release in El Paso is $9.50, seeing these films is a virtual bargain, plus the film airing in the plaza next to the Plaza will be free).  The costliest is the opening film ($20), but this film almost always has a special guest.  Last year, it was Eva Marie Saint who opened North By Northwest, so it's almost always worth it. 

This is my Plaza Preview.  As the month progresses (including a brief vacation so as to recover from my first semester) I hope to update both the PCFF coverage and reviews of the screened films.

Finally, on The Muppets Take Manhattan.  I am tempted, but why do I suddenly feel old thinking that a movie I saw as a child is now part of a 'classic' film festival?

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