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Terry Zwigoff In Person
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Starting as a musician, defiantly independent filmmaker Terry
Zwigoff also held a number of mundane clerical jobs before embarking on his first
film, the acclaimed documentary about bluesman Howard Armstrong, LOUIE BLUIE. It
took Zwigoff almost ten years to realize his next project, CRUMB, a bullseye
documentary about underground comics artist and blues authority, Robert Crumb. The time
spent gestating the film proved well worth it as the picture broke records on its initial
release, emerging as one of the top-grossing documentaries of all time. Then, once more,
it was an uphill battle finding funding for his subsequent effort and first fictional
outing, GHOST WORLD, based on Daniel Clowes deliciously satirical, offbeat
comic. But Zwigoff was rewarded yet again, garnering critical acclaim and decent box
office returns. Since then, remaining true to his convictions, Zwigoff is almost as well
known for the big budget projects he has turned down as those that he has made.
Zwigoffs gunshy attitude toward movie mega-corporations seems to have been borne out
when he ran into trouble with his harder-edged, original version of BAD SANTA with Billy
Bob Thornton. The film was consequently re-edited with a few scenes reshot.
Fortunately, Miramax has now made this original directors cut, known as BADDER
SANTA, available on DVD. Terry Zwigoffs most recent effort is ART SCHOOL
CONFIDENTIAL. "I've stopped going to see art films because every critic
gives them four stars and say things like "masterpiece,"
"spellbinding," and "mesmerizing." I mean, they're doing that with my
film, but I don't want to use those blurbs. Critical reviews aren't worth too much anymore
because just about every film can get one or two of them." Terry Zwigoff.
Friday, September 29 7:30 PM
Actress Thora Birch In Person!
Ultra Rare Screening! LOUIE BLUIE, 1985, 70 min. Director Terry Zwigoff
made his first foray into film with this portrait of obscure blues artist Howard
Armstrong, 75-year-old musician, painter, poet, and all-around hellraiser. He bursts onto
the screen as a celebration of life itself. This profile of "string-blues"
presaged Zwigoffs personal passion for blues and jazz music that would give his
feature GHOST WORLD its extraordinary soundtrack.
GHOST WORLD, 2001, MGM Repertory,
111 min. Dir. Terry Zwigoff. An elegant adaptation of Daniel Clowes
graphic novel, Zwigoff manages to make his first fiction film seem more real than most
documentaries. A perfect portrait of youth, loneliness and 78rpm records. Scarlett
Johansson and Thora Birch shine as a high school female duo version of Holden
Caulfield. Filled with lovable and believable characters minus Hollywood sentimentality,
including an unforgettable performance by Steve Buscemi as Seymour, the lonely
record collector. Illeana Douglas is perfect as the politically correct art class
teacher. Great cameo from David Sheriden. Actress
Thora Birch will appear for discussion following the screening.
Saturday, September 30 7:30 PM
Terry Zwigoff In Person!
BAD SANTA DIRECTORS CUT, 2003,
Miramax, 98 min. Terry Zwigoffs underground variation of MIRACLE ON 34TH
STREET, with Billy Bob Thorton as a completely foul- mouthed alcoholic con man
posing as a mall Santa, who teams up with his friend Marcus (Tony Cox) to rob the
store just before Christmas. A rare intelligent adult comedy. Hysterical and bold,
Thornton is reminiscent of W.C. Fields, only more drunk and worse to children. Partner and
elf Tony Cox is the perfect foil. Featuring the late, great John Ritter, Bernie Mac
and Brett Kelly as the kid. (Please Note: No 35 mm print exists, so this will be
screened from a digital video source). Discussion following
with director Terry Zwigoff.
Sunday, October 1 6:30 PM
CRUMB, 1994, Sony Pictures, 119 min. Co-written
with Robert Crumb himself, Terry Zwigoffs first feature-length
documentary is a devastating examination of a dysfunctional family, as well as a portrait
of the brilliant and utterly twisted cartoonist (creator of Fritz The Cat and Mr.
Natural). Zwigoff magnificently shows off his talent for giving both real life and
fictional outsiders their cinematic due. Winner of several critics awards
including citations from the Directors Guild of America and Sundance Film Festival.