The 2008 Taos Mountain Film Festival will open Thursday, Oct. 9, with Locals Night. Slideshows and movies from New Mexico characters will launch this annual festival of high-altitude culture and outdoor sporting. The festival continues through Sunday, Oct. 12, with film screenings and panel discussions at the Old County Courthouse and La Fonda Hotel, both on Taos Plaza. This year’s guests include National Geographic writer Jon Bowermaster, 10-time Mt. Everest summit climber Dave Hahn, El Capitan conquerer Glen Denny, Dalai Lama media coordinator Tseten Phanucharas and ultralight trike flyer/photographer Chris Dahl-Bredine. Dozens of films and videos will unspool over the course of the weekend, covering topics like African peak climbing, Antarctic exploration, ancient Peruvian ritual, Tibetan independence, kite skiing, BASE jumping and the history of Greenpeace. For complete information on films, times and ticket sales, log on to mountainfilm.net.
The French don’t pump out nearly the same volume of films as they used to. But the Frenchies who are still fighting the system and getting their films out as far as the States are a consistently impressive bunch. Guys like Claude Chabrol (A Girl Cut in Two, The Flower of Evil, Hell), François Ozon (The Swimming Pool, Water Drops on Burning Rocks, Criminal Lovers) and Claude Lelouch (Roman de Gare), and ladies like Catherine Breillat (Anatomy of Hell, Fat Girl) are fluent in the European language of sex, violence and noirish tension.
The day after the House of Representatives rejected the first economic bailout package, sending the stock market into a 700-point freefall, the top three search terms on Yahoo were “Ivanka Trump,” “Brangelina” and “dog costumes,” proving that Americans are strenuously adept at avoiding their problems. That’s as good an excuse as any why films dealing with our current War on Terror (or whatever you want to call it) have failed again and again at the box office. The most recent was the PTSD road trip drama The Lucky Ones starring Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams, which opened on Sept. 28 with a whopping $183,000.
“In Living Color”--that was a hell of a show, wasn’t it? The early FOX network sketch comedy series not only defined comedy in the ’90s, it launched the careers of Keenan Ivory Wayans (plus a dozen or so other Wayanses), Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez (a founding “Fly Girl”) and ... oh, yeah, that Jim Carrey guy. Now series stalwart David Alan Grier returns to the format that spawned him with Comedy Central’s new sketch series “Chocolate News.”