Friday, August 7, 2009

More voices . . .

• Los Angeles critic Tim Grierson laments a beautiful list of loss: "Sitting a row in front of Chris Parnell a few weeks later for Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light. The film's flaws aside, this is the sort of movie whose power simply cannot be duplicated on DVD."

• Edward Goldman on KCRW's Art Talk: "It's disingenuous for the museum to blame the audience for the demise of its film program; it feels as if LACMA has lost its passion and conviction for the art form which is the core identity of this city."

• And from the archives, two portraits of Ian Birnie, ten years apart:

LA Weekly, 1999: "It's a tribute to Birnie's sense of adventure that LACMA's film offerings roam the cultural map, from the high end of popular culture (Charlie Chaplin, Jerome Kern, the films of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro) and the bracingly low (John Waters, Roger Corman), to art house series such as the recent sold-out Robert Bresson retrospective and Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue. 'In the three years since Ian took over,' says the American Cinematheque's uber-programmer, Dennis Bartok, 'he's built on the museum's traditional strength, which was classic Hollywood films, but he's also expanded to do things like the Valley of the Dolls series. Between him and us and the smaller outfits that program specialist film festivals, there's more great exhibition in L.A. than anywhere in the country, including New York.'"

Artillery Magazine, 2009: "For Birnie, it's not about good or bad, it's about the different trips each film takes you on. It's about the directors, a lot of whom he entices to LA. Or it might be about the film career of a single actor. . . . Birnie has turned the Bing Theater at LACMA into a temple where we filmgoers can worship in the dark over and over while bemoaning the onslaught of summer blockbusters. He has also turned the Bing into a library where, if you are patient enough, you will see something you never saw before or thought you would never see again. But most of all, the Bing can be proud it is part of LACMA because, thanks to Birnie, its movies belong in a museum."

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