Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Save Film at LACMA Night' Celebrates Taiwanese Masterpiece on Sept. 26



Crisp new print of A City of Sadness, a film never released in the U.S. or on DVD, represents the importance of a vital film program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2009 — Save Film at LACMA, the grassroots group dedicated to the uninterrupted presence of curated classic and international film screenings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has designated the Sept. 26 screening of a new print of Taiwanese classic A City of Sadness as "Save Film at LACMA Night."

Save Film at LACMA activists, members, Facebook fans and petition-signers are invited to attend the Saturday evening screening to celebrate LACMA’s eight-month extension of the beloved program.

“We encourage all film lovers to share this special Saturday evening together. Our movement was spawned by a love of cinema and recognition of the unique historic relationship Los Angeles holds with this great art form,” says Save Film co-founder Debra Levine.

Museum Director Michael Govan recently told the Wall Street Journal that LACMA’s ongoing presentation of film, “will be realized if patrons and the public believe it worthwhile and contribute to its realization." Save Film at LACMA wishes to demonstrate that the series enjoys a robust and passionate audience when properly marketed. The group also wishes to use this occasion to express appreciation for the museum’s talented film programmers, Ian Birnie and Bernardo Rondeau.

About A City of Sadness

A City of Sadness (1989), from director Hou Hsiao-hsien, is a landmark of the Taiwanese New Cinema depicting the impact of the country’s history on ordinary lives. Despite great popular success in Taiwan and being voted one of the five greatest Chinese films of all time by the Hong Kong Film Awards, the film has never had a U.S. distributor nor has it been released on video or DVD. It has not been available for any public screening for almost a decade.

This brand new print, created at LACMA’s initiative, was financed by the Taipei Economic Cultural Office, and will subsequently tour important art-film outlets across North America, including Yerba Buena in San Francisco, Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and cinematheques in Cleveland, Vancouver and Toronto, among other cities this fall.

The intimate epic traces a family’s story from 1945, when Japan ended its half-century occupation of the island-nation, to 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government retreated from the Chinese mainland to Taipei. The film is celebrated for its long takes and complex narrative structure.

“Hou Hsiao-hsien is widely regarded as one of the most important filmmakers of our era,” notes Save Film co-founder and film critic Doug Cummings. “This print would not exist -- or be screening in Los Angeles -- if not for LACMA’s film program. It’s a rare opportunity to see this masterpiece projected on the big screen.”

Derek Hsu, senior press officer at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office adds, “We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of a rarely shown film depicting a tragic chapter in Taiwanese history. It concerns what happened to the Taiwanese people when the Japanese occupation ended.”

About Save Film at LACMA

Save Film at LACMA is an open group; anyone can join via the Save Film at LACMA Facebook page or follow the savefilmlacma Twitter feed. News about the screening program is regularly posted on our blog, www.savefilmatlacma.blogspot.com.

Save Film at LACMA comprises key individuals concerned with improving the museum's film program, its marketing and financial support in order to protect a treasured program from future dismantling.

The grassroots movement enjoyed a great success when the public outcry over LACMA's July 28 suspension of the film program prompted museum officials to reconsider and extend the program through June 2010.

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Media Contact:
Robin Rauzi, 323-219-1230
savefilmlacma@gmail.com

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