This year, Cinema Pacific packs quite an international punch, with a focus on films from Chile and Taiwan and a slew of interactive events, EW spoke to Festival Director Richard Herskowitz to find out what not to miss. Here are some of the highlights:
Chile’s Crackerjack Playwright
Cinema Pacific brings Chilean playwright and screenwriter Guillermo Calderón to Bijou Art Cinemas Thursday, April 24, for a screening of Violeta Went to Heaven. A biopic about renowned musician and folklorist Violeta Parra, the film brought home the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance in 2012. “Gueillermo Calderón is considered the preeminent playwright in Chile,” Herskowitz says. Calderón will be there not only for the screening but also for a preceding staged reading of Villa by three Portland actors. “Three women get together to find out what to do with this villa used as a torture barracks during Pinochet,” Herskovitz says of the play. The aftermath of atrocities and political legacies are central themes in Calderón’s work. The premiere of Villa was originally staged at Villa Grimaldi, near Santiago, Chile, where thousands of people were held prisoner, tortured or “disappeared” during the reign of dictator Augusto Pinochet. Los Angeles Times theater critic Margaret Gray says of Villa: “Calderón’s stark lyricism and dreamlike imagery recall the magical realism of Nabokov.”
Godzilla on the Fringe
On the eve of Friday, April 25, the first floor of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art will transform into the Fringe Festival, screening an interactive remix and “map” of the 1958 Taiwanese classic Brother Wang and Brother Liu Tour Taiwan, created by UO digital artist John Park (known for his work with local art collective Harmonic Laboratory). Developers from local video game company Pipeworks will also be in tow to present the world premiere of Godzilla Smash 3, which will be released to the public in May with the new Godzilla film. “It’s going to be huge,” Herskowitz says of Pipeworks’ new offering. “In the museum people are going to be able to play with the video game. It will be the first time people will be able to get their hands on it.”
Herskowitz says Saturday, April 26, at the Jordan Schnitzer will be “the greatest night in Cinema Pacific history.” There will be two back-to-back live performances (starting at 6:30 pm) meditating on the subject of wolves: “Wolf” by Illinois-based video performance artist Deke Weaver, and “Hope and Prey” by punk-rock Oregon video artist Vanessa Renwick and Portland musician Daniel Menche. “Wolf” is the third chapter in Weaver’s lifelong passion project The Unreliable Beastiary, in which he explores the lives of animals and man’s relationship to them. “Hope and Prey” features Renwick’s “adrenaline-pumping” nature cinematography projecting panoramically across three screens and set to an original score by Menche; Renwick’s video installation exhibits, Hunting Requires Optimism and Medusa Smack, will also be on display at the JSMA. “It’s not your typical movie theatrical experience,” Herskowitz says. “We define cinema in the broadest sense — it includes video games, it includes interactive digital media.”
Cinema Pacific runs April 23-27 at several locations: the UO campus, Bijou Art Cinemas, Portland Art Museum and Portland’s George S. Turnbull Center. To see the full lineup of film screenings and events, visit cinemapacific.uoregon.edu.