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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

[DVD] Waiting For Fidel (1974, ***)

Fidel629.jpgFrom the shelf: A long unseen, very funny predecessor to the comic, self-centric documentary essays of Nick Broomfield and Michael Moore is a topical DVD again, Australian-Canadian filmmaker Michael Rubbo’s very funny Waiting for Fidel (Facets). In 1974, Rubbo set out with Joey Smallwood, the septuagenarian socialist former premier of Newfoundland and Geoff Stirling, a broadcasting millionaire-“”he’s not coming down here to swallow this Communism”– to get a day to interview Fidel Castro on his own turf. Castro leaves them waiting… and waiting… They take the sun, drink, prepare lists of questions at the beach or around the pool. The seemingly informal give-and-take on politics in Cuba and Canada, as well as their perceptions of the contrasts between socialism and capitalism, are digressive but telling. (Extras include the now-older Rubbo and Stirling’s amusing reminiscences.)

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch