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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Previewing Robert Kramer’s Long-Unseen MILESTONES (5’30”)

“Icarus Films, a leading distributor of documentary films since 1978, is proud to have acquired two landmark films by the radical leftist filmmaker Robert Kramer. A founder of the storied 1960s Newsreel collective, Kramer (1939-1999) traveled through Latin America and Vietnam, and later lived for many years in France, where he enjoyed his greatest appreciation as a filmmaker. The subject of 2009 retrospectives at Anthology Film Archives and Harvard Film Archive, Kramer’s concerns about the intersection between the personal and political take viewers to the 1960s and 70s with vivid intimacy.”

MILESTONES (1975, color, 195 minutes, by Robert Kramer and John Douglas) is a lilting, free-associative masterpiece that follows dozens of characters–including hippies, farmers, immigrants, Native Americans, and political activists–as they try to reconcile their ideals with the realities of American life. In intimate discussions of subjects from communal living to parenting, pregnancy to family, Vietnam to Cuba, city life to country life, and the workplace to the bedroom, the film’s diverse protagonists negotiate jealousies, relationships, and the logistical challenges of their rapidly changing world. Shot in vivid color 16mm, using innovative layered sound design and editing techniques as well as slides and archival footage, Milestones tracks its subjects through scripted and unscripted moments. It follows them as they share their emotions and dreams, their idealism and disillusionments, their triumphs and defeats of the past, as well as the possibilities for the future.”

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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