Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Through the Eyes of Children press release

Photo courtesy of Sasha Waters Freyer.
Date: May 31, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: A Bijou Presents screening on June 11
From: The Bijou Film Center

The next Bijou Presents event will be offered to the public on Sat., June 11, 2016. We are calling the program of three films "Through the Eyes of Children." We will be using the facilities at 1708 Gallery, 319 W. Broad Street. The doors will open at 7:30 p.m. The film program will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m.

"Chekhov for Children" (2010): Color with some black and white footage. 72 minutes. Directed by Sasha Waters Freyer. Note: The director of this award-winning documentary combines footage of a 1979 staging of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" by fifth- and sixth-graders in New York City, with videos and Super 8 films shot by children in the same era, with updated glimpses at those kids, grown up, some 30 years later. When an artist stretches to combine elements that might seem unrelated, it's always risky; sometimes it's audacious. When the resulting assemblage creates a unique harmony that is both fresh and familiar, it can outweigh sum of the parts in a way that seems magical.   

"Mouseholes" (1999): Color. 8 minutes. Directed by Helen Hill. Note: "Since I could not stop my grandfather's death, I tried to understand, through recordings of his voice, home movies and animated scenes of Heaven." -- Helen Hill.

"Les Mistons" (1957): B&W. 17 minutes. Directed by François Truffaut. Cast: Bernadette Lafont, Gérard Blain. Note: A group of five boys becomes obsessed with a beautiful young woman (Lafont in her first film) who rides her bicycle around the village and sometimes to meetings with her boyfriend. Out of a mixture of curiosity and jealousy the boys stalk the lovers and make mischief to annoy them. Liberated from the restrictions of the static camera and sound stage this delightful short film helped to set the French New Wave in motion; it got Truffaut the money to make his first feature.

Why these three movies? The thread that runs through them is that each offers us a view of life, essentially through the eyes of children. Before children have fully grasped what society expects them to notice and classify, they sometimes see what may be invisible to adults. 

This presentation will move the Bijou Film Center closer to what is envisioned to be its nature, once we have completed the one-off phase of our development and landed in our permanent location. Our plan is to consistently invite those who get it to take in cinematic experiences they will not find the likes of anywhere else in Richmond. Have a beer, or a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee. Have a bite to eat. Share the whole experience with people who enjoy watching good movies together, because they get it -- they know it makes a difference. 

By the way, this will be the Richmond premiere of "Chekhov for Children."

Admission: Bijou Film Center members will get in free and a $5.00 donation will be accepted from non-members. Note: The same three films will be presented the night before, Fri., June 10, to members only with admission free. Seating will be limited to 70 people on both nights.

Background on the Filmmakers:

Sasha Waters Freyer is currently the chair of Virginia Commonwealth University's Photography and Film Department. More information about her can be seen here;

Helen Hill was born in Columbia, SC, where she began making animated films as a child. She was educated at Harvard, taught filmmaking in Nova Scotia and was murdered in the nightmarish aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2007. More about Hill can be seen here.

François Truffaut is perhaps the best known/most celebrated director of what became known as the French New Wave of the 1960s. Among others his feature films included: "The 400 Blows," "Jules and Jim," "Fahrenheit 451," "Small Change" and "Day for Night." More about Truffaut can be seen here. 

The Bijou's Mission: The centerpiece of the Bijou Film Center we envision will be a small independent cinema -- a little art house theater that will strive to present the best of first-run independent and imported films available. They will be sandwiched between short runs of selected classics. Live music will occasionally be presented. In a small adjoining café/coffeehouse we will serve sandwiches, soups, salads, bagels, pastries, coffee, tea, beer, wine and so forth. 

We hope to soon (very soon!) sign a lease on a temporary space in which to experiment and further develop the concept. This will allow us to offer regular programs in the same space. Compared to what we've done so far, this event's atmosphere and programming style, sans folding chairs, should more closely resemble what's envisioned for operations in our permanent space. Beyond the exhibition of our gourmet film fare, we hope to be a friend to those interested in the preserving of old films and the making of new films.

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