FILMWORKER This might be the perfect picture to open this year’s Santa Fe Film Festival. It’s a documentary that reveals the working ways of one of cinema’s most reclusive and yet most celebrated directors: Stanley Kubrick. Here, we come to learn about Kubrick from his longtime assistant, a jack-of-all-trades who most of us didn’t know existed: Leon Vitali. This former actor gave up the craft to become Kubrick’s right-hand man. No job was too small or demeaning for Vitali, who even set up video cameras so Kubrick could monitor the status of his sick cat. Vitali created all the trailers for the director’s films, as well as the marketing campaigns and the subtitled and dubbed prints in scores of languages. But he did much more, often serving as Kubrick’s casting director. He discovered R. Lee Ermey, the brutal gunnery sergeant in Full
Metal Jacket, and Danny Lloyd, the young boy in The Shining , as well as the twin girls who plague him. We meet Vitali on the set of Barry Lyndon; he played Lord Bullingdon, a demanding role where he got his first taste of just how exacting Kubrick could be. In one scene, Bullingdon is attacked by Ryan O’Neal, playing the rascally Lyndon. Kubrick required more than 30 takes, each one with Bullingdon getting beaten to a pulp. Most people would have run far away as fast as possible, but Vitali, sensing Kubrick’s brilliance and mastery of film, remained and became the director’s closest confidant. Tony Zierra’s documentary is as original and mesmerizing, lustrous and kaleidoscopic, as one of Kubrick’s films. Filmworker screens with the short film Cerrillos
Road. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7. Vitali is in attendance. Not rated. 94 minutes. The Screen. (Jon Bowman) GOD’S OWN COUNTRY Not rated. 105 minutes. The Screen. See review, Page 39. HAPPY END Not rated. 107 minutes. In French with subtitles. Center for Contemporary Arts. See review, Page 37. JON JOST RETROSPECTIVE Beginning Friday, Feb. 2, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design sponsors a weekend of movies by independent filmmaker Jon Jost, free of charge — with Jost present at all of the showings. The program ranges from narrative road movies to experimental cinema and includes Last Chants for a Slow Dance (1977), 6 Easy
Pieces (1996-1999), Image of a Lost City (1997-1998), Over Here (2006), and They Had It Coming (2015). Visit www.thescreensf.com for showtimes. The Screen. (Not reviewed) LOVER FOR A DAY Despite being a holdover from the French New Wave era and enjoying festival success in the 1970s, director Philippe Garrel’s works often come across like student films — they tell rather than show, present stories about romance that lack any wisdom or insight into how gender relationships actually work, have weird ideas about women, and present common observations as profound. His latest film centers on a middle-aged professor (Éric Caravaca) in love with a student (Louise Chevillote), who suddenly has a crowded apartment when his broken-hearted daughter (Esther Garrel) — who is the same age as his lover — moves back in with him. As they bond and argue, it all plays out roughly as telegraphed, with Garrel telling the story as if there is something inherently interesting about an older man dating a younger woman, and ending his film with an outburst of domestic violence that is essentially glossed over. It’s somewhat saved by its handsome blackand-white photography and brisk running time, but that’s not enough — this kind of cinema is well past its expiration date. Not rated. 76 minutes. In French with subtitles. Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Robert Ker)
SANTA FE FILM FESTIVAL
The 2018 festival runs from Wednesday, Feb. 7, to Feb. 11, at various venues. Tickets to individual screenings are $10; a festival pass is $350. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, go to www.santafefilmfestival.com. See Page 8 for more information.
Helen Mirren takes the horror genre for a spin, playing Sarah Winchester, the wife of gun manufacturer William Winchester. In a plot based very loosely on Sarah’s real life, this movie follows Sarah in the years after William’s death, as she becomes increasingly convinced that the ghosts of those who were killed by Winchester weapons are haunting her. She builds a strange, sprawling house in San Jose, California — known today as the Winchester Mystery House — to escape the spirits. Rated PG-13. 99 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
Working in the shadows: Leon Vitali and Ned Price of Warner Brothers in Filmworker, at The Screen