News & Notes goes to the movies

Classics from Buster Keaton, Ruben Ostlund, and Akira Kurosawa

How about a quick News & Notes, just to get the heart pumping this week? This one has distinctly film focus—from Buster Keaton to Ruben Ostlund and back to Akira Kurasawa. And some of it involves live, Oregon-composed music, which is always in order!

The Eugene alt.string band Mood Area 52 will supply the live soundtrack to the Buster Keaton silent comedy classic, Our Hospitality at the Hollywood Theatre on Thursday. Some of the movie was shot in Oregon (where Keaton would return for the even more classic The General in 1926, which was shot in Cottage Grove). For the soundtrack, Mood Area 52 is dipping into classic ragtime music in addition to its own versions of John Fahey, Reverend Gary Davis, and Leo Kottke among others, per the press release.

Buster Keaton was a genius of the visual joke.

Buster Keaton was a genius of the visual joke.

While we’re talking about movies, the Northwest Film Center is presenting a three-film mini-festival of movies by the Swedish director, Ruben Ostlund, including his new film, Force Majeure, which won the Grand Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes Film Festival and was Sweden’s submission for this years’ Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. If you are doing some Spring Break skiing, you might want to see it after its Thursday and Saturday screenings.

At this point, I count on the website Open Culture to expand my horizons, for example this introduction to Tony Zhou and his video series Every Frame a Picture. It’s a short video essay into the movement in the films of Akira Kurosawa. “A Kurosawa movie moves like no one else’s,” Zhou says in his video. “Each one is a master class in different types of motion and also ways to combine them.” I love his riff on how static Hollywood films seem in comparison. Delightful!

Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

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