Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blaxploitation and Macon Film Fest

It's a big weekend for movie lovers in Macon, having nothing to do with the sludge that hits the multiplexes this weekend.

First, kicking off with an opening reception Friday night, is an exhibit featuring great posters from the height of blaxploitation cinema in America, organized by Separate Cinema and on display at Macon's Tubman African American Museum.

I readily admit I haven't supported the Tubman like I should. I enjoyed the Black Panthers exhibit several years ago, though captions on the photos would have gone a long way to educate this gringo, and went to see a good exhibit of giant portraits by a photographer whose name escapes me. I will definitely be there though, probably more than once, for this one.

I haven't seen all these movies, but love the ones I have, especially "Shaft" (of course) and just about anything featuring Pam Grier, particularly "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown." What makes them the most appealing, at least to me, is that they dramatized what was in the '70s a simmering rage and still managed, for the most part, to be tremendously entertaining.

Granted, there were missteps. Though I love listening to Rudy Ray Moore's recordings, especially his battle with Big Daddy Kane, "Dolemite" is just pure garbage. Not nearly as funny as many people claim, and for long stretches just plain stupid.

That said, this exhibit will showcase the vibrant posters from many great movies, some I've seen and more I will now rent. The only thing that would make this better would be to have some of the great music piped into the museum, maybe Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" or "Man Enough" by The Four Tops, but that's probably too much to ask.

No matter what, if you live anywhere near Macon, check this one out for sure.

Macon Film Fest

Also, starting tonight, is the Macon Georgia Film and Video Festival. If you can get past that rather ponderous name, you'll get three days of short films in competition and special screenings of movies related to Georgia or the South.

It all takes place at the still-fairly-newly renovated Capitol Theatre, which has given cinema in Macon a shot in the arm with its weekly indie night and weekend double features.

Here are some of the special screenings you can enjoy:

Tonight at 8, the Oscar-winning short film "The Accountant," and then at 9, "29th and Gay," the directorial debut of former Maconite and actress Carrie Preston which is about a man struggling to reconcile his homosexuality with his Hispanic heritage.

Friday night starting at 7 p.m. there will be films by Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton, with screenings of some of the 40 short films in competition in between. The nightcap comes at 10:30 with a screening of "Deliverance," for those of you who can take it.

Saturday will be a day of short films beginning at 2 p.m., followed by a screening of "Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus," which follows alt-country oddball Jim White on a road trip through the South's back roads. Don't miss this one at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, after a 5 p.m. awards ceremony, will be the real highlight, a 7 p.m. screening of John Huston's "Wise Blood," filmed right here in the Mactown. I first had to watch this one in a class at Catholic University, and it has stuck with me since. It's creepy, at times funny, and very entertaining.

Ticket prices vary depending on how many days you want to attend. For details, consult this morning's Telegraph or tomorrow's Out & About, or visit the film fest's Web site here.

Please, please, please support this new addition to our downtown. It's a great start, and the organizers have promised bigger and better things if it's a success. We owe them at least that much.

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