Films on the Haywall 2015: so named because of the immense haywall looming behind the professional-sized movie screen. (Seriously though; there’s hay everywhere.) This season’s films are curated by Tucker Marder, who, being an artist, curator, producer, director, plantsman and underwater art maker, knows a few things about film, to say the least. The screenings are on Fridays from June 26 to September 4 and the film starts around 7:15 p.m., to be vaguely precise. The flyer insinuates dusk.
Who doesn’t like a free film showing out on the lawn of a renowned family’s nursery? In all sincerity, what really grabbed me was the film line up. I saw so many classics as I was scrolling through the archives that I was utterly overwhelmed. I haven’t seen this much good taste since…I last checked my watchlist on IMdb. It looks like 2013 was a great year for the Haywall series with features such as Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde, Sally Potter’s Orlando, Les Quatre Cents Coups (hopefully not dubbed!) and Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. The Silas Marder Gallery website even includes the mostly original posters of each film. (The Bonnie and Clyde poster, incidentally, was the German version. After reading “und”, I wondered if it was really screened in that language.)
Marder claims that his service to the community of making classic films as available to the public as you can get is an ideal outlet for creeping summer boredom. That seems absolutely reasonable. However, I would not suggest bringing your kids to the event, as Marder suggests. I can only imagine how they’d squirm and groan and sigh during a pivotal moment in some early cinematic scene. Just leave them at home, man. Then relax and enjoy the free music series curated jazz critic Peter Watrous and Noah Garabedian with live performances at 7 p.m. prior to the Friday night screenings.
So I went to go see Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey last week with my father, an exemplary film critic. (Cue: “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”) I had a feeling he would take delight in it. (And, I was right.)
I didn’t see any children, which was good to see considering the film is a complex one, but I did see dogs. Well-behaved dogs that served as companions and feet-warmers alike. Here’s a tip, should you decide to take advantage of this lovely summer event: bring as many blankets as you can. It gets cold. We took a picnic blanket to lay on and ended up having to wrap ourselves up in the grass-filled cloth. Also, bring a lot of bug spray! I would say come prepared with liters of that stuff. I witnessed a bout of mosquito spray-coating in at least five attendees before the film began, so I took the hint and make sure I was covered. (During the intermission Kubrick so kindly included, I heard various re-applications.) And lastly bring food, snacks, drinks. The community that I saw and experienced is a quiet, respectable one. People just want to watch good movies, indulge in the pleasure of that culture and huddle up with loved ones. (Refrain from screeching like a banshee at the sound of inside jokes at any time.)
As for the whole family thing, I’d say bring your kids if you want to douse them in award-winning films that may or may not be suitable. (2001: A Space Odyssey is rated G, so you make the call.) Or make it a family tradition if your children are all of college age, at least. Then will you be able to soak your brains in the gift of outdoor cinema, bringing nature and film together as it has been.
I’ll be coming back for Brazil in August.