Film Scouts Diaries

1997 USA Film Festival Diaries

by Leslie Rigoulot

If you're coming to Dallas for the USA FIlm Festival, beware of the roadwork at Central Expressway and Walnut Hill Lane the week of April 17 through the 24. Not only will the USA Film Festival be going strong at the AMC Glen Lakes Theater, but so will the usual construction. So watch out for the stars and the bars!

Bill Paxton, a native son, has returned to Texas with the opener, "Traveller". I'd go just to see the cinematography, since Jack Green directs. He won an Oscar for "Unforgiven" and created the atmosphere for "The Bridges of Madison County", which was the only thing I liked about it. Paxton produced "Traveller", which centers on a clan of Irish grifters. Bill Paxton, Lou Ann Barton and Jack Green will be attending the Thursday, April 17 event which starts at 7:30 pm.

Closing Night, on Thursday, April 24, will have two stellar events: The Master Screen Artist Tribute to Tommy Lee Jones and the world premiere of "Alone". Texas boy Jones has won the hearts and minds of fans and critics as both villain and hero. We also get to sneak a look at his new film "Volcano". "Alone" stars Hume Cronyn in a Horton Foote tale of a farmer whose life changes when an oil company comes to drill. Hume Cronyn, Shelley Duvall, and Horton Foote will be in attendance. The ensemble cast also includes my favorites James Earl Jones and Chris Cooper.

In between, we have some of the greatest fun around. Molly Ringwald will give the Great Director Tribute to Paul Mazursky on Saturday, April 19 at 7:30. Screenings include his "Down and Out in Beverly Hills", "Tempest", and "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice".

Peter Greenaway will be fêted Wednesday, April 23 at 7:00 pm with the US premiere of his latest film, "The Pillow Book". I have to mention that "The Pillow Book" is the only movie I walked out of at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Greenaway is an acquired taste, like Scotch, I suppose.

But I can't wait to watch Liza Minnelli on Tuesday, April 22! She will screen "Caberet", which won her the Best Actress Oscar and won an additional seven Oscars. Then Liza will share her thoughts on the film and her career. I can try to sound unimpressed, but you would know I'm just trying to act cool.

Equally interesting will be the Evening with Mia Farrow, who will screen "Reckless" and sign copies of her autobiography "What Falls Away". The ex-Mrs. Sinatra, amazing actress, and mother of many is sure to be a spellbinder.

Buck Henry will present the 30th-anniversary restoration of the American classic "The Graduate", which he adapted for the screen with Calder Willingham. Mr. Henry will be on hand to discuss the making and impact of this landmark film.

Maybe we can get Jack Palance to do some one-arm push-ups in addition to reading from his recently published volume of poems, "The Forest of Love". He is presenting the newly-restored print of Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt" (1963) and discussing his own five decades on the silver screen.

Friday, April 18 at 9:10 PM marks the world premiere of "Rod Serling: Writer", Colin Strayer's documentary on the Twilight Zone creator. It features interviews with Mr. Serling's family, and co-workers such as Peter Ustinov and Lloyd Bridges. Colin Strayer will be in attendance.

A complete schedule of all the Festival events can be found at all Starbucks in Dallas, at Ticketmaster outlets and at the AMC Glen Lakes Theaters in Dallas and by calling the USA Film Festival at 214/821-NEWS. Tickets go on sale April 10, 1997.

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