Film Notes: 'Saint of 9/11' to screen here on anniversary of terrorist attacks
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A documentary about the Rev. Mychal F. Judge, a gay chaplain with the New York Fire Department who died on 9/11, will be screened in Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.
Ian McKellen narrates "Saint of 9/11," which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. All five festival screenings were sold out.
An obituary published at the time said the chaplain died amid a rain of debris as he went to the Twin Towers to minister to victims. He was 68 and lived in a Franciscan friary across from a firehouse.
His head was struck by debris, according to friars at the Holy Name Province of the Franciscan Friars. Firefighters carried his body to St. Peter's Church on Barclay Street, then to the firehouse, in a scene captured in a memorable Reuters photo.
When TWA Flight 800 exploded off Long Island in 1996, Judge helped console families of victims. Not long before his death, he went to Northern Ireland on a peace mission with a New York police officer who had been shot and left paralyzed.
The Pittsburgh showing of the documentary, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, will be at the Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland. The 90-minute movie will start at 7:30 p.m. on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Admission, $5, will benefit the Shepherd Wellness Center. Firefighters and members of the clergy will be admitted for free, with proof of identification.
For directions to the Melwood Screening Room, go to www.pghfilmmakers.org. (Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette movie editor)
Pittsburgh Filmmakers will show a Marx brothers double feature, "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races," at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Regent Square Theater. Admission, $7, for both. (B.V.)
A send-off for Jared Earley, who is leaving the Oaks Theater, will be held Monday after the 8 p.m. screening of "10th & Wolf." Patrons are invited to a get-together at the Boulevard Bistro next to the theater at roughly 10 p.m.
Earley is departing as programmer-manager after five years. Matt Lemme, 22, who has worked at the Oaks for four years and occasionally pitched in at the Penn Hills Cinema, is taking over at the Oakmont location. (B.V.)
Double dose of death
Death in Hollywood topped the early going at Italy's Venice Film Festival, where Allen Coulter's film about the mysterious and untimely death of TV's Superman in the 1950s premiered yesterday after Brian De Palma's film noir about the murder of an aspiring actress.
"Hollywoodland" stars Ben Affleck as George Reeves, portrayed as an ultimately dispirited actor who aspires to greatness but is typecast as a television superhero, and Adrien Brody as a private detective trying to make a case that his apparent suicide was actually murder.
The movie has all the elements of a film noir, but Coulter said he sees "Hollywoodland" more as "a story of two men who seek meaning in their lives through celebrity." It is scheduled to open in Pittsburgh next Friday.
The theme of fame-at-all-costs was close to home for the actors and director alike.
"I think the reason that we were all drawn to the story is that Hollywood is a repository for that kind of thinking," said Coulter, a director of the HBO hit "The Sopranos" making his feature film directorial debut.
Affleck's Reeves is disappointed that he did not achieve the right kind of fame, while Brody's headline-seeking detective pursues fame of his own by trying to debunk the LAPD's suicide ruling.
Affleck, who won a best screenplay Oscar for "Good Will Hunting," said he tried to give a respectful portrayal of Reeves as a tonic to the exploitation his character experienced in life, being mindful of Reeves' struggle to break free of his image as the Man of Steel.
"Audiences could only see him as such. I think it was very painful for him," the actor said.
Academy Award winner Brody said he understood why audiences feel overly familiar with actors, but said it made actors' lives more difficult.
"Our object as an actor is to create a level of truth and believability with the characters we portray. If we succeed, then there is a connection between the character and the audience," Brody said. "You share very intimate moments -- moments I wouldn't share with you in real life. The line blurs."
Both "Hollywoodland" and De Palma's "The Black Dahlia" -- among 21 contenders for the Golden Lion awarded at the Sept. 9 end of the festival -- center on untimely deaths in postwar Hollywood and explore the phenomenon of interrupted celebrity.
"I think they both speak to a continued fascination with death in Hollywood," said "Hollywoodland" producer Glenn Williamson. (Colleen Barry, Associated Press)
First Published September 1, 2006 12:00 am