Last Night in Little Rock:LRFF opening/Tonight in Little Rock: “An Evening With Jay Russell”

May 30, 2012

The film festival got underway. Here’s your monkey with director Jay Russell.I’ll be talking with him this evening at the Arkansas Arts Center.

An Evening with Filmmaker Jay Russell will be held at the Arkansas Arts Center, Ninth and Commerce streets beginning at 8 p.m. I think Jay and I agreed to “wing it.” (The open to those with gold, filmmaker and sponsor passes)

I don’t know exactly how it will work, but I hope I’m not called upon to introduce Jay. I always feel like I’m framing an argument when I’m making an introduction, and the last thing I want to do is to try to put Jay in a box. If you read anything about him, they talk about him as a maker of high quality family films (and they’re right — My Dog Skip and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep are two of the finest “family” movies I can think of; intelligent and humane movies that are respectful of the sometimes wise ways children approach the world without valorizing childhood). But I think he’s more than that, I can’t think of an American director working in a commercial milieu who consistently imbues his work with so much grace.

Plus, I want o talk to him about End of the Line and Willie Morris. It’ll be a fun night.

(I can’t embed it, but you can watch End of the Line here.)

Also tonight, there’s a screening of Richard Linklater’s Bernie, which stars Jack Black as a small-town Texas mortician who befriends a wealthy widow (Shirley MacLaine). The film screens at 7 p.m. at the Riverdale 10 Cinema in Little Rock.

And at 7:30 p.m., at the Riverdale 10, there will be a screening of Fox Searchlight’s Lola Versus, a romantic comedy starring Greta Gerwig as a New Yorker on the verge of turning 30 dumped by her betrothed a few weeks before her wedding.

(To help you make up your mind, Bernie is also still playing at Market Street Cinema, and Lola Versus will open theatrically in a couple of weeks. Plus, we’ve got an afterparty.)

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