About a year ago, my friends Patrick and Daron and I decided, in the midst of one of our many feverish discussions about all things film, that we needed to have a movie marathon together. But if we were going to do it once, shouldn't we make it a regular practice? And if it was going to be a regular thing -- at least for a couple years while all here in Atlanta -- why not give it a name and formal rules, not to mention specify ourselves as the inaugural members, with more potentially to come?
Thus was born Trio Film Fest.
The charter members were, of course, us three. There would be four marathons per year, with specific criteria chosen in advance. Each of us would bring two films, totaling six films for the day (or stretched out over more than one day, as the case may be). The goal would be serious, extended discussion of film; introduction to movies we otherwise wouldn't be able or have the time to see; sharing with one another movies perennially underrated or undervalued but especially loved by one of us for some reason; and so on. Ideally the themes would bring out interesting and unforeseen connections that would only serve to enhance our experience and appreciation of them.
Oh, and the best part: For each Trio Patrick (graphic designer extraordinaire) would create a special poster to commemorate the day and the movies.
So the first Trio was last January and the theme was simple: two films from each person by the same director, sharing an actor as well. We were flexible with Patrick's, as you'll see, but check out the poster:
Daron brought William Wyler's Roman Holiday (1953) and How to Steal a Million (1966), each starring Audrey Hepburn. I brought Werner Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982), each featuring the bizarre and utterly fantastic Klaus Kinski. Patrick brought Lars von Trier's The Five Obstructions (2003) and Dogville (2003).
Our second Trio was in April. The theme, once again, was pretty simple: two films each from the same writer, but by different directors. I should also add that the goal was to find films most of us hadn't seen, or at least hadn't seen in a while.
I ended up bringing Paul Schrader's The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese; 1988) and The Mosquito Coast (Peter Weir; 1986), Daron brought Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita (Besson; 1990) and The Transporter (Corey Yuen; 2000), and Patrick brought Scott Frank's Out of Sight (Steven Soderbergh; 1998) and The Lookout (Frank; 2007). The connections between these were especially intriguing.
The third Trio was in July, and the theme was a bit more personal: bring your favorite movie, along with one you've been dying to see for a long time but for whatever reason just haven't gotten around to.
The favorites were Michael Mann's Heat (1995 -- mine), Ethan Hawke's Chelsea Walls (2001 -- Patrick's), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie (2001 -- Daron's). The forever-evaded films were, respectively, Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957), Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963), and Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique (1955).
Finally, the fourth Trio for 2009 was just last weekend, and to finish the year off with a bang the three of us took a weekend trip with our wives to a cabin in Tennessee. Here was the view:
You can imagine how increasingly ridiculous we felt (and our wives reminded us of being) for spending our time indoors when that remarkable beauty lay outside.
Regardless, our theme for the weekend finished off the year in fitting simplicity: the same actor in related but different roles.
I brought Stephen Frears' The Hit (1984) and Steven Soderbergh's The Limey (1999), each starring Terrence Stamp (as a retired/past-prime hitman/criminal, I might add). Daron brought Sydney Pollack's 3 Days of the Condor (1975) and Tony Scott's Spy Game (2001), each featuring Robert Redford. And Patrick brought Joel Schumacher's Falling Down (1993) and Mike Cahill's King of California (2007), each with Michael Douglass.
So if you're counting at home, that's 24 total films, more than half a dozen foreign languages represented, covering nearly every genre, spanning from 1953 to 2007. Not a bad start for our first year. We already have our second year's themes and dates planned, with only more complexities involved. In surprise honor of the close of our first year, Patrick put together a special poster for the first four editions of Trio Film Fest:
I hope you've enjoyed this walk through our little movie marathon group; let me know if you have anything similar of your own, or if you have any comments or suggestions. It's been a blast, and I'm looking forward to more of the same.