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Wild at Heart: Writer Barry Gifford

November 29, 2012 - December 8, 2012


Developing a distinctive voice in American fiction ain’t no easy thing; there’s a bit of competition out there. But Barry Gifford—poet, essayist, screenwriter, and novelist—has cultivated a voice that captures American weird, modulated by the quirks of regional cultural, the concussive body blows of pulp, and a sensual prose that is both beautiful and damned. His nervy, cringingly comic novels—Wild at Heart and others—have been adapted for the screen, in the case of Perdita Durango by himself, and he has written original scripts, including Lost Highway (with David Lynch), and City of Ghosts (with Matt Dillon). A Bay Area resident, Gifford’s fascination for film extends beyond fiction to idiosyncratic essays gathered in books like The Devil Thumbs a Ride & Other Unforgettable Films. This tribute finds Gifford both onscreen and off, reading from his fiction and poetry and in a conversation about the complex transformation of prose to pictures. The Behind the Scenes presentation on Thursday, November 29 includes the West Coast premiere of Lucian Georgescu’s Romanian rhapsody, The Phantom Father. The tribute also offers rare episodes of David Lynch’s TV series Hotel Room, aired soon after Twin Peaks. Join us for three evenings with a writer who is truly “wild at heart.”

Steve Seid, Video Curator

Thursday, November 29, 2012
7:00 p.m. Behind the Scenes: Barry Gifford on Screenwriting , followed by The Phantom Father
Writer Gifford takes us behind-the-scenes of screenwriting, followed by the West Coast premiere of Lucian Georgescu’s The Phantom Father, wherein a professor journeys to Romania to research the obscure lives of his late father and uncle. Based on a Gifford short story. (90 min lecture , plus 90 min film)

Saturday, December 1, 2012
6:30 p.m. Hotel Room: Tricks and Black-Out
David Lynch (U.S., 1993). Introduced by Barry Gifford. Screenwriter Gifford introduces “Tricks” and “Black-Out,” two episodes from David Lynch’s 1990s HBO series, Hotel Room, featuring Harry Dean Stanton, Crispin Glover, Alicia Witt, and more. Plus Ball Lightning. (86 mins)

Saturday, December 1, 2012
8:45 p.m. Wild at Heart
David Lynch (U.S., 1990). Introduced by Barry Gifford. Reading by Jim Nisbet. Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern are star-crossed lovers on the run from various demented fools and foes, including Harry Dean Stanton, William Dafoe, and Dianne Ladd, in David Lynch’s fantastical free-for-all, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes and proof that “this whole world’s wild at heart and weird on top.” (127 mins)

Saturday, December 8, 2012
6:00 p.m. Lost Highway
David Lynch (U.S., 1997). Introduced by Barry Gifford. A saxophonist (Bill Pullman) is found guilty of murdering his wife (Patricia Arquette), but once in prison he morphs into someone else (Balthazar Getty) in David Lynch’s incomparable nineties noir. (134 mins)

Saturday, December 8, 2012
9:10 p.m. Perdita Durango
Álex de la Iglesia (Spain/Mexico/U.S., 1997). Uncut European Version! Introduced by Barry Gifford. Javier Bardem with a mullet—that’s just the beginning of a randy ride through this adaptation of Gifford’s notorious 59° and Raining, a singed saga of tainted love between carnivorous Ms. Durango (Rosie Perez) and Romeo Dolorosa (Bardem), a Santeria priest and all-round psychopath. (126 mins)

Behind the Scenes is a collaboration between BAM/PFA and the San Francisco Film Society. Major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The program is also made possible in part by the continued contributions of the BAM/PFA Trustees. Special thanks to director Lucian Georgescu, Mindy Ramaker at Asymmetrical Films, and Amy Glazer.