If you live near Lansing, Mich., you still have a few more days to catch the East Lansing Film Festival. That continues through Wednesday at the Hannah Community Center and through Thursday at Celebration Cinema; see www.elff.com.
Please read a couple of my other blogs about the festival -- including the previous one, about filmmaking in Michigan. For now, however, I want to make sure you know which shows are left:
-- Shorts programs: There are two, at 8:30 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) and Thursday at Celebration. I'm fond of the Tuesday one, because it includes some offbeat delights. Two -- "Horn Dog" and "The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger" -- are by cartoon master Bill Plympton. Then there's a non-cartoon, "Black Obs Arabesque"; it's filmed with style and gives you the rare chance to see some former quarterbacks at East Lansing High and college (Nathaniel Eyde, who came up with the idea, and his brother Matt) showing some real dance moves. There's more, including a longer cartoon (a long short, if you will), the 21-minute "The Adjustable Cosmos."
-- Show-business documentaries: There are two coming to Celebration. One is on the rock group Rush (8:30 p.m. Wednesday), the other on comedian Joan Rivers (6:30 p.m. Thursday).
-- A small feature: "The Happy Poet" (6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Celebration) may be the driest film in history. Paul Gordon wrote it, directed it and stars as a poet who wants to start a vegetarian food stand. This poet exhibits no strong feelings or emotions about anything, which is where the odd humor comes from. Much of it is way too slow, but I thought one scene -- in which he finally reads one of his poems to a potential girlfriend -- was hilarious.
-- Large features: There are three left. "North Face" (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Hannah) is the true story of two climbers who were forced to make a dangerous Alps climb in 1936, planned by the Nazi government to prove German superiority. "The Maid" (6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Celebration) was an Oscar nominee for best foreign-language film; it's in Spanish, with English sub-titles. Then there's "Spartacus," sprawling across the Hannah screen at 7 p.m. Wednesday. You could always rent it at home, but it deserves this kind of theater screening. It made history in 1958 by introducing a then-obscure director, Stanley Kubrick, and by finally busting the blacklist, refusing to hide the name of screenwriter Drumbo. This is being shown here because the crowd scenes were recorded at Michigan State University's Spartan Stadium. Ironically, two MSU alumni are currently producing a cable series based around that same Spartacus character.