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The Reeler Blog

Rooftop Films Goes to Church

You know pretty well by now that I'm a devotee of Rooftop Films' summer series, programmed exquisitely and screened under self-explanatory conditions all over town. But in keeping with its ambitious trajectory of the last decade, the organizers set up a few off-season screenings that deserve just as much attention (if not more, in some cases) as those in the hospitable outdoors.

Which is a long-winded way of me saying: The geniuses at Rooftop Films booked St. Bartholomew's Church on Park Avenue tonight to screen the New York premiere of Paul Festa's Apparition of the Eternal Church -- a genuinely sublime documentary that gauges peoples' reactions to, judgments of and emotional consequences of Messiaen's radical organ composition of the same name. The catch is that you can't hear the music; as such, the interviews provoke an minor orgy of imagination within the viewer as the documentary subjects -- including John Cameron Mitchell, Justin Bond, Ana Matronic and Daniel Handler (a k a Lemony Snicket) and a few dozen others -- reveal their impressions of what they're hearing.

The film carries on a litle long as Festa fills in visuals beneath the piece once it's finally played, but tonight, renowned organist William K. Trafka will actually perform Messiaen's work on St. Bart's organ, and a selection of the film's interviewees will be on hand for a reception and discussion. I really did think the first half of this is some of the best stuff I've seen all year, and I imagine the live performance will outdo any slack over the second half. At any rate, they'll serve alcohol, so really, I can't see where you'll go wrong. Check Rooftop's site for more information.

Posted at November 9, 2006 11:23 AM

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