(Gus Van Sant, United States, 2003, 35mm)
Panel discussion at 7pm, screening at 8pm
Tuesday, Apr 26 at 07:00PM
This month marks the 17th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre and the 9th anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. The first post-Columbine film to directly engage with the trauma of the event, Elephant is the second film in Portland-based filmmaker Gus Van Sant's so-called Death Trilogy, (preceded by Gerry in 2002 and followed by Last Days in 2005). Van Sant's Palme D'ore winning film drew upon the stylistic tactics of Eastern European cinema and the films of (sadly recently-deceased) Chantal Akerman to engage with the uniquely American epidemic of school shootings.
The spare, quietly tense film follows outcasts Alex and Eric as they prepare and carry out a mass shooting at their school. Visually, Van Sant recontextualized the language of his European influences in the American reality of social anxiety.
Elephant is as relevant in 2016 as it was in 2003 -- if not more so. In this special screening, we will be examining in depth through both panel discussion and audience Q&A the context of both the film's style and social ideas, more importantly connecting it to the here and now; a time where the U.S. stands at a precipice, in gridlock over gun legislation and where mass shootings like those in film are a regrettably too-frequent occurrence.
"Truffaut said it was hard to make an anti-war film because war was exciting even if you were against it. Van Sant has made an anti-violence film by draining violence of energy, purpose, glamor, reward and social context." -Roger Ebert
"Elephant creates gorgeous, wide-open spaces that allow viewers the freedom to reflect without having a point-of-view imposed on them." -Scott Tobias, The AV Club
Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122