Singer, songwriter and troubadour Bonnie "Prince" Billy is no stranger to film. The artist, whose real name is Will Oldham, got his start as a performer acting in John Sayles' Matewan (above, though the words are not part of the original film, but add-ons of the YouTube uploader). Oldham, however, quickly became disillusioned with Hollywood and retreated to Louisville to remake himself as a singer, but still acts when the script and the project strikes him. Most recently, he played a small part as a creepy hoodlum in Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy, and before that in a more prominent role in the same director's Old Joy. (This past summer, West Coast Sound did a long and fascinating -- if we do say so ourselves -- interview with Oldham. Read it here, and read the feature what sprung from it here.
Oldham is also tight with Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and Family Bookstore co-owner Sammy Harkham, who designed the artwork for Bonnie Prince Billy's classic album I See a Darkness; the two are currently collaborating on some sort of mysterious comic/music project. Because of these relationships, Oldham/Billy has been given a programming night at Cinefamily on January 7, and will be presenting two films for your consideration, "a hand-picked double feature of films that explore the wonder and the mystery of the fairer sex."
The films? We'll let Cinefamily's release do the 'splaining:
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The evening opens with Nicholas Ray's soapy noir A Woman's Secret (1949), starring the ravishing Maureen O'Hara as a singing teacher blamed for the shooting of her smarmy protégé (Gloria Grahame), "a trollop-minded chirp she has coached into the bigtime." (Variety) Scripted by Herman J. Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane), the film is a chance for Ray to take what could have been an average "woman's picture" and tweak it to suit his slightly perverse sensibilities.
Next, Wim Wenders' Alice In The Cities (1974). This German New Wave gem finds a roving reporter who reluctantly takes on the guardianship of Alice, a little girl who needs to be delivered to her grandmother -- a woman whose name and address she doesn't remember, and whose house can only be identified by a single photo of an unmarked front door. Yella Röttlander's stellar performance as the young girl whose journey's end is always one more step away is framed terrifically by Robby Mueller's B&W cinematography, and a moody score by Irwin Schmidt and Michael Karoli (half of Krautrock legends Can).