All That Jazz (1979)
On Wednesday, May 6th, “It’s Showtime” as Movies at Mothers presents “All That Jazz”; Bob Fosse’s biting semi-autobiographical dance with death, starring Roy Scheider, Ann Reinking, Jessica Lange and Ben Vereen.
Please note that this evening’s screening is a benefit for Portland’s own Imago Theater! Lisa has been incredibly generous in donating the profits from all food and drink sales tonight to Imago, so please feel free to indulge yourself!
In Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) Bob Fosse has conjured a self portrait of a driven, brilliant, selfish and self destructive artist whose passion for his work as a director/choreographer is matched only by his utter lack of regard for his own well being. While devising and casting a Broadway musical, Joe is also in the process of editing a feature film about a comedian (Fosse directed the Lenny Bruce bio-pic, “Lenny”). In order to keep himself going he resorts to chain smoking, reckless sex, and amphetamines, and in due time he finds himself in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. He sees his body’s failure hardly as cause to slow down, though via a series of fantasy sequences he ruminates on and schism between his professional successes and personal failures and even finds time to engage in a flirtatious conversation with Death, who visits him in the form of a very inviting Jessica Lang.
Before turning to film directing, Bob Fosse (1927-1987) was arguably the most important musical theater choreographer of the post WW2 era. Having staged the dance sequences in “The Pajama Game”, “Damn Yankees”, “Bells Are Ringing”, “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”, “Pippin”, “Sweet Charity”,“Chicago” and many others, he holds the record of 8 Tony Awards for choreography. His understanding of gesture and character movement served him well as a filmmaker, and while he often made films about life on the stage, he always showed a clear sense of the difference between the language of cinema and that of theater, offering a sublime friction between the two worlds. As was evidenced by his Oscar winning work in “Cabaret” (1972), he was always looking for daring new ways to adapt musical theater to film, and “All That Jazz”, apart from being a profoundly entertaining work, also serves as a window on the man’s remarkable process.
As this film is really Fosse’s own “8 1/2”, appropriately enough he engaged Federico Fellini’s legendary lens man, Giuseppe Rotunno to provide the stunning cinematography.
The excitement begins at 7:00 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!
Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.