Current events

Stewart Oksenhorn
Aspen Times Weekly

While Aspen Filmfest is known for small, quiet films, Filmfest 2010 includes a handful of films bound to make noise, in a variety of ways. The festival opens in rocking style: “Nowhere Boy,” the opening night feature, is the story of a young John Lennon in 1950s Liverpool, ping-ponging between his freewheeling mother and a stern aunt. The evening ends with a concert by Lennon’s first band, the Quarrymen, featuring three original members. Also with a strong backbeat is “Thunder Soul,” the documentary of a high school funk band in 1970s Texas that found international acclaim. Pumping up a different kind of volume is “127 Hours,” Danny Boyle’s dynamic telling of the story of former Aspenite Aron Ralston. And already making noise as an Oscar contender is the closing night film “The King’s Speech,” starring Colin Firth as King George VI, who must overcome a speech impediment to lead his country against Hitler’s Germany. It earned top honors at the Toronto Film Festival. Also on the program: “Blue Valentine,” by Colorado filmmaker Derek Cianfrance; “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” a Thai film that earned the Palme d’Or at Cannes; films from France and the Czech Republic; and documentaries about magicians, bakers and Tibetan nomads. Filmfest runs Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 29-Oct. 3.

Sarah Ruhle’s “The Clean House” was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize – an uncommon honor for a play categorized as a romantic comedy. But Ruhle – who has also been the recipient of a MacArthur “Genuis” Award – has been praised for bringing a unique and unruly voice to the romantic comedy. “The Clean House” is about a Brazilian housekeeper, Matilde, who becomes depressed over the recent deaths of her parents, both comedians. So depressed that she can no longer clean the house; her energy is instead consumed by her quest to tell the perfect joke. Ruhle’s play, which has been produced often, touches on romance, disease, death and laughter. Thunder River Theatre brings it to Carbondale; the production, directed by Sue Lavin, has a preview on Thursday, Sept. 30, opens Friday, Oct. 1, and has dates through Oct. 15.