We’ve got some amazing volunteers here at Scarecrow! They are an invaluable part of what we do and we’re thankful for their hard work and dedication, and most especially for their love of movies! A couple of them were glad to share some of their recent recommendations.
Here’s Vicki Ebberts about why she loves volunteering at Scarecrow, followed by a few of her picks: “I started volunteering at Scarecrow as an opportunity to unwind my brain from my 9-5 desk job, and to surround myself with more of ‘my people’ (people who love watching and talking about movies) on a regular basis. There are all kinds of different things you can do as a volunteer to help out at Scarecrow, but my favorite thing is working in the store restocking the shelves. I get so many ideas for movies to watch when I’m going through all the cases! And when you find a case that’s been put back in the wrong place, which happens a lot with 130,000+ titles, it can feel like winning a little achievement in a game. Plus, it’s always busy with plenty of things to help out with, and who doesn’t like feeling helpful?”
Perfect Bid: A real gem of a documentary! I had heard something about that perfect “Price is Right” bid a few years ago, but what I thought I knew about it (dude got lucky with some hand-wavy math) and what really happened (I won’t spoil it) were so far apart from each other it made for a super engaging story. I love when a documentary really opens your eyes to things you thought you already knew about. There are lots of great behind-the-scenes bits of trivia from the people who were really there — Bob Barker included! — as well as clips from old episodes from way back in the day. It’s a fun one!
Brigsby Bear: Oh, Brigsby Bear. Why did I wait so long to watch you? Odd but completely charming. Creative and smart in a Gondry/Jonze kind of way. It’s one of those movies that makes you feel happy and wish there were more movies like it when it’s over. I want everyone to see it and love it like I did.
Ryan Swen is another of our fabulous volunteers. He’s also a freelance film critic, and writes at TaipeiMansions and tweets at @swen_ryan, and his work can be found at Seattle Screen Scene and the Brooklyn Magazine Film Section. He recommends:
Les Vampires: As accomplished as nearly any film I’ve ever seen, Louis Feuillade’s Les Vampires taps into the form of a serial on an almost primordial level. Following intrepid reporter Philippe Guérande’s attempts to take down the odd, eponymous street gang, its considerable pleasures lie not in suspense but in the knowledge that almost anything can happen at any time. Though it was made in 1915, it contains some of the most exciting filmmaking one can see in any year.
The Day He Arrives: Hong Sang-soo is in all likelihood my favorite working filmmaker, with his nigh-impossible productivity (having premiered three films last year) matching perfectly with his consistent, carefully constructed, incredibly naturally flowing movies that all deal with and put a new twist on his trademark themes of relationships, time, and structure. With his second-newest film The Day After playing at the Northwest Film Forum, it would be a good time to catch up with the film of his that bears the most immediate resemblance: 2011’s The Day He Arrives. A deceptively complex film that traces the events of either five days or one day, it is one of Hong’s very best (and ultimately bleakest) films.
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Best known for The Color of Pomegranates, Sergei Parajanov made his first creatively fulfilling film with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Taking the form and themes of a Russian folk tale, this depicts the archetypal story of love cut short through dynamic, sui generis filmmaking. Quite simply, I’ve never seen the camera move like this, the colors look exactly like this.
Mountains May Depart: Unjustly dismissed upon its initial release a few years ago, Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart is among the most significant, beautiful films of the decade. The latest in Jia’s examinations of modern China, the film takes place over three decades (and aspect ratios), following a mother and her son as the world changes and divides them. A devastating melodrama, it features one of the finest performances of the decade from Zhao Tao.
Thanks Vicki and Ryan! Interested in becoming a Scarecrow volunteer? Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org