Jazzinema, classic cinema and documentary for the month of July in Vitoria

Still from ‘Mo Better Blues’, starring Denzel Washington and directed by Spike Lee. / ec

Artium joins as the venue for the Basque Film Library cycle, “a celebration of rhythm”, with the screening of four musical films

Ramon Albertus

Jazz is mostly by ear, but you can also enjoy it with your eyes on the big screen. The Basque Film Library is more than aware of this and has been programming a cycle called Jazzinema since 2016 with which it takes advantage of the love for a musical genre that currently has three major events in the Basque Country: the festivals of San Sebastián, Getxo and Vitoria .

The Artium Museum and the Jazz Festival join this “celebration of life, rhythm and color” for the first time, as defined by the film library, with projections related to the genre that can be seen every Thursday in July, at at 7:00 p.m., in the auditorium of the center-museum of contemporary art in the capital of Alava. The titles are ‘Jazz on a Summer’s Day’ (July 7), ‘Mo Better Blues’ (14th), ‘Elevator to the Gallows’ (21st) and ‘Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser’ (28th). Films in the original version with subtitles that go from the end of the 1950s to the 1990s and will also be seen at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Tabakalera –regulars of the cycle from the beginning– and the Golem Yamaguchi cinemas (Pamplona).

With this cycle, the Basque Film Archive ends the season until October and does so by settling a pending account: the collaboration with the Vitoria Jazz Festival. In fact, the director Alberto Ibarrondo will be in charge of presenting ‘Jazz on a Summer’s Day’ and ‘Ascensor para el cadalso’. Josemi Beltrán, director of the San Sebastián Fantastic and Horror Film Festival, will participate in the presentation in the Alava capital of ‘Mo Better Blues’ – which coincides with the festival.

A “restored” version in 4k copy of a classic, shot in 1959 by Bert Stern, ‘Jazz on a Summer’s Day’, opens the cycle. Recorded at the legendary Newport festival, it featured performances by jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson and Thelonious Monk. Riddled with close-ups, the rave reviews of the premiere in The New York Times suggested that more than a documentary, what was being broadcast was an “impression” of the atmosphere of leisure and enjoyment of a jazz performance. For its part, ‘Mo’ Better Blues’ is one of Spike Lee’s titles that draws as many followers as detractors. The film tells the story of a trumpeter, Bleek Gilliam, played by actor Denzel Washington, who combines his professional rivalry with two women and the problems of a manager. In the field of classics, Malle’s film ‘Elevator for the Cadalso’ stands out, the third work chosen for the cycle. Labeled as ‘noir bebop’, its presence is more than justified by the soundtrack by trumpeter Miles Davis. Another great figure of attractive magnetism is Thelonious Monk, on whose biography ‘Straight no Chaser’, by Charlotte Zwerin, is the focus to close the Jazzinema cycle.

Vitoria’s participation in this program enriches the cultural offer and is largely due to the fact that in October last year the Artium became one of the permanent venues of the Basque Film Library. In fact, to adapt to the technical requirements, a reform of the auditorium was undertaken consisting of raising the ceiling to be able to install a large screen. It was in autumn when a first cycle dedicated to Basque filmmakers was held, which sealed this collaboration. Among the films that were seen was ‘Everything is dark (1997), by Ana Díez. Precisely, the Basque Film Library will exclusively screen the Tabakalera center in San Sebastián on July 9, the latest work by the pioneer of Basque cinema, Ana Díez, entitled ”Whoever closes their eyes’.

Jazzinema in Vitoria

  • July 7th
    Jazz on a Summer’s Day’, presented by Alberto Ibarrondo, director of the Vitoria Jazz Festival

  • July 14
    Mo Better Blues’, presented by Josemi Beltrán

  • July 21
    ‘Elevator for the scaffold’, presented by Ibarrondo.

  • 28 of July
    ‘Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chasers’

  • In the auditorium of the Artium
    At 7:00 p.m. Tickets on the web coming soon at 3.5 euros, with a discount for Friends of the Museum.

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