Bigger Than France

Friday, September 2nd, 2005
8:00 - Labor Day Weekend BBQ! Standard bbq fare for cheap, water, & sodas
8:30 - Live music by PG 6
9:00 - LŽil films from Texas

Outdoors at Automotive High School
50 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Dress warmly (it's cooler sitting still, up north).
In the event of rain the show is indoors at the same location.

Start your holiday weekend with hot dogs, burgers and veggies, fresh off the Rooftop Films grill.

Bigger Than France
Everything is bigger in Texas. The land, the food, the personalities. Every man is an outlaw and every woman is built like a brick outhouse. It's a land of grand myths and grandstanders, a special type of extroverted individualist not seen in the rest of the country. Whereas the stereotype of the typical Midwesterner values community and conformity, the Texas legend stands out for standing out. A man might slink off to Montana to do his thing, but he doesn't want anyone to know about it. The Texan's gonna let you know, boots, beltbuckles, bullypulpits and all.

Or so the legend goes.

There are 22 million people in Texas, and not all of them want to be Bonnie and Clyde. There are everyday people, office workers and elderly ladies, quiet Muslim girls and silenced black men. People who don't want to be larger than life, but struggle to fill the lives destined for them. This program is all about the loners and losers, the victims and voyagers, the individuals who are coming out of their shells. These folks are breaking through social pressures, from the bland tours of Mountain State to the racist policing practices of Scenes from the Drug War. Kids, parents, grandparents are weighed down by their families, but find strength in their mutual individualism. These films aren't about bold Texas archetypes, but repressed souls finding their inner Texan.


Once and Future A--hole (Spencer Parsons / Austin, TX / 28:00)
Director of Resolution (Rooftop 8/16/02). A brilliantly written, sweet, darkly funny short about three people at life turning points: a man who has a personality crisis after firing an employee who flips out; his girlfriend who is trying to cope with the fact that she is a snarky bitch who is falling in love with a really nice guy; and her daughter, a sweet and intelligent pre-teen who is just beginning to understand her mother and the power that intelligent cruel people can have over others.

Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf (Susan Youssef / Austin, TX / 9:54)
The director of Forbidden to Wander (Rooftop 7/4/04) returns to Rooftop with the story of a young Arab-American woman in suburban Texas who retreats into religion to ward off sexual abuse.

Roberta Wells (Kat Candler / Austin, TX / 8:00)
A subtle and sweet neo-realistic drama about an old woman being phased out of her family dinner. With everyone either ignoring her or trying to help her, she struggles to be herself. Even the family's other outsider can't but help too much.

Oh My God! (John Bryant / Austin, TX / 10:00)
A playful satire about the execution of the developmentally disabled in Texas.

Mountain State (Bill Brown / Austin, TX and West Virginia / 17:30)
Although this film was shot entirely in West Virginia, it is clearly the work of a traveling Texan, studying the (literally) buried past of another land, and finding it alive with ghosts. Brown plays the tour guide, providing a droll narration and using cleverly composed shots to juxtapose highway rest stops and historic relics of America's brutal existence, highlighting the sad ironies inherent in historical preservation. In the process, Brown reveals to the audience—through subtitles—his own dark feelings, including a quiet obsession with the nature of death and a need to wander alone in order to fulfill his connection to a place.

Kiest Park (John Ayala / Dallas, TX / 5:00)
Riding his dirt bike, a seven-year-old leaves his parents and his block for the first time to explore, observe and destroy in a vast new world.

Scenes from the Drug War: Hearne, TX (Sarah and Emily Kunstler / Hearne, TX / 22:50)
Long-time veterans of Rooftop Films, the Kunstlers' latest film is about another illegal mass arrest of innocent black people in a small town. The film postulates why arrests like these happen (to keep arrest records up, and as a form of racial control), and discusses both the symptoms that lead to such arrests and the ramifications of them (including deepening racism and bitterness, loss of housing loans, loss of jobs). Talking to the local District Attorney, arrested victims, and a local man who has begun an activist campaign since his son was arrested, the film reveals a malicious pattern which is becoming systematic in Texas justice department.