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HomeNewsArchives‘Frenchtown’ Movie Premieres Tuesday and Wednesday

‘Frenchtown’ Movie Premieres Tuesday and Wednesday

Aug. 27, 2007 — "Frenchtown," a film shot locally with local talent, will have its world premiere Tuesday and Wednesday nights to conclude Pistarckle Theater's 2007 Film Series. Three other films complete the evening.
The 30-minute film was directed and produced by Elliot Loewenstein, a member of the Pistarckle Film Committee, during a year or so he spent on the island in 2003. The project was finished in 2005.
Loewenstein, of New York, is a young filmmaker. At 33, this is his first "exclusively fiction" film. He previously made digital videos, half fiction-half documentary.
"I liked the backdrop, the landscape of Frenchtown, so I went to the library and read up on it,” he says. “I met UVI professor Rosary Harper, and she introduced me to Cain Magras. He was enthusiastic and helpful and we just hit it off."
Former Sen. Magras, now associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, stars as Charlie, an 85-year-old man who originally came to St. Thomas from St. Barthelmey. He suffers from dementia while clinging to his French culture and heritage.
The role came sort of as an afterthought, Magras says.
"I was originally helping with historical background and locales, and, as Elliot got to know me better, he says, 'You know, you're a little young, but you'd make a good Charlie,'" Magras says. "It was interesting, let me tell you. It took two hours each day to put the makeup on, but it was fun doing it, and it gave me an opportunity to preserve a little bit of French culture."
One of the local Frenchtown legends came in to play in the story, Magras says.
"Charlie married a West Indian woman who had died much earlier, but he still believes she's alive,” he says. “As he drifts in and out between the past and the present, he remembers how he had enacted what used to be called 'fishpot justice' against some guy who was harassing his wife."
Magras says he hadn't any acting experience, but he directed "Two from Galilee" here in 1975. "In fact, after the play a bunch of the actors stayed together and we formed the Carnival troupe A Gathering of Eagles,” he says.
In addition to Magras, 15-year-old Jacob Frett plays Albert, a 12-year-old Addelita Cancryn student. Christina Harper, Gerard Wiley, and Frank Jackson are also in the cast.
The other films are:
— "Hearts of Age," Orson Welles' first film, made when he was 19 years old, prior to his stellar career. It is called an "experimental, avant-garde work";
— "The Five Obstructions (Obstruction #4),” in which Jorgen Leth takes up a challenge to remake his 1967 film, "The Perfect Human"; and
— "Eau de la Vie," which features a new employee who is taken out to a celebratory dinner, but things don't go well when the employee finds the society into which she has entered causing her to make some agonizing decisions between life, death, and not upsetting the civility of the dinner table.
The program begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is by donation. For more information, call 775-7877.
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Aug. 27, 2007 -- "Frenchtown," a film shot locally with local talent, will have its world premiere Tuesday and Wednesday nights to conclude Pistarckle Theater's 2007 Film Series. Three other films complete the evening.
The 30-minute film was directed and produced by Elliot Loewenstein, a member of the Pistarckle Film Committee, during a year or so he spent on the island in 2003. The project was finished in 2005.
Loewenstein, of New York, is a young filmmaker. At 33, this is his first "exclusively fiction" film. He previously made digital videos, half fiction-half documentary.
"I liked the backdrop, the landscape of Frenchtown, so I went to the library and read up on it,” he says. “I met UVI professor Rosary Harper, and she introduced me to Cain Magras. He was enthusiastic and helpful and we just hit it off."
Former Sen. Magras, now associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, stars as Charlie, an 85-year-old man who originally came to St. Thomas from St. Barthelmey. He suffers from dementia while clinging to his French culture and heritage.
The role came sort of as an afterthought, Magras says.
"I was originally helping with historical background and locales, and, as Elliot got to know me better, he says, 'You know, you're a little young, but you'd make a good Charlie,'" Magras says. "It was interesting, let me tell you. It took two hours each day to put the makeup on, but it was fun doing it, and it gave me an opportunity to preserve a little bit of French culture."
One of the local Frenchtown legends came in to play in the story, Magras says.
"Charlie married a West Indian woman who had died much earlier, but he still believes she's alive,” he says. “As he drifts in and out between the past and the present, he remembers how he had enacted what used to be called 'fishpot justice' against some guy who was harassing his wife."
Magras says he hadn't any acting experience, but he directed "Two from Galilee" here in 1975. "In fact, after the play a bunch of the actors stayed together and we formed the Carnival troupe A Gathering of Eagles,” he says.
In addition to Magras, 15-year-old Jacob Frett plays Albert, a 12-year-old Addelita Cancryn student. Christina Harper, Gerard Wiley, and Frank Jackson are also in the cast.
The other films are:
-- "Hearts of Age," Orson Welles' first film, made when he was 19 years old, prior to his stellar career. It is called an "experimental, avant-garde work";
-- "The Five Obstructions (Obstruction #4),” in which Jorgen Leth takes up a challenge to remake his 1967 film, "The Perfect Human"; and
-- "Eau de la Vie," which features a new employee who is taken out to a celebratory dinner, but things don't go well when the employee finds the society into which she has entered causing her to make some agonizing decisions between life, death, and not upsetting the civility of the dinner table.
The program begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is by donation. For more information, call 775-7877.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.