by Marjorie Baumgarten

Dead Reckonings (a song with two choruses): Part One -- A Farewell Toast to Samuel Fuller. "Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word... emotion." That's film director Sam Fuller defining his approach to cinema during a cameo appearance in Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou. Fuller, who died on October 30, was almost cultishly loved and admired by critics, fans, and other filmmakers who find his films enormously challenging, provocative, honest, contradictory, and original. His films are recognizable by their gut-punching impact and, always, by Fuller's unerring ability to tell one hell of a compelling yarn. He was an American maverick of the B movie -- the quintessential example of what the term "independent filmmaker" means. He's been an old friend to these pages, having once graced an early Chronicle cover for an accompanying story by ardent fan Louis Black and also becoming the subject of a story written by myself a year and a half ago when the hour-long documentary on his career, The Typewriter, The Rifle and the Movie Camera played on television. The Austin Film Society also recently concluded a multi-film retrospective of Fuller's career, a tribute that Fuller's declining health prevented him from attending. So what's left to say? Plenty... and we'll be saying it for all to hear on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at the Alamo Drafthouse during "A Farewell Toast to Samuel Fuller." Richard Linklater and Harry Knowles will join Louis and myself for toasts and a film tribute that includes two of Fuller's best films, the stunning CinemaScope Western Forty Guns with Barbara Stanwyck and Barry Sullivan, and the endlessly mind-blowing Shock Corridor with Peter Breck and Constance Towers. Doors open at 6:15pm with Forty Guns beginning at 7pm and Shock Corridor following at 9:30pm. The event is co-sponsored by the Austin Film Society, The Austin Chronicle, and SXSW Film Festival; complimentary post-screening cigars have been donated by Ruta Maya Coffee House...

Dead Reckonings (a song with two choruses): Part Two -- The Last of the Bravest: A Benefit to support the University Film Society's efforts to Save the Texas Union Film Program. Tragically, precipitously, and regrettably, the University powers-that-be have mandated that Dec. 5 will be the final week of regular programming for the Texas Union. The effect of this loss on local film culture is incalculable. And don't be lulled into thinking that the Union Film program is merely a University issue. Outgoing Union programmer Steve Bearden claims that half the current audience is made up of non-students. The University Film Society (the group behind October's rally and letter-writing campaign) hasn't yet given up the ghost and plans to submit new program proposals to the University management. Toward this end, the group is hosting two benefit screenings of Jean Cocteau's haunting The Blood of a Poet (one of my all-time favorite films) and Man Ray's Emak Bakia, presented with original scores written and performed live by Quintet Lumiere. The benefit screenings, which are sponsored by the UT RTF Department, are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7pm and Saturday, Dec. 6 at 5pm at the Union Theatre. Admission is $5 ($4 students). For more info call 471-6657 or 478-5446.

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