Capital Pop Up Cinema Presents…

We are very fortunate to live in the beautiful capital city of our country, and to have constant opportunity to do fun and exciting things. The good folks at Capital Pop Up Cinema have brought us a whole season of random, outdoor movie screenings, but this summer being packed full of travel and adventure, we only caught the last couple of offerings.

Last week, in the heart of the bustling Byward Market, hundreds of people brought lawn chairs, cozy blankets and hot chocolate to brave the cool temps for a viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas. There were more than a few Jack Skellingtons in attendance, and the audience was in a festive and excitable mood as the sun set and the Capital Pop Up’s inflatable screen came to life. The market is the heart of our fair city, choc-full of restaurants, retailers, art galleries, night clubs, and stands selling beaver tails. Not to mention the extra-wide, pedestrian-friendly streets to accomodate the fabulous, year-round outdoor farmer’s markets that sell seasonal produce, everything from cranberries and parsnips to eggs and goat’s milk ice cream – not forgetting our world-maple syrup, of course! So imagine, if you will, this vivacious part of town, the constant stream of happy and satiated people, the occasional tour bus, the frenquent brides posing for photos, the sidewalk chalk artists, the parents pushing ginormous strollers, vendors with their gerbera daisies, and in the middle of it all, an impromptu outdoor cinema! I thought it might be distracting but actually it was good fun, and there were plenty of passerby (and maybe a homeless guy or two) who stopped to appreciate the movie and the intoxicating scent of popcorn in the air.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: a visually arresting work of stop-motion animation that blew everyone’s socks off in 1993, and legions of fans still know every musical number by heart (I can attest to that, having unintentionally sat beside some die-hards). Henry Selick directed but the film is popularly known to be Tim Burton’s, who wrote and produced the film but was simply too busy to direct. The film is about Jack Skellington, a denizen of Halloweentown who accidentally follows a portal to Christmastown, and decides that others back home should be able to celebrate this new and wonderful holiday as well – to darkly comic results. Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara, and PeeWee Herman all contribute voice work.

The week before, Capital Pop Up Cinema screened The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a 1920 German silent horror film that was brought to life with live musicians. It played to a smaller but enthusiastic crowd in the parking lot of Das Lokal, a kitchen and bar at 190 Dalhousie where chef Robert Fuchs serves up delicious European fare with a German twist. The charcuterie and das schnitzel are particularly recommended, and the cocktailed called Zugspitze (vodka, elderflower liqueur, cranberry juice) is an inspired choice from the bar.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janotwitz and Carl Mayer, it’s considered to be not only the quintessential work of German expressionist film, but also among the first true horror films. It tells the tale of an insane hypnotist (wide-eyed Werner Krauss) who uses a sleepwalker (Conrad Viedt) to commit murder. The screen writers, both pacificts, wrote the story in the wake of WW1, showing a people’s need for brutal and irrational authority; Dr. Caligari represents the German war government, and Cesare is symbolic of the common man conditioned, like soldiers, to kill. Some say the movie reflects Germany’s particular need of a tyrant, but that seems facile in the shadow of Hitler. The film’s visual style is graphic and jarring, with deliberate distortion to give the impression of insanity and instability. Honestly, the art work is to die for and you could honestly treat this film as a trip to a museum and that alone will ensure your rapt entertainment. This film has a huge legacy that I am ill-equipped to discuss at length, but lucky for me I’ve come across a really great post by fellow blogger David at Movie Morlocks that will do the dirty work for me.

 

 

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32 thoughts on “Capital Pop Up Cinema Presents…

  1. sandracharrondotcom

    I loved your detailed description of the Byward Market. As someone who lived in Petawawa for 11 years, and has been living in Winnipeg for the past 8, you brought me back to those outdoor vendors, and the line-ups of people waiting for Beaver Tails. I just googled it, and Tucker’s restaurant is still there. Ok, now I’m all nostalgic, and I don’t have anything remotely resembling a Beaver Tail to eat in my house (oh gawd, that sounded pervy…Let me rephrase: I’m craving sugar.) Excellent narrative, your words weave a vivid picture.

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  2. Everyday Adventures at Home... Hurrah!

    The Byward Market sounds like such a great place! I have been to many places in Canada, but not to Ottawa… Yet. This post reminds me that I must go to see that beautiful city for myself at some point. Like your previous commenter, I am from Winnipeg. In one of our near-by lake-side towns (Gimli) they host a yearly film festival. They play movies all week (indoors), but one highlight is the night when they play a movie on the beach (the huge screen is over the water, we are on the sand). Everyone has a great time. Great post! Take care

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    1. Jay Post author

      We hope you make it out this way sometime soon. I’m hoping to make my way westward next summer – I’d love to drive cross country and make lots of little stops, maybe even at a film festival on the beach – that sounds great!

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  3. mitchteemley

    Agree. Of note: Caligari is one of the only still-seen movies representing the Expressionist movement, which last about ten minutes and happned almost exclusively in Germany. Figures.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, thankfully they’re restoring it and taking steps to preserve it a little better. How cool is it that we can still watch these old treasures?

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    1. Jay Post author

      In Toronto, they showed Jaws on a floating screen in teh water. People watched either on the beach, or by anchoring their boats nearby. That’s ballsy!

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  4. Birgit

    They have this in our city also but they didn’t show anything as cool as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari which I thought was one of the best films made. I love the ending as well. A Nightmare Before Christmas is quite a great animated film with a huge following. I have a feeling , in later years, it will be like The Sound of Music shows or Rocky Horror

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    1. Jay Post author

      Have you ever been to a screening of Rocky Horror when everyone sings along and wears costumes? You’re right, it does have a cult following and could end up just like this! Very good point.
      And I’m impressed you’ve seen The Cabinet! It’s hard to get a copy of that!

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    1. Jay Post author

      You should come up and visit! We have scorching hot heat in the summers and plenty of outdoor events then. The outdoor screenings are done for the year but they rpomise to pop up indoors occasionally over the winter.

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      1. kmSalvatore

        Well I’ve been to Toronto in the winter, and it’s pretty bitter!! But ya never can tell where I’m gonna roam to next;) I will certainly let u know if I’m gonna be in your Hood;)

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, we have several park screenings too, and some at the Governor General’s home as well. Lots of stuff to do around here, if only you have the time to do it!

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  5. reocochran

    We have a couple of arts film places to go in the big city of Columbus, but I have only been to the Drexel. They show unique films at the Strand sometimes classics, in our town. The OSU Wexner Center features some nonfiction films, along with artists exhibits.
    I liked “Nightmare Before Christmas” but my oldest daughter loves it. I paint baby names and last year I was asked to do one for a baby whose room is full of the art from the animated film. His name is Memphis and I used dark blue, black, turquoise and pen and ink details.
    The German film sounds interesting and if I run across it at library I will rent it. Somehow, I don’t think I will get to see this one.

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