Calgary Cinematheque is co-presenting with the Calgary Gay History Project, the 25th anniversary of Gus Van Sant's breakthrough indie sleeper MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (1991). As the third installment in our focus on American Independent Cinema of the Nineties, this film is an exemplary and loose adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV.
For advance tickets, please click HERE.
Gus Van Sant's 1990 feature, his best prior to Elephant, is a simultaneously heartbreaking and exhilarating road movie about two male hustlers (River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves) in the Pacific northwest. Phoenix, a narcoleptic from a broken home, is essentially looking for a family, while Reeves, whose father is mayor of Portland, is mainly fleeing his. The style is so eclectic that it may take some getting used to, but Van Sant, working from his own story for the first time, brings such lyrical focus to his characters and his poetry that almost everything works. Even the parts that show some strain—like the film's extended hommage to Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight—are exciting for their sheer audacity. Phoenix was never better, and Reeves does his best with a part that's largely Shakespeare's Hal as filtered through Welles.
- Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader