“Happiness Is a Warm Gun: The Thomas Imbach Films”

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston dedicates a weekend to a man whose work is beyond experimental

Genre. Tone. Fiction. Fact. Documentary. Drama. These terms don’t seem to mean much to Switzerland’s Thomas Imbach, a director for whom the term “experimental filmmaker” may be too narrow and specific. The selections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s “Happiness Is a Warm Gun: The Thomas Imbach Films,” playing throughout this weekend, include 1994’s Well Done, a strangely whimsical look at the history and day-to-day workings of the computer that runs Switzerland’s stock trade. Ghetto (1997) is a matter-of-fact documentary on the hard choices Swiss teenagers have to make upon graduating high school (a topic American studios usually reserve for PG-13 movies featuring dick jokes). Happiness Is a Warm Gun (2001) is a fictionalized portrait of famed German Green Party activist Petra Kelly and the lover who killed her and then himself, but it portrays the life they could have had if the 1992 murder-suicide had never taken place. And 2006’s Lenz is a bit of meta-filmmaking, following a fictional documentarian as she traces the real history of German author Georg Büchner’s unfinished novel (also named Lenz). Today brings 2007’s I Was a Swiss Banker, a fantasy about a successful financier who is caught up in the black market. When he dives into a lake to escape police, he finds that he’s entered an alternate universe, complete with witches and Herculean tests to pass.

Screenings run Friday, April 25, through Sunday, April 27. 1001 Bissonnet. For tickets and a complete list of screening times, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/film. $6 to $7.
Sat., April 26, 7 p.m., 2008

 
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