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    Boston: 2 Screenings Down, 3 To Go

    July 5th, 2009
    Isaiah and Julia Zagar from the film "In A Dream"

    Julia and Isaiah Zagar from the film "IN A DREAM"

    In A Dream’s friday night screening at the MFA in Boston was fantastic. Despite it being the day before July 4th, there was still a large and wonderfully engaged crowd at the theater. This morning there was another screening and there are three more in the next seven days for those that spent the holiday weekend out-of-town or otherwise occupied.

    The remaining screening schedule is below:
    Thursday, July 9th, 12:30pm
    Saturday, July 11th, 12pm
    Sunday, July 12th, 10:15am

    Buy tickets and then RSVP on Facebook.

    Laura Bennett of The Boston Globe ran a great review of the film on Friday. We’ve excerpted a piece of it below:

    The streets of Isaiah Zagar’s South Philadelphia neighborhood are flush with mosaic: giddy sweeps of tessellated color that swallow whole stretches of wall. For decades, Zagar has blanketed surfaces with tiles, mirror shards, glasswork, bicycle spokes – explosive constellations unfurled from a delirious brain. “In a Dream,’’ a documentary directed by his youngest son, Jeremiah, is a love story between a man and his art, a man and his wife, and, in a way, between father and son. Jeremiah Zagar doesn’t sugarcoat his father’s infinite narcissism and social eccentricities, but he paints a tender and sensitive portrait of a modern-day Don Quixote trapped in his own grand, wifty delusions.

    Isaiah looks like a mad prophet, with his furrowed face and woolly beard. He spouts lofty pronouncements about art and life and his quest for creative glory. “I was his reality base,’’ says Julia, Isaiah’s sweet, earthy wife of 43 years. “And he was my bird. He flew around.’’ But the whimsical plot darkens as Ezekiel, their moony eldest son, wrestles with drug addiction, and Isaiah reveals that he has been having an affair with his assistant. Jeremiah Zagar captures some remarkably intimate footage. We see Julia’s eyes brim when she learns of Isaiah’s infidelity, and we hear Isaiah lash out at his mistress in a moment of scathing regret.

    Through it all, Isaiah sketches Julia’s face compulsively in his notebook and paints her name on the tiles in his garden. And when Ezekiel returns from rehab, Isaiah says, “No matter what happens to Zeke, he’s part of my art world.’’ Even his loved ones are bright trinkets in the landscape of his imagination.

    Read the rest.

    Chicago Review

    June 29th, 2009

    A review from the Sun-Times by Bill Stamets:

    “In a Dream” is filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar’s documentary portrait of his father. Although the father scatters allusions to his muses and demons in his artworks, the son composes this poetic biopic with more legible through-lines about his passions. “In a Dream” reveals that Jeremiah inherited Isaiah’s aesthetic of delicacy. Both artists delight in small illuminating details.

    Instead of dwelling on his father’s career as an outsider artist, Zagar delivers an insider look into a past that includes boyhood sexual encounters with a fisherman, a suicide attempt and a stint in a mental hospital. Meanwhile, during the film’s six-year shoot, Zagar’s older brother goes into rehab. When their father reveals his infidelity, their mother kicks him out. “In a Dream” turns into a chronicle of a creative family in crisis.

    The film is still playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center. There are three days left! Go see it.

    Seattle, WA + AMC Film Critic

    June 11th, 2009

    Picture 2

    In A Dream opens tomorrow at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, WA. It plays all week and you can purchase tickets right here.

    The film was also reviewed today by Norm Schrager from AMC Film Critic. An excerpt:

    Like any incisive documentary filmmaker, Jeremiah is able to record the difficult and extract the unexpected. It’s a skill tougher than it seems, and keeps both audience and subjects on their toes. During an early interview, Isaiah blurts out information about a suicide attempt from roughly 40 years earlier. When his son gently digs deeper, dad admits he didn’t expect such a grave fact would appear so early in the process.

    Zagar’s strong approach is coupled with that zinger of a visual style (including original animation, by the way), and some spooky music by a pair of innovative guys called The Books. The whole thing is an artistic celebration of sorts — with the emotional pain that can come with dedication, and maybe a little madness.

    Read the entire article.

    St. Louis, MO & Bryn Mawr, PA

    May 15th, 2009

    After an incredibly successful one-off show at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, In A Dream has been invited back for more screenings starting today.

    In A Dream also plays this weekend in St. Louis, MO as part of the Webster University Film Series. It screens tonight, Saturday & Sunday @ 8pm.

    Salt Lake City & Key West

    May 8th, 2009

    In A Dream opens today at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Tropic Cinema in Key West, Florida. It will play all week at both theaters.

    An excerpt from Sean P. Means review in the Salt Lake City Tribune:

    Jeremiah Zagar — who directed and co-edited the film, and shot much of the internal family footage — doesn’t shy away from the tougher questions about his father’s past, his parents’ relationship, and his mother’s willingness to bury her own dreams to support her husband’s unique vision. And, yet, his camera never feels intrusive or unwelcome, because Jeremiah’s presence makes the viewer a part of the family.

    As troubled as the Zagars’ family life is, the other marvel of “In a Dream” is how Jeremiah captures his father’s mosaics. Father and son have a lot in common; both of them take the small pieces of a chaotic life and turn them into something beautiful.

    Jeremiah and Executive Producer Geralyn White Dreyfous were interviewed by the paper. A brief excerpt:

    “You knew you were in the presence of somebody really original — and a discovery,” Dreyfous said.

    Dreyfous, executive director of the Salt Lake City Film Center, is bringing Jeremiah to Salt Lake City for tonight’s premiere — part of a 16-city tour of the film, before it debuts on HBO in August.

    Read the entire article.

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    April 29th, 2009
    In A Dream opens in Santa, Fe!

    In A Dream opens in Santa Fe!

    Starting this Friday, May 1st, In A Dream will be playing at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    It’s run continues at the Ritz At the Bourse in Philadelphia as well and the Zagars will be doing a Q&A at the 7:20pm showing on Saturday, May 2nd. Go see it.

    An now, an excerpt from a recent review of the film from Reverse Shot:

    By his own admission, Zagar the Elder’s project is one of turning “the city of Philadelphia, PA, USA, into a labyrinthine mosaic museum that incorporates all my varied knowledge and skills,” and he does so through an astonishing collage of paint, tile, mirrors, language, color, portraiture, abstraction, architecture, and bricolage. Zagar’s work is autobiography writ large onto buildings owned, rented, or inhabited by him and his wife Julia in their home city. And throughout In a Dream, we watch the artist at work—it is one of the great films about artistic process, both physical and psychical—constructing his massive, varicolored maze, which partly documents his life: the sexual abuse he suffered as a boy, his institutionalization, his love for his wife, the birth of his sons, and beyond. It is a life story to be read and decoded from broad strokes of color, thick swatches of plaster and intricate pixel-patterns of ceramic and glass.

    In its own way, too, Jeremiah Zagar’s film is a grand gesture, an exercise in epic biography that explodes the intimate details of Isaiah’s life and its effects on his family onto the screen. But unlike so many recent documentaries about artists and their work, or indeed so many recent documentaries about families and their perhaps inadvertent dysfunction, Jeremiah brings to his subject the kind of loving skepticism that seemingly only a son could have. To be sure, he documents and follows his father’s work, holding a mirror to his process of artmaking and self-mythologization, echoing his father’s fascination with “giganticness” with bold animations of Isaiah’s work, cinematography in nearly every format imaginable, and an intricate sense of montage, which recalls nothing less than the mosaic, maze-like complexity of Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.

    Read the rest.

    Los Angeles + New Dates (Updated!)

    April 25th, 2009
    Playing All Week in Los Angeles, CA

    Playing All Week in Los Angeles, CA

    We wanted to thank everyone who came out for opening night in LA yesterday. The film will be here all week, tell your friends.

    We also have a number of new cities where you can see the film to announce (including an engagement at the Ritz Showcase in New Jersey that started yesterday!).

    The latest theatrical schedule is as follows:

    Landmark Ritz at the Bourse
    Philadelphia, PA
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    Extended through May 7th

    The Roxie
    San Francisco, CA
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    Extended through April 30th

    Procrastinator Theatre
    Bozeman, MT
    Thurs, April 23rd – Tues, April 28th

    Laemmle Music Hall
    Los Angeles, CA
    Starting Friday, April 24th

    Showcase at the Ritz Center
    Voorhees, NJ
    Starting Friday, April 24th

    Center for Contemporary Arts
    Santa Fe, NM
    Starting Friday, May 1st

    County Theater
    Doylestown, PA
    Monday, May 4th @ 7pm

    Bryn Mawr Film Institue
    Bryn Mawr, PA
    Tuesday, May 5th @ 7:30pm

    Ambler Theater
    Ambler, PA
    Thursday, May 7th @ 7pm

    Tower Theatre
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Starting Friday, May 8th

    Tropic Cinema
    Key West, FL
    Starting Friday, May 8th

    Webster University
    St. Louis, MO
    Friday, May 15th – Sunday, May 17th

    Northwest Film Forum
    Seattle, WA
    Starting Friday, June 12th

    ACME Screening Room / Nickelodeon Nights
    Lambertville, NJ
    Saturday, June 13th

    Museum of Fine Arts
    Houston, TX
    Friday, June 19th – Sunday, June 21st

    Gene Siskel Film Center
    Chicago, IL
    Starting Friday, June 26th

    Northwest Film Center
    Portland, OR
    Saturday, June 27th – Sunday, June 28th

    In A Dream opens in LA

    April 22nd, 2009
    Opens Friday, April 24th at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles

    Starts Friday, April 24th in Los Angeles

    IN A DREAM opens this Friday, April 24th in Los Angeles, CA at the Laemmle Music Hall. Director Jeremiah Zagar will be there for Q&A’s after the 7:20pm screenings and an introduction to the 9:45pm screenings on Friday and Saturday. Same goes for the 5:10 & 7:20 screenings on Sunday, April 26th.

    Plus, due to popular demand and your support, the film has been held over for one more week (at least) in Philly & San Francisco!

    Philadelphia & San Francisco Reviews

    April 15th, 2009

    In A Dream opens tomorrow in Philadelphia at the Landmark Ritz at the Bourse. The reviews are starting to trickle in and here’s what Shaun Brady at Philadelphia City Paper had to say:

    City paper grade: [A]

    Jeremiah trained his camera on Isaiah at his mother Julia’s urging, and even in the early going manages to capture both his warmth and the darker shadings of someone who others may dismiss as an eccentric…Jeremiah strikes a delicate balance between empathy and honesty, exposing the family’s darkest secrets — his brother’s drug addiction, his father’s memories of molestation, attempted suicide and madness — but never losing sight of their basic humanity.

    Read the rest. And if you want to go more in-depth, you can read Brady’s feature Truth Be Tiled from last year’s Philadelphia Film Festival issue of the paper.

    The film opens tomorrow at The Roxie in San Francisco as well and this is from the San Francisco Bay Guardian:

    The Zagars aren’t anybody’s idea of a standard-issue nuclear unit, but this quietly engaging portrait transcends train-wreck fascination because for all their quirks, they are functional — close, loving, and supportive. Also, because Isaiah’s epic mosaics of tile, paint, and embedded detritus are so remarkable, you’ll want to book the next flight to Philly to see them first-hand.

    Read the whole review.


    April 3rd, 2009

    In A Dream begins its ever-expanding theatrical run next week at the Cinema Village in New York. It starts FRIDAY, APRIL 10TH and will be playing every day until the 16th, perhaps a week longer or more if demand is high enough.

    Tickets are on-sale now and we suggest you pre-purchase some today: 12:50p, 2:30p, 4:20p, 6:15p, 8:00p, 10:00p. We look forward to seeing you all there.

    In the meantime, 34th Street Magazine from the University of Pennsylvania recently profiled Isaiah Zagar in their March 19th issue. It’s a very enlightening article that offers some background on what you’ll see in the film.

    An excerpt:

    Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens sneaks up on you. Walking past 1020 South St., you understand that although “garden” might be a misnomer, you’re not sure what else to call the place. While the epicenter of the project is located here, the mosaic murals cover 33 city blocks with multicolored tiles, thousands of mirror shards, bricks, bicycle wheels and arches made of glass bottles the color of sapphires and Heineken. It’s overwhelming — at once obviously broken and yet perfectly assembled. Stand in the Gardens and you become Alice, falling down the rabbit hole in the phantasmagoric world of artist Isaiah Zagar’s creation.

    One Friday afternoon in February, Zagar is at a private residence at 627 Kamball St. doing grout work on a mural in the backyard. At first glance he comes off as a cross between Doc from Back to the Future and Allen Ginsberg circa 1969 — he’s got a wild beard, a reflective, rambling way of speaking and a tendency toward constant motion. For a man who is almost 70 years old, Zagar moves with surprising agility. He refuses to sit still for an interview.

    Read the rest and check back soon for part four in our series about In A Dream’s music.