One of the ‘duties’ of my job as Executive Director is to make an annual pilgrimage to the Sundance Film Festival each January. During the ten days there I usually get to around 40 films, scouting films that The Grand may play over the next year.
My favorite film this year was MAIDEN, a crowd pleasing documentary we just booked to open on July 5. In this year’s pool of films I consider my top 5 is the upcoming (opening May 3) documentary “HAIL SATAN?”
Its provocative title is bringing a lot of attention (which I guess is the point), and a few Grand patrons have posed quizzical comments about it. Those comments give me a good excuse to write a little.
When I first heard about HAIL SATAN? I was curious, though I admit I wasn’t too interested in seeing a film if it was going to be about Satan worshipers; mostly I was curious because director Penny Lane had visited The Grand several years back to present her excellent documentary OUR NIXON. Lane creates consistently entertaining films, and does so with a great sense of humor.
Another aspect that inspired curiosity is the title: that question mark is critical. Is Satan what it this film is really about? Nope, it is about far more than that.
I don’t want to spoil it, but HAIL SATAN? drills down on the topic of the separation of church and state, and sets an amazing set of modern day tenets for this ‘religion’ that left me agreeing and wondering “by this definition, could I qualify as a Satanist”? I think by the end of the film most Grand patrons will be wondering the same.
Critic Roger Moore said in his review that HAIL SATAN? is “laugh out loud funny, but it’s also the one cinematic civics lesson you’ll need to see this year.”
All of this is my way of saying that this film will make you laugh and is very much worth watching for myriad reasons.
Let the provocative title draw your attention, then come see for yourself what a thought-provoking film can be. You won’t likely be disappointed!