LIGHTHOUSE CINEMAS TO SCREEN “MONTEREY TO BIG SUR” BY PACIFIC GROVE FILMMAKER JOHN HARRIS - Thurs. DEC 29, 2011 - 4:30 & 6:15PM WITH MONTEREY STRING QUARTET
by Barbara Rose Shuler
We have the opportunity to experience--in our immediate future—a film that is more than an ordinary film. It’s a poetic tribute to natural life and beauty from a deeply ardent admirer. John Harris, Pacific Grove filmmaker, in "Monterey to Big Sur” treats his audiences to a communion with nature full of vitality, whimsy and spectacular footage of our central coast region.
The film--which premiered at the Carmel Art and Film Festival in October--makes its movie theater debut at Lighthouse Cinemas as a special holiday event on Dec. 29 with two showings at 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. The Monterey String Quartet joins the festivities to perform music of the season.
"Monterey to Big Sur” has been called an “indescribably exquisite” and “beautifully filmed” masterpiece.
One writer said: “I've been waiting for that film my whole life.” "I now know why the camera was invented....and you were born,” wrote another.
Harris, who also composed the score for the film, masterfully guides us into a magical realm of visually breathtaking seacoasts, majestic vistas and inland valleys peopled with enchanting creatures of the land, ocean and air. Occasionally, you may even glimpse a human in silhouette. You’ll see through his eyes intimate and fantastic worlds nearby that you may have missed, even as a longtime local resident.
Dawns and dusks flow gently into one another. Harbor seals cavort and tend to their playful young with amusing gestures. Pelicans and other sea birds gather for a flapping, riotous foodfest on the ocean. A snowy white egret preens and measures the wind on elegant wings. A mighty condor soars over Big Sur. The full moon rises over a lighthouse.
Inland fields and grasslands reveal their pastoral delights: Cachagua Creek gurgling and sparkling in the springtime light, cattle in languid play on a hillside and cloud sculpted skies. Surf kisses shores. Surfers ride waves in the distance. A boy plays on the beach in sundown shadows.
Harris has spent many decades refining the skills that allow him to transmit though film his special attunement to light, the earth and the movements of life. He evokes a timeless feeling and a state of simple grace that reminds the soul of true home. "Monterey to Big Sur” can inspire us to slow down and discover these wonders for ourselves, with or without a camera.
Harris developed his passion for filming as a young boy in central Oregon. He thrived in a Hollywood career as a singer, dancer, filmmaker with legendary talents Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Ann-Margret, Jim Morrison and Teri Garr. He never stopped filming.
When he came to the Monterey Peninsula in 1969, he and his partner Alan Weber created the 812 Cinema, the famous “pillow theater” of Cannery Row. Later, they built the Dream Theater, that remains to this day a beloved icon of the region, though it has been dark for many years. As always, he continued filming, including rare footage that is included in his film “The Last Days of Old Cannery.”
“When I began filming nature on the Central Coast of California in 2008, I knew I had found something special,” he says. “I hope you will take time to visit these special places within ‘Monterey to Big Sur.’ For me, it is as close to a nature walk on film I have ever created.”
Harris’ films are available on his website johnharrisfilms.com. For more information call 375-7534.