Bees, Snitches and Micks

Siegel and McGehee's Bee Season

For over a decade now, local boys David Siegel and Scott McGehee (both grew up in OC but didn't cross paths until film school) have co-directed a series of films that have sharply divided and often confused critics and audiences alike. Suture, the pair's 1995 debut picture, was an arty head-scratcher of a thriller about two half-brothers whom everybody in the world apparently sees as identical—although we in the audience can't help but notice that one man is black and the other is white. 2001's The Deep End, meanwhile, was an old-fashioned, willfully melodrama women's picture pushed to extremes so bleak they would've made Douglas Sirk go wobbly in the knees. This Monday, Siegel journeys home to OC to present the pair's new drama Bee Season (starring Richard Gere and Juliet Binoche), as part of Orange Coast College's free Visiting Scholars Series. Based on Myla Goldberg's bestselling book, the film concerns a family who are drifting apart as they individually seek something greater than themselves. The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan hailed it as "affecting in ways that movies have all but given up trying to be." My dad, on the other hand, said it was "one of the worst movies I've seen in maybe 20 years. Those people drove me nuts." Critic-splitter Siegel appears an hour before the screening to discuss his film.

The OCC series continues Tuesday with a showing of a film that was acclaimed by critics but little-seen by audiences: Michael Mann's 1999 docudrama The Insider. Al Pacino and Russell Crowe star in this picture about 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman's investigation into nefarious goings-on within the tobacco industry, with Pacino as Bergman and Crowe as a former tobacco-company exec reluctant to give up his secrets. Los Angeles Times journalist Myron Levin discusses the film an hour before the screening.

The series concludes Thursday, March 16, with 1987's The Dead. For the final film of his long career, legendary director John Huston brought us this adaptation of James Joyce's short story about melancholy memories stirred up at an Irish family reunion. The film itself was something of a family reunion, with Huston's daughter Anjelica turning in an unforgettable performance and his son Tony writing the screenplay. Tony Huston will talk about the film prior to its screening.

Visiting Scholars Series at Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5725. Bee Season screens in Fine Arts Lecture Room 116, Mon., 8 p.m.; The Insider, Science Building Auditorium, Tues., 8 p.m.; The Dead, Science Building Auditorium, Thurs., March 16, 7:30 p.m. All screenings are free.

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