Calendar

Oct
13
Sun
The Fatwa: Salman’s Story @ ECHO
Oct 13 @ 3:15 pm
Director: Alan Yentob
UK | 2013 | Documentary
Run Time: 81 minutes
Film source: Jill Nichols
Additional info: US Premiere
Introduction by: Mark Pendergrast 

The Fatwa: Salman's Story

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Rushdie’s 1988 book The Satanic Verses, inspired in part by the life of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, was seen as blasphemous by some conservative Muslims and prompted the former spiritual leader of Iran to condemn Rushdie to death. This fascinating BBC film takes us through many of the events described in Salman Rushdie’s latest book – Joseph Anton: A Memoir. Between the narration taken straight from the language of the book, are interviews, news clips, images, and contemporary footage of the places featured in Rushdie’s story. The overall effect is the sense of traveling along with Rushdie through his story from the first moment he heard about the fatwa to his eventual freedom from police protection and the Iranian government’s death threat. We are reminded of the circumstances surrounding the publication of The Satanic Verses, including film clips showing the riots which took place in response to the book and the book burning. Rushdie is fascinating about the role of writers in society: “An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship — it is a crime against our nature as human beings”.

Frances Ha @ Film House
Oct 13 @ 8:30 pm

Director: Noah Baumbach
USA | 2013 | Fiction
Run Time: 86 minutes
Film source: IFC Films

Frances Ha

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Buoyed up by a charming, winning performance by Greta Gerwig (who co-wrote the script), Frances Ha unfolds as a witty, enjoyable series of snapshots of the life of the title character, a young woman adrift in Manhattan. Though she’s funny, charming, and great fun to get drunk with, Frances can’t quite get her act together. But, unlike director Noah Baumbach’s previous, rather more serious films, The Squid and the Whale and Greenberg (also starring Gerwig), Frances Ha takes a lighter, even comical look at young, urban driftlessness, without ever glorifying it. Shot in black and white and set chiefly in New York City, Frances Ha’s tip of the hat to Woody Allen’s Manhattan suggests that the film is as much about that dynamic city as it is about its loose-knit story. More prominent an influence is that of the French New Wave, which crops up in the film’s use of music by Georges Delerue, the charming purposelessness of the main characters, the cinematography, and even offhand references to Jean-Pierre Léaud and François Truffaut’s Small Change. Baumbach’s film boldly asks viewers to consider it within the contexts of film history, yet remains a charming, modern-day, urban fable, with which we can all identify.

Oct
14
Mon
Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters @ ECHO
Oct 14 @ 1:30 pm
Director: Ben Shapiro
USA | 2012 | Documentary
Run Time: 77 minutes
Film source: Zeitgeist Films
Sponsor: Judy Gerber & Dan Higgins
Introduction by: Dan Higgins 

Gregory Crewdson

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A fascinating portrait of one of the most compelling, mysterious and theatrical photographers of our time. Gregory Crewdson’s photographs are elaborately staged, elegant narratives compressed into a single, albeit large-scale image, many of them taken at twilight, set in small towns of Western Massachusetts or meticulously recreated interior spaces, built on the kind of sound stages associated with big-budget movies. Shapiro’s fascinating profile of this acclaimed artist at work includes stories of his Park Slope childhood (in which he tried to overhear patients of his psychologist father), his summers in the bucolic countryside (which he now imbues with a sense of dread and foreboding), and his encounter with Diane Arbus’s work in 1972 at age 10. Novelists Rick Moody and Russell Banks, and fellow photographer Laurie Simmons, comment on the motivation behind their friend’s haunting images.

A River Changes Course @ Film House
Oct 14 @ 5:45 pm

Director: Kalyanee Mam
Cambodia/USA | 2013 | Documentary | Cambodian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 83 minutes
Film source: The Film Collaborative

A River Changes Course

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This mesmerizing film, in a refreshing departure from polemical envrionmental films, follows three Cambodian families – one living in a floating hut on the Tonlé Sap river, one dwelling deep in the jungle, and one whose daughter moves to Phnom Penh to work in a garment factory – as their world is transformed by forces beyond their power to control or understand. The cinematography and pacing gently transport us into their lives.

Director’s statement: ”My approach to documentary filmmaking has been to tell the human story rather than the politcal one [...] Filmmaking is about asking the right questions, not finding solutions and for me the best way to do this is to explore the lives of people and allow them to tell their own stories. The experts for me are the people themselves. When people in Cambodia view this film, it’s often their first opportunity to travel to different parts of the country. Those who live on the lake have never seen the jungle before. The people in the jungle have never seen people working in a factory. So this is really their first opportunity to see their country — how beautiful it is, how precious it is, and how important it is to preserve and protect that beauty”. Adapted from an interview in the Huffington Post.

AWARDS

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize-Best Documentary - Sundance 2013
Golden Gate Award-Best Documentary Feature – SFIFF

King Curling (King Curling) @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 14 @ 6:00 pm
Director: Ole Endresen
Norway | 2013 | Fiction | Norwegian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 90 minutes
Film source: Films Boutique
Sponsors: Eyes On The World

King Curling (King Curling)

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King Curling is nothing less than The Big Lebowski of curling movies. If that’s not enough to intrigue you, consider that it’s also full of deadpan humor, pill-popping weirdos, and heavyset, gaudily attired Norwegians with emotional problems. A riot of color, comedy, and, yes, curling, King Curling slots itself neatly into the tradition of sports comedies about ne’er-do-well misfits (The Bad News Bears and Kingpin come to mind) who band together – in as awkward and bizarre a manner as possible – to win The Big Game. In this case, that game is the championship of curling, a sport often mocked tepidly in late-night monologues around Winter Olympics time, but the film, as a kind of bonus feature, reveals it to be more complex and entertaining than it appears. The inherent ridiculousness of the sport – ice brooms, really? – rests knowingly at the heart of this fun, outsized comedy that will have you laughing out loud and rooting for the underdog misfit loser oddball emotionally maladjusted gang of bizarro curlers.

Almayer’s Folley (La Folie Almayer) @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 14 @ 8:00 pm

Director: Chantal Akerman
France | 2013 | Fiction | French & Khmer w/ English subtitles
Run Time: 127 minutes
Film source: New Yorker Films

Almayer's Folly

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La Folie Almayer (Almayer’s Folly)

As mysterious and dark as the Joseph Conrad novel from which it is freely adapted, acclaimed director Chantal Akerman’s latest film digs into the racial and sexual underpinnings of European colonialism. Told in oblique, introspective vignettes, La Folie Almayer follows the misguided exploits of Kaspar Almayer as he searches in vain for treasure in the Malaysian jungle, and labors ineffectually to safeguard his mixed-race daughter, Nina, the object of fascination of nearly every male character in the film. The film is lush and beautiful, with unforgettably odd and lovely images of decaying jungles, neon-lit karaoke clubs, and bizarre, floating temples. Akerman’s characteristic long takes encourage both contemplation and wonderment. Acclaimed by critics worldwide, La Folie Almayer is a puzzling and rewarding film that plunges into Conrad’s heart of darkness and brings the viewer along for the enigmatic ride.

About the Director: One of the boldest cinematic visionaries of the past quarter century, Akerman takes a profoundly personal and aesthetically idiosyncratic approach to cinema, using it to investigate geography and identity, space and time, sexuality and religion. Influenced by the structural cinema she was exposed to when she came to New York from her native Belgium in 1970, Akerman made her mark in the decade that followed, playing with long takes and formal repetition in her films, which include Hotel Monterey (1972), Je tu il elle (1975), News from Home (1976) and Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978). Her greatest achievement to date, however, is her epic 1975 experiment Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, a hypnotic study of a middle-aged widow’s stifling routine widely considered one of the great feminist films.

Oct
15
Tue
Chihuly Outside @ ECHO
Oct 15 @ 1:30 pm
Director: Peter West
USA | 2012 | Documentary
Run Time: 60 minutes
Film source: Chihuly Workshop
Presented by: Rich Arentzen of AO Glass

Chihuly Outside

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Chihuly Outside covers nearly half a century of Dale Chihuly’s epic outdoor installations. The film chronicles Chihuly’s first experiments with floating glass on water and using ice and neon, his early work at Art Park in Upstate New York and his decade-long exploration of large-scale installations at 12 of the world’s preeminent botanic gardens and conservatories. Among many highlights, the hour-long documentary traces the development of Mille Fiori, a 56-foot “garden of glass” first exhibited in 2008 at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, and his most recent work, Chihuly Garden and Glass, which opened May 2012 at the foot of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. What emerges is a portrait of an innovative artist always seeking new ways to adapt his medium to natural spaces, propelled by a desire to move, provoke and inspire viewers. Chihuly Outside completes a trilogy of films exploring Chihuly’s work, which began in 2008 with Chihuly in the Hotshop and continued with 2010′s Chihuly Fire & Light.

A Hijacking @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 15 @ 6:00 pm

Director: Tobias Lindholm
Denmark | 2013 | Fiction | Various languages/subtitled when not English
Run Time: 99 minutes
Film source: Magnolia Pictures

A Hijacking

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Absolutely gripping from start to finish, A Hijacking eschews the action-packed histrionics one might expect from a Hollywood film with a similar premise, extracting incredible tension from the interpersonal relationships that underpin an international hijacking crisis. A Danish commercial ship is overtaken by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, plunging into turmoil the lives of hostages, families, negotiators, and even those of the pirates themselves. The film’s great strength is in its highly subtle insights into the lives and behaviors of everyone involved in an incredibly delicate situation. Some of the film’s most touching and realistic scenes are those of the interactions between the captors and the hostages, who strike up an uneasy, complicated coexistence. A Hijacking is directed with supreme confidence by Tobias Lindholm: the actions he chooses to not present directly on screen carry as much weight as those we do see.

Director’s statement: Director’s Statement: Before I was born my father was a seaman, but he never spoke to me about it. Maybe that is why the sea has always been on my mind. With the hijackings of the Danish-owned freighters DANICA WHITE and CEC FUTURE in 2007 and 2008, I became aware of a reality that I did not know existed. A reality where shipping companies are forced to negotiate directly with pirates. A reality where pirates earn millions of dollars and a reality where seamen are held hostage for months without any influence on their own fate. I couldn’t make a film about the truth of the hijackings in the Indian Ocean, because I don’t believe that truth exists. But I could make a film about seamen, pirates, CEOs and relatives. Because they do exist. And if A HIJACKING feels like it is about them, then I am very close to my goal.

In the House @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 15 @ 8:15 pm

Director: François Ozon
France | 2013 | Fiction | French w/English subtitles
Run Time: 105 minutes
Film source: Cohen Media Group 

In The House

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Perhaps the most important and daring modern French filmmaker, François Ozon has created, in In the House, another in a series of provocative explorations of sexuality and desire. Claude (Umhauer, in a cryptic performance), a gifted student, impresses his teacher (Luchini) with uncommonly perceptive essays, thus beginning a surprising series of manipulations that reverberate throughout the lives of reader and writer alike. As Claude’s stories – all of which involve his classmate, Rapha, and his “perfect family” – get darker and stranger, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, and Ozon revels in this uncertainty, daring us to do the same. Winner of multiple international awards, this is a deceptively simple film that, once unraveled, becomes more and more challenging; in the end, it does nothing less than call into question the very nature of storytelling itself. The film’s jaw-dropping last shot is at once a summary, a question mark, and a challenge to anyone who thinks they understand the way stories “should” be told.

Oct
16
Wed
The Fatwa: Salman’s Story @ ECHO
Oct 16 @ 3:30 pm
Director: Alan Yentob
UK | 2013 | Documentary
Run Time: 81 minutes
Film source: Jill Nichols
Additional info: US Premiere

The Fatwa: Salman's Story

GET TICKETS
Rushdie’s 1988 book The Satanic Verses, inspired in part by the life of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, was seen as blasphemous by some conservative Muslims and prompted the former spiritual leader of Iran to condemn Rushdie to death. This fascinating BBC film takes us through many of the events described in Salman Rushdie’s latest book – Joseph Anton: A Memoir. Between the narration taken straight from the language of the book, are interviews, news clips, images, and contemporary footage of the places featured in Rushdie’s story. The overall effect is the sense of traveling along with Rushdie through his story from the first moment he heard about the fatwa to his eventual freedom from police protection and the Iranian government’s death threat. We are reminded of the circumstances surrounding the publication of The Satanic Verses, including film clips showing the riots which took place in response to the book and the book burning. Rushdie is fascinating about the role of writers in society: “An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship — it is a crime against our nature as human beings”.

Tanta Agua (So Much Water) @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 16 @ 6:00 pm

Director: Ana Guevara, Leticia Jorge
Uruguay | 2012 | Fiction | Spanish w/English subtitles
Run Time: 96 minutes
Film source: Film Movement

Tanta Agua

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Winner of multiple awards at several international film festivals, Uruguay’s Tanta Agua is the directorial debut of Ana Guevara Pose and Leticia Jorge Romero. Simple in premise but emotionally complex, Tanta Agua (roughly translated, “So Much Water”) takes us along on a “fun” resort vacation as a divorced father (Guzzini) tries to reconnect with his kids, 13-year-old Lucía (Chouza, in a terrific performance) and 10-year-old Federico (Castiglioni). But the constant, torrential rain and the awkwardness between the family members make any sort of reconnection nearly impossible. Rather than play this situation for pathos, Pose and Romero extract from it gentle comedy and true insight into adolescence, especially in the film’s latter half, which focuses on Lucía’s misguided attempts at a summertime fling. Tanta Agua is the exact opposite of heavy-handed, leaving it up to the viewer to process and reflect on its emotional genuineness, and on the kind of uncomfortable family situation with which we can all identify.

Awards

Knight Grand Jury Prize – MIFF; Best First Feature – Guadalajara Film Festival

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters @ ECHO
Oct 16 @ 6:30 pm
Director: Ben Shapiro
USA | 2012 | Documentary
Run Time: 77 minutes
Film source: Zeitgeist Films
Sponsor: Judy Gerber & Dan Higgins
Introduction by: Dan Higgins 

Gregory Crewdson

GET TICKETS
A fascinating portrait of one of the most compelling, mysterious and theatrical photographers of our time. Gregory Crewdson’s photographs are elaborately staged, elegant narratives compressed into a single, albeit large-scale image, many of them taken at twilight, set in small towns of Western Massachusetts or meticulously recreated interior spaces, built on the kind of sound stages associated with big-budget movies. Shapiro’s fascinating profile of this acclaimed artist at work includes stories of his Park Slope childhood (in which he tried to overhear patients of his psychologist father), his summers in the bucolic countryside (which he now imbues with a sense of dread and foreboding), and his encounter with Diane Arbus’s work in 1972 at age 10. Novelists Rick Moody and Russell Banks, and fellow photographer Laurie Simmons, comment on the motivation behind their friend’s haunting images.

Byzantium @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 16 @ 8:00 pm
Director: Neil Jordan
Ireland | 2013 | Fiction | English
Run Time: 118 minutes
Film source: IFC Films
GET TICKETS

Byzantium

Oscar-winning director Neil Jordan returns to the world of the undead, which he visited to great success with Interview with the Vampire in 1994. His latest, Byzantium, plumbs the sexual and psychological effects of vampirism on two ageless-but-young women whose unhappy craving for blood has rendered them unstuck in time and space. Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated for Atonement) and Clara (rising star Gemma Arterton), by choice or by fate, must either succumb to their condition or risk their lives by seeking a cure. The world of Byzantium (the title refers to the run-down guesthouse in the faded resort town where Eleanor and Clara hole up) is rain spattered and neon-hued, vibrant in its sordidness and reflective of the characters’ razor’s-edge existence. Moody and bleak, yet shimmeringly beautiful, Byzantium is, on the surface, a vampire film, but, deeper down, a meditation on the ways that one’s choices in the past resonate in and shape the present – often with dire consequences.

Oct
17
Thu
Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 17 @ 6:00 pm

Director: Barmak Akram
Afghanistan | 2012 | Fiction | Persian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 86 minutes
Film source: Doc & Film International
Sponsor: The Caroline Baird Crichfield Fund

Wajma

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Achingly realistic and immediately affecting, Wajma relates an age-old story through a neotraditionalist lens. It offers a fascinating portrait of conflicting middle class family values in contemporary Afghanistan. The title character (Wajma Behar) is a young Afghan woman with a bright future ahead of her – a future that is immediately called into question when she becomes pregnant before marrying. Her boyfriend, Mustafa (Mustafa Abdulsatar), is charming and loving, but only to a point, and his insensitivity puts Wajma in a dangerous situation. As one character puts it, Afghan society is far too “outdated” to offer any decent options to an unmarried, pregnant woman. Beyond its emotional rawness and fly-on-the-wall cinematography (which deliberately echoes that of many of the films of the Iranian New Wave), Wajma’s major achievement occurs at the narrative level. Two-thirds through the film, the story shifts its focus from Wajma and Mustafa to the young woman’s father, who is faced with a crisis of his own: punish his daughter for shaming his family, or care for the daughter he loves? In presenting multiple sides of a complex issue, Wajma demonstrates its acute sensitivity to the emotional realities of everyday life.


About the Director: Barmak Akram was born in 1966 in Kabul. He received diplomas from three major art schools in France, including the École nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts. Besides directing several short films and documentaries and two full-length features (Kabuli Kid premiered in 2008 at the Venice Film Festival), Akram is also a musician, songwriter, and composer.

Chihuly Outside @ ECHO
Oct 17 @ 6:30 pm
Director: Peter West
USA | 2012 | Documentary
Run Time: 60 minutes
Film source: Chihuly Workshop
Presented by: Rich Arentzen of AO Glass

Chihuly Outside

GET TICKETS
Chihuly Outside covers nearly half a century of Dale Chihuly’s epic outdoor installations. The film chronicles Chihuly’s first experiments with floating glass on water and using ice and neon, his early work at Art Park in Upstate New York and his decade-long exploration of large-scale installations at 12 of the world’s preeminent botanic gardens and conservatories. Among many highlights, the hour-long documentary traces the development of Mille Fiori, a 56-foot “garden of glass” first exhibited in 2008 at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, and his most recent work, Chihuly Garden and Glass, which opened May 2012 at the foot of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. What emerges is a portrait of an innovative artist always seeking new ways to adapt his medium to natural spaces, propelled by a desire to move, provoke and inspire viewers. Chihuly Outside completes a trilogy of films exploring Chihuly’s work, which began in 2008 with Chihuly in the Hotshop and continued with 2010′s Chihuly Fire & Light.

Laurence Anyways @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 17 @ 7:45 pm

Director: Xavier Nolan
Canada | 2013 | Fiction | French w/English subtitles
Run Time: 161 minutes
Film source: Breaking Glass Pictures

Laurence Anyways

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Winner of several major festival awards, Laurence Anyways is the third film from Quebeçois enfant terrible Xavier Dolan, whose films I Killed My Mother (2009) and Heartbeats (2010) were both international sensations. Evoking Rainer Werner Fassbinder (via Douglas Sirk), Wong Kar Wai, and Pedro Almodóvar, Dolan, not yet 25, has created a rich brew of daring cinematic accomplishment. A love story rendered impossible by the fluid nature of sexuality and identity, Laurence Anyways takes us through the many-gendered permutations of the romance of Laurence and Frédérique (Suzanne Clément, winner of the Un Certain Regard award for her performance at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival). Laurence, living as a man, reveals to his lover Frédérique that his life has been a lie, and that to be true to himself, he must live as a woman. Unsurprisingly, this revelation changes the nature of the couple’s romance, but not in ways that either of them would ever have expected. Bold, ambitious, and frank, Laurence Anyways is a challenging statement about gender, love, and human nature.

Awards

Best Canadian Feature film; Suzanne Clément – best Actress

Oct
18
Fri
A Hijacking @ ECHO
Oct 18 @ 3:00 pm

Director: Tobias Lindholm
Denmark | 2013 | Fiction | Various languages/subtitled when not English
Run Time: 99 minutes
Film source: Magnolia Pictures

A Hijacking

GET TICKETS
Absolutely gripping from start to finish, A Hijacking eschews the action-packed histrionics one might expect from a Hollywood film with a similar premise, extracting incredible tension from the interpersonal relationships that underpin an international hijacking crisis. A Danish commercial ship is overtaken by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, plunging into turmoil the lives of hostages, families, negotiators, and even those of the pirates themselves. The film’s great strength is in its highly subtle insights into the lives and behaviors of everyone involved in an incredibly delicate situation. Some of the film’s most touching and realistic scenes are those of the interactions between the captors and the hostages, who strike up an uneasy, complicated coexistence. A Hijacking is directed with supreme confidence by Tobias Lindholm: the actions he chooses to not present directly on screen carry as much weight as those we do see.

Director’s statement: Director’s Statement: Before I was born my father was a seaman, but he never spoke to me about it. Maybe that is why the sea has always been on my mind. With the hijackings of the Danish-owned freighters DANICA WHITE and CEC FUTURE in 2007 and 2008, I became aware of a reality that I did not know existed. A reality where shipping companies are forced to negotiate directly with pirates. A reality where pirates earn millions of dollars and a reality where seamen are held hostage for months without any influence on their own fate. I couldn’t make a film about the truth of the hijackings in the Indian Ocean, because I don’t believe that truth exists. But I could make a film about seamen, pirates, CEOs and relatives. Because they do exist. And if A HIJACKING feels like it is about them, then I am very close to my goal.

King Curling (King Curling) @ Film House
Oct 18 @ 3:00 pm

Director: Ole Endresen
Norway | 2013 | Fiction | Norwegian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 90 minutes
Film source: Films Boutique
Sponsors: Eyes On The World 

King Curling (King Curling)

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King Curling is nothing less than The Big Lebowski of curling movies. If that’s not enough to intrigue you, consider that it’s also full of deadpan humor, pill-popping weirdos, and heavyset, gaudily attired Norwegians with emotional problems. A riot of color, comedy, and, yes, curling, King Curling slots itself neatly into the tradition of sports comedies about ne’er-do-well misfits (The Bad News Bears and Kingpin come to mind) who band together – in as awkward and bizarre a manner as possible – to win The Big Game. In this case, that game is the championship of curling, a sport often mocked tepidly in late-night monologues around Winter Olympics time, but the film, as a kind of bonus feature, reveals it to be more complex and entertaining than it appears. The inherent ridiculousness of the sport – ice brooms, really? – rests knowingly at the heart of this fun, outsized comedy that will have you laughing out loud and rooting for the underdog misfit loser oddball emotionally maladjusted gang of bizarro curlers.

Almayer’s Folley (La Folie Almayer) @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 18 @ 3:15 pm

Director: Chantal Akerman
France | 2013 | Fiction | French & Khmer w/ English subtitles
Run Time: 127 minutes
Film source: New Yorker Films

Almayer's Folly

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La Folie Almayer (Almayer’s Folly)

As mysterious and dark as the Joseph Conrad novel from which it is freely adapted, acclaimed director Chantal Akerman’s latest film digs into the racial and sexual underpinnings of European colonialism. Told in oblique, introspective vignettes, La Folie Almayer follows the misguided exploits of Kaspar Almayer as he searches in vain for treasure in the Malaysian jungle, and labors ineffectually to safeguard his mixed-race daughter, Nina, the object of fascination of nearly every male character in the film. The film is lush and beautiful, with unforgettably odd and lovely images of decaying jungles, neon-lit karaoke clubs, and bizarre, floating temples. Akerman’s characteristic long takes encourage both contemplation and wonderment. Acclaimed by critics worldwide, La Folie Almayer is a puzzling and rewarding film that plunges into Conrad’s heart of darkness and brings the viewer along for the enigmatic ride.

About the Director: One of the boldest cinematic visionaries of the past quarter century, Akerman takes a profoundly personal and aesthetically idiosyncratic approach to cinema, using it to investigate geography and identity, space and time, sexuality and religion. Influenced by the structural cinema she was exposed to when she came to New York from her native Belgium in 1970, Akerman made her mark in the decade that followed, playing with long takes and formal repetition in her films, which include Hotel Monterey (1972), Je tu il elle (1975), News from Home (1976) and Les rendez-vous d’Anna (1978). Her greatest achievement to date, however, is her epic 1975 experiment Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, a hypnotic study of a middle-aged widow’s stifling routine widely considered one of the great feminist films.

A River Changes Course @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 18 @ 6:00 pm
Director: Kalyanee Mam
Cambodia/USA | 2013 | Documentary | Cambodian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 83 minutes
Film source: The Film Collaborative

GET TICKETS
This mesmerizing film, in a refreshing departure from polemical envrionmental films, follows three Cambodian families – one living in a floating hut on the Tonlé Sap river, one dwelling deep in the jungle, and one whose daughter moves to Phnom Penh to work in a garment factory – as their world is transformed by forces beyond their power to control or understand. The cinematography and pacing gently transport us into their lives.

River-Changes-Course

Director’s statement: ”My approach to documentary filmmaking has been to tell the human story rather than the politcal one [...] Filmmaking is about asking the right questions, not finding solutions and for me the best way to do this is to explore the lives of people and allow them to tell their own stories. The experts for me are the people themselves. When people in Cambodia view this film, it’s often their first opportunity to travel to different parts of the country. Those who live on the lake have never seen the jungle before. The people in the jungle have never seen people working in a factory. So this is really their first opportunity to see their country — how beautiful it is, how precious it is, and how important it is to preserve and protect that beauty”. Adapted from an interview in the Huffington Post.

AWARDS

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize-Best Documentary - Sundance 2013
Golden Gate Award-Best Documentary Feature – SFIFF

Byzantium @ ECHO
Oct 18 @ 6:00 pm
Director: Neil Jordan
Ireland | 2013 | Fiction | English
Run Time: 118 minutes
Film source: IFC Films
GET TICKETS

Byzantium

Oscar-winning director Neil Jordan returns to the world of the undead, which he visited to great success with Interview with the Vampire in 1994. His latest, Byzantium, plumbs the sexual and psychological effects of vampirism on two ageless-but-young women whose unhappy craving for blood has rendered them unstuck in time and space. Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated for Atonement) and Clara (rising star Gemma Arterton), by choice or by fate, must either succumb to their condition or risk their lives by seeking a cure. The world of Byzantium (the title refers to the run-down guesthouse in the faded resort town where Eleanor and Clara hole up) is rain spattered and neon-hued, vibrant in its sordidness and reflective of the characters’ razor’s-edge existence. Moody and bleak, yet shimmeringly beautiful, Byzantium is, on the surface, a vampire film, but, deeper down, a meditation on the ways that one’s choices in the past resonate in and shape the present – often with dire consequences.

Birth of the Living Dead @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 18 @ 8:00 pm
Director: Rob Kuhns
USA | 2013 | Documentary | English
Run Time: 60 minutes
Film source: First Run Features
Presented by Introduced by Rob Schmidt Barracano - filmmaker and film teacher.
Ticketing Note: This is a double bill with the late night screening of Night of the Living Dead (11:30pm, FH)- 1 ticket for both screenings
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Birth of the Living Dead

In 1968 a young college drop-out named George A. Romero directed Night of the Living Dead, a low-budget horror film that shocked the world, became an icon of the counterculture, and spawned a zombie industry worth billions of dollars. Birth of the Living Dead shows how Romero gathered an unlikely team of Pittsburghers – policmen, iron workers, teachers, ad-men, housewives and a roller-rink owner – to shoot his seminal film. During that process Romero and his team created an entirely new and horribly chilling monster – one that was undeaded and feasted upon human flesh. The doc also immerses audiences into the singular time in which “Night” was shot – footage of the horrors of Vietnam and racial violence combined with iconic 1960s music puts the film in context.

 

Oct
19
Sat
Laurence Anyways @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 19 @ 12:00 pm

Director: Xavier Nolan
Canada | 2013 | Fiction | French w/English subtitles
Run Time: 161 minutes
Film source: Breaking Glass Pictures

Laurence Anyways

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Winner of several major festival awards, Laurence Anyways is the third film from Quebeçois enfant terrible Xavier Dolan, whose films I Killed My Mother (2009) and Heartbeats (2010) were both international sensations. Evoking Rainer Werner Fassbinder (via Douglas Sirk), Wong Kar Wai, and Pedro Almodóvar, Dolan, not yet 25, has created a rich brew of daring cinematic accomplishment. A love story rendered impossible by the fluid nature of sexuality and identity, Laurence Anyways takes us through the many-gendered permutations of the romance of Laurence and Frédérique (Suzanne Clément, winner of the Un Certain Regard award for her performance at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival). Laurence, living as a man, reveals to his lover Frédérique that his life has been a lie, and that to be true to himself, he must live as a woman. Unsurprisingly, this revelation changes the nature of the couple’s romance, but not in ways that either of them would ever have expected. Bold, ambitious, and frank, Laurence Anyways is a challenging statement about gender, love, and human nature.

Awards

Best Canadian Feature film; Suzanne Clément – best Actress

Michael H. Profession: Director @ Film House
Oct 19 @ 2:30 pm

Director: Yves Montmayeur
Austri, France | 2012 | Documentary
Run Time: 92 minutes
Film source: Films Boutique/box]

Michael H Profession Filmmaker

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Over the past two-and-a-half decades, director Michael Haneke has established himself as a towering figure in modern cinema with his uniquely controversial and challenging films that have polarized audiences and critics alike for decades. Such works as Funny Games (1997 and 2007: he remade his own film), The Piano Teacher (2001), the mysterious Caché (2005), and last year’s Oscar-winning Amour explore both the dark and the loving sides of human existence – often at the same time, and almost always in unforgettable ways. Now, Yves Montmayeur, who has made the “making-of” documentaries for most of Haneke’s films, turns his lens on Haneke himself, unravelling a working method that reveals a great deal about the man. As much a meditation on the nature of film as any of Haneke’s works themselves, Michael H: Profession Filmmaker uses interviews with Haneke’s creative collaborators as well as re-contextualized footage from his films. The documentary finds a compelling tension between the warmth of the man and the horrors in his films, and is a fascinating portrait of one of the most important filmmakers of our day.

Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 19 @ 3:15 pm
Director: Barmak Akram
Afghanistan | 2012 | Fiction | Persian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 86 minutes
Film source: Doc & Film International
Sponsor: The Caroline Baird Crichfield Fund 

Wajma

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Achingly realistic and immediately affecting, Wajma relates an age-old story through a neotraditionalist lens. It offers a fascinating portrait of conflicting middle class family values in contemporary Afghanistan. The title character (Wajma Behar) is a young Afghan woman with a bright future ahead of her – a future that is immediately called into question when she becomes pregnant before marrying. Her boyfriend, Mustafa (Mustafa Abdulsatar), is charming and loving, but only to a point, and his insensitivity puts Wajma in a dangerous situation. As one character puts it, Afghan society is far too “outdated” to offer any decent options to an unmarried, pregnant woman. Beyond its emotional rawness and fly-on-the-wall cinematography (which deliberately echoes that of many of the films of the Iranian New Wave), Wajma’s major achievement occurs at the narrative level. Two-thirds through the film, the story shifts its focus from Wajma and Mustafa to the young woman’s father, who is faced with a crisis of his own: punish his daughter for shaming his family, or care for the daughter he loves? In presenting multiple sides of a complex issue, Wajma demonstrates its acute sensitivity to the emotional realities of everyday life.


About the Director: Barmak Akram was born in 1966 in Kabul. He received diplomas from three major art schools in France, including the École nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts. Besides directing several short films and documentaries and two full-length features (Kabuli Kid premiered in 2008 at the Venice Film Festival), Akram is also a musician, songwriter, and composer.

Short Term 12 @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 19 @ 5:15 pm

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
USA | 2012 | Fiction
Run Time: 96 minutes
Film source: Cinedigm
Sponsor: Lorna-Kay Peal & Michael Smolin

Short Term 12

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Winner of both the Grand Jury Narrative Feature and the Narrative Audience Award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Short Term 12 is moving, honest, and emotionally revelatory. Focusing on the residents and caretakers at a residential foster care center for at-risk teenagers, Short Term 12 explores the difficult and extremely human realities of what it means to take care of another person. The story is told largely through the eyes of Grace (rising star Brie Larson, who won Best Actress at the Locarno Film Festival for her performance), the facility’s supervisor, as she tries to find ways to deal with her own life as well as those of the residents. Grace is put to the test with the arrival of Jayden, a troubled new arrival with whom she finds a special connection. Shot in an unobtrusive, handheld style, Short Term 12 is raw, sincere, and, at times, unexpectedly funny, with terrific performances at every level.

Awards

Grand Jury Award SXSW, Best Actress Locarno Film Festival

Brothers Hypnotic @ Film House
Oct 19 @ 7:00 pm

Director: Reuben Atlas
USA, Netherlands | 2013 | Documentary | English
Run Time: 85 minutes
Film source: Reuben Atlas
Sponsor: Duncan Wisniewski Architecture 

Brothers Hypnotic

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Note: Tickets include the live performance at 10PM at Signal Kitchen. One ticket gets you in to both.
The eight brothers in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are all sons of anti-establishment jazz legend, Phil Cohran. Raised together on Chicago’s South Side on a diet of jazz, funk and Black Consciousness, the brothers play inthe streets of NYC, collaborate with Mos Def or wow people at jazz festivals. The film constructs their coming of age story with wonderful camera work and hugely enjoyable music scenes.

GALA SCREENING

Screening followed by Gala party at Signal Kitchen (8:45PM) and live performance by the Hypnotic Ensemble. More info… sponsored by Signal Kitchen, John Douglas & Bob Summers. Ticket to film includes free access to the party an  live concert.

In the House @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 19 @ 7:30 pm

Director: François Ozon
France | 2013 | Fiction | French w/English subtitles
Run Time: 105 minutes
Film source: Cohen Media Group 

In The House

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Perhaps the most important and daring modern French filmmaker, François Ozon has created, in In the House, another in a series of provocative explorations of sexuality and desire. Claude (Umhauer, in a cryptic performance), a gifted student, impresses his teacher (Luchini) with uncommonly perceptive essays, thus beginning a surprising series of manipulations that reverberate throughout the lives of reader and writer alike. As Claude’s stories – all of which involve his classmate, Rapha, and his “perfect family” – get darker and stranger, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, and Ozon revels in this uncertainty, daring us to do the same. Winner of multiple international awards, this is a deceptively simple film that, once unraveled, becomes more and more challenging; in the end, it does nothing less than call into question the very nature of storytelling itself. The film’s jaw-dropping last shot is at once a summary, a question mark, and a challenge to anyone who thinks they understand the way stories “should” be told.

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Hannah Arendt @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 20 @ 1:30 pm

Director: Margarethe von Trotte
Germany | 2013 | Fiction | English and German w/English subtitles
Run Time: 113 minutes
Film source: Zeitgeist Films
Sponsor: Institute for Civic Engagement

Hannah Arendt

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A complex and compelling biopic of one of the most original thinkers of the 20th Century, Hannah Arendt delves deeply into the philosophical and personal life of its title character. The film marks the sixth cinematic collaboration between director Margarethe von Trotta, one of the leading figures of the New German Cinema, and star Barbara Sukowa, one of that movements most important performers. Sukowa’s nuanced performance reveals the deeply personal emotions that underpin – sometimes complicatedly – Arendt’s groundbreaking philosophy. Hannah Arendt shuttles back and forth between Arendt’s middle age, when she developed and refined her theory of evil, and her youth, when she studied with Martin Heidegger, whose subsequent affiliation with the Nazi Party caused her to call her own work into question. In its early scenes of Arendt covering the trial of Adolf Eichmann for The New Yorker, Von Trotta boldly blends actuality footage of the courtroom proceedings with her film’s “regular” fiction scenes, thereby encouraging the viewer to consider, as Arendt herself did, the links between past and present.

Director’s statement: This is a film that shows Arendt as a person caught between her thoughts and her emotions—one who often has to disentangle her intellect from her feelings. We see her as a passionate thinker and professor; as a woman capable of lifelong friendship—she was hailed as a woman who was a “genius at friendship”—but also as a fighter who courageously defended her ideas and never shied away from any confrontation. But her goal was always to understand. Her signature declaration, “I want to understand,” is the phrase that best describes her.

Frances Ha @ Black Box Theatre
Oct 20 @ 4:00 pm

Director: Noah Baumbach
USA | 2013 | Fiction
Run Time: 86 minutes
Film source: IFC Films

Frances Ha

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Buoyed up by a charming, winning performance by Greta Gerwig (who co-wrote the script), Frances Ha unfolds as a witty, enjoyable series of snapshots of the life of the title character, a young woman adrift in Manhattan. Though she’s funny, charming, and great fun to get drunk with, Frances can’t quite get her act together. But, unlike director Noah Baumbach’s previous, rather more serious films, The Squid and the Whale and Greenberg (also starring Gerwig), Frances Ha takes a lighter, even comical look at young, urban driftlessness, without ever glorifying it. Shot in black and white and set chiefly in New York City, Frances Ha’s tip of the hat to Woody Allen’s Manhattan suggests that the film is as much about that dynamic city as it is about its loose-knit story. More prominent an influence is that of the French New Wave, which crops up in the film’s use of music by Georges Delerue, the charming purposelessness of the main characters, the cinematography, and even offhand references to Jean-Pierre Léaud and François Truffaut’s Small Change. Baumbach’s film boldly asks viewers to consider it within the contexts of film history, yet remains a charming, modern-day, urban fable, with which we can all identify.