COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF 2010 FILMS & EVENTS
Wednesday, October 20th
NIGHT CATCHES US
Starring Anthony Mackie(The Hurt Locker) and Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland), and directed byTanya Hamilton, Night Catches Us focuses on the fallout from the annihilation of the Black Panther Party by the authorities. The story is set in Philadelphia in the mid-1970s, where the wounds of the 1960’s still fester. Mackie’s character returns to the hood for his father’s funeral after a lengthy absence, sparking a spectrum of responses from his old friends and foes, ranging from romance to violence. Catch the cameo by Wendell Pierce of Treme and The Wire. Rated R. 90 min
The last time we saw the fine actress Kristin Scott Thomaswas in I’ve Loved You So Long, where she served a prison sen- tence for killing her son. Now she’s in hot water again, and giving us another brilliant performance in this intense marital drama that is reminiscent of Tilda Swinton‘s I Am Love. Playing a bored housewife married to a successful, but brusque and not very sensitive doctor, Scott Thomas falls abruptly, helplessly, and fatally in love with a carpenter. Needless to say, the consequences are dire. Played the Toronto Film Festival. Scott Thomas was nominated for France’s Cesar Award. Subtitles. Not Rated. 85 min
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST
Alas, all good things come to an end, but what an end—a real humdinger. The whole gang is back, including director Daniel Alfredson, who helmed The Girl Who Played With Fire, Michael Nyqvist, who plays Blomkvist, and last but by no means leastNoomi Rapace who sings her swan song as the indefatigable pierced, tattooed, lethal cyber-witch, Lisbeth Salander. Stieg Larsson lovers will get their fill in this lengthy coda to this sensational series, as bad dad Zala and man mountain Niedermann finally get theirs and more. Subtitles. Rated R. 148 min
Thursday, October 21st
A sensational performance byIsabelle Huppert is the glue that holds Claire Denis‘s latest film together. Huppert plays a French plantation owner in West Africa determined to harvest the coffee crop while life as she knows it is going up in the flames of a conflict in which the contending armies (government, rebels) are nearly indistinguishable. Ever since her autobiographical debut feature, Chocolat in 1988, Denis, who grew up in West Africa, has established herself as the auteur of waning French colonialism. Here are the chilling les enfants soldats, as well as sharply etched characters like the enigmatic rebel leader played with understated gravity by Isaach De Bankole, andHuppert‘s mad son, who throws gasoline on the fires of civil war. Subtitles. Not Rated. 106 min
THE PRINCESS OF MONTPELSIER
The latest from Bertrand Tavernier (‘Round Midnight), this period drama is set in the 1500’s, during the reign of Charles IX, when France was decimated by religious wars, as Catholics and Protestants slaughtered one another.Tavernier skillfully manages a romantic roundelay, in which three suitors vie for the love of the Princess of Montpelsier who, of course (it’s a French film, after all), is already married. Played the Cannes and Telluride film festivals. Subtitles. Not Rated. 139 min
A new Mike Leigh film is always an occasion, and this is no exception. This deceptively low-key follow up to last year’s Happy-Go-Lucky starsJim Broadbent as one half of a kindly couple ministering to the needs of their less fortunate friends stung by life’s disappointments. Wine is the great consolation, and one wears a t-shirt across which is emblazoned, “Less thinking, more drinking.” Nothing much happens here—there are no high-speed chases nor daring heists—but that’s the point. This is a slice of life drama, but Leigh cuts his slices exceedingly fine, and his characters display the hurts, resentments, and small joys that most directors don’t have time for. Another Year played the Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, and New York film festivals. Not Rated. 129 min
John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Proof) directs Helen Mirren in this thriller about three Mossad agents—Mirren, Sam Worthington (Avatar), etc. are sent to kidnap and execute a doctor, still practicing, who happens to be a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, after their mission had been ostensibly accomplished, a man surfaces claiming to be the doctor, and she is sent to investigate. The prime suspect, however, turns out to be herself. In question is the role she played in the original operation. Mirren, who was so good as Detective Superintendant Jane Tennison in the BBS procedural, seems to be constitutionally incapable of turning in a poor performance, and she shines again in this dark, brooding film. Rated R. 106 min
Two fine actors doing what they do best. Nobody plays evil with quite the diabolical intelligence of Edward Norton(see his second film, Primal Fear). Here he is a convicted arsonist (and murderer) trying to manipulate a corrections officer (Robert De Niro) into granting him parole by using his casually promiscuous wife (Milla Jovovich) as bait in this taut thriller set in the recession decimated suburbs of Detroit and the State Prison of Southern Michigan. Helmed by John Curran who made The Painted Veil with Norton, and written by Angus McLachlan, who penned Junebug. Rated R. 105 min
Friday, October 22nd
People who think they don’t like animation have never seen Sylvain Chomet‘s The Triplets of Belleville, a veritable pin&ntild;ata of comic invention. Chomet adapted The Illusionist from an unproduced script byJacques Tati. The story, set in 1959, focuses on an over-the-hill magician struggling to maintain his footing in the nightclubs and music halls of Paris. He is redeemed—at least temporarily—by a young girl who is charmed by his magic. Played the Berlin and Telluride film festivals. Some subtitles. Not Rated. 80 min
MY MOM’S JUST NOT THAT INTO ME
Directed by Alison Flierl. 13 min
Twenty-four year-old Lena Dunham has made a remarkable debut film out of the confusions and humiliations of a not-so-attractive daughter of a self-absorbed artist that at once makes us squirm from TMI, laugh out loud at its gimlet-eyed, cutting humor, and gasp at its unsparing honesty. Lena Dunham herself plays the title character, at loose ends after graduating from Oberlin and returned home to live in her mother’s downtown New York City loft while she figures out her life. Problem is, she never does, finding work as a day hostess in a restaurant that’s closed during the day, and stumbling from one bad relationship to another, while meanwhile lying to her best friend and stealing her mother’s diary. The performances are excellent across the board. Winner of the Narrative Feature Prize, SXSW Film Festival. Not Rated. 98 min
WHITE IRISH DRINKERS
A fine script by director John Gray, and strong performances from an ensemble cast that includesStephen Lang, Karen Allen, and Peter Riegert add up to this moving coming of age story set in the ethnic enclave of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in the 1970’s. But there’s no disco to save the boys on the brink of manhood, only crime in the case of one of the broth- ers, or talent, in the case of the other. White Irish Drinkers is an anti-Saturday Night Fever, with a whiff of Cinema Paradiso, where in one amusing scene, two disco guys are hooted out of a bar. This is a truly indie film, which Grayfinanced with his own money, holding the budget down to $600,000, a startling accomplishment for a feature length picture with name brand actors. Not Rated. 117 min
Director John Gray and cast members Stephen Lang, Peter Reigert and Karen Allen will be on hand to answer questions.
CLIENT 9: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELIOT SPITZER
Alex Gibney is one of the best documentary directors working today, making his way from one controversial topic to another—Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Taxi to the Dark Side, which we showed in 2007, and went on to win a Best Documentary Oscar. Now he takes on the Eliot Spitzer story, and executes it with his customary skill. The film includes interviews with all the usual and not-so-usual suspects— friends, enemies, Albany heavies like Joe Bruno and employees of the Emperor’s Club, including “Angelina,” who speaks here for the first time. Not Rated. 117 min
Q&A discussion following film with director Alex Gibney, WAMC’s Alan Chartock, and author Lloyd Constantine (Journal of a Plague Year). Former Nation publisher and current Columbia School of Journalism professor Victor Navasky will moderate.
FILM COLUMBIA PUB PARTY
Peint O’ Gwrw Pub, Main Street. Join FC crew & filmmakers at the area’s hippest watering hole. Cash bar and small bites.
Occupying the no man’s land between Spinal Tap, True Blood, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this very funny film is the true embodiment of that endangered species: the midnight movie. It tells the story of would-be rock ‘n rollers so bad their manager advises them to fire him. So when the band leader (writer-director Rob Stefaniuk) finds himself at Robert Johnson’s legendary crossroads conversing with Alice Cooper, who could resist trading his soul for fame and fortune? The musicians become vampires, complete with beady red eyes, incisors the size of icicles, and a penchant for dismembering their victims. Along the way they encounter, in extended cameos, Clockwork Orange‘s Malcolm McDowell, and icons of the rock underworld like Cooper, Iggy Pop, Moby, Henry Rollins, and Carole Pope. One bit of advice: don’t run for the exits before the clever twist at the end. Played Toronto and SXSW film festivals. Rated R. 91 min
(LGBTQ Stories from the Hudson Valley)
Coming out stories from a diverse array of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people living in Hudson Valley, putting a human face on a highly publicized subject. Directed by Joy. E Reed. 28 min
(Active Combat Uniform)
In cinema verite style, two men impersonate active duty combat soldiers on leave from Iraq in a small town near West Point. Presenting themselves as heroes, they scam the local population for money and sex. Directed by local Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, filmmakerSteven Strauss. 40 min
Q&A with filmmakers and crew after screening.
SHORTS PROGRAM DRAWING FROM LIFE THE MUSE/EL CORTEJO
Art as life is the theme for these impressively filmed shorts. In Drawing from Lifean art student falls in love with a model with unfortunate results. From a slightly different angle The Muse tells of a talented artist who uses his paintings to seduce models, but in a nice twist, one of them turns the tables. Coming from Spain, El Cortejo takes us on a different path. A gravedigger in Madrid watches a widow bringing flowers to the cemetery and slowly falls in love.
Q&A after screening with filmmakers.
REASON TO HOPE
The earthquake that struck Haiti in January of 2010 brought tragedy to an island that has seen more than its share of sorrow. Within days, the worldwide media descended on the island and just as quickly departed as other stories became deemed more important. CBS journalists, Correspondent Bill Whitaker and Producer Erin Lyle George had the fortune to remain in Haiti for a month, witnessing more than any other American network journalists. The film, still a work in progress, chronicles what they experienced and despite all of the heartache and misery, there is still reason to hope.
Saturday, October 23rd
CHILDREN’S INTERNATIONAL SHORT PROGRAM
FilmColumbia’s annual treat for kids, this round up is curated by Patti Greaney of GIRALDI Media in NYC. Pre- senting the best in children’s shorts from around the world, it’s a rare screening event. Free to the public. 60min
Remember the accident that made Aron Ralston an instant celebrity in May, 2003, when a boulder crushed his right fore- arm and pinned it against the rock face of Blue John Canyon, near Moab, Utah? Danny Boyle does, and brings it to us in this overwhelming tour de force, his first film since the Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. Ralston spent five days sipping stale water before he resorted to sawing off his limb to free himself, after which he scaled a 65-foot wall and faced an eight mile hike to his stick shift truck. James Franco (Howl) plays Ralston. Boyledescribes the film as “an action movie with a guy who can’t move,” but he pulls it off, and paradoxical as that might sound, 127 Hours is an extra- ordinary tribute to one man’s indomitable will to live. Rated R. 95 min
MADE IN DAGENHAM
Touted as the next Full Monty,Nigel Cole‘s tough, funny account of a game- changing strike at a British Ford plant in 1968, where 300 women walked out demanding equal pay for equal work. It’s an Anglo Erin Brockovich. Cole, who made Calendar Girls in 2003, directs an all-star English cast led by Sally Hawkins, who sparkled in Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky, featured in last year’s FilmColumbia, including Bob Hoskinsand Miranda Richardson. Says Cole, “It’s that idea of ordinary women getting caught up in something much bigger than themselves.” In one scene, historically accurate, the strikers display a banner that says “We Want Sexual Equality,” but they fail to unfurl it entirely, so it reads,”We Want Sex”! Not Rated. 113 min
The bizarre Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding figure skating drama transplanted to the world of the ballet, with a pinch of Repulsion thrown in for good measure. Darren Aronofsky‘s daring follow-up to his award winning The Wrestler, Black Swan is considerably more subtle and even more twisted. Focusing on a clash of the tutus, Aronofsky gives us two ballerinas,Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, rivals for the good/evil White Swan/Black Swan role in a new interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder play supporting roles as Portman‘s smothering mom and the casually discarded former White Swan, respectively. Beautifully photographed, this film is a visual feast for dance lovers, but be aware that you may be sitting next to a fan ofShutter Island. The bold fusion of genres makes Black Swan a strong candidate for the most talked about film of the season. Opened the Venice Film Festival. Also played the Telluride and Torontofilmfestivals. Rated R. 103min
SATURDAY NIGHT SNEAK
One of the most eagerly anticipated films of the fall season, a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller (hint), directed by a leading Hollywood director and featuring two of our outstanding actors. Don’t miss it. Rated PG-13. 104min
Sponsored by Jack Shear.
This South Korean hit is a remake of a 1960 film of the same name considered a classic. Eun-yi, attractive and naive, is hired by an extremely wealthy family to care for the entitled, self-indulgent, and capricious wife who is pregnant with twins. When the husband makes a pass at her, Eun-yi is strangely compliant, and eventually finds herself pregnant, with disastrous results, not only for her, but the whole family. After she is forced to have an abortion against her will, she exacts a shocking revenge. Played the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. Subtitles. Not Rated
ANIMATION FOR GROWNUPS
Animator Gary Leib(American Splendor), presents the best in animated shorts from around the world. Cutting edge, award winning and too cool to be kid stuff!
THE ASPERN PAPERS
Based on a Henry James novella and filmed against a lush jungle backdrop in Venezuela, a young American publisher sets out from New York City, to search for the lost manuscripts of a famous deceased poet. His eagerness to procure the papers by any means necessary pits him against the poet’s former lover and her daughter, in a treasure hunt of deceit and literary passions. Mesmerizing and haunting, the cast includesBrooke Smith (The Namesake) and Judith Roberts(Stardust Memories). Directed and produced by Hudson filmmakers Marianna Hellmund and Isabel Barton. U.S. premiere. 84 min
Q&A after screening with Marianna Hellmund & Isabel Barton.
In the grand tradition of My Dinner with Andre, we listen in on one of the best dinner-movie dialogs in years among friends, lovers, intellectuals, and strangers, all gathered together at a crowded New York City bistro. Feeling safely cloaked in candlelight and wine, they talk about seduction, lost love, betrayal, make confessions and confide secrets. Directed by Matthew Miele and featuring a top ensemble of actors. Not Rated. 98 min
Q&A after screening with director Matthew Miele.
An audience favorite, with local actor Scott Cohen(Kissing Jessica Stein) moderating. Regional screenwriters are given a rare opportunity to have their work read by Cohen’s fellow actors, followed by discussion of the work. Bring copies of your five-ten minute scene (no more than five pages). Actors will read as much as time permits. Bagels & coffee served.
Sponsored by Eastman Kodak.
CLASSIC COCKTAILS, CLASSIC FILMS
Peint O’ Gwrw Pub, Main Street. From film noir to screwball comedy to the roman- tic classics, here are some of the greatest films of Hollywood’s Golden Age featuring cocktails in unforgettable supporting roles. Sip on delicious drinks while we roll a collection of clips American cinema’s best-loved films. Learn the colorful stories behind the cocktails, and get practical tips on how to mix up a perfect batch for yourself at home. The hour will leave you thoroughly stirred, gently shaken, and always entertained.
FILMCOLUMBIA SATURDAY NIGHT!
Join the FilmColumbia crew and filmmakers for cocktails, music, dance & sweets, right after the Saturday Sneak!
Sunday, October 24th
John Cameron Mitchell(Hedwig and the Angry Inch) directs Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Sandra Oh, andDianne Wiest in this stunning drama revolving around parents who lose their son in a car accident. The sharp-tongued mother (Kidman) drives away everyone who tries to help her cope, and becomes obsessed with the troubled, teen-age driver of the car that kills him. The father (Aaron Eckhart), becomes involved with another mourning mother (Sandra Oh) as he watches his marriage wither.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s fine reputation rests on his second film, Amores Peros (2000). While he has not yet scaled those heights again, he is considered one of best of an extraordinary crop of brilliant contemporary Mexican directors. We showed his 21 Grams in 2003, andBabel in 2006. This is his first film after a falling out with his regular collaborator, writerGuillermo Arriaga—he of the fractured narrative—and thus the story line of Biutiful is more or less conventionally chronological. Like Amores Peros, this is a slum drama, withJavier Bardem a player in the black market. Inarritu puts a multicultural array of vivid characters on the screen, and even pulls off a bravura car chase worthy of a James Bond movie. Played the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Some subtitles. Not Rated. 138 min
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), directed this controversial adaptation of Rula Jebreal‘s novel of the same name. Starring Freida Pinto(Slumdog Millionaire), andVanessa Redgrave, with a cameo from Willem Dafoe,Miral begins in Jerusalem in 1948. Based on a true story, it dramatizes the creation of a children’s shelter by Hind Husseini, a Palestinian peace activist, to protect them from the storm that rages around them. But “shelter” is impossible in the midst of the intifada and Israeli reprisals, and she watches her wards, in particular Miral, being drawn into the struggle. As a teenager, Miral goes off to teach in a refugee camp, and falls in love with a Palestinian militant. She is torn between the Palestinian cause and Hind’s conviction that education is the best way to achieve peace. Miral played the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Not Rated. 112 min
A deceptively simple three hander becomes a riveting drama as a GI prepares to return to the States from war-torn Berlin with his lovely German fiancé. As she sets the dinner table for him with every delicacy she can lay her hands on, there is an ominous pounding on the door. It isStephen Lang, playing a police inspector determined to lay bare her secrets which, as we discover, are legion. As she painfully twists and turns, squirming to avoid the truth, he relentlessly extracts a shocking story of opportunism, suffering, and sacrifice attendant on survival in a time of war. Not Rated. 90 min
Peter Biskind will conduct a Q&A with Stephen Lang after the screening.
Starring True Blood‘s Jason Stackhouse- oops, that’s Ryan Kwanten—who finally gets his wish to join the police force. Problem is, he gets more than he bargains for. He plays a city cop looking for some peace and quiet (remember Chief Brody in Jaws?) re-settled with his pregnant wife in the kind of bleak, wind-swept town found only in Australia’s outback, but a jail-break has unleashed a dedicated local killer hell-bent on revenge. Fans of John Hillcoat and Nick Cave‘s The Proposition will feel right at home here, and will appreciate the dollops ofHigh Noon, Bad Day at Black Rock, and No Country for Old Men delivered by director Patrick Hughes. Parental advisory: Don’t watch on a full stomach. R Rated. 95 min
THE KING’S SPEECH
After King Edward VIII (later known as the Duke of Windsor) abruptly abdicated the British throne in 1936 to marry his mistress, Wallis Simpson, an American, and worse, a two-time divorcee, the succession fell to his brother, who eventually became George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. But initially, George’s path was blocked by his bad stutter, shyness, and sickly constitution, all of which rendered him, in the eyes of many, including his own, unfit to assume the throne. The day before the abdication, he went to London to see his mother, Queen Mary. He wrote in his diary, “When I told her what had happened, I broke down and sobbed like a child.” Enter Geoffrey Rush playing the eccentric speech therapist who helps him overcome this stutter and fear of public speaking. Ultimately, George VI filled an historic role, leading his country into World War II. The King’s Speech features a head-spinning array of British and Australian actors—not only the always riveting Rush, butHelena Bonham-Carter, Colin Firth, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill. Played the Telluride film festival. Not Rated. 111 min
SHORTS PROGRAM CAPTURE THE FLAG
I AM THE ANIMAL
In Capture the Flag, set in the turbulent. early ’70’s, a teenager struggles to hold onto a family traditions in the wake of her parents’ divorce, with local actor Scott Cohen(Kissing Jessica Stein). Directed by Lisanne Skyler. 14 min Brought to us from France, Balcon gives us a boy with big ears who has a bad habit of putting his head where it doesn’t belong. Subtitles 10 min I am the Animal is a lovely documentary addresses the issue of bee colony collapse at the same time that it presents a window onto the fascinating world of bees and their keepers by means of interviews punctuated by a bee film clips from various sources, including cartoons. Directed by New York City filmmaker Lenore Malen. 23 min
Q&A with director Malen and some of the beekeepers featured in film after screening.
IRWIN: A NEW YORK STORY
The amazing life and times of 92 years-young Irwin Hasen, legendary comic book and comic strip cartoonist, the sole surviving contributor of D.C. Comics’ “Green Lantern,” creator of “Wildcat,” cover artist of “Wonder Woman,” “Superman,” and “The Justice Society,” and co-creator of the syndicated comic strip character “Dondi.” First time filmmaker Dan Makara lets Irwin tell us directly the often poignant story of his own version of the American Dream. Through archival photos, clips, animation, as well as interviews with Irwin’s friends, including Jules Feiffer, Paul Levitz of D.C. Comics and writerRoy Thomas, we discover the exciting mileu of the comic book industry’s formative years. Even more memorably we come to know Irwin, still a charming raconteur at 92.
Against the backdrop of a former insane asylum on Staten Island, two filmmakers set out to separate myth from truth in an urban legend they grew up with, concerning a bogeyman who kidnapped children. As they explore the underbelly of the shadowy areas in their borough, reality turns out to be more terrifying than the legend. Screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and selected as 2009’s best undistributed film by indieWIRE. Not Rated. 84 min