COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF 2011 FILMS & EVENTS
Wednesday, October 19th
Irritated whenever you see the name “Shakespeare”? Embarrassed for harboring the minority position that the actual author of the great canon was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford? No longer. Local screenwriter John Orloff (A Mighty Heart) makes a persuasive case for the argument that the facts of Oxford’s life fit the plays better than those of the obscure man from Stratford-on-Avon. He brings this controversial theory to life against the backdrop of the dramatic war over the succession to the throne that pitted the 2nd Earl of Essex against Queen Elizabeth and the powerful Cecil family. A change of pace for director Roland Emmerich known for his action spectacles (Independence Day), Anonymous features a glittering array of British actors led by Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, and veteran Shakespearean player Derek Jacobi. John Orloff will present the film and answer questions afterwards. Rated: NR 130 min.
Thursday, October 20th
THE BULLY PROJECT
The escalating rate of teen suicides suggests that bullying in American schools has gotten out of hand, transformed from a kids-will-be-kids non-issue to a menace nearly on a par with drug use. This searing documentary follows five families who have been wounded by the corrosive effects of bullying. Seventeen year-old Tyler hanged himself; Kelby came out of the closet and was shunned by the entire community in which she lives; Alex, 12, was punched, strangled, and stabbed with pencils, while teachers ignored the attacks. The film suggests that only activism on the part of students, parents, and teachers can put a stop to these kinds of attacks. Rated: NR. 118 min
An accomplished debut feature by award winning documentary filmmaker David Grubin in which a young Russian immigrant who happens to be a classically trained violinist preparing for an all-important debut recital at Julliard, struggles to free himself from the expectations of his charming but domineering father, while falling for the lovely club and street performer, played by composer-musician-writer Nellie McKay. Rated: NR. 90 min
Director Michael Hazanavicius has pulled off a small miracle: a lustrous black and white film set in the silent era that is both a charming homage to the era of Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Buster Keaton, as well as a gripping story on its own. Michel Dujardin plays a vainglorious star of silent swashbucklers. Peppy, a pretty fan catches his eye, and he gives her a small part in his next movie. But when the cigar chomping studio boss, played by a pitch perfect John Goodman, gives him a preview of a talkie, he remains blind to the handwriting on the wall. Tempting fate, the actor incautiously spends his own money to produce his next movie, with predictable results. He plunges into bankruptcy, his wife leaves him, and even his chauffeur, played by the wonderful James Cromwell, jumps ship. But Peppy, whose career has taken off just as his declines, remains true. Actor Jean Dujardin won Best Actor at Cannes. Played the New York Film Festival. Rated: NR. 100 min. Subtitled
Not-so-enfant-terrible Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves) managed to get himself tossed out of this year’s Cannes Film Festival for allegedly voicing sympathy for the Nazis, but this didn’t stop his latest picture, Melancholia, from being nominated for the Palme d’Or. The story is a mash up of Armageddon and The Celebration, with Ingmar Bergman‘s Persona tossed in for good measure. It takes its title from the name of an outsized planet lurking behind the sun which threatens to obliterate the earth and end life as we know it. But the approaching Melancholia quickly becomes a metaphor for the emotional malaise of two sisters, played by Kirsten Dunst, in the finest performance of her career (she won Best Actress at Cannes), and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Also catch Kiefer Sutherland and Alexander Skarsgard in supporting roles. Played the New York and Toronto film festivals. Rated: NR. 136 min
FRIDAY, October 21st
TO BE HEARD
Biographers know that the most persuasive argument they can use to convince potential subjects to cooperate with them is: “If you don’t tell your own story, someone will tell it for you.” Three radical poetry teachers politically redefined “someone” as “society,” and used this implied threat to inspire and empower South Bronx kids to find their own voices, write their own poetry, and through that, find their place in a not-so-friendly world. This award-winning documentary follows three of these young poets and as they tell their story. Deborah Shaffer, one of four directors and an Oscar winner, as well as a local resident, will be on hand to present the film. Rated: NR. 87 min
THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD
Joshua Marsten, who directed the remarkable Maria Full of Grace in 2004, is back with a new film, this one set in present day Albania. But you wouldn’t know it, given the medieval conditions in which the characters live. In the manner of the great Italian neo-realist films, Marsten meticulously captures the lives of a family caught up in a blood feud as they try to eke out a living by delivering bread. Played this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Rated: NR. 109 min. Subtitled
A tender story of young love complicated by long distances, as one half of this perfect couple overstays her visa to indulge her passion for the other half. When she returns to England, her legal indiscretion comes back to haunt her, preventing her from rejoining her lover in Los Angeles. A complicated string of meetings and misses gradually unfolds, as the grim realities of a long distance relationship threaten the bond between them. Directed and co-written by Drake Doremus, Like Crazy, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. Fans of Winter’s Bone will be pleased to see Jennifer Lawrence again, this time in a supporting role as the Other Woman. Rated: PG-13. 89 min
A DANGEROUS METHOD
David Cronenberg in his third collaboration with Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) directs him in a script by Oscar winning playwright Christopher Hampton based on Hampton’s own play. Set on the eve of World War I, the story concerns the turbulent triangle between Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), his disciple and soon rival Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a student and sometime mistress of Jung’s who went on to study with Freud and according to Hampton’s play, came between the two men. Played the New York and Toronto film festivals.
Rated: NR. 93 min
KING’S PARK: STORIES FROM AN AMERICAN MENTAL INSTITUTION
Director Lucy Winer was committed to the psychiatric ward at Kings Park State Hospital on Long Island after a failed suicide attempt. Thirty years later she returns to the institution to confront her past.
Rated: NR. 108 min
REHEARSAL FOR A SICILIAN TRAGEDY
Actor John Turturro (Barton Fink, O Brother Where Art Thou?) takes a journey to his ancestral home of Sicily in an exploration of the island’s vanishing traditions. He stumbles across the ancient art of puppetry and is drawn into its world. The film is an evocative look at the roots of storytelling and a world almost lost in time. Directed by Roma Paska, a world-renowned puppeteer. 101 min
THE SURROGATE MARY
When Mary wakes up on a Hampton beach in a fugue state, all assumptions of her identity are thrown into doubt. Our sense of time and place is challenged in this psychological thriller as Mary searches for her identity and examines the nature of her relationships to others now in her life. Directed by Nick Nehez and starring Alex Auder and Gaby Hoffman. Rated: NR. 74 min
CLASSIC COCKTAILS/CLASSIC FILMS
One of the coolest events at FC last year & brought back again for another round of film scenes from Hollywood’s Golden Age, featuring cocktails that helped make those films unforgettable. Sip on delicious drinks while watching classic clips, learn the colorful stories behind the cocktails and how to mix up a perfect batch for yourself. The hour will leave you thoroughly stirred, gently shaken and always entertained. Limited seating. Peint O’ Gwrw Pub, Main Street.
FILMCOLUMBIA PUB PARTY
Join the FC crew, filmmakers and film lovers at the area’s hippest watering hole. Cash bar and small bites. Peint O’ Gwrw Pub, Main Street.
Saturday, October 22nd
WHY CABLE RULES
It’s no secret that some of the best work today is being done for cable. Directors like Martin Scorsese, actors like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Parker Posey, Claire Danes, et al are rushing in where none dared treated before. What has cable got that Hollywood has forgotten? Join our prestigious panel of experts to find out. Moderated by Peter Biskind (Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America)
CHILDREN’S INTERNATIONAL SHORT PROGRAM
FilmColumbia’s treat for our community kids, this hour is a rare opportunity to watch an international array of short films, lovingly selected by Patti Greaney of GIRALDI Media, NYC. Free to the public. 60 min
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
The 4M’s in the title refer to the various names assumed by Elizabeth Olsen‘s character during her stint as a member of a patriarchal, manipulative cult that subjugates women and retains a hold over her heart and mind even after she has escaped. John Hawkes, who was so extraordinary in Winter’s Bone, plays the cult leader who dominates his followers through fear and violence. The picture was shot in the Catskills. Director Sean Durkin has created a pervasive sense of dread that mirrors the chilly emotional climate of the cult, which won him the directing award at Sundance. The film played the Cannes and New York film festivals. Rated: R. 120 min
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI
Chances are, you’ve never had the opportunity to sample the sushi at Tokyo’s Sukiyabashi Jiro which only seats 10, takes reservations a year and a half in advance, charges $300 a pop, fetches three stars from the Michelin Guide, and is widely acknowledged to be Japan’s best of its kind. Or the next best thing which is watching the chef, 85-year-old sushi artist Jiro Ono, massage, stroke, and fondle morsels of raw fish, still striving for the perfect piece of sushi. David Gelb‘s loving documentary is food porn at its best, and if you love sushi, you’ll love this film. Food writer/editor Ruth Reichl will be on hand to introduce the film and answer your sushi questions. Rated: NR. 81 min. Subtitled
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
Tilda Swinton turns in a spectacular performance as a smart, ambitious career woman with a teen son who massacres the students at his high school a la Columbine. In her guilt and confusion she’s left to grapple with the extent of her responsibility—or maybe there is none and Kevin is just a bad seed, spawn of the devil. Indeed, in the hands of director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher), the movie at times becomes suffused with the eeriness of Repulsion or an art house Omen, as Kevin becomes uncomfortably Other. If you’re looking for a smart movie with that offers no easy answers, this movie is for you. Played the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Rated: NR. 112 min
SATURDAY NIGHT SNEAK
Our lips are sealed on this year’s pick for FC’s sneak film, but we guarantee you won’t want to miss this drama feature. [The Descendants with George Clooney]
POST SNEAK PARTY!
Join FC crew, filmmakers and film lovers right after the Saturday Nite Sneak for drinks & appetizers. Blue Plate Restaurant.
Spike Lee executive produced this film about an adolescent girl growing up in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood, who discovers that she likes other girls more than boys. Needless to say, her sexual orientation is not entirely embraced by her parents. The film perfectly captures their ambivalence towards their so far closeted daughter, and likewise limns the pain of coming out in a homophobic culture, not only for her, but for her parents. Their relationship, already strained, is tested further by their daughter’s determined search for a partner. The picture was developed from director/writer Dee Rees‘s award winning 2007 short film of the same name. Cinematographer Bradford Young won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Played the Toronto Film Festival. Rated: R. 86 min
ANIMATION FOR GROWNUPS
Presenting an international array of cutting edge animation and a FilmColumbia audience favorite. Hosted by animator Gary Leib (American Splendor). Not for kids! Animators will be on hand to discuss their work after the screening. 75 min
IN MY LIFETIME
A chilling birds eye survey of the history of nuclear weapons, displaying iconic and terrifying stills and footage from Hiroshima and after. Directed by Robert Frye, who produced for several national news organizations and featuring interviews with nuclear experts and world leaders. Frye will be on hand to answer questions after the screening. 112 min
SOL LEWITT: WALL DRAWINGS
Sol LeWitt is considered one of the key pioneers of conceptual art, having produced more than 1200 wall drawings during his four decades career. This film provides as visual feast of color and shape as it focuses on the behind-the-scenes creation of LeWitt’s retrospective at nearby Mass MocA that covers nearly 40,000 square feet of wall space. It’s a fascinating look at the artist and thinking behind his massive work, especially for anyone having visited the exhibition. 55 min
THE AFTER PARTY
Mixing pop culture and politics, along with gonzo journalism, filmmaker Michael Schiller exposes the underbelly of domestic surveillance. Schiller was is caught up in the mass arrests that accompanied the 2004 Republican convention in NYC. After his film became evidence in a lawsuit in Schiller vs. the City of New York, his world took a very strange turn. Featuring appearances by Andre “3000″ Benjamin, the Bush Twins, Barack Obama and Al Sharpton. Played at New York Los Angeles Int’l Film Festival. Rated: NR. 64 min
Sunday, October 23rd
A FilmColumbia audience favorite event with actor Scott Cohen (Kissing Jessica Stein, The Other Woman) moderating. Screenwriters will be given a rare opportunity to have their work read by Cohen’s fellow actors, followed by discussion of their work. Bring 6 copies of your 5-10 minute scene, (no more than 5 pages). Actors will read as much as time permits. Bagels and coffee served.
HAVEMUS PAPAM (WE HAVE A POPE)
The Pope is dead, long live the Pope. Beginning with an hilarious sequence in which an Italian TV newscaster reports a convocation of cardinals like a sporting event, veteran Italian director Nanni Moretti‘s latest settles down to become The King’s Speech—Italian style. Which is to say, the new Pope, played by the always compelling veteran French actor Michel Piccoli, suffers a crisis of self-confidence, and turns down the position. First Tony Soprano, then Patty Hewes, and now the Pope-to-be consults a shrink. Self-proclaimed atheist Moretti treats the Catholic hierarchy with surprising affection and good humor. He can’t help scoring some political points, but the portrayal of the new Pope’s emotional and spiritual struggles is poignant and affecting. Moretti in competition for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Rated: NR. 102 min. Subtitled
THE KID WITH A BIKE
The Dardenne brothers wowed them at Cannes this year with the latest addition to their illustrious resume, which includes The Son and L’Enfant. Here, they focus on an 11 year old boy who searches for his runaway father with obsessive intensity. Drilling down into one of the most primal human needs—to find a home—the Dardennes eschew the warm bath sentimentality that might be expected to drown a subject like this. Thomas Doret‘s harrowing performance as the boy, and the brothers’ jagged documentary style that mimics his pursuit, drive this film into a realm well beyond the conventional emotional cliches. Winner of the Cannes Grand Jury Prize for Best Film. Played the New York and Toronto film festivals. Rated: NR. 87 min. Subtitled
Going home again seems to be a theme this year, perhaps reflecting the general global malaise, not to mention the worldwide displacement of peoples. Indeed, Aki Kaurismaki‘s film focuses on the furor over immigration. Set in the eponymous city Le Havre on the Normandy coast, the film focuses on a former writer who now gets by shining shoes, a step downward that many can relate to. While his wife is in the hospital after keeling over cooking him dinner (another resonant moment), he encounters a young African refugee on the run from the authorities and helps him find his family. Le Havre reflects the deadpan humor and overall quirkiness that have made Kaurismaki an international favorite. Played this year’s Cannes, New York, and Toronto film festivals. Rated: NR. 103 min. Subtitled
“Coriolanus”, Shakespeare’s tragedy about a conquering Roman general who fails as a politician, is banished, and returns to wage war against his own people, has long enjoyed the reputation for being the most sanguinary of his works. Modernizing this play while retaining the Bard’s dialogue was a gutsy choice by Ralph Fiennes for his directorial debut, but it works brilliantly, while he himself is stunning as Coriolanus. Ditto Vanessa Redgrave as his driven, ambitious mother. Much of the movie was shot in Serbia, although the Roman place names remain the same, which just serves to emphasize its timelessness, as the parallels with recent wars are too obvious to ignore. The combat sequences are as gripping and realistic as any fan of war movies might want. Rated: R.122 min
MY WEEK WITH MARYLIN
In the summer of 1956, The Prince and the Showgirl paired the greatest actor of his time, Laurence Olivier, with Marilyn Monroe, then on her honeymoon with her new husband, playwright Arthur Miller. Twenty-three-year old Oxford graduate Colin Clark worked as an assistant on the show. Forty odd years later, Clark published his diaries of the shoot, but one week was missing. He subsequently filled in the blank, publishing “My Week With Marilyn”, in which he describes absconding with the actress, who was anxious to take advantage of Miller’s absence to escape the demands of the movie. What happened during that week? See the movie to find out, and enjoy Michelle Williams as Marilyn, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier. Played the New York Film Festival.
FILMCOLUMBIA SHORTS PROGRAM
FC’s pick of the best short films this year: Gone Elvis—Written and directed by David Newhoff.
Moving depiction of a day in the life of a female veteran of the Iraq war, now homeless and living invisibly in the country she served. 31 min
Ex Oblivione—Directed by Zoe Miller. Based on a story by HP Lovecraft, the story of a man’s attempt to overcome his severe OCD and its sinister outcome. 20 min
Dreaming American—Written & Directed by Lee Percy. Based on a true story. A young man having escaped a dangerous past, has to deal with the harsh reality of the immigration system in New York City. Filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their films after the screenings. 26 min
Filmmakers will be on hand to answer questions after the screenings.
MOTHERS OF BEDFORD
Eighty percent of women in US prisons today are mothers of school-age children. Filmmaker Jenifer McShane spent four years visiting Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women and filming the women and their families. McShane will be on hand to discuss her film after the screening. Rated: NR. 93 min
A SUITCASE FULL OF CHOCOLATE
When Hitler invaded Austria in 1938, the young prize-winning Jewish pianist Sofia Cosma had to return to her home in Latvia, where she was arrested sent to a Soviet gulag where she spent seven years. In 1980 she defected to the United States and resumed her career. Local resident Lincoln Mayorga spent 30 years making this documentary about her remarkable life and will present the film. Rated: NR. 93 min