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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Monthly Film Digest: March

Dive into this preview of what's coming to our screens in March, featuring original commentary from members of the film programming team.

Kelly Reichardt Selects: First Cow in Context

Through Mar 4

Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (Mar 1 & 3).

The series also features Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes (Mar 1), Agnès Varda’s The Gleaners and I (Mar 2), Jean Rouch’s Little By Little (Mar 2), Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy As Lazzaro (Mar 3), and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge.

First Cow
Opens March 13

Rise Up!: Portraits of Resistance

Mar 6—12

From Jesse Trussell, Repertory and Specialty Film Programmer:

“With a righteous anger rarely seen in cinema made at this scale, Bacurau (opening Mar 13) buried itself in my brain with a chilling metaphor: one day a rural community of black, brown, and indigenous Brazilians comes to discover they’ve been erased from satellite maps. Long one of Brazil’s most important political artists, Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighboring Sounds, Aquarius)—co-directing here with his longtime production designer Juliano Dornelles—presents a damning depiction of global white supremacy as embodied by the rise of reactionary right wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (naturally, a Donald Trump ally). Filho has himself been targeted and pressured financially by the Bolsonaro government, and it’s impossible not to think about that when you’re viewing the film. In a climate where the ruling government has been linked to the killings of left-wing Afro-Brazilian activists and politicians like Marielle Franco, making this film is itself an act of bravery and political resistance. Deeply inspired by Bacurau, co-programmer Ashley Clark and I immediately saw the film as connected to a long history of films made about, with, and by communities of color that have worked in collective resistance. We’ve programmed a complimentary series of works with the same galvanizing spirit: from Frantz Fanon inspired anti-colonial action in Algeria (The Battle of Algiers) to Bolivian indigenous labor organizing (Courage of the People) to modern depictions of corrupt capitalism in Senegal (Atlantics).”

Opens Mar 13

Beyond the Canon: Perfumed Nightmare + The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Sun, Mar 8

This month's edition of Beyond the Canon unites two kindred spirits: legendary German director Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man) and the less well-known—in the West—but equally brilliant Filipino maverick Kidlat Tahimik.  Born just one month apart in 1942, the two men first met in 1972 when Tahimik was in Germany following an unsuccessful stint selling Filipino souvenirs at the Munich Olympics. Herzog cast Tahimik in a small role in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, an experience which inspired Tahimik to move behind the camera, leading to his first feature, the sui generis travelogue Perfumed Nightmare.

Programmers’ Notebook: On Solitude

Mar 20—31

Vitalina Varela

From Ashley Clark, Director, Film Programming:

“Any new film from the Portuguese master Pedro Costa is an event to be anticipated. Even so, I was quite taken aback by the strength of my emotional reaction to his latest work Vitalina Varela, in which a Cape Verdean woman (brilliantly played by the eponymous nonprofessional actor Varela) travels to Lisbon to attend her husband’s funeral after being separated from him for decades, and slowly attempts to start her life again. Hypnotically paced, exquisitely shot in deep, dark colors strafed with occasional shards of light, and composed with the rigor of a Rembrandt, the film’s mere existence presents an air-tight case for the primacy of the big screen experience.

Varela’s lonely plight—a fraught navigation through mortality, soured romance, shattered dreams, and the sheer, crushing weight of colonial history—got me thinking about how the condition of solitude has been expressed cinematically. This subject made perfect sense as the central hook for the latest edition of our ongoing series Programmers’ Notebook, in which myself and my BAM Film colleagues Gina Duncan, Jesse Trussell, and Natalie Erazo pick some of our favorite films around a single theme. Vitalina Varela is the lodestar of a diverse, international program which celebrates and explores the pleasure and pain of being alone. As the act of being alone with oneself can deepen our understanding of both ourselves and the world, these rich, insightful films are not just about loneliness, but also the qualities of strength, fortitude, resilience, character, and self-discovery that often accompany it.”

Screen Epiphanies: Young Jean Lee Presents Oldboy

Mon, Mar 30

Oldboy (2003)
This month playwright and filmmaker Young Jean Lee presents Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film Oldboy. A BAMcinemaFest alum, Lee was interviewed for the BAM blog back in 2014 and featured in a New York Times profile from 2018. 

Young Jean Lee

In Case You Missed It

In February we screened Horace Jenkins long-lost gem of Black independent cinema Cane River (1982). We welcomed actors Richard Romain and Tommye Myrick opening weekend, as well as Jenkins' children Dominique and Sacha Jenkins. For more on Cane River, check out the Critics’ Pick review from The New York Times.

(L to R) Cane River stars Richard Romain and Tommye Myrick following a screening of Cane River. Photo: Lara Atallah.

(L to R) Director of Film Programming Ashley Clark, Cane River stars Richard Romain and Tommye Myrick, and Sacha Jenkins (son of filmmaker Horace Jenkins) following a screening of Cane River. Photo: Lara Atallah

(L to R) Director of Film Programming Ashley Clark and Alan Palomo (aka Neon Indian). Photo: Lara Atallah
The February edition of Screen Epiphanies featured a screening of the ultra-stylish, cooler-than-cool French thriller Diva, introduced by Alan Palomo (aka Neon Indian).

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