MUSTANG (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
September 16 & 17, 2016
Early summer in a village in Northern Turkey, five free-spirited teenaged sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmates. Though their games are merely innocent fun, a neighbor passes by and reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls’ family. The family overreacts, removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment. Nominee for Best Foreign Film. (In Turkish) (97 minutes).
45 YEARS (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
October 14 & 15, 2016
There is just one week until Kate Mercer’s (Charlotte Rampling) 45th wedding anniversary and the planning for the party is going well. But then a letter arrives for her husband (Tom Courtenay). The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. By the time the party is upon them five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate. The devastating truth of 45 Years, so beautifully wrought, is that even the most devoted couples are made up of two people who are essentially alone. (In English) (93 Minutes).
DIPLOMACY (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
November 4 & 5, 2016
As the Allies march toward Paris in the summer of 1944, Hitler gives orders that the French capital should not fall into enemy hands, or if it does, then “only as a field of rubble.” The person assigned to carry out this barbaric act is Wehrmacht commander of Greater Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, who already has mines planted on the Eiffel Tower, in the Louvre and Notre Dame and on the bridges over the Seine. Nothing should be left as a reminder of the city’s former glory. However, at dawn on 25 August, Swedish Consul General Raoul Nordling steals into German headquarters through a secret underground tunnel and there starts a tension-filled game of cat and mouse as Nordling tries to persuade Choltitz to abandon his plan. Zeitgeist. (In French and German) (84 minutes).
GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
January 13 & 14, 2017
In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimate a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power than the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request. One of the best films of the year, Gett is bound to be compared to the Oscar-winning Iranian drama, A Separation; but, if anything, Gett is an even more artful evocation of a bureaucratic nightmare. (In Hebrew) (115 minutes).
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
February 3 & 4, 2017
Love & Friendship is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan – written when she was 19 and not published in her lifetime. Set in the opulent drawing rooms of eighteenth-century English society, Love & Friendship focuses on the machinations of a beautiful widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), who, while waiting for social chatter about a personal indiscretion to pass, takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate. While there, the intelligent, flirtatious, and amusingly egotistical Lady Vernon is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica—and herself too, naturally. She enlists the assistance of her old friend Alicia (Chloë Sevigny), but two particularly handsome suitors (Xavier Samuel and Tom Bennett) complicate her orchestrations. Love & Friendship might be the best Jane Austen film adaptation ever. (In English) (92 minutes).
FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
March 3 & 4, 2017
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s third feature, Fireworks Wednesday, follows Rouhi, a betrothed woman who works for a local housekeeping agency. When she accepts an assignment cleaning the home of an affluent married couple about to leave on vacation, this newcomer to the household is quickly sucked into a virulent nuptial conflict of deceit, treachery, and vitriol that challenges all of her presuppositions about the nature of married life. By cloaking the events of the household in ambiguity, and constantly shifting the central perspective of the film from one character to another, Farhadi adds depth and complexity to the work and continually challenges the audience, forcing each viewer to rewrite his or her presuppositions about the characters. Though the film’s title refers, in the metaphoric sense, to the explosiveness of domestic strife, the events in the film coincide with the firework-strewn Persian New Year of March 21, which lends the title a literal significance as well. (In Persian) (102 minutes).
THEEB (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
April 21 & 22, 2017
1916. While war rages in the Ottoman Empire, Hussein raises his younger brother Theeb (“Wolf”) in a traditional Bedouin community that is isolated by the vast, unforgiving desert. The brothers’ quiet existence is suddenly interrupted when a British Army officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a water well located along the old pilgrimage route to Mecca. So as not to dishonor his recently deceased father, Hussein agrees to lead them on the long and treacherous journey. The young, mischievous Theeb secretly chases after his brother, but the group soon find themselves trapped amidst threatening terrain riddled with Ottoman mercenaries, Arab revolutionaries, and outcast Bedouin raiders. Nominee for Best Foreign Film. [Film Movement]. (In Arabic) (100 minutes).
THE DARK HORSE (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
May 5 & 6, 2017
The Dark Horse, a film from New Zealand, is based on the true story of Genesis ‘Gen’ Potini, a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. A former chess prodigy, Gen is brilliant and charismatic, bringing unusual, potent energy to a game most often played with quiet reserve. Upon his release from an institution, he is remanded into the custody of his older brother Ariki, the leader of a rough street gang planning the initiation of Gen’s reluctant teenage nephew Mana. When Gen volunteers to coach the ragtag young members of the Eastern Knights chess club, Mana is inspired by his uncle’s determination to bring hope to the children of the club and turn his troubled life around, while seeing it as a chance to possibly save his own. (In English) (124 minutes).
SING STREET (Metacritic Reviews & Trailer)
May 19 & 20, 2017
With Sing Street, Irish director/screenwriter John Carney builds on the musical journey he started in his beloved first film Once, with delightful results. Sing Street takes us back to 1980s Dublin seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy named Conor who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles, while trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious, über-cool and beautiful Raphina, and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music videos. There’s only one problem: he’s not part of a band…yet. She agrees, and now Conor must deliver what he’s promised – calling himself “Cosmo” and immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the decade, he forms a band with a few lads, and the group pours their heart into writing lyrics and shooting videos. Sing Street is a film that is almost impossible to watch without a smile on your face. (In English) (106 minutes).