Nine Fridays/Saturdays of film for $35

Note: Saturday 5:30 pm tickets have been sold out!

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September 21 & 22, 2012

RATING: Not Rated

Starring Cécile De France, Egon Di Mateo, Fabrizio Rongione, Jérémie Renier, Olivier Gourmet, Thomas Doret.

Add young Thomas Doret to the short list of nonprofessional kid actors who, aided by gifted directors, deliver truly astounding performances. It's impossible to tear one's eyes away from Doret in this typically naturalistic, unsentimental drama from the superb Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“Rosetta,” “The Son”) about a sad, furious 11-year-old boy, abandoned by his father and taken in by a hairdresser (Cécile de France), to her own surprise. No one charts the wilds of childhood more precisely than the Dardennes. “The Kid With a Bike” won a grand jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Entertainment Weekly (87 minutes) (In French).

October 12 & 13, 2012

Rating: PG-13

Starring Danielle Proulx, Émilien Néron, Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse.

“Monsieur Lazhar” is good. Really good. Philippe Falardeau’s gentle, perceptive drama takes viewers by the hand, not the throat, leading them through volatile emotional territory with assurance, compassion and lucid, steady-eyed calm. Deceptively simple and straightforward, the film resembles a clear, clean glass of water: transparent, utterly devoid of gratuitous flavorings or frou-frou, and all the more bracing and essential for it. Among the many gifts that arrive by way of “Monsieur Lazhar” is an introduction to Fellag, a well-known actor in Algeria. He plays the title character, a teacher in Montreal who signs on as a substitute at a middle school after the sudden departure of a beloved teacher. Falerdeau has done an astonishing job in finding child actors to portray the alternately wise and immature kids in Lazhar’s class: Sophie Nelisse and Emilien Neron stand out as Alice and Simon. Like that glass of cool water, “Monsieur Lazhar” achieves its own sort of crystalline perfection in simply telling the truth. Washington Post (94 minutes) (In French).

November 2 & 3, 2012


Starring Ali-Asghar Shahbazi, Babak Karimi, Kimia Hosseini, Leila Hatami, Marila Zare'i, Peyman Moaadi, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi, Shahab Hosseini, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh.

A compact and forbidding drama, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi. We find ourselves in the crack that has opened up in an Iranian marriage; Nader wants things to remain as they are, while his wife, Simin, has plans to move abroad, where the living is easier. Stuck between them is their daughter, Termeh, the most perceptive presence in the film. This volatile state of affairs awaits detonation, and it arrives in the form of Razieh, a devout woman who comes to work for the feuding couple; a string of errors and accidents sets off a shock wave of class, gender, age, faith, and death. The movie, though packed with loudmouths and other exasperated souls, is itself a model of equability, paying due attention to characters great and small. The cinematography, by Mahmoud Kalari, makes cunning use of space, insuring that the film’s title reaches far beyond a question of law. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. New Yorker (123 Minutes) (In Farsi).

November 30 & December 1, 2012

RATING: Not Rated

Starring Koki Maeda, Ohshirô Maeda.

How does Hirokazu Kore-eda do it? His films (“After Life,” “Nobody Knows”) are so casually infused with graceful realism, they make other movies feel painfully stilted and false. Our charming heroes are pre-teen brothers Koichi and Ryu (played by real-life siblings Koki and Ohshiro Maeda), who have been separated since their anxious mother walked out on their dreamer dad months ago. Koichi lives with Mom in Kagoshima, Ryu with their father in Hakata. But when Koichi hears that a new bullet train is about to connect the two cities, he enlists his friends in a plan he’s convinced will reunite their family at last. Kore-eda does extraordinary work with his young cast, who deliver gentle, natural performances in a beautifully told story of heartbreak and hope. Deceptively modest and utterly lovely, it’s one of the most magical films about childhood I have ever seen. NY Daily News (128 minutes) (In Japanese).

January 4 & 5, 2013


Starring Aliza Rosen, Lior Ashkenazi, Shlomo Bar-Aba.

An acidly entertaining comedy about scholarship and power. In Jerusalem, at the Hebrew University, Eliezer Shkolnik and his son, Uriel, are both students of the Talmud—Eliezer a sombre seeker of scientific certainty, Uriel a mover and an opportunist, a man of the media. Their relationship comes to a crisis when the government makes a ridiculous mistake in bestowing the prestigious annual Israel Prize. Joseph Cedar, an Israeli filmmaker born in America (his previous movie was the war film “Beaufort”), takes a sardonic view of both men, who represent two kinds of vanity. Cedar teases the gangsterish academic feuds, beginning each section of this briskly paced movie with what look like lecture slides or pages of microfiche. The film comes to a climax with a ferocious argument in a tiny room, a scene that is half Marx Brothers, half Sophocles. That room, we realize, is Israel itself, a place in which everyone is wary and perhaps overprepared to fight. New Yorker (103 Minutes) (In Hebrew).

January 25 & 26, 2013


Starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Shirley MacLaine.

"Bernie," a quirky tragi-comedy starring Jack Black as a meticulous mortician, a faithful Methodist, a good neighbor and an improbable murderer, is a true-life Texas tale so perfectly told it seems more like eavesdropping than moviegoing. This is writer-director Richard Linklater at his wry, whimsical best, and considering he was the filmmaker behind 1993's "Dazed and Confused," that makes the movie something of a milestone. Always an articulate voice for closely observed stories of ordinary lives and random encounters, the filmmaker has truly come home in "Bernie." His East Texas roots, where the movie unfolds, can be felt in every scene of this love letter to the ways and wiles of small-town gossips with a juicy story to spread about one of their own. Los Angeles Times (104 Minutes) (In English).

Feb 22 & 23, 2013


Starring Dwight Henry, Gina Montana, Jovan Hathaway, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes, Nicholas Clark, Pamela Harper, Quvenzhané Wallis.

In the extraordinary, strikingly original post-Katrina fable “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” acting novice Quvenzhané Wallis (all of 6 years old when she shot the movie) radiates an amazing gravity and poise as a little Louisiana girl called Hushpuppy. Hushpuppy lives with her ailing, drinking daddy (Dwight Henry) in a dirt-poor but happy Delta community called the ''Bathtub,'' a dip of marshland outside New Orleans that's particularly vulnerable to flooding. The place is part real and part magical: The girl leads a believable (if dangerously unsupervised) existence; she's also unfazed by her visions of the prehistoric aurochs — the cattlelike beasts of the title — who, in a bit of environmental mythology, return to earth, summoned by catastrophic weather. The wonder is, the whole movie resists categorization. A feat of homemade, collaborative filmmaking, it was directed by the (29-year-old) Wesleyan-educated first-timer Benh Zeitlin from a script he co-wrote with Lucy Alibar based on her own play. The movie is a thing of beauty and originality — and for that, sustained huzzahs are in order. Entertainment Weekly (91 minutes) (In English)

April 12 & 13, 2013

RATING: Not Rated

Starring Cheyenne Lainé, Christel Baras, Jeanne Disson, Malonn Lévana, Mathieu Demy, Noah Vero, Rayan Boubekri, Sophie Cattani, Valérie Roucher, Yohan Vero, Zoé Héran.

The startling power of “Tomboy,” a beautiful, matter-of-fact French drama about a young girl who wants to be a boy — and for one singular summer around her 10th birthday passes as one — begins with the one-of-a-kind natural performance by Zoé Héran as Laure. Taking her family's move to a new neighborhood as a chance for reinvention, she introduces herself as Mikael, happily playing sports with the guys and even attracting a romance-minded girl (Jeanne Disson). Equally admirable in Céline Sciamma's hopeful drama: Laure's empathetic parents. Entertainment Weekly (84 minutes) (In French).

May 10 & 11, 2013

RATING: Not Rated

Starring André Wilms, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo, Evelyne Didi, François Monnié, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Kati Outinen, Laika, Pierre Étaix, Quoc Dung Nguyen, Roberto Piazza.

“Le Havre,” named for the industrial port city in northern France where it takes place, is a tale of lower-depths solidarity, a stylized and sentimental fairy tale about the way the world might be, grounded in a frank recognition of the way it is. You could easily imagine this story — about a young African refugee who comes under the protection of a French shoeshine man and his neighbors — as a grimly realistic exercise in guilt-inducing consciousness-raising. Or else as a self-congratulatory melodrama of awakened conscience. But Aki Kaurismaki, the prolific Finnish filmmaker who has become a major inheritor of the comic-humanist tradition of Charlie Chaplin, Jean Renoir and Jacques Tati, does not rub our faces in hardship. Figuring that we already know something about how harsh life can be, he reminds us of its modest charms and fleeting beauties, and of how easy it is, in the face of cruelty, to behave decently. “Le Havre” is also a love letter to France, in particular to a half-imaginary, half-vanished realm of proletarian Frenchness incarnated in the films and popular music of the first half of the 20th century. It is no coincidence that one of its characters (played by the Finnish actress Kati Outinen, a fixture of Mr. Kaurismaki’s universe) is named Arletty, after the singer and actress who embodied the spirit and pathos of the Gallic working class in the 1930s and ’40s. NY Times (93 minutes) (In French).