It's worth highlighting when a restoration makes a week-long run. For some reason, it feels like a rarity in Philly. Next week, the Ritz Bourse is showing 1973 cult horror film The Wicker Man, recently restored. It's an atmospheric film, worth seeing on the big screen.
Screening at the International House this week: New Middle East Cinema series.
October 29-30 & November 1-2, 2013
Tuesday, October 29 5:30pm
Life in Stills | Israel, Tamar Tal (2011)
presented by Nili Gold
Tuesday, October 29 8:30pm
Water | The Israeli-Palestinian Project (2012)
presented by Iris Drechler
Wednesday, October 30 5:30pm
The Man and the Clock | Palestine, Gazi Abu Baker (2010)
presented by Ibrahim Miari
Wednesday, October 30 6:00pm
The Repentant | Algeria, Merzak Allouache (2012)
Friday, November 1 5:30pm
Azis Ayse | Turkey, Elfe Uluc (2012)
presented by Mehmet Darakcıoglu
Friday, November 1 8:30pm
Facing Mirrors | Iran, Negar Azarbayjani (2011)
presented by Blake Atwood
Saturday, November 2 5:30pm
Horses of God | Morocco, Nabil Ayouch (2012)
presented by Mahyar Entezari
Saturday, November 2 8:30pm
Rags and Tatters | Egypt, Ahmad Abdalla (2013)
presented by Ibrahim Miari
Sponsored by the Cinema Studies Program, the Jewish Studies Program, the Middle East Center, and the Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations Department at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival and International House of Philadelphia.
I have never seen any Albanian cinema, and as a national cinema, it's definitely not on the radar of most cinephiles. All the more reason the International House's series of "uncovered" European cinemas is exciting to me. Tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 5, 7pm, they will be screening Nëntori i dytë (The 2nd November, dir. Viktor Gjika, Albania, 1982, 84m), a classic historical drama.
Albanian cinema scholar Bruce Williams will be present to introduce the film and lead a Q&A afterward.
I've just discovered that Cinemark, the new owners of Rave Cinema in University City, has been running a classics series, culminating in this week's selection of Hitchcock's Vertigo, in digital projection.
This year's program follows up on the festival's previous strengths as a best-of-festivals fest. It's a great chance to see films, particular world cinema films and smaller local productions, that otherwise might not get a Philadelphia theatrical release. I personally wish there would be more adventuresome repertory screenings and more international documentary selections, but I will hardly lack for films to see.
So far, these screenings are on my radar to attend:
Burning Bush, a Czech historical that's part of a trend of televisual art films A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhang-Ke's latest work, a continuation of his thematic exploration of the cultural changes coming to contemporary China In Bloom, a Georgian coming-of-age drama that's gotten good play on the European film festival circuit Let the Fire Burn - as someone who did not live in Philadelphia in the 1980s, I could stand to see a good documentary about the MOVE saga, and this one sounds promising La Maison de la Radio - Nicolas Philibert made the amazing observational documentary Etre et Avoir, but his other films have not always found wide distribution in the US
I can't say that Cleopatra (1963) has been top of the list of Classical Hollywood films I've been eager to see reissued theatrically, but that said I've not actually seen the film, and this Wednesday, May 22, the Ritz East will have a 1:00 and 7:00 screening of a digital restoration.
There's an embarrassment of riches this week, as Penn, Temple, and Slought are organizing a commemorative symposium on Chris Marker's work, with visiting filmmakers to include Agnes Varda. Here's a rundown of events:
Wed. March 13
Agnès Varda, in conversation with Molly Nesbit
University of Pennsylvania, Meyerson Hall
Thurs. March 14
Screening: Beaches of Agnes (Varda 2008)
Varda in person
Friday, March 15
opening panel and reception for Chris Marker event
Starting tomorrow and running through January, the International House will be screening a series of films associated with the "Los Angeles School" of African-American filmmakers to emerge in the 1970s and 80s. The series will include famous titles with new prints, more obscure films, and filmmaker appearances.
As Above, So Below (Larry Clark)
Saturday, January 5th
2:00pm Daughters of the Dust (Dir. Julie Dash, 1991, 35mm, color, 112 min.) - New print!
Julie Dash's masterpiece, the story of an island family, descendants of escaped slaves, living off the Southern coast of the US in 1902 and contemplating a move to the U.S. mainland. Superb performances, cinematography, music and touches of magical realism grace this unforgettable film, named to the National Film Registry in 2004.
Also showing: Diary of an African Nun (Dir. Julie Dash,1977, 16mm, b/w, 15 min.) - New print!
5:00pm Emma Mae (Dir. Jamaa Fanaka, 1976, 35mm, 100 min.) - New print!
Emma Mae arrives in Los Angeles from Mississippi replete with rough edges and an exceptional ability to kick ass. Her plain looks and shy demeanor set her apart from other "Blaxploitation" heroines. But when folks underestimate her, she surprises everyone, including her no-good boyfriend Jesse, with her extraordinary physical and emotional strength.
Also showing: A Day in the Life of Willie Faust, or Death on the Installment Plan (Dir. Jamaa Fanaka, 1972, Digital video from 16mm, color, 16 min.)
8:00pm My Brother's Wedding (Dir. Charles Burnett, 1983/2007, Digital Video, color, 82 min.) - Director's cut!
Laid off from his factory job, Pierce (EveretteSilas) marks time working at his family's dry cleaning store, swapping loaded jabs with his brother's upper middle-class fiancé and hanging out with his best friend, recently released from prison.
Also showing: A Little Off Mark (Dir. Robert Wheaton, 1986, 16mm, b/w, 9 min.)
Saturday, January 12th
2:00pm Bless Their Little Hearts (Dir. Billy Woodberry, 1984, 35mm, b/w, 84 min.) - New restoration!
Bless Their Little Hearts chronicles the devastating effects of underemployment on a family in Los Angeles. Nate Hardman and Kaycee Moore deliver gut-wrenching performances as the couple whose family is torn apart by events beyond their control.
Also showing: The Pocketbook (Dir. Billy Woodberry, 1980, 35mm, b/w, 13 min.) - New restoration!
5:00pm Compensation (Dir. Zeinabu irene Davis, 1999, Digital video from 16mm, b/w, 90 min.) In two Chicago love stories, set a century apart, a deaf woman and a hearing man face the specter of death, and confront intraracial differences across lines of gender, class, education and ability. Through innovative use of sign language and title cards evoking the silent film era, Compensation is accessible to deaf and hearing audiences.
Also showing: Dark Exodus (Dir. Iverson White, 1985, 16mm, b/w, 28 min.) - New print!
8:00pm Passing Through (Dir. Larry Clark, 1977, 35mm, color, 111 min.) - New print!
Eddie Womack, an African-American jazz musician, is released from prison for the killing of a white gangster. Not willing to play for the mobsters who control the music industry, Womack searches for his musical mentor, Poppy Harris. The film repeatedly turns to various musicians improvising, leading one critic to call it "the only jazz film in the history of cinema."
Also showing: When it Rains (Dir. Charles Burnett, 1995, 16mm, color, 13 min.) Wednesday, January 16th
7:00pm A Different Image (Dir. Alile Sharon Larkin, 1982, 16mm, color, 51 min.) - New print!
An African American woman contemplates self-identity, heritage and perception on the streets of the sprawling Los Angeles metropolis.
Grey Area (Dir: Monona Wali, 1981, 16mm, b/w, 38 min.) - New print!
Cycles (Dir. Zeinabu irene Davis, 1989, Digital Video from 16mm, b/w, 17 min.) Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification (Dir. Barabara McCullough, 1979, 35mm, b/w, 6 min.) - New restoration!
Saturday, January 19th
2:00pm As Above, So Below (Dir. Larry Clark, 1973, 16mm, color, 52 min.) - New print!
A rediscovered L.A. Rebellion masterpiece, Larry Clark's film comprises a powerful political and social critique in its portrayal of Black insurgency.
I & I: An African Allegory (Dir. Ben Caldwell, 1979, 16mm, color, 32 min.) - New print!
Ujamii Uhuru Schule Community Freedom School (Dir. Don Amis, 1974, Digital Video from 16mm, color, 9 min.) Medea (Dir. Ben Caldwell, 1973, Digital Video from 16mm, color, 7 min.
5:00pm Your Children Come Back to You (Dir. Alile Sharon Larkin, 1979, 16mm, b/w, 30 min.) - New print!
A single mother ekes out a living from welfare check to welfare check, struggling to provide for her daughter. She is faced with the decision to look after her personally, or allow her sister-in-law to provide "more than enough" to go around.
Fragrance (Dir. Gay Abel-Bey, 1991, Digital video from ¾" videotape, b/w, 38 min.) Shipley Street (Dir. Jacqueline Frazier, 1981, Digital video from 16mm, color, 25 min.) Rich (Dir. S. Torriano Berry, 1982, 16mm, b/w, 22 min.) - New print!
8:00pm Black Art, Black Artists (Dir. Elyseo J. Taylor, 1971, Digital video from 16mm, color, 16 min.) A visual survey of black art since the 19th century, punctuated with jazz and blues selections, and a running commentary by woodcut printer Van Slater.
Bellydancing - A History & an Art (Dir. Alicia Dhanifu, 1979, Digital Video from 1" videotape, color, 22 min.) Festival of Mask (Dir. Don Amis, 1982, Digital video from16mm, color, 25 min.) Four Women (Dir. Julie Dash, 1975, 16mm, color, 7 min.) - New print!
Define (Dir. O.Funmilayo Makarah, 1988, Digital video, color, 5 min.)
Saturday, January 26th
5:00pm Child of Resistance (Dir. Haile Gerima, 1972, 16mm, b/w and color, 36 min.) Inspired by a dream Haile Gerima had after seeing Angela Davis handcuffed on television, Child of Resistance is an abstract and symbolic film that follows a woman imprisoned as a result of her fight for social justice.
Brick by Brick (Dir. Shirikiana Aina, 1982, Digital video from 16mm, color, 33 min.) L.A. In My Mind (Dir: O.Funmilayo Makarah, 2006, Digital video, color, 4 min.) Rain (Dir. Melvonna Ballenger, 1978, Digital Video from ¾" videotape, color, 16 min.) The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing (excerpt) (Dir. Carroll Parrott Blue, Kristy H.A. Kang; The Labyrinth Project, 2003, Digital video adapted from DVD-ROM, color, 10 min.)
8:00pm Bush Mama (Dir. Haile Gerima, 1975/1979, 16mm, b/w, 97 min.) - New print!
Introduced by director Haile Gerima
A powerfully moving look at the realities of inner city poverty and systemic disenfranchisement as experienced by Dorothy, a pregnant welfare recipient in Watts, played by the magnetic Barbara O. Jones. Motivated by the incarceration of her partner T.C. and the protection of her daughter and unborn child, Dorothy undergoes an ideological transformation from apathy to action.
Also showing: Daydream Therapy (Dir. Bernard Nicolas, 1977, Digital Video, b/w and color, 8 min.)
Presented in association with UCLA Film & Television Archive and supported in part by grants from the Getty Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The series is curated by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, Shannon Kelley, and Jacqueline Stewart.
Co-sponsored by Scribe Video Center, Temple University Department of Film and Media Arts, and Philadelphia Weekly