CHLOTRUDIS SOCIETY FOR INDEPENDENT FILM at the BOSTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL: ‘THE WOLBERG FAMILY’

The Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film (CSIF) is pleased to be part of the 21st annual Boston Jewish Film Festival, one of New England’s longest-lived and most acclaimed film festivals. Chlotrudis will be the Community Partner of THE WOHLBERG FAMILY (LA FAMILLE WOLBERG) for the films two screenings.

Set in contemporary France, Simon Wolberg is mayor of a provincial town, still head over heels for his wife, a little too involved and over-invested in the lives of his two children, and a bit worried for his father. This debut feature from actress and screenwriter Axelle Ropert was a highlight of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, THE WOLBERG FAMILY is a classic family melodrama of the best kind. It will be screened on 11/5 at 7:45 pm in the Barbara Lee Theater at the Institute of Contemporary Art on Boston’s waterfront, and on 11/12, 9pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Individual tickets are $12 ($10 students, seniors, members).

For the complete schedule of films and film events of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, check its website at http://www.bjff.org/2009. Chlotrudis is proud for the opportunity once again to support the Boston Jewish Film Festival, a long-lived and important pillar of the Boston independent film community. BJFF is one of several local and regional film festivals or special film events Chlotrudis has partnered with and supported, for over a decade, as part of its mission to bring more independent films to the attention of independent-minded film audiences.

Chlotrudis Monday Night at the Movies + Indie Film Round-Up, October 30 - November 5

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

Gil and Amanda have chosen an outstanding selection of next week's Chlotrudis Monday Night at the Movies. Please take this opportunity to join them in screening Claire Denis' masterful 35 SHOTS OF RUM, at the Kendall Square Cinema, 7:25pm on Monday, November 2. This one's got lots of rave reviews on the Chlotrudis page, so check it out! Watch of an announcement about dinner before the movie at The Friendly Toast on Monday.

Set among a small circle of friends and neighbors in a Parisian suburb, 35 SHOTS OF RUM is a gloriously delicate and sublime new film from the great French filmmaker Claire Denis (BEAU TRAVAIL, CHOCOLAT). Lionel (Alex Descas), a metro conductor, lives with his daughter Josephine (Mati Diop), a beautiful university student, in a bustling apartment complex. They have been sharing the same space for many years and have grown accustomed to one another's company. Josephine has begun spending time with Noé (Grégoire Colin), a handsome young neighbor, while Lionel is being drawn into a romance with a longtime friend, taxi driver Gabrielle (Nicole Dogué). As their lives are pulled in different directions, father and daughter realize they must confront a painful aspect of their past in order to embrace what lies ahead. Sumptuously shot by frequent Denis collaborator Agnès Godard, this warm, funny and enchanting film casts a lovely spell unlike any other movie this year. Original music by Tindersticks (Denis's TROUBLE EVERY DAY and NENETTE AND BONI). (Fully subtitled)
Director: Claire Denis
Cast: Alex Descas, Mati Diop, Nicole Dogué, Grégoire Colin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Djédjé Apali, Eriq Ebouaney

Check out the trailer:

Has a year gone by already? The 21st Annual Boston Jewish Film Festival kicks off next week on Wednesday, November 4 with the Massachusetts premiere of ELI & BEN, 7pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. As usual, the BJFF serves up an incredible line-up of films playing at 9 different venues in Greater Boston. I'm also please to announce that Chlotrudis is a community partner once again, this time working with the BJFF on the film THE WOLBERG FAMILY.

THE WOLBERG FAMILY (LA FAMILLE WOLBERG)
Thursday, November 5, 7:45 pm, Institute of Contemporary Art
Thursday, November 12, 9:00 pm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
East Coast Premiere
Director: Axelle Ropert, France, 2009, 80 min., Narrative, 35mm
A highlight of this year’s Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, The Wolberg Family is actress and screenwriter Axelle Ropert’s first feature film. She labels it a “family melodrama.” Simon Wolberg is mayor of a French provincial town, crazy in love with his wife, a nosy father to his lovely young daughter and dorky son and a bit of an annoyance to his own father. Will his obsession with family cause him to unravel? When is it time to let go – or to leave? French with subtitles

I also want to mention a couple more films playing the festival that you should make note of. Playing on Saturday, November 7, 9:30pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre is JAFFA, directed by Keren Yedaya, who was responsible for one of my favorite films of 2005, OR (MY TREASURE). JAFFA again stars the magnificent Dana Ivgy and the multiple Chlotrudis-nominee Ronit Elkabetz, this time in an Israeli/Palestinian Romeo & Juliet. I caught this film in Toronto, and it's pretty powerful stuff. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is the latest film by André Téchiné (WILD REEDS; STRAYED; CHANGING TIMES) who returns with a family drama starring Catherine Deneuve and Emilie Duquenne. Ronit Elkabetz is also featured in this film that's sure to be a thought-provoking work. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN plays Sunday, November 8 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, and Thursday, November 12 at the Kendall Square Cinema. Finally, you should check out the animated Australia film MARY AND MAX, featuring the voices of Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It's a comical claymation feature film that spans 20 years and 2 continents. Look for MARY AND MAX on Thursday, November 12 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. It's a great line-up... do yourself a favor and check it out!

See you at the Movies!
Michael

Playing this week, October 30 - November 5, 2009.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Special Engagement! Theatrical Premiere!
Trick R Treat (Fri. & Sat.)
Special Family Event! Brattle Trick or Treat!
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (Sat.)
Special Engagement!
Evil Dead 2 (Sat.)
Special Live Music Event! World Music/CRASHarts Presents!
The Hidden Cameras w/ Gentleman Reg! (Sun.)
Special Engagement! Area Premiere!
American Casino (Wed. & Thu.)
Classic TV on the Big Screen! 50th Anniversary!
The Twilight Zone (Wed. & Thu.)

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
An Education
A Serious Man
The Yes Men Fix the World
The Beaches of Agnes
No Impact Man
The Darkness Within (Thu.)
Midnight Madness!
The Thing (Fri.)
9th Annual Halloween Marathon: The Blob, Night of the Creeps and four others! (Sat.)
Kid's Film
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Sat.)
Europe's Grand Operas!
Maria Stuarda (Sun.)
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Film Series
Hear and Now (Tue.)
Boston Jewish Film Festival
Opening Night Film: Eli & Ben (Wed.)
Hello, Goodbye (Thu.)
He's My Girl (Thu.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

(500) Days of Summer
The September Issue
The Hurt Locker (Mon. - Thu.)
Bombay Cinema
Aladdin (Fri. - Sun.)

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
Zombieland

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Debonair: The Films of Stanley Donen
Movie Movie (Fri.)
Staircase> (Fri.)
Bedazzled (Sat.)
Damn Yankees (Sat.)
John Marshall’s Explorations in Ethnography
Selection of short films of the !Kung Bushmen - Introduction by Cynthia Close, Documentary Educational Resources (Sun.)
Selection of Short Films from the Pittsburg Police - Introduction by Brittany Gravely, Documentary Educational Resources (Mon.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
Amelia
A Serious Man

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
35 Shots of Rhum
The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day
The Canyon
An Education
Antichrist
A Serious Man
Amelia
Capitalism: A Love Story
Coco Before Chanel

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
The Damned United
Capitalism: A Love Story
An Education
More than a Game

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
Zombieland

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Halloween Program
American Movie (Fri. & Sat.)
Hagstone Demon (Fri. - Sun.)
Jon Springer Shorts (Sat.)
Boston Palestine Film Festival
Curfew (Sun.)
Laila's Birthday (Sun.)
Women in Film
She is the Matador (Thu.)
Documentary
Crude (Thu.)
Boston Jewish Film Festival
Room and a Half (Thu.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Paris

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
Amelia
Paris
A Serious Man
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
Heart of Stone

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President

Chlotrudis Monday Night at the Movies + Indie Film Round-Up, October 23 - 29

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

Brace youselves... Chris has selected Lars von Trier's ANTICHRIST as next week's Chlotrudis Monday Movie of the Week. The controversial director of DOGVILLE, DANCER IN THE DARK and BREAKING THE WAVES has done it again in this psychosexual fable starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Join Chris on Monday for the 7pm screening of ANTICHRIST at the Kendall Square Cinema for this challening and controversial film.

A grieving couple retreat to 'Eden,' their isolated cabin in the woods, where they hope to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse… Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg (winner of the Best Actress Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival) give brave, outstanding performances in the new provocation from writer/director Lars von Trier. ANTICHRIST is a totally uncompromising psychological horror film conceived and made while the director was experiencing emotional challenges in his own life. Reviewing the intense and controversial film at its Cannes premiere, Roger Ebert called it "powerfully made" and continued: "The performances by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are heroic and fearless…Von Trier's visual command is striking…And if you can think beyond what he shows to what he implies, its depths are frightening…Von Trier has reached me and shaken me."
Director: Lars von Trier
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Check out the trailer:

The Sunday Eye-Opener, a co-presentation of Chlotrudis and the Brattle Film Foundation is back in swing and we're this week features another strong documentary. THE GOOD SOLDIER is a powerful documentary follows the journeys of five combat veterans from different generations of American wars. In extensive and emotional interviews these soldiers recount their experiences as they sign up, go into battle, and eventually change their minds about what it means to be a "good soldier." THE GOOD SOLDIER is an extraordinary film that transcends political lines and speaks to all sides. The Sunday Eye-Opner is one of the most popular of the local Chlotrudis programs, runs during the Spring, Fall, and Winter and features either a special sneak preview or an undistributed independent film, followed by a moderated audience discussion. To insure that you know what films will ne playing you'll need to join the Sunday Eye Opener email list to find out what's playing. Visit the Sunday Eye Opener page to learn more about the program, join the email list, or purchase a subscription. Complimentary coffee, tea, and pastries included. Admission is $10 or you can purchase an 8-week subscription: $50 general public; $30 for Brattle or Chlotrudis members; $20 for members of both organizations. This week's Sunday Eye Opener starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 25.

The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc. and Haley House Bakery Cafe invite you to "Dinner and a Movie!" The Color of Film Collaborative's DINNER & A MOVIE series event takes place this Friday, October 23, so stop by to enjoy a special night of great food and conversation centered around a new film. SIMPLY RAW: REVERSING DIABETES IN 30 DAYS is a fascinating, independent film by Morgan Spurlock (known for his SUPER SIZE ME documentary) that follows six Type I and II diabetics for thirty days as they take the 'raw challenge' to treat their disease naturally by eating only organic, vegan, "raw foods," despite the American Medical Association's claim that "Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure." Doors open at 5:30pm,
Dinner & desert served promptly at 6pm until 6:45pm. The movie starts at 7pm, followed by your discussions at 8:30pm led by Nina LaNegra of The Roxbury Media Institute. $20 per person includes this special RAW FOODS menu prepared prepared by Zakiya Alake of Abundance Vegan Catering Service, Raw Veggie Wraps, Vegan Maki Rolls, Huge Dinner Salad of portobello and squash cervich, "cooked" in a lime juice, ginger and salt bath overnight, served on a riot of lettuce, cabbage, carrots and bell peppers, dressed with a vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, lime and mango puree; accompanied by a healthy scoop of raw-style, seasoned brown rice. For dessert: seasonal fruit slices with raw cream made from cashews or almonds. Organic beer, bio-dynamic wine, a wide array of non-alcoholic beverages and gratuities are additional. Gratuities for our volunteers that evening are greatly appreciated. The festivities take place at Haley House Bakery Cafe at 12 Dade St.

Don't forget to keep Gerry Peary's BU CINEMATHEQUE in mind now that the fall semester has begun. BU Cinematheque Events are FREE to BU students and staff and their friends (Chlotrudis members are friends!) Screenings are Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 pm in Room B-05, BU College of Communication, 640 Comm.Ave, Boston.
Transportation: the “B” Boston College Green Line, the first stop outward bound after Kenmore Square.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29-AN EVENING WITH MICHAEL PAUL STEPHENSON
Who could have imagined that the execrable 1990 horror flick, Troll 2, would
not disappear but become an obsessive cult movie shown around the world, celebrated for being abominably bad? Stephenson, the once-child star, tracks down the original cast—some genial, some goony, some certifiably crazy—for his good-natured autobiographical documentary, BEST WORST MOVIE, a super hit at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. And let’s not forget Troll 2’s ill-natured Italian director, Claudio Fragasso, who, alone in the world , believes he made a little masterpiece. A Boston premiere.

See you at the Movies!
Michael

Playing this week, October 23 - 29, 2009.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Boston Bike Film Festival (Fri. & Sat.)
The Triplets of Belleville (Sat.)
Sunday Eye Opener
The Good Soldier (Sun.)
Repertory Series - Boston Noir!
Dennis Lehane and Friends, Celebrating the Release of Boston Noir (Sun.)
Gone Baby Gone (Sun.)
Mystic River (Mon.)
The Spanish Prisoner (Tue.)
Spartan (Tue.)
The Boston Strangler (Wed.)
The Departed (Thu.)
The Harvard Bookstore Presents!
Christos Papadimitriou (Wed.)
Harriet Reisen (Thu.)

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
The Yes Men Fix the World
An Education
A Serious Man
The Beaches of Agnes
No Impact Man
Midnight Madness!
Prince of Darkness (Fri. & Sat.)
A/V Geeks: The Haunted Classroom (Sat.)
Europe's Grand Operas!
Maria Stuarda (Sun.)
Brookline Booksmith presents
John Irving (Tue.)
Augusten Burroughs (Thu.)

FEI Theatres Capitol Theatre, Arlington
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
The September Issue

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
Zombieland

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Tales of a Wandering Camera – The Films of Ulrike Ottinger
Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia (Fri.)
Freak Orlando (Sat.)
Taiga (Sun.)
The Image of Dorian Gray in the Yellow Press (Mon.)
Karel Vachek in person: two screenings
Záviš, the Prince of Pornofolk Under the Influence of Griffith’s 'Intolerance' and Tati’s 'Mr. Hulot’s Holiday', or The Foundation and Doom of Czechoslovakia Director in Person! (Tue.)
Elective Infinities (Wed.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
Amelia
New York, I Love You
A Serious Man

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
Antichrist
A Serious Man

New York, I Love You
Bright Star
Amelia
Capitalism: A Love Story
Coco Before Chanel
Motherhood

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
The Damned United
Capitalism: A Love Story
An Education
More than a Game
The Invention of Lying
New York, I Love You

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
Zombieland

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Documentary
Heart of Stone (Fri. - Sun.)
Halloween Program
Hagstone Demon (Fri.)
Boston Palestine Film Festival
American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein (Fri.)
Seeds of Peace (Sat.)
Young Freud in Gaza (Sat.)
Five Minutes from Heaven (Sun.)
The Dupes (Sun.)
Terrace of the Sea (Sun.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Julie & Julia (ineligible)

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
Amelia
Heart of Stone
A Serious Man
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President

TIFF Day 5 - Chatting with Patty

Day Five of Tiff featured a rather varied selections of films to view, from an Australian musical to a high camp satire on the Manson trials. Squeeze a quiet romance set in Cairo in there and you've got a pretty interesting day. The day was notable as well because I got to have a quick but memorable chat with Patricia Clarkson, who was gracious and lovely, and told me the way to get her attention is to have a dog with you. We also got to attend the LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL party, hosted by director Reg Harkema (MONKEY WARFARE) where we got to catch up yet again with Don and Tracy. In addition to Scot and myself, Bruce, Scott, Mary James, Traci and Chansi joined us. We received a copy of the Leslie, My Name is Evil soundtrack on vinyl, and much to Scot's delight, got to meet Lisa Lambert, lyricist for The Drowsy Chaperon.

BRAN NUE DAE
director: Rachael Perkins
cast: Geoffrey Rush; Rocky McKenzie; Ernie Dingo; Deborah Mailman; Tom Budge; Missy Higgins; Magda Szubanski

Without a doubt, BRAN NUE DAE, Rachel Perkins’ adaptation of a hugely successful Australian stage musical, is the most fun I’ve had in a theatre this year at TIFF! Willie is doing his mother’s bidding and studying to be a priest under the severe educational care of Father Benedictus. The problem is he’s not sure he wants to become a priest, and may, in fact, rather be spending his time in the gorgeous coastal city of Broome with his beautiful crush, Rosie. While Willie is away at school in the big city, Lester, lead singing cowboy of the local bar band, is wooing Rosie with the promise of a singing gig with his band. When Willie lets Father Benedictus down and is castigated as a sinning aboriginal who will be punished, he runs, vowing to make his way back to Broome on his own. Willie finds help in the form of Uncle Tadpole, a homeless man who has strange connections with Broome, and with Father Benedictus hot on their heels, the pais head off, encountering a series of wacky characters who both help and hinder the travels.

Of course, this is a musical, so you just know that everything is going to turn out fine, but what was unexpected was the amount of big, uproarious laughs we would enjoy along the way. Geoffrey Rush is hilarious as the misguided Father Benedictus and Ernie Dingo shines as the good-for-nothing drunk whose timeworn façade hides a multi-layered, key component to the story. The songs are surprisingly straight-forward and bawdy, especially the first full-on number espousing the necessity for safe sex. BRAN NUE DAE is an uproarious side-splitter that will hopefully find an audience in the States. 4 ½ cats

Cairo Time
director: Ruba Nedda
cast: Patricia Clarkson; Alexander Siddig

Superficially an adult romance between a married career woman visiting Cairo and a man who helps her navigate the city, CAIRO TIME also brushes such topics as culture differences, gender roles and politics. In many ways director Ruba Nedda has written a love letter to Cairo and an urban life seldom seen in western films. Patricia Clarkson plays Juliette, the wife of an American diplomat who is coming to Cairo to visit her husband. When she lands she is informed by Tareq, a former employee and dear friend of her husband’s, that he has been delayed and will call her at the hotel. Clarkson masterfully slides from thee excitement of arriving in a strange land to spend time with her husband to the disoriented wariness of a woman on her own in a Middle Eastern city. She is comforted by Tareq’s presence, but uncertain of their relationship as well. Her first attempts at exploring the city alone throw her into further dismay as the young men openly admire her and follow her wherever she goes.

It is with great relief that she meets Tareq again, and he graciously takes her on tours of the city and surrounding countryside… all except the pyramids, which she has vowed to save for her husband. In her discussions with Tareq, she begin to understand the differences in their cultures, just as she slowly begins to become entranced by the exotic beauty of the locale. Clarkson is magnificent in a quiet, understated role that upon further examination might even be a woman used to her husband making decisions for her. While it is true that she has a career as a journalist for a women’s magazine, share makes it sound more like an issues journal than the lifestyle mag that it truly is. Clarkson responds slowly to Tareq’s gentle yet so-very male demeanor, but it is clear that she feels comforted by his presence, yet able to challenge and verbally spar with him as well.

What Nedda does that is so remarkable is to allow long silences to permeate the film. There are long moments of Juliette and Tareq enjoying each other’s company with out speaking. Emotions is conveyed beautifully without words. It is a testament Nedda’s skillful direction that she so eloquently captures the ebb and flow of life in Cairo, showing us its everyday existence as it wraps a cocoon of longing around two solitary people. 4 ½ cats

Leslie, My Name Is Evil
director: Reg Harkema
cast: Kristen Hager; Gregory Smith; Ryan Robbins; Don McKellar; Tracy Wright; Kristin Adams; Tiio Horn

Using a moment in American history that almost seemed like a perfect storm of events: the Manson trial, the Viet Nam War and the hippie movement; Reg Harkema’s LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL blends biting satire and high camp to create a surprisingly successful follow-up film to his counter-culture MONKEY WARFARE. While LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL lacks the maturity and ambiguity of his earlier film, it satirizes the cultural wars between left and right beautifully. Harkema uses as his representatives Leslie, a young woman seduced away from her broken family by the charismatic Manson and the need to find meaning in her life; and Perry, a young Christian Republican, engaged to be married and happy that his job allows him to avoid the draft, who finds himself chosen to serve on the jury for the Manson Murders. Despite his rigid background, conservative fiancée and overbearing father, or perhaps because of them, he finds himself drawn to Leslie, to the point of lustful dreams that involve virgin sacrifices. Will God set him on the right path so that he can do the right thing?

LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL is deft at skewering hypocrisy and rife with symbolism. In MOKNEY WARFARE Harkema dabbled with inserting archival footage into the storyline, and with this film, he takes it even further to good effect. The youthful cast is a mixture of adept and awkward, with one of Manson’s ‘girls’ played by Kaniehtiio Horn outshining the others. Kristin Adams (WHERE THE TRUTH LIES) is also terrific as the virginal and pious Dorothy. Don McKellar has a small part as the prosecuting attorney, who goes after Leslie and Manson’s harem with gusto, then slyly revels in his triumphs. Tracy Wright has an even smaller role as Leslie’s mother, but it’s a pivotal one. When testifying on her daughter’s behalf, she wonders how this could have happened, citing her divorce, or the fact that she made her daughter abort her child as possible reasons. It’s a surprisingly poignant moment amidst the high camp, and it’s essential in order for it all to work. That scene provides the only moment of true emotion in the film thereby grounding it in reality and making the satire all the more effective. How appropriate that the scene belongs to Ms. Wright, so underused and underappreciated in the world of film. 4 cats.

Chlotrudis Monday Night at the Movies + Indie Film Round-Up, October 2 - 8

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

Hope you can make to the Chlotrudis Monday Night at the Movies next week when Gil & Amanda will host a gathering at the 7:20pm screening of Agnès Varda's BEACHES OF AGNÈS at the Kendall Square Cinema. From CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 to THE GLEANERS & I, Varda is one of the premiere filmmakers of the French New Wave.

The magnificent new film from Agnès Varda (CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, VAGABOND, THE GLEANERES AND I) is a kind of cinematic autobiography—an innovative and whimsical journey through an extraordinary artistic life. Weaving together footage of her vast body of work, old photographs and present-day sequences with intimate anecdotal voice-overs, Varda looks back on her childhood, her work as a photographer and installation artist, her marriage to late filmmaker Jacques Demy, and the birth of the French New Wave. Varda is an avid collector of people and places, sensual experiences and intellectual preoccupations, personal commitments and political principles. She is a mother and wife, a feminist, nature-lover and urban-dwelling artist. Above all, she is a woman in love with cinema whose new movie perfectly expresses her sentiment, "While I live, I remember." Featuring Jean-Luc Godard, Catherine Deneuve, Chris Marker (who only appears in his cat persona), Alain Resnais, Harrison Ford, Jane Birkin, Michel Piccoli, Gérard Depardieu and Jim Morrison. (Partially subtitled)
Director: Agnès Varda
Cast: Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Catherine Deneuve, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Harrison Ford, Jane Birkin, Michel Piccoli, Gérard Depardieu, Jim Morrison

Check out the trailer:

The Sunday Eye-Opener, a co-presentation of Chlotrudis and the Brattle Film Foundation is back in swing and we're thrilled about this week's movie, which comes courtesy of Roadside Attractions' Eric d'Arbeloff. GOOD HAIR is an exposé of comic proportions that only Chris Rock could pull off, GOOD HAIR visits beauty salons and hairstyling battles, scientific laboratories and Indian temples to explore the way hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of the black community. Director Jeff Stilson follows Chris Rock on this raucous adventure prompted by Rock's daughter approaching him and asking, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?" Haircare professionals, beautyshop and barbershop patrons, as well as celebrities including Ice-T, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symoné, Dr. Maya Angelou, Salt n Pepa, Eve and Reverend Al Sharpton all candidly offer their stories and observations to Rock while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter's question. The Sunday Eye-Opner is one of the most popular of the local Chlotrudis programs, runs during the Spring, Fall, and Winter and features either a special sneak preview or an undistributed independent film, followed by a moderated audience discussion. To insure that you know what films will ne playing you'll need to join the Sunday Eye Opener email list to find out what's playing. Visit the Sunday Eye Opener page to learn more about the program, join the email list, or purchase a subscription. Complimentary coffee, tea, and pastries included. Admission is $10 or you can purchase an 8-week subscription: $50 general public; $30 for Brattle or Chlotrudis members; $20 for members of both organizations. This week's Sunday Eye Opener starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 4.

Speaking of the Brattle, don't miss the 6th Annual ART HOUSE, held on the set of The Donkey Show at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, on Sunday, October 4, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. ART HOUSE is a silent art auction to benefit the non-profit Brattle Film Foundation. For the sixth consecutive year, over sixty artists from the Boston area and beyond, from familiar names to up-and-coming, have put their art where their hearts are for our silent art auction fundraiser! There's something for seasoned art aficionados and novices alike at this affordable art auction, with starting bids from just $35 to $300! Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for Brattle or WGBH members.

Don't forget to keep Gerry Peary's BU CINEMATHEQUE in mind now that the fall semester has begun. BU Cinematheque Events are FREE to BU students and staff and their friends (Chlotrudis members are friends!) Screenings are Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 pm in Room B-05, BU College of Communication, 640 Comm.Ave, Boston.
Transportation: the “B” Boston College Green Line, the first stop outward bound after Kenmore Square.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8-AN EVENING WITH TOM McPHEE
Alternately heart-warming and heart-wrenching, McPhee’s An American Opera—
The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever! shows first-hand the gripping Hurricane Katrina saga of how thousands of volunteers struggled to save many thousands of family pets, cats and dogs, which had been left behind as their owners fled in panic. Strong , emotional stuff—and An American Opera justifiably has won “Best Documentary” prizes at multiple film festivals.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15-AN EVENING WITH IDO HAAR
The esteemed Israeli filmmaker. brought to BU by the Consulate General of Israel to New England, will screen Melting Siberia, a feature documentary about his Russian-born mother, Marina, and her painful journey from Israel to the ex-Soviet Union in search of her lost father. Marina was still in the womb when her dad, once a heralded Red Army officer, disappeared, seemingly forever, in the Siberian steppes.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22-AN EVENING OF CINEMA HILARITY
A double-feature night begins with filmmaker, Franco Sacchi, introducing his droll, eye-popping documentary, This is Nollywood, heralding the Nigerian film industry, where 2,000 low-low-budget genre movies are pumped out each year. Sacchi was there on the set in Nigeria for some crazy genre shooting! Second: a bold showing of the legendarily terrible, goblins-in-Utah, horror feature, Troll 2 (1990), in preparation for next week’s visit of Michael Paul Stephenson, Troll 2 child star.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23-AN EVENING WITH JAN-CHRISTOPHER HORAK
BU welcomes back a former College of Communication film graduate student,
who, as Director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, is charged with UCLA’s seminal, world-acclaimed film restoration program. At BU, Horak will show
Billy Woodberry’s classic 1984 feature, Bless Their Little Hearts, written by Charles Burnett. This story of a black family’s daily struggles in Los Angeles is a prime example of UCLA’s committed restoration of the works of key African-American independent filmmakers, the so-called “LA Rebellion,” many of whom met while attending UCLA.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29-AN EVENING WITH MICHAEL PAUL STEPHENSON
Who could have imagined that the execrable 1990 horror flick, Troll 2, would
not disappear but become an obsessive cult movie shown around the world, celebrated for being abominably bad? Stephenson, the once-child star, tracks down the original cast—some genial, some goony, some certifiably crazy—for his good-natured autobiographical documentary, Best Worst Movie, a super hit at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. And let’s not forget Troll 2’s ill-natured Italian director, Claudio Fragasso, who, alone in the world , believes he made a little masterpiece.
A Boston premiere.

See you at the Movies!
Michael

Playing this week, September 25 - October 1, 2009.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Films of Mystery & Madness: Edgar Allan Poe on Screen!
The Masque of the Red Death (Fri. & Sat.)
The Raven (Sun.)
The Black Cat (Sun.)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (Mon.)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1941) (Mon.)
Avant-Garde Poe Shorts (Tue.)
The Avenging Conscience (Wed.)
An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe (Wed.)
The House of Usher & The Tell-Tale Heart (1953) (Thu.)
The Tomb of Lights (Thu.)
Special Event! Free Premiere Screening!
Brats: Our Journey Home (Sat.)
Sunday Eye Opener
Film to be announced!
Special Fundraising Event!
The 6th Annual Art House @ Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge (Sun.)
Harvard Bookstore Presents
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn (Mon.)
Frank Warren (Thu.)

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Coco Before Chanel
Amreeka
The Baader-Meinhof Complex
Food, Inc. (Thu.)
Midnight Madness!
The Dark Horrors of John Carpenter w/ Halloween (Fri.)
Feast of Flesh IX featuring The Return of the Living Dead (Sat.)
Europe's Grand Operas!
Die Walkure (Sun.)
National Theatre Live
All's Well That Ends Well (Mon.)
Special Event!
EDGE: Prespectives on Drug-Free Culture (Mon.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

(500) Days of Summer
In the Loop
The Hurt Locker
Bombay Cinema Presents
What's Your Rashee? (Fri. - Sun.)

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
Zombieland
It Might Get Loud
The Hurt Locker

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Debonair: The Films of Stanley Donen
Singin' In the Rain (Fri.)
On the Town (Fri.)
Funny Face (Sat.)
Arabesque (Sat.)
Charade (Sun.)
A Visit from Phil Solomon
Nocturne, The Secret Garden, Remains to be Seen, Psalm II: Walking Distance & Rehearsals for Retirement Director in Person! (Mon.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
The Invention of Lying
The Burning Plain
The September Issue
The Hurt Locker

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
The Beaches of Agnès
No Impact Man
Capitlism: A Love Story
Coco Before Chanel
The Boys Are Back
Amreeka
Bright Star
Paris

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
Capitalism: A Love Story
The Invention of Lying
The September Issue

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
Whip It!
Zombieland
The September Issue
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Classic Japanese Cinema
Ugetsu (Fri.)
Throne of Blood (Fri., Sat., & Thu.)
Films of Sam Peckinpah
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Fri.)
The Wild Bunch (Sat.)
Documentary
Act of God (Thu.)
Wende flicks
The Architects (Thu.)
Herzsprung (Thu.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Inglorious Basterds (ineligible)

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
Coco Before Chanel
Bright Star
Still Walking
In the Loop
Departures
Seraphine
Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
Ponyo
My One and Only

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President

Chlotrudis Tuesday Night at the Movies + Indie Film Round-Up, September 25 - October 1

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

Next week's Chlotrudis Tuesday Night at the Movies is AMREEKA, screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, 7:30pm. AMREEKA is a debut feature by Cherien Dabis, who won the Director's Fortnight prize at Cannes, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize Dramatic category at Sundance. It stars one of my favorite actors, Hiam Abbass, and the trailer, which I wasn't too fond of at first, has grown on me. Hope you can make it!

Muna is a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle.

dir. Cherien Dabis w/ Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallen, Hiam Abbass 1h36m

Check out the trailer:

This week heralds the return of the Sunday Eye-Opener, a co-presentation of Chlotrudis and the Brattle Film Foundation. The Sunday Eye-Opner is one of the most popular of the local Chlotrudis programs, runs during the Spring, Fall, and Winter and features either a special sneak preview or an undistributed independent film, followed by a moderated audience discussion. To insure that you know what films will ne playing you'll need to join the Sunday Eye Opener email list to find out what's playing. Visit the Sunday Eye Opener page to learn more about the program, join the email list, or purchase a subscription. Complimentary coffee, tea, and pastries included. Admission is $10 or you can purchase an 8-week subscription: $50 general public; $30 for Brattle or Chlotrudis members; $20 for members of both organizations.

Speaking of the Brattle, don't miss the 6th Annual ART HOUSE, held on the set of The Donkey Show at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, on Sunday, October 4, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. ART HOUSE is a silent art auction to benefit the non-profit Brattle Film Foundation. For the sixth consecutive year, over sixty artists from the Boston area and beyond, from familiar names to up-and-coming, have put their art where their hearts are for our silent art auction fundraiser! There's something for seasoned art aficionados and novices alike at this affordable art auction, with starting bids from just $35 to $300! Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for Brattle or WGBH members. This event is lots of fun, so I hope you can make it!

Don't forget to keep Gerry Peary's BU CINEMATHEQUE in mind now that the fall semester has begun. BU Cinematheque Events are FREE to BU students and staff and their friends (Chlotrudis members are friends!) Screenings are Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 pm in Room B-05, BU College of Communication, 640 Comm.Ave, Boston.
Transportation: the “B” Boston College Green Line, the first stop outward bound after Kenmore Square.

Friday, September 25. AN EVENING WITH DAMIEN CHAZELLE.
It’s the happy “indie” story of the year, how a tiny, delicate independent narrative, GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH, became the runaway hit of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, including an adulatory article in Film Comment. Everyone responded to the Cambridge-set interracial love story featuring a jazz trumpeter who plays at Wally’s,and also to ex-Harvard filmmaking student Chazelle’s filling of the screen with visionary dance numbers. A BOSTON PREMIERE SCREENING.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1-AN EVENING WITH CELIA MAYSLES.
Her obsessive search to recover celluloid memories of her late documentarian father, David Maysles, who died in 1987, leads the young filmmaker in WILD BLUE YONDER into an out-and-out war with her famous octagenarian uncle, Albert Maysles, who claims ownership of the Maysles Brothers film estate, including SALESMAN and GREY GARDENS.

See you at the Movies!
Michael

Playing this week, September 25 - October 1, 2009.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Artists on Film!
Basquiat (Fri.)
Van Gogh (Sat.)
Antonio Gaudi & Michelangelo Eye to Eye (Sat.)
Testament of Orpheus (Sun.)
Orpheus (Sun.)
Moulin Rouge (Tue.)
Klimt (Wed.)
The Draughtsman's Contract (Thu.)
Caravaggio (Thu.)
Special Engagements! Rare Technicolor Treat!
Suspiria (Fri. & Sat.)
Special Event! A Fundraiser for Equality Now!
The Teseracte Players of Boston Present

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (Wed.)

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Amreeka
Inglorious Basterds (ineligible)
The Baader-Meinhof Complex
Food, Inc. (Thu.)
Midnight Madness!
Good Vibrations' 2009 Indie Erotic Film Festival (Fri.)
Johnny Cupcakes presents: Ferris Beuller's Day Off (Sat.)
Special Musical Event!
Andrew W.K. & Calder Quartet (Wed.)
Brookline Booksmith Presents:
Nick Hornby (Thu.)
National Theatre Live
All's Well That Ends Well (Thu.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

(500) Days of Summer
In the Loop
The Hurt Locker
Bombay Cinema Presents
What's Your Rashee? (Fri. - Sun.)

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
Ponyo

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Sullivan’s Travels Revisited. A Conversation with Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors
Sullivan's Travels Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors in Person! (Fri.)
Robert Kramer's Reports from the Road
Milestones (Sat.)
Route One USA (Sun.)
Ice (Mon.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
The September Issue
The Hurt Locker

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
Amreeka
Still Walking
Five Minutes of Heaven
Bright Star
Paris
The Burning Plain
It Might Get Loud
Big Fan

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
The September Issue
(500) Days of Summer

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
The September Issue
Disgrace

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Classic Cinema
Bigger Than Life (Fri. & Sun.)
Women on Film
A Wink and a Smile (Fri. & Sun.)
Manhattan Shorts Program
Manhattan Shorts Program (Sun.)
Films of Sam Peckinpah
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Thu.)
The Wild Bunch (Thu.)
Classic Japanese Cinema
Throne of Blood (Thu.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Taking Woodstock (ineligible)
Newburyport Documentary Film Festival
Sweet Crude (Sat.)
Free Swim (Sat.)
Shorts Block #2 (Sun.)
Panel #2 Filmmaking 101 (Sun.)
Trust Us, This is All Made Up (Sun.)

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
The Burning Plain
Bright Star
Lorna's Silence
In the Loop
It Might Get Loud
Departures
Seraphine
Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
Ponyo
My One and Only

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President

TIFF Wrap-Up from Bruce!

TIFF 2009 was slightly smaller than it has been in past years but there were still 335 films to choose from, an absolutely impossible task. This year seemed generally higher in quality than past years but that could be simply the luck of the draw. At the end of the festival I had four clearcut 5 cat favorites:

DOGTOOTH - this Greek film makes one painfully aware that many interesting films rarely see the light of day in English speaking countries. This dark comedy is the story of parents who have succeeded in raising three children in a fortresslike compound. The three teenagers, a boy and two girls, have never seen another person other than their parents. When the father hires a sex worker to satisfy the biological urges of the son, things begin to unravel.

THE GOOD HEART - reunites Brian Cox and Paul Dano, this time in a black comedy from Iceland directed by Dagur Kári. No, Cox and Dano do not speak Icelandic as the film is in English and is set in New York City. Cox, a curmudgeonly bar owner, rescues homeless man (Dano) after the two end up as roommates in hospital. Each changes the other profoundly and things go swimmingly until a woman (Isild Le Besco) enters the picture.

LES HERBES FOLLES - this French absurdist comedy is the latest from master Alain Resnais (LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES). A stolen handbag leads a middle aged man into an adulterous affair with an emotionally unstable avaitrix. I totally agree with a critic who said the cinematic agility of this film seems more likely the work of a 27 year old than an 87 year old. The film won the Palme d'Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

VISION - veteran director Margarethe von Trotta succeeds in making the 12th century fascinating,with her tale of nun Hildegard von Bingen: the mother of herbal medicine; a composer,poet and the person most responsible for resuscitating dramatic arts which had laid dormant for one thousand years since the time of the ancient Greeks. Hildegard wrote liturgical musicals which the nuns in her convent performed and her music is very much alive today. Barbara Sukova is magnificent as the nun who had visions, a fatal attraction to one of the nuns in her order and a wily tactical ability to manipulate the chauvinistic leaders of the Catholic Church who held great power over the people. She even convinced the Archbishop and Pope that science and religion were compatible.

Other excellent films include: AN EDUCATION, LESLIE MY NAME IS EVIL, CHLOE, J'AI TUÉ MA MÈRE, POLICE ADJECTIVE, LIKE YOU KNOW IT ALL, CAIRO TIME, I AM LOVE and WHITE MATERIAL.

Chris Kriofske's TIFF Reviews

I scheduled less films than usual this year to make time for some of Toronto’s more notable attractions (CN Tower, Casa Loma, and the Bata Shoe Museum, among others), but I did manage to see ten of the former.

AN EDUCATION
In a London suburb in 1962, Jenny, (Carey Mulligan) a teenager preparing to apply to Oxford University meets and falls in love with a worldly, seductive man (Peter Sarsgaard) more than twice her age. With director Lone Scherfig (ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS), an adapted screenplay from novelist Nick Hornby (HIGH FIDELITY) and an excellent cast including Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams and a tart cameo from Emma Thompson, it’s no surprise that this film received a glowing reception at Sundance earlier this year. Although a little clichéd at times (especially when it cues the Serious Music) and verging-on-implausible at others (Jenny’s parents are wildly inconsistent in their behavior), this is still an enjoyable, bittersweet coming of age story and a likely indie hit to boot. Most exciting is how it recreates and examines a particular place and time—Britain just before the Beatles ushered in the swinging Sixties. Expect Mulligan’s whip-smart Jenny to be this year’s buzzed-about breakthrough performance. 4 cats

FACE
The latest from Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-Liang (WHAT TIME IS IT THERE?) plays like a greatest hits album. It’s brimming with all of his favorite obsessions: the prevalence of water (culminating in his most hilarious Buster Keaton homage to date), manipulation of time and space, delightfully absurd musical numbers and preferred actor Lee Kang-sheng in the lead. However, he also includes a few worthy new tracks to the playlist: most of the film is set in France, with such celebrated actors as Jean-Pierre Leaud, Fanny Ardant and Jeanne Moreau playing more or less versions of themselves (and don't miss Mathieu Almaric's cameo); additionally, the plot hinges on the making of a film within this one, encouraging viewers to question what’s real or a façade. Stunningly gorgeous (the mirror-filled forest sequences will take your breath away) but challenging, it may prove too obtuse for some viewers, but it was my favorite film of the festival. After seeing it, you will never look at crushed tomatoes the same way again. 5 cats

CRACKS
The arrival of an aristocratic Spaniard student upsets the delicate hierarchy of an elite, remote, all-female 1930s British boarding school. Eva Green stars as a flamboyant, idealistic, controlling teacher. A slightly overcooked directorial debut from Jordan Scott (daughter of Ridley), all this has to recommend it is lovely cinematography (packed with foreboding, nighttime lake shots) and the continuously shifting alliances among the characters in the film’s first two acts. A genuinely shocking twist then arrives, but it doesn’t prevent CRACKS from lapsing into a lesser version of HEAVENLY CREATURES; nor does it dissuade Green from ravenously chewing up the scenery. At least it was the only truly mediocre film I saw at TIFF this year. 2.5 cats

FISH TANK
Director Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to RED ROAD is decidedly less ambitious but no less captivating, suggesting she could prove a female heir to Mike Leigh and his working class, actor-focused domestic dramas. Its tough teenage protagonist, Mia (impressive newcomer Katie Jarvis) uses her love of hip-hop dancing as a means of escape from her rough housing project home and also her young, immature, uninvolved mother and exceptionally foul-mouthed little sister. Tension mounts as Mia and her mother’s charming boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) develop a mutual attraction. Arnold redeems this not entirely original plot with strong performances, a poetic pace and an inspired, dense visual composition (shot in TV-like 1.33 aspect ratio, which gives the film its immediacy). The penultimate scene is exquisite in its simplicity, resonating with movements rather than words. 4.5 cats

YEAR OF THE CARNIVORE
This comedy from Canadian media personality Sook-Yin Lee (best known in the States as the lead actress in SHORTBUS) lays bare its quirkiness from the opening shot of a clucking chicken alarm clock. Sammy (Cristen Milioti), a tomboyish grocery store detective in charge of exposing shoplifters is attracted to Eugene (Mark Rendall), a musician who busks in front of the florist next door. When inexperienced Sammy finds herself sexually incompatible with Eugene, she aims for carnal fluency with a variety of partners. If this all sounds insufferably precious, it’s not. Lee proves herself an adept writer/director, while Milioti is a real find, resembling a more likable, approachable Sarah Silverman. It’s also a treat to see Canadian comedic legends Kevin MacDonald and Sheila McCarthy show up as Sammy’s parents. Although not as novel, soulful or graphic as SHORTBUS, this is a better acted and at times, much funnier film. 4 cats

SHE, A CHINESE
Gau Xiaolu’s film (a Golden Leopard winner at the Locarno International Film Festival) defies categorization. Markedly dissimilar from most contemporary Chinese cinema, it alternates between stylistic allusions to the French New Wave and a naturalistic, documentary like feel, with passages that conjure up states of mind rather than narrative momentum. It charts the journey of Mei (Huang Lu), a young provincial woman who moves to a large Chinese city and eventually ends up in London. She meets a series of men, all of whom add varying sorts of conflict into her life. Presented as a series of titled chapters, the film’s pace fluctuates, often deliberately jumping past a major plot point while occasionally stretching out time to an impressionistic degree. An intellectual and at times inscrutable work, but also an original, lyrical character study with a surging and wonderfully loud rock and roll soundtrack. 4 cats

APPLAUSE
The terrific Danish actress Paprika Steen (THE CELEBRATION) is absolutely harrowing and brilliant as Thea, an alcoholic actress in this intense drama from director Martin Pieter Zandvliet. Although John Cassavetes already covered this territory decades ago in his films which starred his wife, Gena Rowlands (particularly OPENING NIGHT), Steen is so riveting and her character’s persona so all encompassing that whether the story is second hand soon seems irrelevant. As the film follows Thea’s attempts at sobriety, it folds in scenes of her onstage (and backstage as well) as raucous, boozy Martha in a production of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF. Martha and Thea’s similarities are obvious, but Steen’s grasp on both roles lends depth to the connection. Throughout, Thea emerges as an intriguing (if deeply troubled) blend of personality tics, constantly speaking her mind only to immediately rescind. At one point, she nonchalantly blurts out, “I hate ordinary people,” and then quickly apologizes; it’s to Steen’s credit that you could spend an hour debating whether Thea is sincere or just merely defensive. 4.5 cats

AIR DOLL
For Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, this is certainly not an obvious follow-up to masterful familial drama STILL WALKING. After all, the main character here is an inflatable sex toy that one morning magically comes to life. It sounds incredibly silly on paper (and I dread any potential American remake), but Kore-eda is a serious filmmaker, and this foray into pure fantasy is affectionate and rather poignant. A lot of the credit goes to Korean actress Doona Bae (THE HOST), who is perfectly cast as the titular character. Cute as a button in her tentative movements and little maid’s uniform, she plays the role as an innocent discovering a strange new world, learning by mimicking everything around her. Kore-eda stretches the premise by introducing additional characters to symbolize the philosophical implications of what it’s like to be an air doll: isolated and expected to serve a function. As a result, for me, the film loses some of its mojo along the way; I would have almost preferred two hours of Bae just bouncing around Tokyo—in those moments, AIR DOLL is as light and graceful as a feather but compelling enough to hold your attention. 4 cats

CAIRO TIME
Sometimes, an actor’s presence alone convinces me to check out a film and Patricia Clarkson is the main reason to see this one. She plays Juliette, an American magazine editor who arrives in Egypt hoping to meet up with her husband, a Canadian diplomat. Unfortunately, he’s held up in the Gaza Strip due to an escalating conflict, leaving her to wonder the streets by herself, where she’s seen as an oddity by the country’s Muslim men (and women). Tareq, a local man and an old friend of her husband reaches out to her, and they find themselves attracted to each other. Although not a towering performance by any means, Clarkson is charming and provides a good surrogate for the audience. To her credit, director Ruba Nedda is not afraid to build momentum with subtlety and silence, and the growing affection between Juliette and Tareq exudes class and restraint—perhaps almost too much, as CAIRO TIME is a perfectly affable film that could benefit from a bit more tension. 3.5 cats

LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL The Manson Family trial re-imagined as a farce? That’s the gist of Reg Harkema’s follow-up to his anarchic comedy MONKEY WARFARE. Here, he gives us the twin tales of Leslie, a runaway who falls under the wild influence of Charles Manson, and Perry, a young, sheltered chemist who becomes obsessed with her while serving on the jury for her trial. At the premiere, Harkema introduced the film as “anti-realist” and he wasn’t kidding: LESLIE plays like the love child of late John Waters and Charles Busch (minus the drag), gleefully sending up late-1960s America. While often crude and always over the top (don’t miss the ultra-groovy virgin sacrifice sequence!), the film is also a hoot in how it comically inverts a tragedy without managing to entirely trivialize it. Mostly avoiding garishness and almost approaching wit, Harkema’s palette is nonetheless an acquired taste, and this one could use more of the previous film’s discipline. Still, it’s hard for me to hate on a farce that’s actually quite sincere in how it secretly holds up a funhouse mirror to the real, modern day world. 4.5 cats

TIFF Day 4 - Sunshine and Sex Dolls!

Sunday continued the trend of bright sunshine and balmy weather. After catching a program of short films in the late morning, Scot and I met Bruce to walk west on Queen St. to the Robert Bulger Gallery to attend the Opening Reception for Don McKellar’s art installation, IMAGINARY LOVERS. As we strolled down Queen Street, we serendipitously ran into Gil and Amanda who had arrived the evening before and invited them to come along. After a lengthy and surprisingly warm walk, we arrived at the Gallery (formerly Atom Egoyan’s Camera) and joined the party. Tracy introduced us to her good friend Caroline Gillis, with whom she has worked on stage (most notably the Off Broadway run of Daniel MacIvor’s play, ‘A Beautiful View’). Caroline would be recognizable to fans of ‘Twitch City,’ ‘Slings & Arrows,’ or MONKEY WARFARE. Don’s installation was comprised of a series of short films shot on cell phone featuring women all over the world sending message telling their boyfriends they missed them. Some Chlotrudis members might remember a pair of Don’t films, PHONE CALL FROM AN IMAGINARY GIRLFRIEND: INSTANBUL and PHONE CALL FROM AN IMAGINARY GIRLFRIEND: ANKARRA bookending one of our short film festivals. After complete the two initial films, Don continued to make these shorts during his travels, including stops in Wellington, New Zealand, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Regina and Montreal. The films are strangely touching and haunting, and utilize Don’s trademark humor to good effect. They are visually arresting, despite the limitations of shooting on cell phone. It was great to be able to see them as part of this installation.

The other non-film highlight of the day was my chance to finally meet the delightful Paprika Steen (who as you may recall was scheduled, but unable to attend our Chlotrudis Awards Ceremony earlier this year). I introduced myself after the screening, and she said she’d recognized me in the audience. (She gives a great Q&A!) We spoke for a few moments before she was rushed off, and she invited us to the APPLAUS party (which, if you can believe it, we were too exhausted to attend!) My hope is we are able to bring Paprika to Boston for Chlotrudis sometime in the future. She would be a terrific guest. Congratulations on your outstanding performance Paprika!

And now, on to the reviews!

Short Cuts Canada Programme 2
75 EL CAMINO
director: Sami Khan
THE TRANSLATOR
director: Sonya Di Rienzo
OUT IN THAT DEEP BLUE SEA
director: Kazik Radwanski (pictured right with Guy Maddin)
NIGHT MAYOR
director: Guy Maddin
VOLTA
director: Ryan Mullins
DE MOUVEMENT
director: Richard Kerr
SNOW HIDES THE SHADE OF FIG TREES
director: Samer Najari

Contrary to what you might think, I didn’t elect to see this program of short films because the new Guy Maddin short was featured (although that certainly was an added bonus). I really wanted to see the third film by Kazik Radwanski, Chlotrudis Short Film Festival alum. His debut short film, ASSAULT was a Chlotrudis selection in 2008. I’m always a little wary of the short film programs, because there are usually a couple of gems, and a couple of bombs, with some mediocrity filling out the rest. I am pleased to report that this year’s batch was the best selection of short films that I have seen in Toronto! Sami Khan’s 75 EL CAMINO is a moving film about getting older and the nostalgia of an old car and what it represents. In THE TRANSLATOR, Sonya De Rienzo subtitles the thoughts of various people on a subway ride, including a young couple who find themselves drifting apart. Kazik Radwanski completes his trilogy begun by ASSAULT and followed by PRINCESS MARGARET BLVD. with OUT IN THAT DEEP BLUE SEA, a poignant examination of middle age and the conflict between doing what you need to do and what you want to do. Guy Maddin is wacky and I just love him. In NIGHT MAYOR Guy invents an imaginative history for a real life friend, weaving humor, social commentary and Canadian history into a seamless fantasia. VOLTA by Ryan Mullins, explores the disappearance of the movie theatre, and what that means for a social life in this documentary about a little village in Africa. Richard Kerr’s DE MOUVEMENT is a visual collage of images plucked from historic trailers. The program ended powerfully with Samer Najari’s fantastic portrait of the immigrant experience in the snowy streets of Montreal in the film SNOW HIDES THE SHADE OF FIG TREES.

APPLAUS
director: Martin Pieter Zandvliet (pictured right with Paprika Steen)
cast: Paprika Steen; Michael Falch; Sara-Marie Maltha; Otto Leonardo Steen Rieks; Noel Koch-Søfeldt

In a tour de force performance, Danish actress, and Chlotrudis honoree Paprika Steen unleashes a powerful and fiery performance as an actress recovering from alcoholism. Thea’s addiction led to her divorce and loss of custody of her two young sons. Now on the road to recovery, Thea takes hesitant steps toward being a part of her children’s lives again. Her ex-husband is trying to help, but Thea’s impatience causes her to lash out in frustration, needing things to move more quickly because as she notes, she doesn’t drink anymore. As she feels her life spinning increasingly more out of control, she relies heavily on her caustic wit and biting intelligence. She lashes out in one moment, and then submits to logic and calm the next. It’s exhausting to watch, giving the viewer an idea of what it must be like to live it. The narrative is intercut with scenes of Thea playing Martha in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ on stage – scenes of Paprika actually performing the role in Denmark. The juxtaposition allows for insight into Thea’s character, and provides us with a nice twist at the film’s end.

While first time solo director Martin Pieter Zandvliet does a good job keeping things tightly focused on Thea, shooting her in unflattering lighting and in tight close-up as an unforgiving witness, he and his collaborator Anders Frithiof August fare less well with the screenplay, which doesn’t allow for much of a dramatic arc. That said, this film is all about Paprika Steen and her unflinching, exhilarating performance. Awarded the best actress award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, this is a sure contender for a Chlotrudis award if it gets released in the U.S. While I would give Paprika’s performance 5 cats, the film as a whole gets 3 ½ cats.

AIR DOLL
director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
cast: Du-na Bae; Arata; Itsuji Itao

One day an inflatable air doll, a substitute for sexual pleasure, wakes up to find she has a heart. She is self-animated, self-aware, and filled with wonder as she discovers the world around her. On a meandering sojourn around the neighborhood she wanders into a video rental store and gets herself a job, carefully concealing the fact that she, in fact, made of plastic and filled with air. She returns home each night before her owner arrives from work, but soon grows tired of the sexual acts he performs with her and becomes more fascinated by the parade of humanity that she encounters each day; most particularly the young man with whom she works at the video store. Of course, as we all know, along with wonder and delight, life brings sadness, pain and heartbreak. After she accidentally tears a hole in her arm and her true nature is revealed to her co-worker, he hastily tapes her up and re-inflates her with his own breath. It is at this point that she truly learns what it means to be human, as she falls in love with her benefactor. Her further adventures lead her to an elderly man in the park on a respirator, a woman struggling against aging, a little girl and her harried father, and the man who created her.

Kore-eda is a master filmmaker, weaving elements of loneliness and alienation into this charming story about the creation of a new life. In parallel to the air doll’s inflatable nature, we see a series of humans who are empty inside, desperately seeking something to fill the void in their hearts. Duna Bae is magnificent as the innocent experiencing life for the first time. Her large eyes grow wider with each miraculous sight she sees, and she capably conveys the joy, confusion and pain of living with each move she makes. Despite the wacky and somewhat salacious premise, Kore-eda is such a life-affirming personality that you know you’re in for something special. 5 cats.

Chlotrudis Tuesday Night at the Movies + Indie Film Round-Up, September 18 - 24

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

The Toronto International Film Festival ends today (check out the Chlotrudis Mewsings blogright here for updates), but I have to head down to NYC for work on Monday and Tuesday, so Chris has graciously stepped in to host this week's Chlotrudis Tuesday Night at the Movies, and you WON'T WANT TO MISS IT! Several of us have already caught Hirokazu Kore-eda's masterful STILL WALKING at the IFFB (where it won the Audience Narrative Award) and PIFF, but if you're one of the few who has not, don't pass up this chance to see it on Tuesday night, 6:50pm at the Kendall Square Cinema, because it's only playing for a week.

Ryota is the 40-year-old son of the Yokoyama family. He has recently married a widow, who is joining him on a rare visit home. Only his elderly parents now live in the house, which once doubled as a flourishing medical clinic. The annex, a medical examining room still boasting a wall of pharmaceuticals, remains unchanged, though the patriarchal doctor has retired. Despite the unchanged outward appearances, everything has slightly aged. Ryota and his siblings have gathered with their parents to remember Junpei, the eldest son, who drowned while saving another 15 years earlier. Writer/director Hirokazu Kore-eda's characters come sharply to life, exchanging dialogue that both delights and tugs at your heart. As the film unfolds, brimming with compelling realism, it reveals the modest joys and gentle sorrows that accompany the realization that life must inevitably move on. The Yokoyamas are a typical dysfunctional family, bonded by love as well as resentments and secrets. With a subtle balance of gentle humor and wistful sorrow, Kore-eda (NOBODY KNOWS, AFTER LIFE) portrays just how difficult, and exactly how precious, family can be. (Fully subtitled)
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Yui Natsukawa, You, Kazuya Takahashi, Shohei Tanaka, Kirin Kiki, Yoshio Harada

Check out the trailer:

The other film opening this week that you should try to catch is Andrew Bujalksi's BEESWAX, which won a Special Jury Narrative Award at IFFB. Andrew made a splash with his debut feature, FUNNY HA HA, the film which spawned the genre, Mumblecore. His follow-up, MUTUAL APPRECIATION was well-liked as well, and cemented his place as a talented young filmmaker. With BEESWAX he moves from the Northeast to his new home, Austin, TX. Twin sisters Jeannie and Lauren who find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit and must rely on Merrill, Jeannie's ex-boyfriend to help them out. It's playing at the Coolide Corner Theatre.

And here's the trailer:

Don't forget to keep Gerry Pearyh's BU CINEMATHEQUE in mind now that the fall semester has begun. BU Cinematheque Events are FREE to BU students and staff and their friends (Chlotrudis members are friends!) Screenings are Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 pm in Room B-05, BU College of Communication, 640 Comm.Ave, Boston.
Transportation: the “B” Boston College Green Line, the first stop outward bound after Kenmore Square.

Thursday, September 24. AN EVENING WITH THE DEAGOL BROTHERS. “The Deagol Brothers” is a code name for a filmmaking collective of ex-high school friends from Hendersonville, Tennessee. Collaborating as writers, directors, technicians, actors, they forged a chilling, accomplished, zombie horror film, MAKE-OUT WITH VIOLENCE, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Nashville Film Festival. It’s a kind-of-Carrie, with weird twins, Southern Gothic surroundings, and a beautiful undead girl writhing in a bathtub. At least one “Deagol” will be at BU. A BOSTON PREMIERE SCREENING.

Friday, September 25. AN EVENING WITH DAMIEN CHAZELLE.
It’s the happy “indie” story of the year, how a tiny, delicate independent narrative, GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH, became the runaway hit of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, including an adulatory article in Film Comment. Everyone responded to the Cambridge-set interracial love story featuring a jazz trumpeter who plays at Wally’s,and also to ex-Harvard filmmaking student Chazelle’s filling of the screen with visionary dance numbers. A BOSTON PREMIERE SCREENING.

See you at the Movies!
Michael

Playing this week, September 18 - 24, 2009.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Recent Raves!
O'Horten (Fri.)
Drag Me to Hell (Fri. & Sat.)
Examined Life (Sat.)
Limits of Control (Sat.)
Star Trek (Sun.)
(Sun.)
The Cove (Mon.)
Summer Hours (Tue.)
Anvil! The Story of Anvil! (Thu.)
Special Event! Harvard Bookstore Presents
Tracy Kidder (Tue.)
James Ellroy (Tue.)
L.A. Confidential introduced by James Ellroy (Tue.)

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Beeswax
(500) Days of Summer
Manhattan Short Film Festival
The Baader-Meinhof Complex
Food, Inc. (Thu.)
Midnight Madness!
Jurassic Park (Fri.)
Y'Arr: Talk Like a Pirate Day Cabaret (Sat.)
Paranormal Activity (Thu.)
Goethe German Film!
The Stranger in Me (Sun.)
Science on Screen
Coma w/ author Robin Cook (Mon.)
Good Vibrations 2009 Amateur Erotic Film Festival (Thu.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

(500) Days of Summer
Bombay Cinema Presents
Dil Bole Hadippa (Fri. - Sun.)

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
Ponyo

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Timestage: The Cinema of Sharon Lockhart
Lunch Break and Remember Last Night? Director Sharon Lockhart, Appearing in Person (Fri.)
Sound Safari: Bath, Maine (Sat.)
Goshogaoka and Teatro Amazonas Director Sharon Lockhart, Appearing in Person (Sat.)
James Whale: Of Monsters, Melodrama and the Production Code
Show Boat (Sun.)
The Kiss Before the Mirror and One More River (Mon.)
A Film by Avi Mograbi
Z23 Director Avi Mograbi, Appearing in Person! (Sun.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
Ponyo

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
Still Walking
The Burning Plain
It Might Get Loud
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Big Fan
9 (ineligible)
In the Loop
The Hurt Locker
My One and Only
Boston Film Festival
Motherhood (Fri.)
Between Floors (Sat.)
American Colonies: Collapse of the Bees (Sat.)
Shorts Program 1 (Sat.)
Racing Dreams (Sat.)
In/Significant Others (Sat.)
The Truth (Sat.)
Medical Spotlight Series (Sun.)
Scarred Justice (Sun.)
At the Edge of the World (Sun.)
Love Hurts (Sun.)
Handsome Harry (Sun.)
Good Fortune (Mon.)
The Things We Carry (Mon.)
My Big Break (Mon.)
Shorts Program III (Tue.)
Charlie Valentine (Tue.)
A Chemical Reaction (wed.)
Earth Days (Wed.)
Destination: Rossport, Ireland (Wed.)
Fight or Flight (Thu.)
Desdemona: A Love Story (Thu.)

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
The September Issue
(500) Days of Summer
9 (not eligible)

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
The September Issue
(500) Days of Summer

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Classic Cinema
Bigger Than Life (Fri. & Wed.)
Women on Film
A Wink and a Smile (Fri. & Wed.)
Mexican Film
El Compadre Mendoza (Fri. & Sun.)
Susana (Fri. & Sat.)
El Bruto (Sat.)
Vamanos con Pancho Villa (Sat.)
El Prisionero Trece (Sun.)
La Mujer del Puerto (Sun.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Taking Woodstock (ineligible)

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
The Burning Plain
The Hurt Locker
Lorna's Silence
In the Loop
It Might Get Loud
Departures
Seraphine
Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
Ponyo
My One and Only

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President