Spring 2017 Schedule
LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD
Friday, January 27 at 7:00 and Sunday, January 29 at 4:00
Werner Herzog chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with a fervent curiosity that has characterized his recent documentaries (Cave of Forgotten Dreams; Grizzly Man). His ever-present voiceover engages cyberspace pioneers such as PayPal and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, Internet protocol inventor Bob Kahn, and famed hacker Kevin Mitnick in provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has virtually transformed how everything in the real world works—from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how we conduct our personal relationships. Herzog’s endlessly inquisitive eye finds beauty, mystery and staggering potential in this latest unexplored wilderness. (2016, 98 min.)
LUPE UNDER THE SUN (Lupe Bajo el Sol)
Friday, February 3 at 7:00 and Sunday, February 5 at 4:00
Long estranged from his family in Michoacán, migrant laborer Lupe finds relief from the backbreaking work of harvesting peaches in California’s Central Valley through beer-drenched camaraderie and a quiet love affair with fellow immigrant Gloria. Playing with the limits between fiction and documentary, director Rodrigo Reyes worked with non-professional actors, real farmworkers living in the heart of California, to tell a moving drama about an aging peach picker who wants to go back to his home in Mexico before he dies. Inspired by the life of his own grandfather, Reyes’ unforgettable film heralds the arrival of an important new voice in American cinema. (2016, 78 min., in Spanish and English w/English subtitles)
Friday, February 10 at 7:00 and Sunday, February 12 at 4:00
“Set in a crumbling cinema palace in Mumbai Central, ORIGINAL COPY is a charming portrait of artist and guru Sheikh Rehman – one of the last hand-painters of colorful Bollywood posters, packed with romance and action. This intimate doc provides a window into a world in transition: while Rehman cajoles his team into hand-painting unique billboards every week, modernity is taking over. Today’s films are publicized on plastic posters, and audiences are swarming to multiplexes. Rehman is the keeper of a disappearing artform, but he won’t give up. Neither will the theater’s owner Najma, valuing history and heritage over profits. Ultimately, this exemplary and insightful doc is about the magic of cinema, its power to forge culture and community, and the changing face of India’s film industry.” – San Francisco South Asian Film Festival (2015, 95 min., in Hindi and English w/English subtitles)
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
Friday, February 17 at 7:00 and Sunday, February 19 at 4:00
SFI celebrates the 50th Anniversary of this landmark film and the 90th birthday of its star, Sidney Poitier. Poitier is devastatingly cool and charismatic as Philadelphia homicide detective Virgil Tibbs in this multi-Oscar-winning Deep South murder mystery. Tibbs is teamed with a racist redneck sheriff (Rod Steiger) to help with the investigation, and the pair make for a riveting partnership in a film that’s equally entertaining, atmospheric and insightful about the era’s desperately strained race relations. Directed by Norman Jewison. (1967, 110 min.)
Friday, February 24 at 7:00
Yared Zeleke's remarkable feature debut tells the story of young Ephraim, a half-Jewish, Ethiopian boy who is sent by his father to live among distant relatives after his mother’s death. Ephraim uses his cooking skills to carve out a place among his cousins, but when his uncle decides that his beloved sheep must be sacrificed for the next religious feast, he will do anything to save the animal and return home. Drawing amazing performances from his cast of professional and non-professional actors, LAMB is the first film from Ethiopia to be included in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival and the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. (2015, 94 min., in Amharic w/English subtitles)
Co-Sponsored by the United Nations Association of Sonoma County
Friday, March 3 at 7:00 and Sunday, March 5 at 4:00
Jean Renoir’s first great sound classic. LA CHIENNE is the story of an unhappily married middle-aged bank clerk, played by Michel Simon. His only passion in life is for painting, which he does in his spare time until he becomes obsessed with a prostitute (Janie Mareze). In his “Dictionary of Films,” Georges Sadoul notes, “Out of melodrama Renoir created a very realistic social portrait of certain aspects of Montmartre life. Even in this, his first sound feature, Renoir used depth-of-field to characterize the personalities in their social milieu.” (1931, 100 min., in French w/English subtitles)
APUR SANSAR (The World of Apu)
Friday, March 10 at 7:00 and Sunday, March 12 at 4:00
“If Ray had made nothing but APUR SANSAR he would go down in film history as one of the great directors. In essence the film is a love story so fresh and spontaneous that one feels Ray created it entirely out of his own spirit, as if it were the world's first love story. The lyric Shakespeare of ‘Romeo and Juliet' comes to mind - in the scene in which the lovers see each other for the first time - only Ray has done it all visually. The morning after the wedding night Apu rises to discover that his bride has secretly tied him to her. A more exquisite symbol for a love both passionate and humorous is inconceivable. This originality, always returning to the wellspring of human feeling, is apparent throughout the film. If ever there has been a humanist work from an alien culture completely accessible to Occidentals, APUR SANSAR is that work.” - Berkeley Cinema Guild (1959, 106 min., in Bengali w/English subtitles)
Sonoma State University Hutchins School Professor Dr. Ajay Gehlawat will introduce the film before the Friday screening.
Closed For Spring Break
SOUL ON A STRING
Friday, March 24 at 7:00 and Sunday, March 26 at 4:00
Zhang Yang (Shower, Paths of the Soul) adapts two novels by Tibetan writer Tashi Dawa for this stunning mystical epic about a killer on the run who is entrusted with a sacred mission. After discovering a sacred stone in the mouth of a deer, Taibei, a lone Tibetan cowboy, embarks on a spiritual quest: to bring it back to a holy mountain. On the way, he encounters a passionate woman, a mute with psychic powers, and two vengeful brothers. With gorgeous, sweeping cinematography of Tibet’s majestic steppes and sprawling deserts, this unconventional Asian Western pairs swordfights with the Buddhist philosophy of letting go. “Shot in some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth, the film is anything but a straightforward document of Tibetan folklore and religion. It's an epic, magical, and visually stunning tale of karmic returns, of hate and love, and it draws its strength from the eternal power of timeless stories.” - Giovanna Fulvi, TIFF (2016, 142 min., in Tibetan w/English subtitles)
Friday, March 31 at 7:00 and Sunday, April 2 at 4:00
“Pere-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris and the final repository of the famous. Among its occupants are medieval lovers Heloise and Abelard; Modernist icons Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, and sixties rocker Jim Morrison. Through its gates come tourists toting cameras to the burial site of Marcel Proust (though they might never have read him) and who sing at the gravesite of Yves Montand. Widows of well-remembered husbands, meanwhile, sweep their late spouses’ gravestones and water the flowers. Into this ripe milieu, Heddy Honigmann – Peruvian-born Dutch documentarian and career-long chronicler of dislocation – brings the unique perspective and boundless curiosity, looking for the key to art and eternity, the allure of a celebrity afterlife and the solace to be found in a necropolis of stars… Honigmann has made a film of great tenderness as well as profound integrity.” – SFIFF (2007, 95 min., in French w/English subtitles)
Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center
Friday, April 7 at 7:00
The sole film of celebrated Indian dancer Uday Shankar (older brother of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar), Kalpana is a vibrant dance-drama that revolves around a young dancer’s dream of forming his own dance academy. Originally filmed in 1948, the film was restored in 2008 by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project in association with the family of Uday Shankar and the National Film Archives of India. The film features choreography designed specifically for the camera, fusing elements of Indian modernism with the cinema. This is the first time the restored version of this landmark film will be screened in California and provides a rare opportunity to view one of the classics of world cinema. Describing Shankar’s dancing to his daughter, James Joyce wrote: “He moves on the stage like a semi-divine being. Believe me, there are still some beautiful things left in this poor old world.” (1948, 155 min., in Hindi with English subtitles) General Admission: $20 (Tickets include parking)
THE GROOVE IS NOT TRIVIAL
Friday, April 14 at 7:00 and Sunday, April 16 at 4:00
“Music is the universal language of mankind’ is a sentiment that Alasdair Fraser lives from the tips of his fiddle-playing fingers right down to the marrow in his bones. Raised in Scotland in a time when traditional music and language were suppressed, Fraser has spent his adult life in Northern California reclaiming his culture and hosting multi-generational music camps in three countries. His unconventional style of teaching gives people permission to explore their own voices and tap into the rhythmic undercurrent at the root of music and identity—be it individual, cultural, or globally human. Whether you’re a musician, a fan of traditional Scottish music, or someone who simply appreciates sincere, joyful artistic expression, pull up a chair (or put on your dancing shoes) and join the cèilidh!” – Mill Valley Film Festival (2016, 60 min.)
Filmmaker Tommie Dell Smith will be here Friday night only to introduce the film and answer questions after the screening.
THE WIND WILL CARRY US
Friday, April 21 at 7:00 and Sunday, April 23 at 4:00
The late, great Abbas Kiarostami’s masterpiece about a Tehrani camera crew posing as engineers to film the funeral of a 100-year-old village woman expected to die at any moment, marks a culmination of the filmmaker’s desire for a cinema that encourages the viewer, in his words, “to complete the film.” In a string of sequences that flow and blend into each other, the interactions between the outsiders functioning under certain false pretenses and the locals trying to go about their own lives isn’t a formula for facile conflict, but rather the premise for a profound meditation on existence spanning centuries of culture and human activity. (1999, 118 min., in Persian w/English subtitles)
Friday, April 28 at 7:00 and Sunday, April 30 at 4:00
“It took seven years for veteran documentarian Mehrdad Oskouei to get permission to make a film in a rehabilitation centre for juvenile delinquent women in Iran. The result is a thoughtful and complex portrait of young women at the extreme margins of Iranian society. Whilst their crimes – from pick pocketing to drug dealing and manslaughter – paint a bleak picture, it is the crimes of society against them that come into sharper focus as we begin to understand their backgrounds. Oskouei doesn’t shy away from being reflexive in his role as filmmaker, as he invites us to share in the young women’s hopes and dreams as they contemplate life outside the centre. Amongst its numerous accolades, the film won the Amnesty International Film Prize at the Berlinale and Oskouei was honoured with a True Vision Award at True/False Film Festival earlier this year.” - Elhum Shakerifar, British Film Institute (2016, 76 min., in Persian w/English subtitles)
Celebrating John F. Kennedy Centennary
Friday, May 5 at 7:00 and Sunday, May 7 at 4:00
In the late 1950’s, seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, Robert Drew, assembled an amazing team—including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, and Albert Maysles—that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy—Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis—and, following the president’s assassination, the poetic short Faces of November.
PRIMARY(1960, 52 min.) follows the Wisconsin primary election between John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey for the Democratic nomination for President.
ADVENTURES ON THE NEW FRONTIER (1961, 52 min.) follows the newly-elected President in the White House as he conducts his daily business.
CRISIS (1963, 53 min.) features both Kennedy brothers trying to maneuver around the University of Alabama integration crisis, with Governor George Wallace blocking the doors.
FACES OF NOVEMBER (1963, 12 min.) is a simple, wordless portrait of a traumatized nation.
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STAFF: Eleanor Nichols, Director; Aidan Humrich, Ruth King and Lillian Lee.
Supported in part by Instructionally Related Activity Funds