Fall 2015 Schedule
ON HER OWN
Friday, September 4 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 6 at 4:00
Farmer Nancy Prebilich and her family are struggling to keep their 5th generation Sonoma County farm afloat during the recent recession. However, when both of Nancy’s parents suddenly pass away she begins to wonder what happens when the cost of preserving family heritage is the family itself? It’s more than just a story of one family’s struggle but instead represents what is happening all across the U.S. as houses are foreclosed and small farms face ruthless competition from large factory farms and land developers. Directed by Morgan Schmidt-Feng. “This doc goes beyond the romance of farming . . . Unflinching, compassionate, and beautiful.” – Michael Pollan, Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire (2015, 80 min.)
Nancy Prebilich will be attending both screenings to introduce the film and answer questions afterwards.
FAREWELL TO MANZANAR
Friday, September 11 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 13 at 4:00
John Korty’s landmark 1976 made-for-television movie was adapted from the book by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston about her family’s confinement in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during the Second World War. During a period when network television was not afraid to tackle important issues, Korty shot his film on site in the remains of Tule Lake and Manzanar working with primarily Japanese American actors and crew. (92 min.) Director John Korty will be present to introduce the film and answer questions afterwards at the Sunday screening.
Friday, September 18 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 20 at 4:00
Stretching physical, emotional and mental limits, a group of elderly Broadway actors, musicians and dancers bravely dive into a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and find that nothing is what it seems to be. These former Broadway stars, residing at the Lillian Booth Actors Home just outside New York City, embark on a journey through Shakespeare’s magical play. As the rehearsal process unfolds, the actors find themselves experiencing both the pain and exhilaration of re-immersion in their life’s work amidst the difficulties of old age. At the same time, the troupe’s young Shakespearean co-directors struggle to maintain forward momentum with this acting ensemble of octogenarians. Directed by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller (SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS). (2014, 94 min.)
Friday, September 25 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 27 at 4:00
Zaza Urushadze’s deftly humorous and humanist fable tells the story of Ivo, who makes wooden crates in his workshop to contain the harvest from his neighbor Margus’ tangerine grove. Then one day, a skirmish in the civil war between former Soviet countries leaves two wounded survivors on Ivo’s doorstep: Achmed, a Chechen, and Nika, a Georgian. Ivo calmly declares his home a neutral zone and takes them in, after extracting promises that no bloodshed will occur under his roof. Initially the soldiers are hell-bent on killing one another once they’ve recovered, but forced cohabitation brings an unforeseen humanizing effect. How long the peace will last is a question elegantly considered in this deeply pacifist drama, as tense as any thriller. Nominated for the 2015 Best Foreign Film Oscar. (2013, 87 min., in Estonian, Russian, and Georgian w/English subtitles)
Co-Sponsored by United Nations Association of Sonoma County
PROJECT CENSORED THE MOVIE
Friday, October 2 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 4 at 4:00
Doug Hecker and Christopher Oscar’s documentary takes an in-depth look at what is wrong with the news media in the U.S. today. The film highlights the work of the veteran media democracy organization and their commitment to media literacy education as an antidote to top-down, managed news propaganda and censorship. Project Censored will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016 and remains the longest-running media research project in the country, founded by SSU Sociology professor Carl Jensen, who died earlier this year. The film features original interviews with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Daniel Ellsberg and others. (2013, 65 min.)
Attending guests include filmmakers Doug Hecker and Christopher Oscar; Mickey Huff, Project Censored Director, and some current interns on the project, for a discussion after the film.
Friday, October 9 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 11 at 4:00
Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai Film Festivals. COURT’s understated yet profoundly moving drama unfolds within the Indian legal system where issues of caste, patriarchy and feudalism are all specific to that culture. But at least as important are the more universal issues of bureaucratic idiocy, the apathy of the haves regarding the lives of the have-nots, and the still-Dickensian nature of most judicial processes. The film’s director writes about the reality that inspired him: "The sheer lack of drama and the casualness with which life and death decisions were being made, was what sparked my imagination. Every face has a story of its own: the stenographer who disinterestedly types away all day, the peon who runs errands for a small bribe, the inarticulate lawyers reading out long, technical passages from outdated law books, the appellants who have probably spent years waiting for their case number to be called out." – Film Forum
Written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. (2014, 116 min., in Marathi, Hindi, English and Gujarati w/English subtitles)
Friday, October 16 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 18 at 4:00
"Finally receiving a long overdue theatrical run, LOSING GROUND is one of the first feature films written and directed by a black woman, and a groundbreaking romance exploring women’s sexuality, modern marriage, and the life of artists and scholars. But most of all, it is a great film, one that firmly belongs in the canon of American independent cinema in the 1980s. Sara (Seret Scott) is a philosophy professor and her husband Victor (Bill Gunn) is a painter, and with their personal and professional lives at a crossroads, they leave the city for the country, experiencing a reawakening, both together and separately. The film is honest, funny, and wise, and a testament to the remarkable playwright, professor, and filmmaker Kathleen Collins, as well as the immense talent that was lost when she passed away in 1988 at age 46." - Film Society of Lincoln Center (1982, 86 min.)
Friday, October 23 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 25 at 4:00
"This plucky and effortlessly cool black-and-white film from newcomer Alonso Ruiz Palacios follows three restless teens during the student strikes of 1999. Federico and Santos are roommates in Mexico City, students ‘on strike from the strike’ now that their university has been shut down, when Federico’s brother Tomás arrives. Looking to kill some time and their boredom, they hit the streets of the city looking for famed rock star Epigmenio Cruz, who once allegedly made Bob Dylan cry." - AFI Fest
"A gorgeous slice of deadbeat Mexico City slacker poetry...a work of genius...witty, delicate and often magical. GÜEROS is the foreign-language discovery of 2015 so far, and pretty close to the best film I've seen all year." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon (2014, 102 min., in Spanish w/English subtitles.)
Co-sponsored by the Alexander Valley Film Society
WEST IS WEST
Friday, October 30 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 1 at 4:00
Handsome and broke, Vikram (played by Ashutosh Gowariker, director of Oscar-nominated LAGAAN) arrives from Bombay to find his college plans have fallen through. Exploring exotic San Francisco, he discovers and falls for Sue (Heidi Carpenter), a feisty bohemian artist. With his visa running out, Vikram resorts to desperate measures to stay in the country - including a hilariously bungled burglary and an impromptu curbside wedding. It all ends happily with a fairy-tale dance number right out of an Indian musical. (1987, 80 min.)
Filmmaker David Rathod is tentatively scheduled to appear at the Sunday screening.
Friday, November 6 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 8 at 4:00
"Fatih Akin’s historic epic follows one man’s journey through the Ottoman Empire after surviving the 1915 Armenian genocide. Uprooted from his home in Mardin, Nazaret (A PROPHET’S Tahar Rahim), pushes onwards as a forced laborer. His hope is revived when he learns that his daughters might still be alive, leading him on a journey to America in search of them. The acclaimed German filmmaker of Turkish descent, Fatih Akin (SOUL KITCHEN, THE EDGE OF HEAVEN) is back with a story of human odyssey in the vein of Elia Kazan’s AMERICA, AMERICA. Co-written by Mardik Martin (MEAN STREETS, RAGING BULL), THE CUT marks an important event in 20th century history that is rarely depicted on screen, yet at the same time delivers the story of a personal quest. In the end, the fate of an individual is intimately bounded to the irresistible forces of history." - Frédéric Boyer, Tribeca Film Festival (2014, 139 min., in Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian and Spanish w/English subtitles)
MY FRIEND VICTORIA
Friday, November 13 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 15 at 4:00
"Based on the story ‘Victoria and the Staveneys’ by Nobel laureate (and oft-filmed author) Doris Lessing, MY FRIEND VICTORIA relocates its black London heroine to contemporary Paris. As an 8-year-old orphan, Victoria (Keylia Achie Beguie) is taken into the home of a white bourgeois family for a single night, fueling her dreams of comfort and privilege for the rest of her life. As an adult (now beautifully played by Guslagie Malanda), she reconnects with the youngest son of her host family, bearing his child after a brief affair. All the while she drifts from job to job, independent yet lacking focus—except for that one night from her childhood and its revelations. Director Jean-Paul Civeyrac manages a treatise on race and class that’s subtle, moving, and refreshingly non-didactic, refusing to reduce the characters to symbols or dilute the richness of Lessing’s prose." – Film Society of Lincoln Center (2014, 95 min., in French w/English subtitles)
Ingrid Bergman Centenary
JOURNEY TO ITALY (Viaggio in Italia)
Friday, November 20 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 22 at 4:00
The third, and, many feel, the best of the five very personal features Roberto Rossellini made with Ingrid Bergman, JOURNEY TO ITALY is the key link between neo-realism and the subjective cinema of the early sixties. Bergman and George Sanders portray an English couple on a visit to Italy to sell a family mansion. On the surface the film is about the disintegration and regeneration of their marriage. On a deeper level, it is about the spiritual needs of modern men and women in a world in which men, due to their roles in capitalist society, are seen by Rossellini as more alienated, and psychologically handicapped, than women. Rossellini’s masterpiece is a heartrending work of emotion and spirituality. (1954, 85 min., English and Italian w/English subtitles)
Closed for Thanksgiving
Frank Sinatra Centenary
SOME CAME RUNNING
Friday, December 4 at 7:00
Vincente Minnelli’s glorious larger-than-life melodrama is one of the highlights of Hollywood filmmaking in the 1950’s. Frank Sinatra plays a dissolute writer and war veteran who makes a misbegotten odyssey to his small hometown in Indiana and is immediately thrust into a hotbed of hypocrisy and bigotry. Seeing all too clearly through the town’s ‘respectable’ people, he finds solace in the company of a wild assortment of seedy characters, including Dean Martin as a witty braggart and gambler who never removes his hat, and Shirley MacLaine, who won an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of an overdressed floozy who falls for Sinatra. Minnelli’s use of the Cinemascope frame is stunning, and the cast is rounded out by Martha Hyer and Arthur Kennedy. (1958, 136 min.)
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STAFF: Eleanor Nichols, Director; Aidan Humrich, and Ruth King.
Supported in part by Instructionally Related Activity Funds