Friends, there was a HUGE misstep made at Cinefiles HQ last week and we must address it immediately. It was our very own dear, dear film board member and co-Cinefiles writer Genyu’s birthday, and to think we didn’t mention it at the time? Tut tut. Apologies Genyu, and happy belated birthday!
Now that we’ve made up for past wrongs, let’s take a look at the week ahead. Moving into our fourth week of the semester (and more importantly, the Film Series calendar), we’ve got some more great events alongside our regular screenings. Oh, and one more thing before we get into those: We want to thank Women of Color House (WoCoHo) and, specifically, Brianna Thurman ’19 for the event they hosted last week. Last Wednesday, WoCoHo led a thoughtful discussion and talkback after our incredibly well-attended screening of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” Thank you to everyone who came out, and thank you again to WoCoHo for a memorable night.
This week, we continue with our Blaxploitation Celebration mini-series on Thursday with “Black Dynamite.” We are lucky to kick off the screening with an introduction from Visiting Professor of African American Studies Casey Hayman and look forward to hearing Professor Hayman’s comments on the genre and this recent genre spoof in particular. Our Blaxploitation Celebration mini-series is co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts and it runs in conjunction with “Black Pulp!”, the current exhibition in Zilkha Gallery, which will be on view through Dec. 10. Check it out if you haven’t already.
What else does this Film Series week have in store for us? Read the blurbs below to find out! We just love to keep you wanting more…. Did you read them? Okay, good.
Since we’re now halfway through the first calendar of this semester, it could be fun to get all of our lovable movie-goers hyped for the upcoming second calendar. A few spoilers here: The Film Board has basically decided on what will be on the next calendar. Without disclosing the specific titles, we want you to know that as a part of the tradition, there will be a week full of horror film screenings to aid in the craze that is Halloween. And there will be more titles that we gratefully collected from the suggestion boxes. Be prepared for its arrival soon!
Well friends, we wish you a glorious week at the movies and hope you don’t get too overwhelmed with the growing stack of assignments on your desk and the alarming degree of crowding in your GCal.
“Under The Sun”
2015. Russia. Dir: Vitaly Mansky. Documentary. 110 min.
Wednesday, Sept. 27. 8 p.m. Free.
Remember James Franco’s mind-blowing hilarious “The Interview”? Here’s an even more emotionally gripping take on people’s lives in Pyongyang. Under the forceful command of DPRK’s officials, it was supposed to be a forged documentary of an eight year-old girl in North Korea who joyfully enters the Korean Children’s Union and to celebrate the “Great Leader” Kim Jong-il’s birthday. The Russian director, Vitaly Mansky, courageously turned it into a making-of documentary that recorded every official attempt at covering the hidden truths of North Korea and staging the pleasant outlook of Pyongyang. At first, in the hope of controlling the production of the film, the North Korean government wrote the script and put the film crews under the surveillance of a number of guards. After realizing that it contained unapproved footage, the authority and the little girl’s parents fiercely protested the film’s release. Still, here it is.
2009. USA. Dir: Scott Sanders. With Michael Jai White. 84 min. 35mm print.
Thursday, Sept. 28. 8 p.m. Free.
The second installment in our Blaxploitation Celebration mini-series sees former CIA agent “Black Dynamite” avenge his brother’s death, while attracting the attention of a kickass Black power activist named Gloria in the process! This 2009 action comedy lovingly pokes fun at the ’70s blaxploitation genre and simultaneously parodies and celebrates its tropes. If you didn’t catch the trailers at the Film Series last week, stop reading this immediately and head over to YouTube to watch the kitschy, retro magic of “Black Dynamite’s” trailer, shot on Super 8 mm before the film even went into production! You’ll note the film’s highly saturated color and convincing ’70s feel—that’s thanks to the Super 16 Color Reversal Kodak Film used. Legend (and by “legend,” we mean the internet) has it that the idea for the film came to Michael Jai White when he was listening to James Brown’s “Super Bad” back in 2006. That sounds like a pretty good genesis for a movie to us! Come by for Professor Hayman’s talk and embrace the low-production values, satirical humor and cool characters that comprise “Black Dynamite.”
2017. Canada/Spain. Dir: Nacho Vigalondo. With Anne Hathaway. 110 min.
Friday, Sept. 29. 8 p.m. $5.
Anne Hathaway stars in the kooky sci-fi fantasy comedy “Colossal,” about a woman who returns to her hometown after being evicted from New York City by her boyfriend, only to find she has a surprising connection with a giant kaiju who is hell bent on wreaking havoc on the city of Seoul. The genre-bending quirkiness of the script is what drew Anne Hathaway to the project and her performance, along with the Kaufman-esque nature of the whole affair, will draw you to it. According to Richard Brody of the New Yorker, “At its best, it achieves a rare synthesis of virtues that is a primal value of the cinema: it revels in the power of cinematic artifice to tell a story that confronts big questions about real life.” We are confident that you too will appreciate this “rare synthesis of virtues”—plus, it’s pretty funny.
1970. USA. Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni. With Mark Frechette. 111 min.
Saturday, Sept. 30. 8 p.m. Free.
Michelangelo Antonioni came to the States in 1960s and offered his cult-like road-trip movie “Zabriskie Point,” offering his unique take on student movements. A violent 1960s student strike broke out in L.A. between students and police officers. One of the students, Mark, flees the scene out of the fear that he might have murdered a police officer with a firearm. On his run from the confrontation, Mark accidentally meets a girl in a desert. They quickly found each other riveting and developed physical intimacy on a deserted land named “Zabriskie Point.” However, as soon as they leave each other, their fates again became undetermined. And yes, it is another Antonioni movie whose synopsis seems bland and quirky, yet one that makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.
Beatrix Herriott O’Gorman and Genyu Zhang can be reached at bherriottogo