Happy Tuesday, folks! How are we all feeling? Is it just us, or is it kind of great that it’s been colder this weekend? We are relishing the (slow) coming of winter here at the Cinefiles HQ, but obviously we have another season before we can truly welcome Lady Winter into our hearts. We are in the midst of a fabulous fall—or as B calls it, “autumn.” As you may know, we are both international students, and perhaps that’s why this gloriously golden New England fall hasn’t lost its magic for us. Bring on the warm beverages and cuddle puddle; cozy scarves and fuzzy hats abound! Are you as gleeful as we are that the leaves are falling? Or are you already lamenting those long, summer days?
Either way, we have some top tips on how to embrace/survive this decline in light and heat. First: stay inside. Honestly, you can watch the leaves fall from your window—you don’t need to go out there to enjoy the pretty colors. And more importantly, if you stay inside, you are in the prime position to kick back and put on your favorite flick, which, in our biased opinion, is about as good as it gets. Second: if you are planning on leaving your warm and comfortable abodes at any point (something you should only be doing for one of the following reasons: 1. To acquire food and/or beverages necessary for survival, 2. Your crush needs you, 3. You are going to the Wesleyan Film Series), please layer. Layering clothing is a major cold-weather lifesaver. We also recommend only leaving the house if you’re equipped with a hot water bottle, a loved one whose hand you can hold, or a furry, warm-blooded creature to hug close to your chest.
Anyway, these are just some suggestions. We also suggest, as we tiptoe into the penultimate week of the Wesleyan Film Series calendar, you start getting excited for calendar number two! We cannot wait to share our Halloweekend haunts and pre-winter break festive features with you. But before any of that fun, good, spooky stuff begins, this week we get to enjoy 2016’s documentary animation, “Tower,” about a tragic day in 1996, Czech avant-garde filmmaker Věra Chytilová’s opening up our Czeck mini-series with “Daisies,” South Centralset comedy “Friday,” and closing us off for the first week of October is Powell and Pressburger’s sumptuous technicolor delight “The Red Shoes.”
2016. USA. Dir: Keith Maitland. Documentary/Animation. 92 min.
Wednesday, Oct. 4. 8 p.m. Free.
Even after 50 years, the tower shooting that took place at University of Texas does not appear any less intense or fearful in the animated documentary directed by Keith Maitland. To revisit an era whose video materials are less accessible, Maitland relied on creating animations based on the witnesses’ accounts to recreate the shocking event. Mainly through the perspectives of several critical figures in this incident, the documentary brings viewers back to the moments when they made life or death choices that would greatly shape their own lives and the others. Pieced back together with animated footage of the witnesses’ interviews and the whole narrated event, it reminds us how temporally distant it is yet how real and close the emotions remain, be it the heroes’ nerves when exposing themselves in the shooter’s vision or the desperation of those near deaths.
1966. Czech. Dir: Věra Chytilová. With Jitka Cerhova. 76 min. 35 mm print.
Thursday, Oct. 5. 8 p.m. Free.
Originally banned in the Czech Republic, this provocative female-led film is a riot. It was released in 1966, and the style, color, and comedy of the 60’s saturate every frame—it shifts from red to black and white to sepia in an instant, making one question what role psychedelics played in the creation of this picture. Wickedly funny and sexually subversive, this film about two female friends is eccentric, daring, and cinematic. “Daisies” kicks off our Czech mini-series—playfully titled “Czech It Out”—and its inclusion foregrounds female directors as pioneers as we appreciate Chytilova’s stunning contribution to Czech New Wave Cinema. Chytilova changes location at the drop of a dime, and the jumble of sets and constantly changing color scheme has a dizzying effect on the audience. What does not change, however, is the girls. The film’s dastardly daring duo is played to perfection by non-professionals Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová. “Daisies” deals with excess, and after 76 minutes we promise you, you’ll want more. Stop on by for a bizarre, sexy, camp extravaganza—and take some makeup inspiration from some severe eyeliner looks
1995. USA. Dir: F. Gary Gray. With Ice Cube, Chris Tucker. 91 min. 35mm print.
Friday, Oct. 6. 8 p.m. $5.
Think about this: What are the odds of screening a movie named “Friday”on Friday? The comedy is set in a Black community, and its success gave birth to three installments (the third of which scheduled to be out in 2018). “Friday” stars the pleasant duo of Chris Tucker and Ice Cube, playing Smokey and Craig respectively. As its title suggests, they play a pair of friends who spend a Friday dealing with all kinds of troublesome characters around them: a jealous ex-girlfriend, Craig’s nagging father, and the street bully Deebo. Worst of all, the unemployed duo receives death threats from a supplier whose drugs, worth 200 bucks, Smokey had accidentally used. Unable to repay the supplier by 10 o’clock, the two unfortunate pals have to find a way out of this Friday mess.
“The Red Shoes”
1948. UK. Dir: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. With Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook. 134 min.
Saturday, Oct. 7. 8 p.m. Free.
Has ballet ever looked more beautiful on film? Trust the Archers to make one of the most graceful art forms look even more spectacular on the silver screen. Legendary director duo Powell and Pressburger’s soaring 1948 motion picture “The Red Shoes” follows the story of Vicky Page, an ambitious ballerina torn between dreams of success and potential romance. The film is set in the south of France, and everything from the location to the production design to the costumes to the score paint the most luscious and exquisite picture—aided in no small part by the stunning use of technicolor. Martin Scorsese cites “The Red Shoes,” along with Jean Renoir’s “The River,” as the most beautiful color film of all time. In the film, our leading lady, played delightfully by Moira Shearer, (described lovingly by Powell in his autobiography with hair “as natural and beautiful as any animal’s, flamed and glittered like an autumn bonfire”) joins an elite and highly esteemed ballet company and becomes their prima ballerina in a new production of ballet titled, you guessed it, The Red Shoes. I have a distinct memory of sitting on the floor in my Nana’s living room at age eight, staring enthralled at her tiny TV set as it played out over two hours. I could not be torn away from Moira’s red locks and red shoes. Nominated for a bazillion Oscars and winner of Best Original Score and Best Art Direction, “The Red Shoes” was voted the 8th greatest British film of all time, and it’s easy to see why. Acclaimed critic Roger Ebert called it “the most popular movie ever made about the ballet, and one of the most enigmatic movies about anything.” Look, enough quoting of famous folks—just do yourself a favor and catch this classic on the big screen.