It is a sad day here at Cinefiles HQ as we prepare to bid farewell to Halloweek, a sacred season for all of us. Obviously we understand that there’s still time—All Hallow’s Eve is today, in fact! But we can feel the frightening festivities start to slip through our bony fingers’ grasp, and we are not pleased about it. We hope you all embraced the fear factor last week and squealed, and squirmed, and shook at all our spooky and sinister screenings. It was our ghostly delight to bring them to you. And today, with a great gruesome pleasure, we welcome you back to another in our now long line of special FREE preview screenings: tonight’s sneak peak is at Guillermo del Toro’s new fantasy thriller “The Shape of Water.”

In typical del Toro fashion, this film promises to be lovingly crafted in excruciating detail and just a little bit creepy. It really depends on how you feel about Cold War secret underground laboratories with mysterious scaled creatures living inside them. Del Toro is a master whose work continues to disturb and delight. You might remember this great Mexican director from “Hellboy” or more recently, as shown at the Wesleyan film series (it’s a firm favorite of ours), “Pan’s Labyrinth.” We don’t know what to expect with his new venture (one never does), but we do know that it is the perfect event to top off your Halloween night. Come dressed up! Oh also, if you’re sad that Halloween is on its way out and you still had a costume to try out, do not fret: Tim Burton’s macabre masterpiece “The Nightmare Before Christmas” will be in Goldsmith on Dec. 8 with all its ghoulish glory popping out at you in 3D!

Before that skeletal day we have some more fantastic preview screenings for you, and closing off this week’s lineup is a film by one of our very own. This Homecoming Weekend we celebrate Geremy Jasper ’98 and his Sundance success that’s guaranteed to continue kicking up a storm. “Patti Cake$” is an underdog story with grit, grimace, and glee all catapulted forward with attitude. We are ecstatic to welcome back producer Michael Gottwald ’06 to host a Q&A after the film.

 

“Neruda”

2016. Chile/Argentina. Dir: Pablo Larraín. With Gael García Bernal. 107 min.

Wednesday, Nov. 1. 8 p.m. Free.

On Wednesday night, after last year’s “Jackie,” we have another Pablo Larraín film, “Neruda,” entering the Goldsmith theater. In a modern Jean Valjean-and-Javert framework, Larraín aims to portray the unconventional fugitive life of Pablo Neruda, a Communist poet who manages to “make ten thousand workers go silent and hear him recite poetry whenever he pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket” and who also seeks risky excitement by making public appearances and leaving puzzling traces to his whereabouts. Larraín constructed a mesmerizing plot from the perspective of a Fascist inspector whose responsibility was more than clear: to capture Pablo Neruda. During the pursuit, the inspector is drawn to re-examining Neruda’s ideas. A gorgeously shot piece of artwork, “Neruda” delivers a poetic imagining of the Communist poet’s runaway.

 

“Wasteland”

2010. Brazil/UK. Dir: Lucy Walker, João Jardim. Documentary. 90 min.

Thursday, Nov. 2. 8 p.m. Free.

In a transformative tale of creativity, resourcefulness and transience visual artist Vik Muniz works with the men and women known as “catadores” who pick through the garbage looking to find beauty and value in what other people dispose of. In this documentary, Muniz selects six garbage pickers as the subjects of a photographic experiment and, through this artistic reimagining, sets both himself and his subjects up on a new journey of personal discovery. Nominated for many awards and winner of the Grande Prêmio do Cinema Brasileiro for Best Documentary Film, “Wasteland” is a stunning and heartbreaking film by talented British director Lucy Walker.

 

“Atomic Blonde”

2017. USA/Germany/Sweden. Dir: David Leitch. With Charlize Theron. 115 min.

Friday, Nov. 3. 8 p.m. $5.

The past summer didn’t disappoint in portraying lasso-wielding heroines with badass action sequences. You have already seen “Wonder Woman,” and now it is time for “Atomic Blonde.” Centered around Lorraine Broughton (played by Charlize Theron), the most capable spy that MI6 has ever trained, “Atomic Blonde” tells the story of her mission to retrieve a highly classified list that contains the name of every active agent in the Soviet Union at the dawn of the Berlin Wall’s collapse. David Leitch promptly arranged a series of combats throughout the movie that would put viewers on the edges of their seats, ranging from fistfights and unforeseen assassinations to car chases. A stunning mix of tension, mystery, and beauty, Theron’s entrance scene alone will leave you breathless.

 

“Patti Cake$”

2017. USA. Dir: Geremy Jasper. With Danielle MacDonald. 109 min.

Saturday, Nov. 4. 8 p.m. Free.

A team of Wes alumni brought this down-and-dirty tale of dreamers and delinquents to the big screen, and we are blessed with the opportunity to host a Q&A with producer Michael Gottwald ’06. It’s the story of “boss bitch” Patricia Dombrowski from Jersey City who dreams of making it big with her beats and bomb lines despite family responsibilities and unpaid bills. Heralded as a new indie hero, Patricia is a firecracker and an inspiration for those of us who dare to be ourselves and take what’s ours. Described by the New York Times as “an unambiguous joy,” this film promises to make you proud to fight for what you want and love yourself all the while.

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