Welcome back to campus, film enthusiasts! We hope you took advantage of your post-Thanksgiving food coma to kick back, relax, and binge on some delectable cinematic offerings. Did you catch up on some classics on TCM or stream some new releases you missed on the big screen? Maybe you took a family outing to the cinema to catch the latest blockbuster hit. If you did and you opted for Disney Pixar’s new delightful feature “Coco,” we commend you for making it through the horror and barbarity of the introductory animated short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” and we are here for you. If you need to talk (or cry) do not hesitate to contact us.
So, you’re most likely back on campus at this point and suffering from the dark day blues. But never fear—we’re here to add a bit of cheer to your gloomy, deadline-filled week.
Come to Goldsmith at 8 p.m. on Wednesday to enjoy the final installment in our Hispanic Film Series, “Julieta.” Master filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest flick is sure to dazzle you with its glorious design and pitch-perfect performances. On Thursday we get the pleasure and honor of watching Jennie Livingston’s iconic documentary “Paris Is Burning” about the drag and ballroom subculture of 1980s New York City. Friday sees Nicolas Cage perform his patriotic duty in modern American classic “National Treasure,” directed by none other than Wes alum Jon Turteltaub ’85. Come marvel at these code-breaking, treasure-hunting antics in glorious 35 mm! Closing off the week, we have another female-directed AND female-led film entitled “Cleo from 5 to 7.” French New Wave darling Agnes Varda brings us a stunning day in the life of Cleo, a young woman awaiting potentially grave news, in a beautiful black-and-white ’60s classic.
2016. Spain. Dir: Pedro Almodovar. With Emma Suarez, Adriana Ugarte. 92 min.
Wednesday, November 29. 8 p.m. Free.
“Julieta” is Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar’s most recent cinematic endeavor and, while it follows some of the much-loved director’s familiar patterns, it’s also strikingly new for him. This is Almodovar’s first film adaptation, based on a collection of Alice Munro’s short stories that follows the journey of a woman at two distinct points in her life. We witness two parallel timelines that track this woman’s choices and inevitable destiny. Almodovar engages us in a suspenseful exploration into the past, conjuring questions about what is in our control and what we must sacrifice to fate. Characteristically, the film delves into female sexuality, autonomy, and tragedy, elevating the voice of a woman in pain. Witness the power of memory, loss, and love in this beautifully detailed story of motherhood and independence.
“Paris Is Burning”
1990. USA. Dir: Jennie Livingston. With Dorian Corey. Documentary. 71 min.
Thursday, November 30. 8 p.m. Free
Iconic. Controversial. Celebratory. Scandalous. These are a few choice words that do some good in starting off a conversation about Jennie Livingston’s infamous 1990 documentary, which follows the lives and performances of various drag queens and artists over a short span of time. As they compete with one another and celebrate their skills in the sparkling underground NYC drag and ballroom scene, footage from balls and interviews with key players give us some insight into the various “houses” (Extravaganza, Pendavis, and LaBeija, to name a few) that make up this glittering, multi-faceted subculture. The film provides social commentary on the circumstances and experiences of these artists, a group of Black and Latinx queer, trans, and gender non-conforming performers who wish to explore, create and celebrate their identities by fostering a community of care and solidarity while fighting every day to overcome systemic and social oppression. We witness these queens thrive despite the violent racism, classism, and queerphobia that is part and parcel of their daily lives. Despite the criticism that Livingston is neither a person of color nor one with a low income, the film is still widely regarded as a canonical queer film. It is fierce, it is sharp, it showcases stunning talent and humor, and it is unequivocally and irrevocably necessary viewing.
2004. USA. Dir: John Turteltaub. With Nicolas Cage. 131 min. 35 mm.
Friday, Dec. 1. 8 p.m. $5.
Hop on the hilariously far-fetched ride of treasure hunting with Nicolas Cage this Friday night! Aimed at re-writing the biographies of the Founding Fathers, this sometimes ridiculous heist movie sits on a premise that might reshape your knowledge of the history books. (That is, if you choose to believe in it.) Nicolas Cage plays the unpredictably energetic historian whose name, Benjamin Franklin Gates, borrows entirely unsubtle influences from both a particular Founding Father and the notorious Microsoft billionaire. Together with Riley Poole, an intelligent computer genius, and Dr. Abigail Chase, the National Archivist with a strong regionally specific accent, he goes on a journey to discover a “national treasure” in the face of looming threats from a savvy foreign merchant and an FBI agent.
“Cléo from 5 to 7”
1961. France. Dir: Agnès Varda. With Corinne Marchand. 90 min.
Saturday, Dec. 2. 8 p.m. Free.
Although it was common for New Wave auteurs to assist on one another’s film productions, rarely did Jean Luc Godard make a surprise cameo as an emotional gentleman in love, as he did in this short silent film. But the prestige of “Cléo from 5 to 7” comes primarily from Agnès Varda’s fascinating storytelling, which exposes the interiority of a popular singer about to learn if she has cancer. Spending hours wandering the streets of postwar Paris, she encounters a variety of friends and strangers who cohere to offer an in-depth look into the 1960s social landscape in France. As she experiences a wide spectrum of emotions ranging from desperation to carefreeness, she gradually prepares for the heavy burden that could potentially be placed on her shoulders.