We have been working on film sets all weekend, so excuse the rather truncated introduction to this week’s Cinefiles article. Welcome to the penultimate week of the current Wesleyan Film Series calendar! We hope the Goldsmith has treated you well so far this spring, and we look forward to bringing you more and more secret gems and blockbuster fanfare this week and in the weeks to come.
This week we’ve got British auteur Andrea Arnold’s star-making feature “Fish Tank” on Wednesday, followed by the next film in the Ring Family Israeli Film Festival, a comedy called “Holy Air,” on Thursday. On Friday, we’ve got Pixar’s most recent animated outing, “Coco,” in breathtaking 3D. It’s a Candyland of color that will have you spending the next week sifting through family photos and reconnecting with old, long-forgotten dreams. Closing off the week is Seijun Suzuki’s black-and-white devilish delight “Branded To Kill.” Get ready to be entertained.
Good luck with the cold, and don’t let the bleak outside world stop you from enjoying the potentials of a dimly lit movie theater. Find refuge in the cinema, and let us take you away.
2009. UK/Netherlands. Dir: Andrea Arnold. With Katie Jarvis. 125 min. 35 mm.
Wednesday, Feb. 21. 8 p.m. Free.
We have been gearing up to screen this modern British classic for a while now, and our wait has paid off, as we’ll be screening it in stunning 35 mm for you this Wednesday! Rising star director of 2016’s on-the-road tour de force “American Honey,” Andrea Arnold tells the tale of a socially isolated teen, Mia, whose angst and aspirations of success clash with her disinterested mother and her desolate, uninspiring surroundings. Mia dances in deserted buildings and fights with her mom, all the while catching the interest of her mother’s new charming and enigmatic boyfriend. Arnold brings us on Mia’s journey, and the result is an occasionally disturbing, yet consistently compelling and spellbinding, film of youth, desire, and disillusion. Arnold gives us astounding insight into the life of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood struggling to reconcile what she wants with what she’s told she can’t have. Mia is a female protagonist with bite, grit, and supreme resolve. She’s an unlikely but undeniable heroine of the silver screen.
2017. Israel. Dir: Shady Srour. With Srour, Laëtitia Eïdo. 81 min.
Thursday, Feb. 22. 8 p.m. Free.
The second feature from the Israel-based actor/director Shady Srour, “Holy Air” is a heartfelt light comedy that glows with confident and wise satires. Adam, a Christian Arab Israeli who lives in Nazareth, encounters a watershed moment in the continuity of life, in this case, the departure of his father and the upcoming birth of his child. Business-wise, Adam also comes up with a far-fetched (Is it, though?) idea before the pope’s upcoming visit, during which he expects a spike in the number of tourists. You probably have figured out what his idea is already, as the title has suggested. To pull this one off, Adam will have to make do with all forces that navigate his life direction, including his vertical familial lineage and horizontal occupational fluctuations.
2017. USA. Dir: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina. Animated. 109 min. 3D.
Friday, Feb. 23. 8 p.m. $5.
Among all the recent major Hollywood productions that, for all reasons possible, make use of Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), such as “Batman v Superman” and “Spectre,” “Coco” sits at the top, as it elevates the motif to an emotionally powerful and mythically imaginative level. Growing up in a family that regards music as the worst hobby to develop, a boy musician is pulled into the world of the dead when he steals the guitar that belongs to his ancestor who allegedly was an amazing musician. The plot unfolds as he travels in the exotic world of the dead and uncovers the secret behind the deceased music legend.
“Branded to Kill”
1967. Japan. Dir: Seijun Suzuki. With Joe Shishido. 91 min.
Saturday, Feb. 24. 8 p.m. Free.
This absurdist cult classic paved the road for Suzuki-san to become the established Japanese New Wave director with one of the most striking personal styles you’ve ever seen. “Branded to Kill” is a standard 1960s B-rated yakuza production and a fantastic companion for any Saturday night. Hanada, a third-ranked assassin in Japan—yes, there are rankings—with a fetish for the scent of boiling rice, failed to complete a dangerous mission that he accepted from a lover. After this mess, he finds himself in discordance with his affiliated organization and hunted by a phantom killer, who pushes him to the verge of desperation. In addition to the thrilling plot and consistently hard-hitting, energetic beats, Suzuki delivers a bold work of art that pokes fun at genre conventions and satirizes formal banality.