Since 1965, Harpur Cinema has been seeking to bring to campus a range of significant films that in most cases would not be available to local audiences. Our program is international in scope, emphasizing foreign and independent films, as well as important films from the historical archive. All foreign films are shown in their original language with English subtitles.
Lecture Hall 6, unless otherwise noted
7:30pm on Friday and Sunday
$4 Single Admission
*Tickets will be for sale at the door from 7:00pm on the evening of the screening.
ART MEETS LIFE… MEETS ART
Films that reflect on life and the power of art, by filmmakers reflecting on their art, on how art turns the messiness of life into “glory”, pain into insight, and on the thin line between art and life, comedy and tragedy, reality and the theatre in some of the latest groundbreaking cinema from around the world.
Programmers: Tomonari Nishikawa & Chantal Rodais
FEB. 7 & 9 – Can Dialectics Break Bricks? – René Viénet – France – 1973 – 90 min.
Keith Sanborn will be present on Friday February 7
The Situationist strategy and art of détournement are exhibited in this film by René Viénet who replaces the soundtrack of a Hong Kong Kung-Fu film with dialogues narrating the epic struggle of the Proletariat against the Bourgeoisie and its bureaucracy. At once a severe critique of state socialism and a jubilatory deconstruction of cinematic spectacle, this work is a powerful gesture of political subversion.
Keith Sanborn who added the English subtitles will present the film and conduct the discussion on Friday.
FEB. 14 & 16 – Parasite – Bong Joon-ho – South Korea – 2019 – 132 min.
The Kims, who live in relative poverty, manage, through multiple tricks of privilege, to infiltrate the fancy and stylish dwelling of the wealthy Parks. With his dizzying blend of tones, Bong addresses social inequalities, greed, and violence between social classes in what is a perfect comedy until it becomes a tragedy. A masterful command of insular settings, camera movements, composition, and set design lets the filmmaker “experiment with searing imagery that uses human faces and domestic space to create visions of hilarity as well as pure horror” (The Atlantic).
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Palme d’Or – Golden Globes, Best Picture – British Independent Film Awards, Best International Film – Sydney Film Festival / Korean Film Critics Awards, Best Film
Nominated: Academy Awards, 6 nominations – BAFTA Awards, Best Film / Director / Screenplay
FEB. 21 & 23 – Pain and Glory – Pedro Almodóvar – Spain – 2019 – 113 min.
In the performance of his career, Antonio Banderas plays an ageing film director with
a creative block who searches in his memories and dreams for the inspiration and desire
he lost. With powerful restraint, rich cinematography and his signature sense of colors,
Almodóvar blurs the line between art and life in a film about memory, mothers, lovers,
creation, and the passion of filmmaking. Finding answers in the power of art, his
character “takes the messiness, the vibrancy and the sensuous pleasures of life as
he remembers it and turns his pain into glory” (The New York Times).
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Best Actor / Score – Goya Awards, Best Director / Film / Actor / Editing / Screenplay / Score – European Film Awards, Best Actor / Production Designer
Nominated: Academy Awards, Best Actor / Foreign Film – BAFTA Awards, Best Foreign Film
FEB. 28 & MAR. 1 – Woman at War – Benedikt Erlingsson – Iceland – 2018 – 101 min.
Reminiscent of Kaurismaki’s deadpan tragicomic humor, this black comedy artfully balances
absurdist and hilarious invention with melancholy and warm wit, and tense thriller.
Halla, 50, is a mild-mannered choir director, but she is also a fearless eco-warrior
who, with the athletic physicality of an Ethan Hunt, battles big industries, toppling
power lines and demolishing drones with her bow-and-arrow. The cinematographer “shoots
his Icelandic landscapes with such an eye for their barren beauty that it makes this
eco-superhero’s motivation crystal clear: this is a beautiful world that is well worth
Won: Hamburg Film Festival, Best Feature – Cannes Film Festival, Screenwriting Award – Edda Icelandic Awards, Best Film / Director / Cinematography / Actress – Montréal Festival of New Cinema, Best Actress
MAR. 13 & 15 – Synonyms – Nadav Lapid – Israel/France – 2018 – 123 min.
Based partly on Lapid’s own past as an Israeli who moved to Paris, refused to speak Hebrew and tried to transform into a Frenchman, the dryly comic drama invites viewers to question stereotypes, language, culture, nation. With French words tumbling out of his mouth in cascades of synonyms and his intense walks and adventures in the city, the relentless character is pressed between two cultures. “The whirlwind mise-en-scène is stunning” and the edgy camerawork “alternates without warning wild, subjective, and calm, objective point-of-view shots. Each shot contains a new idea, each cut surprises” (Cahiers du Cinéma).
Won: Berlin International Film Festival, Golden Bear – Seville Film Festival, Best Director – Israeli Film Academy Awards, Best Cinematography – Stockholm Film Festival, Best Screenplay
Nominated: Prix Louis Delluc, Best Film – Lumière Awards, Most Promising Actor
MAR. 20 & 22 – Varda by Agnès – Agnès Varda – France – 2019 – 120 min.
Harpur Cinema pays tribute to Agnès Varda who passed away last March 2019 with her
last gift, her final film which, with her characteristic generosity is for the unfamiliar
viewer and for those who feel they lost a friend, both “a perfect introduction and
a lovely valediction” (The New York Times). A genius artist of the moving and still
images, rigorous investigator and questioner of her social systems and times, enthusiastic
mentor, inspiring teacher, restless seeker, traveler, collector of faces, images and
friends, Varda chronicles 60 years of fierce artistic independence, magical innovation,
playfulness, and astonishing visionary creativity.
Won: Women Film Critics Circle Awards, Best Documentary
Nominated: London Critics Circle Film Awards, Documentary of the Year
MAR. 27 & 29 – Mulholland Drive – David Lynch – USA – 2001 – 147 min.
Lynch’s hypnotic and delirious masterpiece is a “brilliant commentary on Hollywood’s
machinations,” illusion and reality, and the power of cinema. An aspiring actress
new to L.A. (Naomi Watts) meets a mysterious woman who becomes amnesic after a car
accident and needs help in her search for clues to her life. With its mosaic-like
texture and unforgettable scenes such as the Club Silencio one, “the endlessly fascinating
film is both a sumptuous sensory experience and a self-reflexive exercise that prioritizes
questions over answers, stretching our expectations of what cinema can achieve” (BBC).
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Best Director – César Awards, Best Foreign Film – BAFTA Awards, Best Editing – Independent Spirit Awards, Best Cinematography
Nominated: Academy Awards, Best Director – Golden Globes, Best Director / Picture / Screenplay
APR. 17 & 19 – I Was at Home, But… – Angela Schanelec – Germany – 2019 – 105 min.
A 13-year old returns home after missing for a week. His unexplained disappearance has thrown his household balance off kilter. The emotional repercussion is more intense for Astrid, his widowed mother, whose state of anxiety becomes existential upon his return. With her signature vignettes of piercing human truth and cool humor, Berlin School auteur Schanelec unfolds a reflection on existence and art, longing and the ineffable. Her mastery of the camera and composition of the frame creates ravishing tableaux, and certain scenes of devastating emotional force may evoke Bresson’s cinema.
Won: Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear – San Sebastian International Film Festival, Best Director – FEST International Film Festival, Jury Prize for Best Cinematography
Past Harpur Cinema Events
- Spring 2019
Crossing borders, geographical, social, moral, political, musical, visual experimenting with the threshold, the frame, the cut challenging boundaries between identities, genders, filmic forms in some of the latest groundbreaking cinema from around the world.
Programmers: Tomonari Nishikawa & Chantal Rodais
FEB. 15 & 17 – El Mar La Mar – Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki – USA – 2017 – 94 min.
Shot on 16mm film in the Sonoran Desert at the US-Mexico border, a popular but extremely dangerous route to attempt unauthorized entry across the border, El Mar La Mar, an experimental documentary by Joshua Bonnetta and J.P Sniadecki, addresses the issues of migration and explores the materiality of the celluloid medium, which becomes one of the main subjects. "Though its juxtapositions of human horror with natural splendor, through harrowing affective accumulation, reveal a hostile landscape indifferent to the concerns of those passing through it" (Matt Turner, BOMB Magazine).
Won: Berlin International Film Festival, Caligari Film Award – Dokufest Kosovo, Best Film –Curitiba International Film Festival, Best Film
Nominated: Hong Kong International Film Festival, Golden Firebird Award – International Cinephile Society Awards, Best Documentary
FEB. 22 & 24 – BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee – USA – 2018 – 136 min.
Based on the protagonist's memoir, the film relates how, in 1972, Colorado Springs's first Black police officer and his Jewish partner succeeded in infiltrating the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. Combining his signature long-take tracking shots and tonal shifts with an impressive ensemble cast, Spike Lee questions the boundaries of group identity, and "efficiently conflates the struggles of the past and present into a powerful cinematic continuum" (The Guardian). BlacKkKlansman seamlessly slips from broad comedy to blunt depiction of all-too-real horror, from Blaxploitation to Classical Hollywood cinema, and from urgent satire to furious and brilliant wake-up call.
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Jury Grand Prize – AFI Awards, Movie of the Year – Locarno International Film Festival, Audience Award
Nominated: 6 Academy Awards – 4 Golden Globes – 4 BAFTA Awards – Jerusalem Film Festival
MAR. 1 & 3 – Zama – Lucrecia Martel – Argentina/Brazil – 2017 – 115 min.
Don Diego de Zama, an 18th-century corregidor (an administrator of the Spanish colonial empire) in a remote outpost on the Paraguay River waits, endlessly, for a more prestigious post. In this "cinematic marvel," Lucrecia Martel exposes the absurdity and horrors of colonialism with "her limpid visual choices" (The New York Times), her stunning plastic inventiveness, and expressive use of framing and sound. In her pointed exploration of relations of power, the colonized bodies rendered invisible by their obvious exploitation get their visibility and centrality back through provocative mise-en-scène. This sumptuous and surreal satire of colonialism "reaches psychedelic summits" in the last "demented" thirty minutes (Cahiers du Cinéma).
Won: Premios Fénix, 4 Fénix Awards – International Cinephile Society Awards, Best Picture – Argentinean Film Critics Awards, 9 Silver Condors – Rotterdam Film Festival, Best Director.
MAR. 8 & 10 – Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski – Poland – 2013 – 82 min.
A last-minute delay in the distribution of Paweł Pawlikowski's Cold War gives Harpur Cinema the opportunity to present instead his previous film, Ida.
Anna, an orphan and young novice in a remote convent in 1962, is ordered, before she takes her final vows, to visit her previously unknown aunt, Wanda, in Łódź. Wanda, a minor state judge and Communist Party member, reveals the truth to her niece: Anna's name was originally Ida and she is Jewish. The two women set out to discover what became of Ida's parents. With its gorgeous and powerful black-and-white photography, and its expressive and daring framing and composition, Ida is "an excavation of truths that remain, 70 years after the Holocaust and a quarter-century after the collapse of Communism, only partially disinterred. And it is, above all, about the spiritual and moral condition" of the two at-odds women (The New York Times).
Won: London Film Festival, Best Film – European Film Awards, Best Director/Cinematographer – Polish Film Awards, Best Film/Director/Actress/Editing – Academy Awards, Best Foreign Film
MAR. 29 & 31 – Shoplifters – Kore-eda Hirokazu – Japan – 2018 – 121 min.
In this "brilliant, audacious gem," Kore-eda returns to a favorite subject of his, the family and "the ways in which it can be dismantled and reassembled" (The Guardian). With delicate brushstrokes, blurring the divide between the unforgivable and the understandable, the film follows with tenderness the five members of a family who all live in a cramped apartment and supplement their meager incomes selling what they steal on daily shoplifting expeditions. One day, they impulsively take in a neglected young girl found in the street. The eerily moving film with its "sheer depth of compassion and knowing humanity behind every frame" (BFI) builds to a most extraordinary surprise ending.
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Palme d'Or – International Cinephile Society Awards, Jury Prize – Munich Film Festival, Best International Film
Nominated: Academy Awards, Best Foreign Language Film – BAFTA Awards, Best Foreign Film
APR. 5 & 7 – Spectres Are Haunting Europe – Maria Kourkouta and Niki Giannari – Greece/France – 2016 – 99 min.
The first collaborative work by Kourkouta and Giannari, this documentary is set in a makeshift refugee camp in Idomeni, a small village in Greece on the border with the Republic of Macedonia, where 15,000 people found themselves trapped when the European Commission closed the "Balkan route". The film uncompromisingly discloses everyday life in the camp with images of the refugees protesting under the overcast skies, of long lines of muddy feet, or with poignant black-and-white shots of refugees silently communicating with the camera. "Spectres Are Haunting Europe is more humanistic than political, but still makes a powerful statement about European society's most recent failure" (Glasgow Film Festival).
Won: Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Best World Documentary Award – Torino Film Festival, Interfedi Award
APR. 12 & 14 – The Wild Boys – Bertrand Mandico – France – 2017 – 110 min.
Mandico's first feature film, after more than 40 shorts, is "a grand burst of forms and textures, of artifices and effects laid bare, where the seams between images and sounds open as many breaches to the imaginary" (Le Monde). When a band of wealthy boys commit a terrible crime, they are sent off to work on a dreadful ship. After many adventures, they land on a paradise island, a place of mysterious metamorphoses. As it explores the unstable zone of fluctuation between genders, the film experiments with form such as overlapping, instantaneous transitions from monochrome to color, rear projection effects, visual manipulations, all realized while filming and evoking the poetic illusions of early cinema. "A refined example of radical and engaged cinema" (Cineuropa).
Won: Prix Louis Delluc, Best First Feature – Vilnius Film Festival, Best Director
Nominated: Munich Film Festival, Best Director – Venice Film Festival, Queer Lion
- Fall 2018
When films reveal, celebrate, question, or denounce the dreams and the struggles, the hopes and the nightmares, and become powerful and inspiring artistic works, in some of the latest groundbreaking cinema from around the world.
Programmers: Tomonari Nishikawa & Chantal Rodais
SEP. 21 & 23 – Get Out – Jordan Peele – USA – 2017 – 104 min.
Chris and his girlfriend Rose go home to meet her white liberal parents who do not know he is black. A box-office and critical sensation and global phenomenon, Jordan Peele's film starts as social satire and evolves into nightmarish terror to address the African American experience, and "more broadly, race and the concept of the other" as a global experience (Peele). Exhilaratingly smart and scary, cleverly using the horror genre "to amplify ingrained racism, exploring subjects such as cultural appropriation, and the dark legacy of slavery" (The Atlantic), Get Out is "a giant leap forward for the possibilities of black cinema" (The New Yorker) and cinema in general.
Won: Academy Awards, Best Original Screenplay – AFI Awards, Movie of the Year – British Independent Film Awards, Best International Film
Nominated: Academy Awards, Best Picture/Actor/Director – Golden Globes, Best Picture/Actor
SEP. 28 & 30 – A Fantastic Woman – Sebastián Lelio – Chile – 2017 – 104 min.
The Chilean filmmaker's 5th film is at once a crime thriller and "a sublime study of love, loss, and the transgender experience" (The Guardian). Undermined, ostracized, even criminalized by various institutions after the sudden passing of her partner Orlando, Marina struggles to grieve, a basic right that is continually denied her. Firmly presenting Marina's perspective, Lelio's intransigent and sensual camera and mise-en-scène testify how Marina, labelled a chimera by some obtuse minds -who when they see her before them, still deny her existence- is required to be and is indeed "a fantastic woman".
Won: Academy Awards, Best Foreign Language Film – Berlin Film Festival, Silver Bear, Teddy – GLAAD Award – Goya Award – Premios Fénix – Cinema Brazil Grand Prize – Film Independent Spirit Award
OCT. 5 & 7 – Foxtrot – Samuel Maoz – Israel – 2017 – 113 min.
With this triptych made of three connected stories with several surprising twists, Samuel Maoz delivers "a uniquely powerful work," at times dreamlike, "often grimly funny," with a "fascination with narrowing perspective tightly guiding the audience into the viewpoint of each character" (The Atlantic). From the oppressive setting of an apartment in Tel Aviv to a bleak checkpoint on the Northern border and its barracks sinking in the sand, from intrusive close-up shots to wide-angle shots of lunar landscape, the Israeli filmmaker designs perfectly bizarre environments of rare expressive force, filled with visual metaphors, meticulous framing, flashes of cruelty, glimmers of urgency and wit, all "arranged with such visionary boldness that it dares us to look away" (The Guardian).
Won: Venice Film Festival, Silver Lion – Israeli Film Academy, 8 awards – Palm Spring Film Festival
OCT. 19 & 21 – SPECIAL EVENT! Harpur Cinema and the Binghamton University Art Museum present: 24 Frames – Abbas Kiarostami – Iran/France – 2017 – 114 min. Showing in the Main Gallery at the Binghamton University Art Museum
The final film by Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami, who was also a poet and a photographer, shows the convergence of two art forms. Instead of filming scenes with a movie camera, Kiarostami used his own still photographs, most of them of landscapes with wild animals, and, using digital techniques, he added motion and sound to these images. The animated photographs display a mixture of the real and the imagined, both of which present Kiarostami's unique viewpoint. "A sustained meditation on the process of image making, 24 Frames is a graceful and elegiac farewell from one of the giants of world cinema" (Janus Films).
Won: Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Artistic Acknowledgement – International Cinephile Society Awards
OCT. 26 & 28 – The Tree of Wooden Clogs – Ermanno Olmi – Italy – 1978 – 186 min.
With the screening of his "epic masterpiece of the land" (BFI), Harpur Cinema celebrates Ermanno Olmi who passed away last May 2018. This chronicle of the life of peasants around 1880 in Lombardy, Northern Italy, when the owner of the land treated the workers like serfs, is an exceptional evocation of the essential acts of life, the cycle of the seasons, and a celebration of communal virtues. Exquisitely shot in 16 mm "like a tapestry, a fresco" (Cinemathèque) and exhibiting heartbreaking authenticity with its cast of nonprofessional actors, the film is "a cinematic miracle; to see it is to be stirred to the depths of one's soul" (Andrew Sarris).
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Palme d'Or – BAFTA Awards – César Awards – New York Film Critics Circle Awards – Golden Goblets-Italy, Golden Cup
NOV. 2 & 4 – The Other Side of Hope – Aki Kaurismaki – Finland – 2017 – 100 min.
In this "gravely funny comedy" (The New York Times), Khaled, fleeing civil war in Syria, has wound up in Helsinki where he lives with other refugees, and meets a grumpy salesman who, after an apparent midlife crisis, gets into the restaurant business. Faced with hardship, racist violence, as well as official heartlessness, the two men are going to develop a friendship that Kaurismaki soberly paints with his lightness of touch, desperate irony, and even tenderness. "At the top of his art," the Finnish director "reconnects with his deadpan -desperate- humor which makes him Charlie Chaplin's worthy heir." In Kaurismaki's cinema, people "have nothing but they do have goodness, generosity, the will to resist, and hospitality" (Le Monde).
Won: Berlin Film Festival, Silver Bear – Jerusalem Film Festival, Spirit for Freedom Award – Munich Film Festival, Best Director Award for Peace – San Sebastián Film Festival, FIPRESCI Film of the Year
NOV. 9 & 11 – The Human Surge – Eduardo Williams – Argentina/Brazil/Portugal – 2016 – 97 min.
The first feature film by Argentine director Eduardo Williams develops three episodes in three different locations, Argentina, Mozambique, and the Philippines. In each country, the camera swiftly follows a small group of young people who have something in common – the usage of the Internet and cellphones. These episodes may seem disorganized and lead the audience to feel a sense of being lost and urgency. With such an immersive, unpredictable sensory experience, "if the slender paradox at the heart of the film is that the thing that connects us most is the difficulty of connection, The Human Surge is a victim of its own effectiveness: It's rigorous, rarefied, and utterly remote" (Variety).
Won: Locarno Film Festival, Best First Feature Special Mention – Cinema Tropical Awards, Best Director
- Spring 2018
A CURIOUS LENS
A face, a walk, daily life or extraordinary struggles, hallucinatory experiences or compelling encounters, the movie camera celebrates, scrutinizes, questions, reveals, provokes, or transforms, in some of the latest groundbreaking cinema from around the world.
Programmers: Tomonari Nishikawa & Chantal Rodais
FEB. 16 & 18 - SPECIAL EVENT! Harpur Cinema and the Binghamton University Art Museum present: Faces Places / Visages Villages - Agnès Varda and JR - France - 2017 - 89 min.
Showing in the Main Gallery at the Binghamton University Art Museum
Agnès Varda teams up with the artist JR, known for his epic-size photographs, and together they travel from village to village in France, meet people, talk with them, take their pictures, and plaster these gigantic photographs in the spaces the subjects inhabit, on houses, barns, factories, storefronts. Varda's camera documents this creative recognition of "the heroism of daily life" (Richard Brody) with particular attention to women. At once playful, magnificent, unnerving, and moving, Visages Villages reveals itself as a powerful, complex and radical work. "As we contemplate those faces and places, we are invited to reflect on the passage of time and the nature of memory, on the mutability of friendship and the durability of art, on the dignity of labor and the fate of the European working class" (A.O. Scott, The New York Times).
Won: Cannes Film Festival, Golden Eye - Haifa International Film Festival - Toronto International Film Festival
Nominated: Academy Awards 2018 - Film Independent Spirit Awards 2018 - Lumière Awards
FEB. 23 & 25 - Endless Poetry - Alejandro Jodorowsky - Chile/France/UK - 2016 - 128 min.
The director of cult films like El Topo and The Holy Mountain presents the second chapter of his cinematic memoirs. Young Alejandro, now in his twenties, decides to be a poet and discovers the art world of Santiago de Chile in the late 1940s. Besides a vociferating father and a mother singing all her lines, the film offers a gallery of characters reminiscent of Fellini. Bolstered by the exquisite cinematography of Christopher Doyle, the film is a feast for the eyes, a formidable and unbridled sensual spectacle, a "testament to the relentless energy and undimmed ingenuity of its creator" and "a world of hallucinatory artifice" (A.O. Scott, The New York Times).
Won: San Francisco International Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature
Nominated: Locarno International Film Festival - Munich Film Festival - Cannes Film Festival
MAR. 9 & 11 - Dragonfly Eyes - Xu Bing - China - 2017 - 81 min.
Chinese visual artist Xu Bing edited thousands of hours of surveillance footage to create Dragonfly Eyes, his first feature about an obsessive romance and other matters that may be happening right now somewhere in the world. The frightening and fascinating clips reveal a strong sense of reality, which may question our daily life, privacy, and security, and "the fable here revolving around the extremes that people may go to transform their sense of reality and trade it in for something that may itself be fake, and also substitutes for reality" (Robert Koehler, Cinema Scope).
Won: Locarno International Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize
Nominated: Locarno International Film Festival, Golden Leopard - Rotterdam International Film Festival, Netpac Award - Singapore International Film Festival, Silver Screen Award
MAR. 16 & 18 - Félicité - Alain Gomis - Senegal/France/Belgium/Lebanon - 2017 - 129 min.
With this beautiful and powerful portrait of Félicité, an ordinary woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a single mother struggling against poverty and daily challenges, Gomis avoids the stereotypical image of African mothers often found in cinema, and instead develops a multi-faceted experience in its most specific and its most shared. He participates in the reversal of the old perspectives center/margins, and in "the collapse of the fake dichotomies and the lazy borders" (Achille Mbembe and Felwine Sarr). "Félicité speaks to the world through the song of a single mother, from the stage of a small bar in Kinshasa" (Le Monde).
Won: Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear - Chicago International Film Festival - Istanbul International Film Festival - Ouagadougou Panafrican Film Festival, Grand Prize
Nominated: Berlin International Film Festival, Golden Bear - Jerusalem Film Festival - Lumière Awards - Sydney Film Festival
MAR. 23 & 25 - God's Own Country - Francis Lee - UK - 2017 - 105 min.
In Francis Lee's feature directorial debut, Johnny is a young farmer whose life on the family's failing sheep farm is a monotonous grind of work and a sort of entrapping legacy. The arrival of Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, leads to a passionate relationship filmed with naturalism in the ravishing landscape of Yorkshire beautifully captured by the cinematography. Rejecting clichés about rural homophobia, the film reveals pockets of acceptance in unexpected places. By not shying away from romantic conventions, Lee's film "normalizes its characters' love without a hint of sentimentality or sanctimony" (Guy Lodge).
Won: Berlin International Film Festival, Jury Award - British Independent Film Awards - Chicago International Film Festival, Silver Q-Hugo - Sundance Film Festival - Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival
Nominated: BAFTA Awards 2018 - Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association 2018
APR. 13 & 15 - Elevator to the Gallows - Louis Malle - France - 1958 - 92 min.
With Malle's crime thriller, Harpur Cinema pays tribute to Jeanne Moreau, who passed away last July 2017. In a mesmerizing performance, the iconic actress demonstrates her unique relationship with the camera and her emotional fearlessness. Over the course of one restless night in Paris, two lovers whose plan to murder her husband goes very wrong, set off a fateful chain of events. "The film's beauty lies in its economy, in its formal rigor, and nearly absurdist humor." Accompanied by the legendary jazz score by Miles Davis, Moreau exhibits that "amazing, imperious walk of hers" -which would "come to seem the defining movement of the New Wave, the embodied rhythm of freedom" (Terrence Rafferty).
Won: Prix Louis Delluc
APR. 20 & 22 - Western - Valeska Grisebach - Bulgaria/Germany/Austria - 2017 - 119 min.
The third feature from German director Valeska Grisebach, known for her collaborative filmmaking, follows a group of German construction workers who have arrived to build a water power plant in a rural area in Bulgaria. The visual focuses on gestures and behavior of people confronting a cultural/language barrier, while it slowly reveals the plot and "gradually identifies in the grassy, bucolic Bulgarian landscape all the sparse, atmospheric menace of the most parched Wild West frontier" (Guy Lodge, Variety).
Won: Mar del Plata Film Festival, Best Director - Motovun Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize
Nominated: Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard Award
- Fall 2017
Hilarious chaos, investigations of dark realities, intimate encounters, spiritual explorations, or defiance of earthly boundaries, in some of the latest groundbreaking cinema from around the world.
Programmers: Tomonari Nishikawa & Chantal Rodais
SEP. 29 & OCT. 1 – Hail, Caesar! – Joel & Ethan Coen – USA – 2016 – 106 min.
As they revisit the Hollywood industry of the early 50s, the Coen brothers create a delirious comedy, which at once pays tribute to this era of cinema and offers a satirical critique. A studio fixer with moral issues (Josh Brolin), an aquatic musical star, hardboiled and tough-talking mermaid (Scarlett Johansson), a B-western singing cowboy (Alden Ehrenreich) cast as a romantic lead, a hyper-refined British director (Ralph Fiennes), identical twins and rival gossip columnists (Tilda Swinton), a popular song-and-dance sailor (Channing Tatum), a major star in full Roman consul costume (George Clooney) kidnapped by a mysterious group of Communist screenwriters. "The Coen brothers conjure up nostalgic joy from this hilarious knockabout homage to the golden age of film" (The Guardian).
Nominated: Academy Awards – BAFTA Awards – Art Directors Guild – International Cinephile Society Awards.
OCT. 6 & 8 – The Nile Hilton Incident – Tarik Saleh – Sweden/Denmark – 2017 – 106 min.
Even though his superiors are eager to label it a suicide, Noredin, a police detective in Cairo, feels compelled to investigate the case of a murdered woman, a crime that leads him deeper into a dark world of corruption where justice is hard to find. Set days before the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Saleh's film is "a true Film Noir, that develops and mediates a precise vision of a contemporary reality" (Le Monde) and presents the city of Cairo "as a fugue-like dystopian wasteland littered with the bodies of innocents and the broken shards of the laws intended to protect them" (Variety).
Won: Sundance Film Festival 2017, Grand Jury Prize – Beaune International Thriller Film Festival.
Nominated: Seattle International Film Festival – Art Film Festival.
OCT. 20 & 22 – Kaili Blues – Bi Gan – China – 2015 – 113 min.
Bi Gan's debut feature follows a medical practitioner working in a clinic in the village of Kaili, in Guizhou Province, Southwest China, who decides to fulfill his mother's wish – looking for his brother's abandoned child. The film focuses on poetry and a specific location, while presenting issues in contemporary Chinese culture. The viewers travel through the narrative and reality, past and present for the duration of the movie, including a 41-minute-long handheld shot, "and we're everywhere, unbounded, set free to wander in a single shot, in a dream without limits" (Shelly Kraicer, Cinema Scope).
Won: Locarno Film Festival, Best Emerging Director Prize & Special Mention for the First Feature Award – Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize.
OCT. 27 & 29 – Heart of a Dog – Laurie Anderson – USA/France – 2015 – 75 min.
Directed and narrated by multimedia performance artist Laurie Anderson with her characteristic wry wit, perfect phrasing, and warm tone, Heart of a Dog is a tender and provocative meditation on love and loss, on telling, remembering, and forgetting, centered around her beloved rat terrier Lolabelle, and her late husband Lou Reed. At once narratively straightforward and playfully experimental, funny, light, and heavy, the film strolls between multiple forms, with tender images of Lolabelle, references to Tibetan Buddhism, or post 9/11 America, shots of trees or a beach, a nod to Kierkegaard or Wittgenstein. "In numerous ways, it is structured like a dog's journey through life, sniffing around at what interests it in the moment. Deeply reflective and one of the most invigorating and alive films" (Brian Tallerico).
Won: Venice Film Festival, Lina Mangiacapre Award – Cine Eye Honors Award – International Cinephile Society Award (Best documentary) – Tromsø International Film Festival.
Nominated: Venice Film Festival, Golden Lion – Chicago International Film Festival – Independent Spirit Awards.
NOV. 3 & 5 – Funeral Parade of Roses – Toshio Matsumoto – Japan – 1969 – 107 min.
Directed by Toshio Matsumoto, possibly the most prominent Japanese avant-garde filmmaker who died recently, Funeral Parade of Roses features a drag queen Peter (as Eddie, a hostess at a gay bar in Tokyo) and retells the Athenian tragedy, Oedipus Rex. The film had been unavailable in the U.S. for decades, and it was restored for re-release in 2017. It is "one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara" (Cinelicious Pics and Cinefamily).
NOV. 10 & 12 – The Death of Louis XIV – Albert Serra – France/Spain – 2016 – 115 min.
Albert Serra takes his audience through a historical event, the final days of Louis XIV, in 1715 in Versailles, placing us by the royal deathbed where the extravagantly wigged Sun King lies, surrounded by his devoted servants, favorite pets, and hopeless physicians. "Serra has crafted a ravishing, darkly witty evocation of 18th-century aristocracy and a neoclassical period piece" (Film Comment). Filled with entrancing candlelit images, exquisite cinematography and costumes, and painstaking details, "the film is as darkly funny as it is moving" (Film Society Lincoln Center), and fuses two great myths: Louis XIV as myth of Power, and Jean-Pierre Léaud -icon of the French New Wave immortalized in the final freeze-frame of Truffaut's The 400 Blows - as myth of Cinema.
Won: Lumière Award – Prix Jean Vigo – Jerusalem Film Festival Award – Prix Louis Delluc – International Cinephile Society Award – Gaudí Award.
NOV. 17 & 19 – Toni Erdmann – Maren Ade – Germany/Austria – 2016 – 162 min.
A divorced, recently retired father with a prankish sense of humor, and prone to assuming absurd and outrageous invented personas, decides to reconnect with his career-obsessed daughter. The attempt throws her ordered life into chaos at times, and leads to profound revelations, transformations, and many surprises for the characters as well as the viewers. At once hilarious comedy, intimate story, powerful social commentary, existential protest against the standardization of life, and supported by fearless performances, "the film wants to shake its audience out of habits of complacency and compromise, to alter our perceptions and renew our sense of what is possible. There are things you will look at differently after seeing Toni Erdmann" (The New York Times).
Won: Cannes Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize – Ernst Lubitsch Award – European Film Awards (Best Director/Film/Actress/Actor/Script) – International Cinephile Society Awards – Palm Spring & San Sebastian International Film Festivals.
Nominated: Academy Awards 2017 – Golden Globes 2017 – BAFTA Awards 2017 – Cannes Film Festival, Palme d'Or – César Awards.