SFI Fall Line up Sets the Stage for Edgy Indie Films, Local Premieres, Inspiring Documentaries

The Sonoma Film Institute announces its fall slate of screenings, ranging from edgy independent features to documentaries dealing with international issues and current events, as well as the best in world and classic cinema.

The season includes the North Bay Premiere of the 50th Anniversary restoration of Shirley Clarke's landmark independent feature, The Connection (Sept. 28, 30). Clark, a vital part of the burgeoning post-war American film movement, adapted Jack Gelber's controversial off-Broadway play about a group of jazz musicians and heroin addicts waiting for their drug dealer in a grungy New York loft. The film was acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival, then banned by censors and savaged by mainstream critics, and remained unseen for almost 50 years.


The Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras (Sept. 14,16) follows protests in the village of Bil'in in the central West Bank. Farmer Emad Burnat teams up with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, to document Burnat's experiences with his neighbors, the Israeli army, and Israeli activists as his village is increasingly drawn into a multi-year conflict over the construction of a barrier that will confiscate much of the village's cultivated land. The title refers to the recording equipment broken during the course of filming.


A new film by Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya) adapted from the Haruki Murakami's breakthrough novel, Norwegian Wood, will be shown Oct. 12, 14. Filled with the romantic melancholy of its namesake Beatles song, Norwegian Wood is an absorbing tale of nostalgia, loss and awakening sexuality.


Other international features include the Brazilian work by first time director Julia Murat, Found Memories (Sept. 21, 23); Corpo Celeste (Oct. 26, 28), about a young girl's introduction to organized religion in a Calabrian village; Elena (Nov. 2, 4), a Russian family drama; and La Buche (Nov. 30), a French comedy/drama about a family coming apart during the Christmas season starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Emmauelle Beart and Sabine Azema.


Also on the schedule are the independent feature The Color Wheel (Sept. 7, 9) by 27-year-old Alex Ross Perry that follows the road trip of combative siblings; the documentary Throw Down Your Heart (Oct. 19, 21) about banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck's journey to Africa to pursue the roots of his instrument; and the rarely revived classic Le Ciel Est A Vous (The Sky is Yours) (Oct. 5) about a female pilot who wins the world solo flying record for women.


In addition, SFI is showing two films in conjunction with the campus wide program WaterWorks, that explores inland water flow as a resource, theme and metaphor. Jean Renoir's American film about Texas tenant farmers trying to survive against the elements, The Southerner, will be shown Nov. 9, 11. Oscar winner Jessica Yu's documentary on the urgency of the dwindling fresh water supply, Last Call at the Oasis will be shown Nov. 16,18.


All screenings are in Warren Auditorium, Ives Hall on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park. Admission is $6, $5 for non-SSU students and senior citizens, $4 for SFI members and children under 12, and free for SSU students.


For more information, or to receive a complete schedule of SFI events, visit www.sonoma.edu/sfi or call (707)664-2606.

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