Fall 2016 Schedule
Friday, September 30 at 7:30
Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center
Singer Wesla Whitfield with Mike Greensill
Music From the Movies
In a special live fundraising performance for the Sonoma Film Institute, singer Wesla Whitfield, nationally known for her dazzling performances from the Great American Songbook, does an evening of music from the movies with accompanist Mike Greensill. “Wesla Whitfield’s back in town: the best cabaret singer in the world. She knows how to point up every lewd nuance in a Cole Porter lyric. But she can also swing as hard as Nat Cole and her way with a torch song is as devastatingly unsentimental as Frank Sinatra at his late-50’s best.” – New York Daily News
General admission: $30
Ticket includes parking – no additional fee!
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Friday, August 26 at 7:00 and Sunday, August 28 at 4:00
In 1964, playwright Samuel Beckett, Buster Keaton, cinematographer Boris Kaufman, and director Alan Schneider came together to make a short, dialogue-free work simply titled FILM. In Beckett’s scenario, Keaton plays “O,” who tries desperately to evade the reality of the maxim esse est percipi (to be is to be seen) but finds his every effort futile. Beckett judged the final result “an interesting failure” - interesting enough for Ross Lipman to devote two-plus hours to this remarkable exploration of the making of a 22-minute film. Featuring audio recordings of Beckett in discussion with Schneider, Kaufman, and producer and Grove Press head Barney Rosset, this fascinating and unprecedented “making-of” also gives us interviews with Rosset and actress and Beckett muse Billie Whitelaw. “As we witness Rossett and Whitelaw struggling beneath the oppressive weight of age, the documentary becomes about memory and its fading. In other words, the obliteration that waits for us all - the foundation of Beckett’s art.” – Scott Eyman, Film Comment (2015, 128 min.) Screening with: FILM (1964
Friday, September 2 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 4 at 4:00
“At the base of an active volcano, in a region long inhabited by Mayan people, Maria’s family prepares for her marriage. The teenage girl, however, has other ideas. With one drunken encounter, she alters her fate and that of her family. Jayro Bustamante’s masterful debut feature begins as an intensely lovely immersion into contemporary rural Guatemalan culture. Having grown up in the region, Bustamante is a remarkable tour guide, revealing lifeways of the local people. But as the story takes several dramatic turns, Bustamante reveals that he has ambitions far beyond either the coming-of-age film or the typical tradition-vs.-modernity tale. By its startling finale, IXCANUL has taken on an operatic energy reminiscent of early Werner Herzog, and injected a dose of political fury. A deserving winner at multiple festivals including Berlin, IXCANUL is one of the truly essential films in recent years.” - Telluride Film Festival (2015, 91min., in Spanish w/English subtitles)
Friday, September 9 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 11 at 4:00
As one of the world's preeminent photographers, Sally Mann creates artwork that challenges viewers' values and moral attitudes. Described in 2001 by Time magazine as "America's greatest photographer," she first came to international prominence in 1992 with "Immediate Family," a series of complex and enigmatic pictures of her own children. Steven Cantor’s WHAT REMAINS follows the creation of Mann's more recent seminal work: a photo series revolving around various aspects of death and decay. Never one to compromise, Sally Mann reflects on her own personal feelings toward death as she continues to examine the boundaries of contemporary photography. Shown at home on her family farm in Virginia, she is surrounded by her husband and now-grown children, and her willingness to reveal her artistic process as it unfolds allows the viewer to gain exclusive entrance to her world. (2005, 80 min.)
Internationally recognized photographer and Santa Rosa Junior College faculty member Renata Breth will introduce the film at the Friday screening.
ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL
Friday, September 16 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 18 at 4:00
Produced at the peak of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s creative powers, ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL reworks the narrative and thematic framework of Douglas Sirk’s classic melodrama ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS in telling the improbable love story of Ali (El Hedi ben Salem), a thirty-something Moroccan immigrant working as a mechanic, and Emmi (Fassbinder muse Brigitte Mira), a German widow who is old enough to be his mother. The motley pair gets married and quickly encounters prejudice and discrimination from neighbors, friends, and family. This wry and tender romance/social-commentary has endured as one of its director’s most accomplished and popular films. (1974, 93 min., in German and Arabic w/English subtitles)
LOVE ME TONIGHT
Friday, September 23 at 7:00 and Sunday, September 25 at 4:00
One of the most delightful of all musicals, enlivened by the first of Rodgers and Hart’s film scores and the deft, witty direction of Rouben Mamoulian. Maurice Chevalier is a Parisian tailor in love with a princess (Jeanette MacDonald) in this sophisticated fairy tale. Music, dialogue and action are so skillfully interwoven that the entire film is like one long, unbroken production number. The songs include “Isn’t It Romantic?” “Mimi,” and “Lover.” Charlie Ruggles and Myrna Loy head the supporting cast. “An ineffable mixture of absurdity and enchantment.” – Tom Milne, Rouben Mamoulian (1932, 96 min.)
PATHS OF THE SOUL
Friday, October 7 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 9 at 4:00
“Chinese director Zhang Yang’s PATHS OF THE SOUL is a captivating and profound portrait of a small group of Tibetan villagers on an arduous pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa. This meticulous and soulful film offers a rare glimpse of a startlingly difficult rite of passage, one that requires the devotees to not only walk 1,000 miles on a dangerous highway, but to kowtow the entire way, constantly dropping to a prone position and even touching their foreheads to the asphalt. Beautifully shot in a documentary style in the Himalayas, Zhang recruited villagers on the Tibet-Yunnan border to recreate the arduous pilgrimage. The journey becomes an astonishing representation of group dynamics and togetherness, and when they finally move on from magnificent Potala Palace into the breathtaking vistas by holy Mt. Kailash, the film radiates an unearthly beauty and the toil and suffering of both the trek and the pilgrims’ lives is magically transcended.” – Gustavus Kundahl, SFIFF (2015, 115 min., in Tibetan w/English subtitles)
Friday, October 14 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 16 at 4:00
“Renowned Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden’s moving new feature (adapted from his own novella) about a Tibetan shepherd named Tharlo. Visiting a Tibetan town in Qinghai province to obtain a proper ID card from the local police station, Tharlo surprises the police chief by reciting from memory a lengthy excerpt from one of Chairman Mao’s essays. But things develop in a romantic rather than a political direction. To prepare for his ID photo, Tharlo needs his hair washed, and so meets Yangtso, a beautiful local hairdresser. Their courtship is both exquisitely awkward and enthrallingly suspenseful. Tharlo is smitten, but town-dweller Yangtso’s ideas of fun are not quite Tharlo’s, and he spends an uncomfortable evening with her at a local karaoke joint. This is a passionate love story with darker undercurrents, where basic pastoral imperatives such as protecting his sheep from hungry wolves run against Tharlo’s discovery of the contemporary pleasures of smoking, drinking, singing and sex.” – Vancouver International Film Festival (2016, 123 min., in Tibetan w/English subtitles)
Friday, October 21 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 23 at 4:00
“The Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, are Belgian filmmakers who make heart-rending movies (LA PROMESSE, THE SON, L’ENFANT and TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT) about young people left behind by the postwar European boom; their characters fall into chasms where only the most powerful exercise of will can save them from moral disaster. In LORNA’S SILENCE, Lorna (Arta Dobroshi), a pretty young Albanian woman who illegally purchased Belgian citizenship, lives with a pathetic Belgian “husband” (Jérémie Renier). She’s disgusted by him, yet when the thugs running the immigration racket want to get rid of him so that Lorna can, in turn, be married off to an incoming Russian, she slowly but sturdily revolts.” – David Denby, The New Yorker (2009, 105 min., in French w/English subtitles)
NO HOME MOVIE
Friday, October 28 at 7:00 and Sunday, October 30 at 4:00
“At the center of Chantal Akerman's enormous body of work is her mother, a Holocaust survivor who married and raised a family in Brussels. In recent years, the filmmaker has explicitly depicted, in videos, books, and installation works, her mother's life and their own intense connection to each other. NO HOME MOVIE is a portrait by Akerman, the daughter, of Akerman, the mother, in the last years of her life. It is an extremely intimate film but also one of great formal precision and beauty, one of the rare works of art that is both personal and universal, and as much a masterpiece as her 1975 career-defining JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES.” – New York Film Festival (2015, 115 min., in French and English w/English subtitles)
Friday, November 4 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 6 at 4:00
A political powder keg sparks intense conflict in Emanuele Crialese's immigration drama. Old-school fisherman Ernesto (Mimmo Cuticchio) works the surrounding waters of an island off the coast of Sicily that is quickly turning into a tourist haven. His well intentioned, but illegal rescue of North African ‘boat people,’ forces Ernesto’s family to choose between their economic survival and doing the morally correct thing regarding the family they’ve saved at sea. (2013, 88 min., in Italian w/English subtitles)
APARAJITO (The Unvanquished)
Friday, November 11 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 13 at 4:00
“The second entry in Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy after PATHER PANCHALI, APARAJITO continues the story of the Bengali family after they leave their home to travel to the holy city of Benares on the banks of the Ganges. The film is primarily the story of Apu’s adolescent encounter with education and the deaths of his parents. Ray’s sense of humor is focused on the village school system of India, with its pompous principals and excitable pupils. In the later half of the film, when Apu leaves his mother to go to the University of Calcutta, there is a subtle change in mood: the drama of city life contrasts with the simplicity of Apu’s background, and the characterization of Apu lies in the heart of modern India.” – Albert Johnson, Pacific Film Archive (1956, 113 min., in Bengali w/English subtitles)
Sonoma State University Hutchins School Professor Dr. Ajay Gehlawat will introduce the film at the Sunday screening.
OUR LAST TANGO
Friday, November 18 at 7:00 and Sunday, November 20 at 4:00
Executive produced by Wim Wenders, OUR LAST TANGO tells the life and love story of Argentina’s most famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart. Now in their 80s and no longer on speaking terms, these two tango greats discuss their humble pasts, their tense personal relationship, and all that each gave up in the name of the dance. Relaying their story to a group of young tango dancers and choreographers from Buenos Aires, their story of love, hatred and passion is transformed into unforgettable tango-choreographies. Directed by German Kral. (2015, 85 min., in Spanish w/English subtitles)
Closed for Thanksgiving
Friday, December 2 at 7:00
One of the very best and most unjustly neglected of all the MGM musicals. Gene Kelly and Judy Garland are the featured performers, the music is one of Cole Porter’s most brilliant scores, and the film as a whole is, in the words of its director Vincente Minnelli, “a fantasy, highly colored, theatrical as possible, flamboyant, swirling and larger than life.” “THE PIRATE is above all, an exuberant parody of operetta conventions, with dividend winks at Victorian melodramas and swashbuckler romance. It’s a glorious and sophisticated entertainment, an immense, lavish production yet as enchantingly weightless as a daydream. The screenplay is uncommonly witty in its satiric thrusts at theatrical and literary conventions, and unexpectedly insightful in its underlying assumptions about the redemptive power of the artistic imagination.” – Joel Siegel, Film Heritage (1948, 102 min.)
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STAFF: Eleanor Nichols, Director; Aidan Humrich, and Ruth King.
Supported in part by Instructionally Related Activity Funds