The Sonoma Film Institute is no longer selling tickets for film screenings. Suggested donation is $5 and all donations are tax deductible.
THE GREAT SILENCE
50th Anniversary Screening! “Amid mountainous, horse-hip-deep Utah snowdrifts, oppressed settlers hide out from psycho — even by his standards — Klaus Kinski’s bounty hunters, while Jean-Louis Trintignant’s “Silence,” mute thanks to a childhood neck-slashing (he took the part because he didn’t need to learn lines), signs on to avenge the husband of African American Vonetta McGee (Blacula, Repo Man). With chilling snow-covered locations in the Dolomites and brutally shocking climax.” – Film Forum“I regret the loss of a certain kind of craziness that used to flourish in movies — the kind that is on rich and ripe display in The Great Silence… It’s anarchic and rigorous, sophisticated and goofy, heartfelt and cynical. The score, by Ennio Morricone, is as mellow as wine…The mood is sometimes jaunty, but The Great Silence is no joke, and the fatalism of its ending serves as an implicit critique of the sentimental optimism of many Hollywood westerns. Power speaks louder than silence.”– A.O. Scott, The New York Times Directed by Sergio Corbucci. ( in Italian w/English subtitles)
Closed August 31 & September 2 for Labor Day
On France’s Mediterranean coast, a workshop led by Olivia (Marina Foïs), an author of popular thrillers, gathers six local students of varying backgrounds to communally craft a book suggested by their personal experiences. As outlier Antoine, who hands in increasingly violent texts for writing samples, comes into tense conflict with Olivia and other members of the group, the film uses his feelings of disenfranchisement to explore the fraught divisions in present-day French society. From the Palme d’Or–winning director of THE CLASS (2008), Laurent Cantet. in French w/English subtitles)
IN THE FADE
Diane Kruger received the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her electrifying performance in what later became Germany’s official submission for Academy Award consideration. As the German-born son of Turkish immigrants, writer/director Fatih Akin (SOUL KITCHEN, EDGE OF HEAVEN, THE CUT), was inspired by a real-life spate of xenophobic terrorist attacks in Germany in the 2000s. IN THE FADE is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat contemporary thriller exploring the lengths one woman would go to seek retribution after a brutal terrorist attack. When her husband Nuri and six-year-old son Rocco are killed in a bomb attack, Katja begins a search for answers that makes the mourning process all the more painful, complicated as it is by a thirst for revenge on one hand and a self-destructive streak on the other. (in German and Greek w/English subtitles)
Created by the team of director James Ivory, producer Ishmael Merchant, and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (A ROOM WITH A VIEW, HOWARD’S END, REMAINS OF THE DAY), SHAKESPEARE WALLAH ("wallah" means peddler) deals with the delicate interaction between life and art in the lives of artists, and the tenuous relationship between British and Indians in modernIndia. A family of English Shakespearean actors find themselves lost in the new India, reduced to giving performances at golf clubs, schools and the palaces of decaying Maharajahs. Their conflict is heightened when the daughter of the family falls in love with a young Indian playboy. The Kendal family - mother, father and daughter - play themselves in the film, which has been called Chekhovian in its emphasis on "life glowing fiercely amid the decay of an old order: the tragic comedy of indecisiveness… the humor and poignant details." - Bernard Iesch, Film Society Review Ivory became the oldest Oscar-winner ever with his win this year for writing CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. ( in English and Hindi w/English subtitles)
Renowned Documentary Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman in Person!
Images Courtesy of Zipporah Films, www.zipporah.com
“Anyone seeking a comprehensive portrait of what civilization has been like this past half century should maybe just sit down and watch as many Frederick Wiseman movies as possible.” – A.A. Dowd, The AV Club
HIGH SCHOOL - For more than 50 years, Frederick Wiseman has created a remarkable body of work consisting of over 40 full-length documentary films that focus on institutions common to all societies (schools, hospitals, courts, public housing and arts institutions, among other topics). Cited by the National Film Registry, Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1991, HIGH SCHOOL was shot at Northeast High School in Philadelphia in March and April of 1968. Within this academic setting, Wiseman explores the cultural divisions happening all over American in the late ‘60’s, and how school is used by one generation to pass its values on to the next.
Frederick Wiseman will be present for Q&A after the screening Friday night only.
MUSIC FOR THE EYES: VISUAL MUSIC
Image courtesy Bret Battey.
Animation historian William Moritz wrote of “A music for the eye comparable to the effects of sound for the ear.” He asked, “What are the visual equivalents of melody, harmony, rhythm and counterpoint?” In this program we explore the correspondences between image and sound, continuing on from CVM's summer series at SSU. This program features experimental animation by Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson, Mary Ellen Bute, Jules Engel, Bret Battey, Max Hattler, Christina McPhee, Barry Spinello, Paul Fletcher and more, working in a variety of techniques from hand-drawn animation to light manipulation to electronic feedback. Curated and introduced by Cindy Keefer, curator/archivist.
Yasujiro Ozu's best loved, most critically acclaimed film tells the deceptively simple story of an aging couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their children and grandchildren - only to find themselves politely ushered-off to a hot springs resort. "Speaks with moral brilliance about parents and children, about a modernized traditional society falling apart." - Penelope Gilliatt (In Japanese w/English subtitles)
UNTIL THE BIRDS RETURN
In Algeria, past and present collide in the lives of a newly wealthy property developer, a young woman torn between reason and sentiment, and an ambitious neurologist haunted by wartime wrongdoing. These three interconnected stories beautifully showcase the vastness of the Algerian landscape and examine the collective soul of a nation still reckoning with the consequences of a civil war that engulfed the country throughout the 1990s. Directed by Karim Moussaoui. ( In Arabic w/English subtitles)
Co-Sponsored by the United Nations Association of Sonoma County
PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
“Samuel Fuller’s bilious, streetwise drama, from 1953, links sex and politics, romance and violence, crafty cynicism and threadbare sentiment. It begins with what looks like a sexual assault on a crowded New York subway train but is actually a banal pickpocketing of a glossy young woman named Candy (Jean Peters) by a leering young wolf named Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark). The wallet that he steals contains microfilm of a military formula that she’s delivering to Communist agents. Skip, a well-known pickpocket, is denounced to the police by Mo Williams (Thelma Ritter), an aging stool pigeon who lives above a tattoo parlor on the Bowery. Candy, who also has a criminal past, traces Skip to his waterfront bait shack beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, where both of them use sex as a weapon as well as fists and beer bottles. Meanwhile, Communist Party higher-ups take matters into their own hands. Fuller’s pugnacious direction and his gutter-up view of city life romanticize both the criminal code of honor and the jangling paranoia of global plots; his hard-edged long takes depict underworld cruelty with reportorial wonder as well as moralistic dread.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Sex, lies, and voodoo: this scintillating family drama—steeped in Creole folklore, magic, and mysticism—is one of the most distinctive films of the 1990s.“Black female writer-director Kasi Lemmons made her feature directorial debut with this period family drama set in the South. Depicting the African American experience with a female slant, Lemmons shunned the usual urban violence and race issues of Black films for a different approach, a jambalaya of Southern gentility, bayou traditions, and voodoo visions. The Southern Gothic saga pivots around a prosperous Creole family in Louisiana during the year 1962 — as seen through the eyes of intensely curious, precocious, and perceptive ten-year-old Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett).” — Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University With Samuel Jackson and Lynn Whitfield.
Sonoma State University Professor of American Multi-Cultural Studies, Dr. Christina Baker-Foley will introduce the film, and sign copies of her book Contemporary Black Women Filmmakers and the Art of Resistance ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON ONLY
THE THIRD MURDER
“Master director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film is a tour-de-force examination of guilt and justice. A young defense attorney is called in to help with what seems like the straightforward case of an admitted killer. Misumi (the incomparable Koji Yakusho) genially claims responsibility for the murder of a wealthy factory owner but his story shifts with alarming frequency. His odd behavior raises doubts for the pragmatic lawyer who begins to suspect that Misumi is hiding a more complicated truth.” - SFIFF “Shooting in anamorphic widescreen, Kore-eda produces some extreme framings reminiscent of Kurosawa’s High and Low, one of the films he studied while preparing the project. Despite occasionally flashy moments, it’s a soberly told tale, emphasizing characterization and social critique. By the end, Misumi acquires a weary, radiant dignity, while entrepreneurial capitalism and the justice system are revealed as compromised… In moving to the sordid terrain of the crime story, The Third Murder shows that Kore-eda hasn’t given up his sympathetic probing of human nature and his praise for un-grandiose self-sacrifice.” – David Bordwell(in Japanese w/English subtitles)
“A rapturous crime fable set in the Dominican Republic, Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias’ COCOTE follows Alberto, a kind-hearted gardener returning home to attend his father’s funeral. When he discovers that a powerful local figure is responsible for his father’s death, Alberto realizes that he’s been summoned by his family to avenge the murder. It’s an unthinkable act – especially for him, an Evangelical Christian. But as pressure mounts, he sees few ways out. Questions of faith, tradition and honor course through this electrifying film, which seemingly at the speed of thought itself, jumps between film formats, colors and aspect ratios, radically envisioning a community torn asunder by senseless violence.” – Grasshopper Films(in Spanish w/English subtitles)
THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS
“Starting alone on a beach, the eighty-year-old director Agnès Varda prepares for the serious play and heartfelt whimsy of this filmed autobiography, from 2008. When, moments later, under her exacting direction, her crew sets up a rickety array of antique mirrors on that beach, she establishes her retrospective view as a truth that’s inseparable from the fictions of her imagination. Though Varda offers a more or less chronological tour of the sites (in France and elsewhere) and the sights (her movies, photographs, and art projects) of her life, her main order of business is love. In clever, freely associative set pieces, she sparks encounters with family members and long-unseen friends who guide her spoken reminiscences. The emotional core of the film is Varda’s life with her husband, the director Jacques Demy (who died in 1990), who, even now, continues to inspire her. Uninhibited about sex, generous in her affections, worldly-wise, blending tender recollections with self-deprecating antics, Varda, free from fear and shame, turns her tale of a life lived in art into a work of art in its own right, and one of her best—a rapturous tribute to life itself.” - Richard Brody, The New Yorker( in French w/English subtitles)
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
One of the indisputable classics of the American musical film, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS remains Vincente Minnelli’s masterpiece in the lyrical evocation of an era. Adapted from Sally Benson’s New Yorker stories, this recreation of a past that never was is conveyed through a succession of tableaux, portraying the changing of the seasons in songs, sets and dances presented as if they were drawn from an old family album. Some of the best known songs include, “The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” With Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Leon Ames and Mary Astor.