Spring 2001 (2)

The Yards
Wednesday, March 7 at 7:00 pm
Wednesday, March 7 at 9:30 pm

Mark Wahlberg plays Leo Handler, a goodhearted young man just out of jail. Genuinely wanting to go straight, Leo arrives for a homecoming party attended by his devoted mom Val (Ellen Burstyn) and family members, including his cousin Erica (Charlize Theron), Val's sister Kitty (Faye Dunaway), and Kitty's new husband Frank (James Caan). Also present is Leo's best friend Willie Guitierrez (Joaquin Phoenix). Leo needs work, but his prison record and parole status leave him few options. As a favor to his wife, the well-connected Frank offers Leo a low-level position. But Willie, who works for Frank as a collection agent, brings Leo on his team for some lucrative but highly illegal jobs. When a pickup goes awry, a station worker is killed and a cop left critically wounded. Though Willie is to blame, at Frank's urging, he fingers his best friend. With forced rapidity, Leo begins to perceive both the limits of Willie's loyalty and the enormous extent of Frank's influence on local politicos. Going into hiding, he tries to outrun Willie's henchmen, which makes for some tense, action-filled moments. The Yards is bleak, to be sure, but James Gray's writing is so smart and his direction so forceful that it gives the material exceptional texture and depth. The actors give richly shaded, beautifully nuanced performances, especially Wahlberg, Phoenix and Theron, each doing some of their finest work to date. - Lael Loewenstein, Boxoffice Magazine. USA, English/Spanish with English subtitles, 108 mins, color, rated R.

Me And Isaac Newton
Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, March 8 at 9:30 pm
Friday, March 9 at 7:00 pm
Friday, March 9 at 9:30 pm

A warm and cuddly sage or a wild-eyed egomaniac demonically tinkering with the balance of nature? Michael Apted's documentary on seven scientists lets you decide. A warm and cuddly sage or a wild-eyed egomaniac demonically tinkering with the balance of nature? The image of the scientist in the popular imagination usually tilts toward one of these extremes. And in Me and Isaac Newton, a glossy group portrait of seven noted scientists, the documentary filmmaker Michael Apted places his chips on the warm, cuddly side of the table. The movie's seven subjects, who represent a cross section of scientific endeavor, are interviewed sequentially in cinematic chapters that begin with chatty thumbnail biographies and broaden to include topics like "the work" and "the future." They offer a largely comforting vision of collective genius balanced by compassion, humor and judicious self-assessment. A number of these biographies are personal stories of triumphing over difficult odds. Me and Isaac Newton is inspiring. All seven of its subjects are fascinating, and most are extremely likable. Mr. Apted has done them all a huge favor. -Stephen Holden, New York Times. country, 2000, English, 110 minutes, Color, not rated

Dancer in the Dark
Saturday, March 10 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, March 11 at 3:00 pm
Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 pm

The dark is a place of both fear and pleasure for Czech immigrant Selma Jezkova (Björk) in Lars von Trier's astonishing and triumphant musical melodrama DANCER IN THE DARK. It's the 1960s in a fictional rural America, and the factory worker and single mother, secretly going blind from a hereditary eye disease, is frantically saving money for an operation that might spare her 12 year old son from the same encroaching fade to black. But the dark is also where Selma loses herself in the classic Hollywood musicals that sustain her. Sitting in a dimmed theater with her friend and fellow factory worker, Kathy (Cathérine Deneuve), she's transported into the light; what she can't see on the screen, she relies on Kathy to describe. Selma's life is one of steadily escalating tragedy. But in the dark, she's free to dance in a better, sunnier tomorrow. DANCER IN THE DARK (which won the Palme d'Or this year at Cannes and the top acting prize for its star), is animated by Björk's powerful artlessness and the originality of her musicianship. ''I've seen it all,'' Selma sings in this optimistic tragedy. Von Trier, meanwhile, shows us something amazing we haven't seen before. -Lisa Schwarzbaum, EW Online. Denmark, 2000, color, English, 139 mins, 35mm, rated R.

The Last Mahadevi and Burma, Endangered Land
Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00 pm

An extraordinary, true tale of cultural border crossing, political activism and endurance in exile. A fundraiser for Burma. Wednesday at 7 & 9pm $8/$6 A double feature benefit showing for Burmese refugees. This is the first Boulder screening of THE LAST MAHADEVI, a German-made documentary about the life of Inge Sargent, a long-time Boulder resident and co-founder of Burma Lifeline, a refugee relief organization. Interviews, home movies and still images take us to Austria, Burma and Colorado to tell Sargent's fascinating story. A shortened German-language version of the film has been widely viewed on television in Europe. Germany, 2000, color, English, 86 mins, VHS, not rated. Inge Sargent will be present during the break between films to answer questions from the audience. BURMA, ENDANGERED LAND, is a political, cultural and human travelogue produced and directed by Boulder resident Trung Nguyen. It is in many ways complementary to the first film. This beautiful film takes us into today's Burma (including Hsipaw, where Sargent lived) and winds up in one of the refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. Trung Nguyen will also be present for questions. USA, 2001, color, English, 73 mins, VHS, not rated.

Todo El Poder
Thursday, March 15 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, March 15 at 9:30 pm
Friday, March 16 at 7:00 pm
Friday, March 16 at 9:30 pm

A film that broke records for its domestic box office, Todo El Podor (All The Power) is a rousing black comedy about modern Mexico's crime and corruption. A small documentary filmmaker grows fed up with being the victim of robberies, and starts a personal investigation. When he discovers government collusion with the criminals, he finds himself taking on more than he was prepared for. Mexico, 1999, Spanish with English subtitles, Color.

What's Cooking?
Saturday, March 17 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, March 17 at 9:30 pm
Sunday, March 18 at 3:00 pm
Sunday, March 18 at 7:00 pm

What would we have to give thanks for if our requisite irritating relative or obnoxious in-laws weren't there to assign judgment and/or blame? Or if our pseudo-friends and associatesfrom work or school weren't there to remind us how blessed we truly are not to be as screwed up as they are? What's Cooking?, director Gurinder Chadna's valentine to the cultural diversity that defines modern Los Angeles, is an infectious film that successfully juxtaposes four seemingly different families during the most joyous and stressful time of the year, the holiday season. What's Cooking? is arguably one of the best films of the year, and the latest in a string of delectable food movies, following such films as Big Night, Like Water for Chocolate and Soul Food. Cinematographer Jong Lin, who also shot Eat Drink Man Woman, infuses What's Cooking? with the same scrumptious eye for detail that made the earlier film such a visual delicacy. Even with all the familial tension, What's Cooking? places an emphasis on coexistence rather than conflict. Even more refreshing, is that the film shows multi-generational families coming together and dealing with problems that are thankfully defined by something other than their ethnicity. - Mack Bates, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. USA, English, 106 mins, color, rated PG-13

Motherland Hotel & Journey on the Hour Hand
Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00 pm

Omer Kavur is one of Turkey's most prominent directors. Motherland Hotel (Anayurt Oteli) is his eighth film. On the surface there is a story about a hotel manager, Zebercet, who is haunted by loneliness. Below the surface, however, there is Kavur's fascination with objects, time, dreams, and the meanings behind them. Thus, an opening image of a woman is more important than it first seemed when it later falls in place as a memory of a real visitor, or perhaps a phantom one that, in one or the other form, haunts Zebercet and the hotel. (Turkey, 1986, color, Turkish with English subtitles, 115 mins., 35mm, not rated.) Journey on the Hour Hand (Akrebin Yolculugu) is organized like a mystery story, but set in a landscape out of time. Karem is a clock mender who is given a key and instructions on how to find a distant clocktower that needs to be repaired. The clocktower is owned by the femme fatele wife (Esra) of an aggressive businessman (Agah) and beneath this narrative are mythic currents of profound significance. Kavur's fascination with time rivals that of Alain Resnais, but whereas Resnais‚ characters are afraid they will forget, Kavur's can not stop remembering. (Turkey, 1997, color, Turkish with English subtitles, 115 mins., 35mm, not rated.) This program was made possible by the Anthology Film Archives and New York MayFest Executive Committee.

Shadow of the Vampire
Thursday, April 5 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, April 5 at 9:00 pm
Friday, April 6 at 7:00 pm
Friday, April 6 at 9:00 pm

Willem Dafoe and John Malkovitch create a vampire film that you can sink your teeth into. In the darkly comic Shadow of the Vampire, we spy on the production of one of the most famous films of the silent era, F.W. Murnau's legendary 1922 movie, Nosferatu. At one point between shots, the director, producer and writer talk with Max Schreck, the obscure, rat-faced performer who plays the vampire. They've noted how he stays in character when the camera stops. Now, while they discuss the script, Schreck reaches quickly into the night air, grabs a bat and devours it with relish. "What an actor!" says the startled writer. That, of course, is the joke of Shadow of the Vampire. In this fictionalized variation, the "actor" playing the vampire isn't acting. He is a vampire. And he's played with robust humor, flamboyant style and astonishing makeup by Willem Dafoe, in a performance that deserves its Oscar buzz. Schreck has been hired by Murnau (John Malkovich), an obsessive, willful director. Much of the black humor is then generated by Murnau's race to finish the film before his spooky star devours everyone. Shadow of the Vampire is the clever creation of director E. Elias Merhige and writer Steven Katz. Hard-core film buffs will truly sink their teeth into this film. -Jack Garner, Democrat & Chronicle. (USA, 2000, English, 89 mins, color, rated R.)

A Time For Drunken Horses
Saturday, April 7 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, April 7 at 9:00 pm
Sunday, April 8 at 3:00 pm
Sunday, April 8 at 7:00 pm

A rare, emotional and powerful tale of Kurdish children. A cinematic gem. Kurdistan is a region spread across Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria where 20 million Kurds live, without their own government, and under extreme duress and political strife. This film tells the tale of a family of children supported by an adolescent boy who works as a smuggler, hauling tractor tires through the snow, aided by mules that are fed vodka to keep them warm (and inebriated enough not to struggle). Central to the story is the plight of Madi, a handicapped young man trapped in the body of a small child. Living off pills and shots, Madi must be carried by his younger siblings through the snow, as they struggle to make enough money to live off, and to pay for Madi's treatment. Audiences going into A Time for Drunken Horses expect that it is a story of struggle. The tone is bleak, but there are small rays of light in the forms of the strong bonds that the children have with each other. Beautifully shot in the wilds of Iran over the course of two winters, this should be a film that few will forget. The untrained actors all bring a reality to the roles that captures the moviegoer's eye perfectly. This emotional and powerful tale of Kurdish poverty is a rare, cinematic gem worth seeking out. (Kurdistan, 2000, Kurdish and Farsi with English subtitles, 77 mins, color, not rated)

Dark Days
Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 pm

A groundbreaking documentary explores the tunnels of New York to discover a society of people living underground. Director Mark Singer in-person. It's easy to see why Dark Days picked up not one, not two, but three major awards at Sundance 2000 - it's the kind of compelling, relentless cinema vérité documentary that defines the genre. Mark Singer's film follows a group of homeless men and women who eke out an utterly marginalized existence living in the benighted Amtrak tunnels beneath New York City. Scrounging bits of plywood, tarp, and pilfered electricity from Con Ed, they reside in ramshackle lean-tos - hovels, really - in near-darkness a scant 50 feet from the onrushing trains that cut a strobing swath through their encampment at all hours of the day and night. They're underworld denizens who at first seem akin to some bad Fifties sci-fi flick: Invasion of the Mole Men, redux. Singer, who first heard of this atypical micro-society on television and then decided to explore the tunnels for himself, eventually joined the homeless and spent two full years beneath the streets of Manhattan. That experience helps him humanize the unknown, although it's not purely a fly-on-the-wall experience he's created -- at times you can hear his questions in the background. At its heart, Dark Days is a story of survival. -Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle. (USA, 2000, English, 84 mins, Color, not rated)

A Time to Live and a Time to Die
Thursday, April 12 at 7:00 pm
Friday, April 13 at 7:00 pm

Hou Hsiao-hsien draws heavily upon his own boyhood in this eloquent depiction of childhood and adolescence. Like many of their compatriots, Hou Hsiao-hsien's family moved to Taiwan from the Chinese mainland in 1948, and the revolution which followed made it impossible for them to return. The film focuses on the family's daily life and the widening generation gap in a family cut off from its cultural heritage and brought closer together through displacement. Part social history and part vivid evocation of the cycles of human growth and change, this episodic work initiates Hou's ongoing portrait of Taiwan, here vividly capturing the late 50s and early 60s. (Taiwan, year, Mandarin, 137 mins, Color, not-rated)

The Puppet Masters
Saturday, April 14 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, April 15 at 3:00 pm
Sunday, April 15 at 7:00 pm

The second installment of Hou Hsiao-hsien's trilogy of Taiwanese history is based on the memoirs of puppeteer Li Tien-lu, one of Taiwan's official "national treasures" and one of Hou's perennial treasures (he also appears in A City of Sadness and A Time to Live and A Time to Die). First-person recollections of Li Tien-lu's troubled childhood and early days on the road with a traveling troupe are punctuated by elaborate sequences of puppet performances, forming a dramatic retelling of events both epic in scope and rich in atmosphere. The Puppetmaster consists of meticulously composed tableaux that creatively interweave reenactments of the fateful shifts in his life and segments with Li himself serving as narrator. Drawing on traditions of Chinese landscape painting and theater, Hou explores oblique staging devices, long takes, deep perspective, distanced and zigzagged action. As a consequence, his films are densely textured, stylized, rich in detail, and emotionally nuanced. The portrait that emerges captures both the tragic sweep of Taiwan's fate throughout much of the 20th century and the puppeteer's own hardships attached to the strings of that history. -National Gallery of Art Program. (Taiwan, 1993, Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles, 142 mins, color, not rated)

Dust in the Wind
Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 pm
Wednesday, April 18 at 9:30 pm

In Dust in the Wind, Wan, a young man from the countryside, goes to Taipei to find work When he tells his father, a coal miner, that he wants to quit school, the older man replies, "If you want to be a cow, there's always a plow." In the city he goes through various jobs. For a while he works in a small print shop for a married couple. They are basically decent people, who worry about every penny though and never take their nose from the grindstone. Wan's girlfriend, Huen, also moves to Taipei, finding work in a dressmaker's shop. She finds it difficult to adjust and cries a lot but in time she loses some of her country ways. At one point, Wan borrows a motorcycle he uses for work to go shopping with Huen. Loaded down with gifts for their families, they discover the motorcycle has been stolen. Wan's response is to steal someone else's. When Huen objects, he says, "They don't care if we die, why do we care?" Dust in the Wind is a remarkable film, about people with all the odds stacked against them. There is something terrible about a society which makes its young people so sad and tries to beat the humanity out of them. Hou Hsiao-hsien and his screenwriters never strain, never pull at the heartstrings. They bring out what is important and allow the spectator to make up his or her own mind. -David Walsh, Toronto International Film Festival Program. Taiwan, 1995, Mandarin with English subtitles, color, not rated.

State and Main
Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, April 19 at 9:15 pm
Friday, April 20 at 7:00 pm
Friday, April 20 at 9:15 pm

State and Main, David Mamet's ensemble comedy about a Hollywood movie crew's invasion of a picturesque Vermont town, is as smart, witty and nasty as anything you'd expect from the artist. After being shaken down and out of their original New Hampshire location, the cast and crew of the serious (but sexy!) period drama "The Old Mill" take their business to the supposedly more hospitable Waterford, Vt. Director Walt Price (William H. Macy) doesn't appear to be a very good filmmaker, but he's something of a genius when it comes to situational manipulation. Whether breaking it to his earnest playwright-turned-novice-screenwriter Joseph Turner White (Phillip Seymore Hoffman) that the new location lacks a few amenities -- such as, oh, an old mill -- or trying to convince neurotic leading lady Claire Wellesly (Sarah Jessica Parker) that she wasn't hired for her breasts but needs to show them anyway, Price is arguably the finest actor in the whole production. Local teen-ager Carla Taylor (Julia Stiles), who has read up studiously on star Bob Barrenger's (Alec Baldwin) abiding interest in statutory romance. After vehicular irresponsibility, embarrassing arrests and vandalism in the name of art grow out of these and other wayward liaisons, the film's incomparably profane producer, arrives to set things straight ... or at least to try and buy everybody out of trouble. -Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News. France/USA, 2000, English, 105 mins, color, rated R.

Goodbye South, Goodbye
Saturday, April 21 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, April 21 at 9:30 pm
Sunday, April 22 at 3:00 pm
Sunday, April 22 at 7:00 pm

When a nation's economy expands too fast, the traditional values that bind society together begin to unravel. It's a phenomenon the Taiwanese know all too well. Taiwan has quickly become one of Asia's economic powerhouses, but material success has brought its own set of problems. Firstly, there is a clash of cultures: the Confucian ideals that respect community and authority come up against the rugged individualism demanded of the successful capitalist, and the subsequent loss of faith in traditional values has left people struggling in a spiritual vacuum. Secondly, not everybody gets rich: so how does a society deal with the inequality that wealth creates? Taiwanese maestro Hou Hsiao-hsien, Goodbye South, Goodbye's director, has chosen to focus on the material gains and spiritual losses that have visibly changed Taiwan over the past decade. "Modernisation in Taiwan has resulted in a paradox," Hou explains. "On the one hand, it's a mess - chaotic, extremely greedy for instant gains, with no sense of justice, or respect for law and order. But, at the same time, it's a vibrant country brimming with energy and life. There is a thin line between loving and hating it." -Richard James Havis, Cannes Film Festival Catalogue. Taiwan, 1996, Taiwanese with English subtitles, 116 mins, color, not rated.

Good Men, Good Women
Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 pm
Wednesday, April 25 at 9:30 pm

The concluding film in Hou Hsiao-hsien's trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan that includes A CITY OF SADNESS and THE PUPPETMASTER. This film unveils its story on three narrative levels. "A film actress named Liang Ching starts receiving faxed pages of the diary she kept during her days as a barmaid, when she was the mistress of a gangster. At the same time, she is preparing to play Chiang Bi-yu, an anti-Japanese resistance fighter from the 40s who returns to Taiwan in the 50s only to be imprisoned as a subversive during the ugly, paranoid days of the 'white terror', Taiwan's more horrific equivalent of our red scare. So the film slips back and forth between the ordinary present, the actress's past with her lover in glowing, vibrant color, and the rich black and white past on the film-within-the-film about Chiang, whose heroism puts contemporary life in sad relief. Hou's formal control in this film is stunning, and his vision of history through the lends of a spiritually depressed present is deeply moving." - Kent Jones, Winstar. Taiwan, 1995, Mandarain w/English subtitles, 108 mins, color, not rated.

The Gleaners and I
Thursday, April 26 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, April 26 at 9:00 pm
Friday, April 27 at 7:00 pm
Friday, April 27 at 9:00 pm

Prepare yourself for a cinephile's delight when acclaimed director Agnés Varda simultaneously discovers the joy of gleaning and the joy of digital video. Always fascinated with those who pick up leftover items discarded by others, Varda discovers she too is a gleaner - of both trash and visual images. An intimate, picturesque inquiry into French life, as lived by the country's poor and its provident, as well as by the film's own director. The aesthetic, political and finally moral point of departure for Varda are gleaners, those individuals who pick at already-reaped fields for the odd potato, the leftover turnip, and in previous generations were immortalized by the likes of Millet and Van Gogh. Varda isn't particularly interested in immortalizing today's gleaners but in investigating the reasons that lead the anonymous (desperate and quixotic both) and the celebrated (including a famous chef) to sift through our detritus. Along her journey, Varda constructs a portrait of France that is every bit as modern as the digital camera with which she does her filming, and in the process comes up with her finest, most effective work since Vagabond. -Zeitgeist Catalogue. France, 2000, French with English subtitles, color, 82 min, rating.

Flowers of Shanghai
Saturday, April 28 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, April 28 at 9:30 pm
Sunday, April 29 at 3:00 pm
Sunday, April 29 at 7:00 pm

The 90s have been a period of change and development for Taiwanese master director Hou Hsiao-hsien. His earlier films saw Hou exploring his chosen concern: "what it is to be a Taiwanese." FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI is a radical departure. The subject is, for the first time, distinctly un-Taiwanese. FLOWERS is set in mainland China during the late 19th century, and is a character-driven saga about a trio of "flower girls" - a Chinese variation on a hostess. The film is set in a brothel in the British Concession of Shanghai - an autonomous zone that was a result of the foreign powers' incursions into China during the late 19th century. Two flower girls, Crimson and Jasmin, fight over the affections of a civil servant client. A third girl, Pearl, tries to sort out the arguments. "Women at that time had no freedom in their social life - except as hookers in this British enclave", says Hou. "Men didn't come to these places for sex, but something both the men and women needed - love. The women took money from them and therefore became more independent. Then they were able to choose who they wanted to marry themselves." FLOWERS is baded on a novel by Shanghai writer Han Ziyun. - Richard James Havi. (Taiwan, 1998, Mandarin with English subtitles, 125 mins, color, not rated.)