Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Home For The Holidays? Join Us at the AFS Cinema for Holiday Classics

Nick & Nora Charles, doing what comes naturally at Christmas-time

We all have our favorite holiday classics. During the holiday season this year at AFS we are reaching way back into Hollywood's Golden Age to present some of our favorites, some very well known, some less so, but all great.

Come celebrate the season with AFS, as we present our favorite classic holiday films from December 22nd to the 30th.

The great Barbara Stanwyck stars as a newspaper columnist whose public image is that of the perfect, affluent housewife but who meanwhile is a single workaholic who rarely leaves her typewriter and lives on takeout food. When a young soldier wins a contest to spend CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT with America's Perfect Homemaker, she has to scramble to create the real-life illusion for an entire Christmas weekend. Does she succeed? Watch the movie! As always, Barbara Stanwyck is one of the great screen stars, and you'll fall in love with her, just like... Oh I've said too much.

Image result for barbara stanwyck christmas in connecticut
The main thing is: STANWYCK

In the raucous classic comedy THE THIN MAN, we meet Nick and Nora Charles, a happily married (and generally soused) couple who spend the Christmas holidays in New York, where reformed detective Nick (William Powell) becomes reluctantly involved in a murder mystery and amateur sleuth Nora (Myrna Loy) enjoys every minute of it. Full of great dialogue, a truly ludicrous amount of alcohol consumption, and lots of pre-code filthy humor. Oh, and the world's cutest dog, Asta. Top recommendation!

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The inclusion of the adorable dog is almost too much.

Speaking of altered consciousness, there's something truly transporting about a classic '50s Technicolor musical. WHITE CHRISTMAS certainly fits the bill there, with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen in a romance-filled, eye-popping, let's-put-on-a-show classic featuring like a thousand great Irving Berlin songs.

If you can resist two hours of THIS, more power to you

And then there's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, such a perennial holiday classic that we can almost forget that it was a relative flop upon release, and is super dark. Remember that in 1946, mortality and the search for meaning in life weren't exactly just abstractions. For millions of Americans, filmmaker Frank Capra, and star Jimmy Stewart included, coming back home after the ordeal of war was fraught with all kinds of conflicting emotions, and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, often chided as sentimental or corny, is in fact a pretty honest dramatic reckoning with many of these forces. It's a great, great film, and we're eager to share it anew. 

As a matter of fact, I am crying. So are you. That's OK.

As always, we will be serving our full menu and seasonal cocktails to help get you in the holiday spirit. Bring friends. Hang out. Have fun. It's a time for togetherness.

Check out the entire series and showtimes HERE.

Monday, December 11, 2017

'Transcendent Masterpiece' THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC Coming to AFS Cinema in New Restoration

In 1928, just a few years after the canonization of Joan of Arc, the great Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer was approached to create a film biography of St. Joan. Dreyer, who could have gone in many directions, chose to show the spiritual struggle of the Maid of Orleans. To that end he cast the stage actress Maria Falconetti, whose performance has routinely been cited as one of the greatest in all of cinema history. Dreyer's depiction of the trial of Joan is intense, deeply spiritual, and a triumph of cinema.

As J. Hoberman says in his excellent New York Times piece about the film:
"If novels like “Madame Bovary” or “Crime and Punishment” are must-reads, then “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is a cinematic must-see."
The AFS Cinema will present the film with two soundtracks. On Saturday, December 16 at 2pm the version with composer Richard Einhorn's acclaimed Voices Of Light score will play. The version with its alternate score, by Adrian Utley and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp/Portishead) screens on Sunday, Dec. 17. See showtimes for details.

Friday, December 1, 2017

AFS January/February 2018 Calendar of Events is Live!

Agnes Varda's CLEO FROM 5 TO 7

AFS Signature and Specialty programs are now on sale through the end of February. There are many films to choose from: special series, old favorites, the best of new docs, and a visit from a filmmaking legend. You can see all the events here.


In January we present an Essential Cinema retrospective of the films of Bong Joon-Ho, all on 35mm except the brand new digital restoration of MEMORIES OF MURDER.

Agnès Varda

Then, in February, we present four of Agnès Varda's greatest films, including her newest, FACES PLACES and more.

Bette Gordon's VARIETY

Legendary filmmaker Bette Gordon will join us to present several of her films, including the groundbreaking 1983 independent classic VARIETY.

Terrence Malick's DAYS OF HEAVEN

Our SPIRIT OF '78 series will celebrate the 40th anniversary of pivotal classics DAYS OF HEAVEN, COMING HOME and MIDNIGHT EXPRESS.


The ongoing LATES series returns, with Sion Sono's new film ANTIPORNO, the outrageous horror farce BITCH, and classics by Carax, Almodovar and Rollin.

Our favorite film professor Caroline Frick, of the University of Texas and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, will join us for a series called CLASSIC CHEMISTRY, which features some of the greatest examples of couple-chemistry of Hollywood's golden era.

James Bidgood's PINK NARCISSUS

Also, the HOMO ARIGATO series comes to the AFS Cinema for the first time in 2018, with the new ballroom culture doc KIKI and Queer Cinema classic PINK NARCISSUS.

Seijun Suzuki thinks you're going to like his surreal TAISHO TRILOGY

All this plus DOC NIGHTS, the cutting edge DEEP END series, the family friendly SUNDAY SCHOOL program, a Special OSCILLOSCOPE PICTURES RETROSPECTIVE, New restorations of films from Jacques Becker, Seijun Suzuki, and more, and just LOTS AND LOTS OF OTHER STUFF that you can't miss.

As always, no need to be a member, but it's a lot cheaper if you are. The LOVE membership is $20 a month and you get dozens of free screenings every month. Become a member here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Moviegoers: Sharpen your Pencils & Fill out the 2017 National Art House Audience Survey

Every year, the Art House Convergence, a national network of community-based, mission-driven cinemas of which the AFS Cinema is proud to call itself a member, distributes a survey to the patrons of all the cinemas in the organization. All the member groups review the results with great interest - as do distributors, archives and others. It really helps set the tone for the kinds of offerings that these theaters are able to share with members. You can read some of the past survey results here.

If you are a patron of the AFS Cinema, we'd love for you to take a few minutes and fill out the survey. In exchange for the time you spend doing this, we will mail you a $3 off coupon in December. More importantly than that, you will be helping to make Art House cinemas more vibrant and responsive to audience wants and needs.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Watch This: An Exclusive Outtake from Richard Linklater's LAST FLAG FLYING Q&A

As you may have heard, the highly acclaimed new film by AFS founder and Artistic Director, LAST FLAG FLYING, opens this Thursday at the AFS Cinema.

Each screening of the film will be followed by an exclusive 15 minute Q&A video filmed at the Austin Premiere of the film. In order to keep the clip at a manageable duration we had to excise some parts of the video we filmed. Here is an outtake in which Linklater tells AFS Head of Film and Creative Media Holly Herrick about how he came to cast the great Cicely Tyson in a small role in the film.

Monday, November 6, 2017

What Critics are Saying about Richard Linklater's LAST FLAG FLYING - Opening at AFS Cinema Thursday

Starting this Thursday, November 9, the AFS Cinema is proud to present the newest film from Austin Film Society founder and Artistic Director Richard Linklater. Steve Carrell, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston star as three old military buddies who have lost touch with one another and who are brought together again in middle age by a tragedy. It's a film of deeply felt moments of fine ensemble acting, and there are unexpected detours into humor along the way.

This is a special week for us because LAST FLAG FLYING is the first new Richard Linklater film to open at the theater he recently established, the AFS Cinema. Each screening will be followed by an exclusive pre-recorded video Q&A with Linklater, filmed at the LAST FLAG FLYING Austin Premiere.

Please come see LAST FLAG FLYING with us at the AFS Cinema, where your ticket dollars support a full range of Austin Film Society artist and community programs. Tickets are on sale now.

But don't just take our word for it about LAST FLAG FLYING. Here's what the critics are saying:

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly calls LAST FLAG FLYING "a modest, bittersweet thing of beauty."

A.O. Scott of the New York Times says the film is "enormously thought provoking" and observes that it "grapples with matters that other movies about war prefer not to think about."

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times calls it "a sharp critique of American bluster, but also a sincere and funny valentine to everyday American life."

Thursday, November 2, 2017

AFS Viewfinders Podcast: Programmers Holly Herrick & Lars Nilsen on the November/December Film Calendar

On the latest AFS Viewfinders Podcast, AFS Lead Film Programmer Lars Nilsen and AFS Head of Film & Creative Media have a brief discussion about some of the highlights of the upcoming AFS Cinema Calendar. It's under 30 minutes and we hope it will help you make some of your screening plans for the months ahead.

Here it is. Enjoy. You can also find it on your iTunes podcast app by searching 'AFS Viewfinders.'