Tuesday, June 12, 2018

"Vivid, Evocative & Surreal" New Film SUMMER 1993 Opens This Friday at AFS Cinema

SUMMER 1993 opens on Friday June 15 at the AFS Cinema. Tickets on sale now.

Spanish writer/director Carla Simón tells her own story in the dreamlike new film SUMMER 1993. In the film, we follow Frida, a precocious and observant six-year-old whose life is dramatically changed after the death of her parents.

Frida and her young cousin Anna play and fight together during lazy days of summer as Frida struggles to understand her circumstances.

Aided by cinematographer, Santiago Racaj, Simón uses her camera to bring us the unique perspective of life through the experience of a young girl. Instead of dramatizing a childhood tragedy, Simón explores a deeper experience of life during upheaval and the ways in which we make sense of these events.
We like the film a lot. But don't just trust us. The critics are pretty much unanimous in praise of the film, as the 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes attests. Here's what they're saying:

“Movingly understated and beautifully acted.” (NYT Critics Pick) – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“An extraordinary and beautiful work of grief and memory.” – Kyle Turner, Village Voice

“A uniquely vivid and evocative kind of storytelling... SUMMER lives, breathes and succeeds on the expressive, instinctive work of its young lead actress.” Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“Simón achieves the rare feat of faithfully recreating the mysterious consciousness of a child… It’s a surreal spectacle, monstrous yet magical, combining qualities of childhood that are too often obscured by sentimentality.” Peter Keough, Boston Globe

Watch the trailer for SUMMER 1993 here:

Friday, June 8, 2018

Newly Restored Straub-Huillet Masterpiece Starts Sunday

The new restoration of the unconventional and austere music biopic by Jean-Marie Straub & Daniéle Huillet, THE CHRONICLE OF ANNA MAGDALENA BACH, plays this Sunday and the following Tuesday at the AFS Cinema.

Straub & Huillet take slow cinema to a new level with the film, which places the viewer into the same tempo of life that informed J.S. Bach's creation. This is a film that begs the viewer to stop and listen to Bach in a way you never have before, and to experience the life and times of J.S. Bach's wife and collaborator Anna Magdalena Bach.

Produced by Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette, CHRONICLE stands as a nearly forgotten gem of French cinema.

Here's the trailer:

Acclaimed 'Dark Nail Biter’ BEAST Opens Today at AFS Cinema

It's true. Most scary movies just aren't that scary. Atmosphere is often conveyed by a bunch of well-worn cliches, and the jump-scare is relied upon to create the thrills.

In the new British thriller BEAST, writer-director Michael Pearce avoids these superficial pitfalls and instead delivers a creepy work of real tension and fresh situations. It's half lovers-on-the-run story and half psychologically fraught murder procedural, and that's all good.

As a series of murders plague the strange island of Jersey, our protagonist Moll (played wonderfully by Jessie Buckley) entrenches herself in a world of love and violence. This is a good, smart, very scary movie. See it while you can at the AFS Cinema.

But don't just trust us, trust these professional movie critic people:
“The film is not so much a psychological thriller as a performance-driven portrait of a vulnerable-yet-ferocious woman in a very dangerous predicament, and the electrically intense Buckley is the actress to carry it.” Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Bathed in a shadowy beauty and slippery psychological atmosphere, BEAST soars on Ms. Buckley’s increasingly animalistic performance... This is lurid stuff, yet Mr. Pearce miraculously holds things together until the end” -Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“This dark nail-biter eschews the obvious at every turn and is less a whodunit than a twisted moral meditation grounded by its mesmerizing leading lady.” -Barbara VanDenburgh - Arizona Republic

“BEAST is, first and foremost, an inquisitive and empathetic character study, focused on the psychologically possessive qualities of belatedly unleashed sexuality.” -Guy Lodge, Variety

“Immaculately composed yet skittish, edgy and surprising, BEAST emanates a chill that will have you hugging your sides… Just when you think you’ve got it pinned down, it hairpins off in a new direction.” -Philip De Semlyen, TimeOut

Here's that trailer:


Friday, June 1, 2018

The Noir Canon Series, This June at AFS

For the second year, the AFS Cinema brings a summertime dose of shadowy moral ambiguity and proto-existential dread to movie screens with our Noir Canon series. These are the foundational, quintessential works of Film Noir, and before the first screening of each title, AFS Lead Programmer Lars Nilsen will introduce the work and explain some of the themes and their importance to the genre as a whole. The series begins tonight, Friday June 1, with a special screening of the Library Of Congress' excellent 35mm print of Jacques Tourneur's OUT OF THE PAST.

About the series:

In Paris, after the World War II Nazi occupation, American crime and detective films flooded back into cinemas after a four-year absence. The moral and visual darkness of these films caused French critics and audiences to coin a new term, film noir, to describe them. The narrative directness, visual sophistication and dark humor that characterized these films have made fi lm noir enduringly popular. With this series, we hope to share some of the foundational films of film noir and, in our introductions to these screenings, help people understand what characterizes the genre, what it meant to audiences of its time, and what it still says to us today.

OUT OF THE PAST (June 1 and 3)
USA, 1947, 1h 37min, 35mm
Jacques Tourneur, best known for his atmospheric horror films for producer Val Lewton, directs a superb cast (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Jane Greer, Rhonda Fleming) in this story of a former low-rent detective, established in a new, wholesome life, who is drawn back into the world of darkness he barely escaped.

IN A LONELY PLACE (June 8 and 10)
USA, 1950, 1h 34min, 35mm
Whatever genre he happened to be working in, director Nicholas Ray always found a way to make artful, psychologically rich work. Here, Humphrey Bogart plays a cynical, sardonic screenwriter suspected of murder. His neighbor (Gloria Grahame) is fond of him and provides an alibi, but is his darkness more than surface-deep?

THIS GUN FOR HIRE (June 13 and 17)
USA, 1942, 1h 21min, 35mm
The king and queen of noir, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, are paired for the first time in a thrilling, lightning-paced noir based on a Graham Greene novel. Ladd plays a blackmailer and murderer who is being shadowed and investigated by Veronica Lake, who has been enlisted by police to crack his shell.

THE BIG HEAT (June 22 and 24)
USA, 1953, 1h 29min, DCP
One of director Fritz Lang’s masterpieces and a Hollywood film of rare depth and expression. Despite his department’s lax attitude towards the matter, tough cop Glenn Ford goes nose to nose with crime boss Lee Marvin. When the gangsters strike back, Ford must fight to save what he has left. With Gloria Grahame, in her greatest performance.

RAW DEAL (June 29)
USA, 1948, 1h 19min, 35mm
The German-American director Anthony Mann was a master-craftsman, and, in collaboration with cinematographer John Alton, created some of the best looking and most economical down-market noir. RAW DEAL stars Dennis O’Keefe as a con who escapes and tries to go straight, but must first contend with his adversary, played by Raymond Burr. With genre great Claire Trevor as the bad girl who loves O’Keefe.