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7 Films in March and April

From: John
Sent on: Monday, March 8, 2010 11:55 PM
Dear Radical Visionaries,

Our March film schedule resumes next weekend with works by acclaimed Chinese, Iranian, and Russian directors rounding out this month. Next month's calendar includes new work by Lynne Sachs ("Wind in Our Hair," inspired by Cortazar), a documentary on dance lengend Anna Halprin, director Muratova's adaptation of Chekhov, and Kubrick's rarely screened Barry Lyndon. Other films may be added once the SF International Film Festival gets underway (at the end of April).

See our group's website for more details and please remember to RSVP: Radical Visions Cinema Club

Thanks! ~John

Yang Fudong's "Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest (Part 4)"
Join us Sunday March 14 when we watch the conclusion of Chinese director Yang Fudong's acclaimed Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest, a highlight of this year's SF International Asian American Film Festival. Fudong's film, "dreamlike reinterpretation of a 3rd-century tale of scholars who purposefully withdraw from the corruption of society," was described recently by a New York critic as "one of the most original works of art to come out of China in the past decade, with a ravishing beauty that transcends cultural theories."

Asghar Farhadi's "About Elly"
Join us Saturday, March 20 when we see Iranian director Asghar Farhadi?s intense 2009 film, About Elly. "Winner of the Best Narrative Feature award at the Tribeca Film Festival, Farhadi's complex human drama is a nerve-wracking walk over thin ice, with intricate scenarios that teeter between hopeful and dangerously hostile. A close circle of old college friends, along with their spouses and children, take a trip together, bringing with them a guest, Elly, a docile and agreeable kindergarten teacher. What begins as a lighthearted getaway (and potential romantic setup) takes a turn for the worse when their quiet guest mysteriously disappears. Farhadi masterfully casts a cloud of doubt and suspicion over the players, creating a political microcosm that tests the boundaries of morality, and questions the very idea of personal culpability. With seamless, flowing camera moves and meticulous choreography reminiscent of the films of Lucrecia Martel, About Elly is a showcase in the art of visual storytelling, and establishes Farhadi as a rising voice in contemporary Iranian cinema."

Chekhov on Film: Shakhnazarov's "Ward No. 6"
Join us on Sunday March 28 when we will sample the Pacific Film Archive?s month-long retrospective of Russian and Soviet films inspired by the great Russian author, Anton Chekhov.

In director Karen Shakhnazarov's Ward No. 6 "the head doctor of a mental asylum finally finds his own intellectual equal--a patient--in this contemporary updating of one of Chekhov's darkest tales, filmed in a real asylum and with actual patients interspersed among the cast. Disheveled and bored with his fellow citizens' dullness, the thoughtful Dr. Ragin instead seeks the conversation of his 'prized' patient, the paranoid schizophrenic Gromov, whose biting putdowns of society's--and Ragin's--pretensions soon leave the doctor as alienated as any 'madman.' Director Shakhnazarov (whose work includes 2004's Rider Named Death and the surrealist 1988 satire Zerograd) boldly keeps nearly all of Chekhov's original dialogue intact, inserting its philosophical questioning and existential despair into a thoroughly modern Russia of strip clubs and traffic jams; the forms of excess may have changed, the film implies, but at heart we are all still embittered, uncertain, and anguished. Shot in an immediate quasi-documentary style, Ward No. 6 became a surprise commercial hit in Russia, and is that country's submission for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award."

"Breath Made Visible": A Film about Anna Halprin
Join us Friday April 2 when we watch director Ruedi Gerber's new documentary about the legendary Bay Area choreographer Anna Halprin. Both director and choreographer will be present to answer questions from the audience.

"Breath Made Visible is the first feature length film about the life and career of Anna Halprin, the American dance pioneer who has helped redefine our notion of modern art with her belief in dance's power to teach, heal, and transform at all ages of life.

This cinematic portrait blends recent interviews with counterparts such as the late Merce Cunningham, archival footage, including her establishment of the first multiracial dance company in the U.S, and excerpts of current performances such as 'Parades and Changes' at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, to weave a stunning, inspiring account of one of the most important cultural icons in modern dance."

Lynne Sachs? "Wind in Our Hair" +"House of Science" w/ director Sachs in person
Join us Saturday April 10 for an evening of films by director Lynne Sachs, who will introduce her work in person. "Inspired by the stories of Argentine writer Julio Cortazar, yet blended with the realities of contemporary Latin America, here's the world debut of Wind in Our Hair, Lynne Sachs' experimental narrative about four girls discovering themselves through a fascination with the trains that pass by their house. A magic-realist tale of early-teen anticipation and disappointment, the 42-min. lyric is circumscribed by a period of profound Argentine sociopolitical unrest. Shot with 16mm, Super 8mm, and regular 8mm film and video, the rites of passage proceed from train tracks to sidewalks, into costume stores, kitchens, and the backyards in the heart of today?s Buenos Aires. PLUS: In her House of Science: A Museum of False Facts (1991), Sachs suggests that the mind/body split so characteristic of Western thought is particularly troubling for women, who may feel themselves moving between the territories of the film's title--private, public, and idealized space--without wholly inhabiting any of them. Conceptions of Woman are explored though home movies, personal reminiscences, staged scenes, found footage and voice-over. ALSO Lynne's Atalanta: 32 Yeats Later; Noa, Noa; and Photograph of Wind."

Kira Muratova's "Chekhov's Motives"
Join us on Saturday April 17 when we catch the end of the Pacific Film Archive's month-long retrospective of Russian and Soviet films inspired by Anton Chekhov.

In this fantasy from Kira Muratova, one of Russia's premier women directors, Chekhov's "nineteenth-century characters find themselves jolted into the twenty-first.... Here sensitive students still starve to death in the winter, but now they also ride in SUVs, and preening upper-class guests still avoid vengeful ghosts at extravagant Orthodox weddings, but they can at least use cell phones. The film combines two Chekhovian stories: in one, a sensitive student struggles to overcome his overbearing father; in the other, a ghost haunts her earthly lover's wedding. The muck of Russia?s agrarian past collides with the soullessness of its capitalist present; in either world, however, those who quietly use their minds are always devoured by those who loudly use their mouths. Jarring, disorienting, and frequently insane (like any great art), Chekhov's Motives achieves director Muratova's artistic ideal of cinema as 'an emotional snakebite,' a pained howl that Chekhov himself would recognize and admire."

Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon"
Join us Saturday April 24 when we attend the Castro Theater's Stanley Kubrick retrospective to see the director's 1975 masterpiece, Barry Lyndon.

"Barry Lyndon tells the story of a young rogue who wanders through life getting lost in various adventures, meeting his share of women and oddball characters. When Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal, trying desperately to maintain an Irish brogue) becomes jealous of Captain Quin's advances on Barry's beloved cousin, he challenges the man to a duel. Winning the duel, young Barry is forced to leave his home and his mother, and off on his adventures he goes. He meets thieves, lonely soldier brides, Prussian army leaders, and British widows, inventing new stories about himself at every turn of the road. Barry Lyndonis lush and magnificent, sparkling with color, every frame reminiscent of the finest European art. The blues of the Prussian army uniforms and the reds of the British contrast sharply with the majestic green land and mountains in nearly every background. Kubrick often begins a shot close in, then zooms out to reveal the beautiful natural landscape and ornate rooms surrounding the now seemingly insignificant characters. With rousing performances from O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Hardy Kruger, and Leonard Rossiter, jaw-dropping camerawork, spectacular natural lighting, and a marvelous classical-music soundtrack painstakingly put together by Kubrick, Barry Lyndon is a dramatic romantic epic that may be Kubrick's most beautiful film."

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