Upcoming Screenings

A Bread Factory, Parts One and Two
NEW DATE – February 23rd, 2019

A Bread Factory, Parts One and Two
NEW DATE – Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 /
3:00pm & 7:00pm

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2018 / 122 minutes & 120 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Patrick Wang
Print supplied by: the filmmaker

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we screen both parts of Patrick Wang’s latest film A Bread Factory [2018]. We’ll be screening Part One at 3:00pm and Part Two at 7:00pm so attendees can grab dinner off-site during the hour-long intermission.

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

PART ONE:

Forty years ago, Dorothea and Greta moved to the town of Checkford and bought an abandoned bread factory. They transformed it into an arts space. Here they host movies, plays, dance, exhibits. All types of artists visit. It’s where civic groups and immigrant communities can meet, where there are after school programs for children.

Now a celebrity couple—performance artists from China—have come to Checkford. They’ve constructed a huge building, the FEEL Institute, down the street. It is a strange sight for a small town.

Dorothea and Greta learn about a new proposal to give all the funding from the school system for their children’s arts programs to the FEEL Institute. Without this funding, the Bread Factory would not survive. They quickly rally the community to save their space. The commercial forces behind the FEEL Institute fight also, bringing a young movie star to town to help make their case. The school board meeting turns into a circus where the fate of the Bread Factory hangs in the balance.


PART TWO:

Checkford hasn’t been the same since the school board meeting. Mysteriously, the reporter who runs the local newspaper disappears. Bizarre tourists start to show up, then come mysterious tech start-up workers. With all the new people, real estate is booming.

Amidst all these distractions, Dorothea and Greta try to continue their work. They are rehearsing a production of HECUBA by Euripides. On the day they open the play, Dorothea gets the news that the Bread Factory will lose an essential piece of their funding.

The beautiful opening night performance of HECUBA plays to a tiny audience. Brokenhearted, Dorothea and Greta must decide whether to give up their work at the Bread Factory because their community and support has disappeared, or to continue in their struggle to build community through art.

Director Statement

courtesy of press kit:

I have made two films, and they feel like training to have the tools I need to face this new project: a pair of films that looks at the state of art, community and commerce in our lives. This is no small thing. Arguably, it is the soul of everything.

The question of commerce is not new to me. I trained and worked as an economist for many years. But I thought like an old world economist, those who were called worldly philosophers. They were as likely to write treatises on empathy as on trade; they saw all these strands crossing in the same social fabric. It is this complex social fabric that interests me, and to study it, I pull at different threads in my own life.

My introduction into the arts took place in theaters, mostly under the tutelage of women. Women were my directors, my teachers. In the way my first film let me reflect on father figures, this film has given me the opportunity to think back on mother figures. Those golden days were marked by twin loves: my newfound love for dramatic art, and the generous love I received from my mentors.

These warm memories help me face colder contemporary forces. Laughter helps also. In the past, I’ve experimented with different forms of dramatic expression, and now it is exciting to use a wide range of comedy: behavioral, physical, visual, situational, verbal. Comedies often confine themselves to a narrow set of tools and conventions within a single film. Not doing so can quickly become a confused mess. However, a careful mixture of styles can be a unique way of shaping the rhythm of a film, injecting it with the excitement of unpredictability. To me this feels new but natural.

Weaving multitudes into coherence is the recurring task of these films that take place in a small town bursting with characters, plots and ideas. I was frequently on the lookout for aesthetic organizing principles that could gather multiple strands into braids. For example, early on I thought I was writing a musical. But when I tried writing musical scenes, I struggled with the strong stylistic change that comes when characters suddenly start singing. What the song added never seemed to be worth the jolt it created. Then it occurred to me to align the jarring change of characters singing with the jarring changes happening to the town. So all the new tourists coming to town sing, and this bursting into song interrupts the lives of the locals the same way it interrupts the style of the film. It is also performative in the way many contemporary communications are performative. The musical form then becomes a perfect tool for expressing what is happening in the story. The idea then starts to elaborate, and I think of the idea of a chorus of real estate brokers. I give them the most alluring music, singing the siren song of real estate, seducing you with the dream life you wish you could buy.

All the changes that occur in this small town are counterbalanced by a very old anchor: the classical Greek play “Hecuba” by Euripides. This beautiful and deeply humane poetry appears throughout the movies. It is an old echo to the contemporary pains of the characters. I have very particular views of how classical verse drama can be performed in our time. It has been a passion of mine on stage, and it was tremendously exciting to film it.

The two-film form doesn’t sound particularly extraordinary at first, but then you realize how few films have been designed in this format. These movies aren’t just sequels, they intentionally use the two-film form to house a dramatic and aesthetic structure that can’t fit elsewhere. These films are about loss. The first film looks at loss using a more traditional dramatic structure: there is a defined fight to protect something. The second film is about a more subtle, disturbing type of loss: when things slip away because we are not paying attention. It therefore has a slipperier dramatic structure that requires the groundwork of the first film before the audience is prepared to accept it. There is a lot of talk these days of serialized drama, but that talk is almost all confined to television. I believe this is a missed opportunity as film can approach the form asking the most bold, dense and existential questions.

Director Bio

courtesy of website:

Patrick Wang (director) was born in Texas, the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He graduated from MIT with a degree in economics and music and theater arts. He has studied game theory, health policy, and income inequality at the Federal Reserve, the Harvard School for Public Health, and other organizations. He is author of the books The Monologue Plays and Post Script, an interactive book about the making of The Grief of Others. His first film In the Family was hailed “an indie masterpiece” by Roger Ebert. His second film, The Grief of Others, premiered to critical acclaim at SXSW and Cannes. He was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and the New York Times remarked, “This is a career to keep an eye on.”

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

12/27/18 – “A Bread Factory is an idealistic statement about the importance of art in everyday life. It’s about how a scene from a play or a line from a poem can cast a new light on your problems or dreams, maybe put a whole new frame around your life, your community, and the culture and nation that helped shape you.” Matt Zoller Seitz, ROGEREBERT.com – link

1/10/19 – “Shortly after Christmas, back in Chicago, I caught up with a two-part, four-hour masterpiece, A Bread Factory by Patrick Wang — too late to include it in any of my end-of-year lists, where it clearly deserves to belong” Jonathan Rosenbaum – link

1/14/19 – “Wang is a singular artist, but he taps into a rich tradition. The focus on the workings of an American institution may remind some of the expansive comedies of Robert Altman or the documentaries of Frederick Wiseman. But also, the blurring of the line between performance and reality, the embrace of an intimate theatricality, recalls the work of Jacques Rivette. These are cinematic giants, and this director may be on his way to joining them.” Bilge Ebiri, The New York Timeslink

Minding the Gap
March 6th, 2019

Minding the Gap
Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Burning Books


2018 / 93 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Bing Liu
Print supplied by: POV

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle as we screen Bing Liu’s Oscar-nominated documentary Minding the Gap [2018].

Ticket Information: Free and Open to the Public

• Stop in early for FREE Breadhive baked goods while supplies last! •


Event Sponsors:


420 Connecticut St, Buffalo, NY 14213


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

Welcome to Rockford, Illinois, in the heart of Rust-Belt America, home to debut filmmaker Bing Liu. With over 12 years of footage, Bing discovers connections between two of his skateboarder friends’ volatile upbringings and the complexities of modern-day masculinity. As the film unfolds, Bing captures 23-year-old Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend deteriorate after the birth of their son and 17-year-old Keire struggling with his racial identity as he faces new responsibilities following the death of his father. While navigating a difficult relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing weaves a story of generational forgiveness while exploring the precarious gap between childhood and adulthood.

Minding The Gap won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and is executive produced by Oscar-nominated documentarian Steve James (The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams). Bing Liu, who developed the film through Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, also serves as producer alongside Diane Quon, and as editor alongside Joshua Altman. Hulu and Magnolia Films will release the film on August 17, 2018 ahead of a POV broadcast in 2019.

Director Statement

courtesy of press kit:

Minding the Gap started as a survey film about skateboarders’ relationships with their fathers and snowballed into a verite story exploring something much more personal.

I was 8 years old when my single mother took a job in Rockford, Illinois, an old factory city two hours west of Chicago. She soon remarried and had a child with an abusive man, remaining with him for 17 years. At age 13 I began skateboarding to escape my house and slowly discovered, after many bruises, broken bones and hard-earned tricks, that I’d regained a sense of control over my body. Perhaps more importantly, I found myself in a group of outcasts much happier in the streets than at home. We spent countless hours together, making our own version of family and, through skate videos, our own version of reality.

Heading into my 20’s, I moved to Chicago and began studying to become an English teacher. After graduating, I worked in the camera department in the cinematographer’s guild and was making short docs on the side—I felt like I’d escaped a dark chapter of my life and didn’t have to look back. But I couldn’t ignore that many of my peers were falling prey to drug addictions, jail sentences, or worse. I was still making skate videos and was experimenting with the form; I had made a skate doc called Look At Me about why skate videographers and photographers struggle with what they do.

While making Look At Me, I discovered a pattern of absent, distant, and abusive father-figures in the skate community—something that affected mental health, relationships, and parenting styles. I decided that’d be the focus of my next project.

After a couple years of interviews with skateboarders from around the country, I brought my new project into a fellowship with Kartemquin Films, where I was introduced to verite style documentaries like Hoop Dreams and Stevie. It was eye-opening. I switched gears from the high-concept survey film I’d envisioned and decided to tell a character-driven verite story.

I continued to film with several skateboarders from St. Louis, Phoenix, Portland, and many other places, trying to figure out which characters to follow. And as I cut rough cut after rough cut, there was one interview that kept sticking out: a 16-year-old African-American boy from my hometown of Rockford named Keire. He’d never talked about his parents before and, when we did our first interview, was fidgeting with the sleeves of his sweater. When he told me about his abusive father, I felt my chest tighten. “Did you cry?” I asked. “Wouldn’t you?” he shot back. “I did cry,” I said. We sat in silence, neither of us daring to attempt a joke.

Over the next four years, I reluctantly weaned other characters out of the film and kept returning to Rockford to continue following Keire as well a charismatic 23-year-old named Zack, who was about to become a father himself. Over time, as I got guidance from my EP Gordon Quinn and from the Kartemquin community in feedback screenings, I also drew inspiration from the films that resonated with me in my adolescence: Gummo, Waking Life, Kids, Slacker—stories that made my chaotic childhood meaningful with their representations of growing up in an uncertain world that somehow left room for hope.

As I had even more feedback screenings, which is how I eventually met my co-producer Diane Quon, people were intrigued at how close I was to the subjects and themes of the film without actually being in it. With their encouragement, I began experimenting with weaving myself in the film, which I struggled with because I didn’t want the project to feel too navel-gazing or self-indulgent.

But then everything changed when (spoiler alert) I find out one of the main characters has become abusive. The heart of the film, which had been exploring how skateboarders deal with masculinity and child abuse , suddenly became much more immediate and personal; I began to have trouble sleeping and started seeing a therapist. Eventually, I realized that I had to become an active and vulnerable participant for a more honest story.

In the course of completing the film, I realized that Zack, Keire and I were all harboring toxic experiences buried under the weight of years of not processing the past, and we all chose our own ways of dealing with that pressure. The film has given me a sense of clarity about myself and how, while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some ways of coping aren’t sustainable.

What’s clear to me from doing this project is that violence and its sprawling web of effects are perpetuated in large part because these issues remain behind closed doors, both literally and figuratively. My hope is that the characters who open doors in Minding the Gap will inspire young people struggling with something similar—that they will survive their situation, live to tell their story, and create a meaningful life for themselves.

Director Bio

courtesy of press kit:

Bing is a Chicago-based director and cinematographer who Variety Magazine listed as one of 10 documentary filmmakers to watch. His 2018 critically acclaimed documentary Minding the Gap has earned a total of 28 award recognitions since its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it took home the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking. He is also a segment director on America To Me, a 10-hour documentary series examining racial inequities in America’s education system, set to premiere on Starz. Bing was a member of the International Cinematographers Guild for seven years, working alongside master directors of photography including John Toll, Matthew Libatique, and Wally Pfister. Bing is a 2017 Film Independent Fellow and Garrett Scott Development Grant recipient and has a B.A. in Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

Minding the Gap discussion guide – link

Western
March 14th, 2019

Western
Thursday, March 14th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2017 / 121 minutes / German with English subtitles / Color
Directed by: Valeska Grisebach
Print supplied by: the The Cinema Guild

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with Valeska Grisebach’s critically-acclaimed Western [2017].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

An intense, slow-burning thriller, Western follows a group of German construction workers installing a hydroelectric plant in remote rural Bulgaria. The foreign land awakens the men’s sense of adventure, but tensions mount when Meinhard, the strong, silent newcomer to the group, starts mixing with the local villagers. The two sides speak different languages and share a troubled history. Can they learn to trust each other—or is the stage being set for a showdown?

With sweeping cinematography and tightly modulated pacing, Western tells a universal story of masculinity and xenophobia on the contemporary frontier of Eastern Europe. Drawing remarkably nuanced performances from a cast of non-professionals, Valeska Grisebach uses the trappings of the western genre to poke and prod at current anxieties about borders and our relationships with our neighbors.


Festivals & Awards:
Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard, 2017
Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – New York Film Festival, 2017
Winner – Best International Film Honorable Mention, Jerusalem Film Festival
Winner – Best Director, Art Film Fest Košice, Slovakia
Winner – Best Film, Motovun Film Festival, Croatia
Winner – FIPRESCI Prize, Motovun Film Festival, Croatia
Winner – Grand Prix, New Horizons International Film Festival, Poland
Winner – FIPRESCI Prize, New Horizons International Film Festival, Poland

Director Bio

“Research can feel very adventurous, and at the same time, because you meet many different people, it creates this community. For me, this is the most beautiful part of filmmaking. Research is the ground that the film is standing on, and for me filmmaking is really about getting in contact with somebody, something, the world.”

courtesy of website:

Valeska Grisebach’s directorial debut, Be My Star (2001), earned a FIPRESCI Prize special mention at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Torino Film Festival’s main prize. Her second feature film, Longing (2006), received many awards at international festivals, including the Special Jury Award in Buenos Aires, the Grand Prix of Asturias at the Gijón International Film Festival, and the Special Jury Award at the Warsaw International Film Festival. Her latest, Western (2017), made its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and has received awards from several international festivals.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

Tabu
April 11, 2019

Tabu
Thursday, April 11th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2012 / 118 minutes / Portuguese with English subtitles / Black and White
Directed by: Miguel Gomes
Print supplied by: the Kino Lorber

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with Miguel Gomes’s critically-acclaimed Tabu [2012].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of website:

Acclaimed director Miguel Gomes returns with a sumptuous, eccentric two-part tale centered on Aurora, shown first as an impulsive, cantankerous elderly woman in present-day Lisbon. When Aurora is hospitalized, she sends her neighbor, Pilar, to pass word of her grave condition to Gian Luca, a man of which no one has ever heard her speak. Pilar’s quest to fulfill her friend’s wish transports us to Africa fifty years earlier, before the start of the Portuguese Colonial War. We see Aurora again, this time as the gorgeous, smoldering wife of a wealthy young farmer, involved in a forbidden love affair with Gian Luca, her husband’s best friend. Their moving, poetic tale is conveyed through the older Gian Luca’s suave voiceover, combined with the lush, melodious sounds of its heady, tropical setting, peppered with a soundtrack of Phil Spector songs.

Director Bio

“Cinema is a game.”

courtesy of Arabian Nights press kit:

Miguel Gomes was born in Lisbon in 1972. He studied cinema and worked as film critic for the Portuguese press until the year 2000.

Miguel has directed several short films and made his first feature The Face You Deserve in 2000. Our beloved Month of August (2008) and Tabu (2012) came to confirm his success and international recognition. Tabu was released at Berlinale’s Competition, where it won the Alfred Bauer and FIPRESCI award; the movie was sold to over 50 countries and won dozens of awards.

Retrospectives of Miguel’s work have been programmed at the Viennale, the BAFICI, the Torino Film Festival, in Germany and in the USA. Redemption, his most recent short film, premiered in 2013 at Venice Film Festival.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

The Battle of Algiers
May 16th, 2019

The Battle of Algiers
Thursday, May 16th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


1966 / 121 minutes / French/Arabic with English subtitles / Black and White
Directed by: Gillo Pontecorvo
Print supplied by: the Janus Films

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with Gillo Pontecorvo’s Oscar-nominated The Battle of Algiers [1966].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of Criterion:

One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today.

Director Bio

“It’s true I make one film every eight or nine years. I am like an impotent man, who can make love only to a woman who is completely right for him. I can only make a movie in which I am totally in love. If you had the list of films I’ve refused – The Mission, Bethune, etc., you’d have a telephone book.”

courtesy of Britannica:

An Italian filmmaker (born Nov. 19, 1919, Pisa, Italy—died Oct. 12, 2006, Rome, Italy), gained international acclaim for La battaglia di Algeri (1966; The Battle of Algiers), a stark black-and-white feature in which he portrayed the fight for Algerian independence from France with gritty documentary-style realism. The film was hailed as a cinematic masterpiece and received the Golden Lion at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, as well as three Academy Award nominations, including best director and best foreign-language film. The movie’s controversial content, however, kept it from being distributed in France until 1971. Pontecorvo’s relatively low output included La grande strada azzurra (1957; The Wide Blue Road, 2001) and the Oscar-nominated Kapò (1959). He also made several documentaries.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

Testament
June 13th, 2019

Testament
Thursday, June 13th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


1988 / 80 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: John Akomfrah
Print supplied by: the Smoking Dogs Films

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with John Akomfrah’s critically-acclaimed Testament [1988].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Synopsis

courtesy of website:

In Testament, the condition of the postcolony is embodied in the figure of activist turned television reporter Abena who returns to contemporary Ghana, for the first time since the 1966 coup that ended President Kwame Nkrumah’s experiment in African socialism.

Adrift in a ‘war zone of memories’ Abena is caught in the tension between public history and private memory. The film is characterised by a depopulated frame and a deliberately cold look that evokes an emotional landscape of postcolonial trauma.


Awards and Nominatons:
• THE GRAND PRIZE at the Rimini Cinema International Film Festival, Rimini, Italy 1988
• THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE at the African International Festival of Perugia, Perugia, Italy 1989
• HONOURABLE MENTION – San Francisco International Film Festival, San Francisco, USA 1989
• SPECIAL MENTION for the use of archive film and music, FESPACO Burkina Faso, March 1989
• HONOURABLE MENTION Vue’s de Afrique, Montreal, Canada April 1989

Director Bio

“One of the things I’ve tried to do in my work is to reconfigure the traditional relationship between a narrative piece, whether it’s documentary or fiction, and the sound.”

courtesy of Lisson Gallery:

John Akomfrah is a hugely respected artist and filmmaker, whose works are characterised by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics and often explores the experiences of migrant diasporas globally. Akomfrah was a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, which started in London in 1982 alongside the artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul, who he still collaborates with today. Their first film, Handsworth Songs (1986) explored the events surrounding the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archive footage, still photos and newsreel. The film won several international prizes and established a multi-layered visual style that has become a recognisable motif of Akomfrah’s practice. Other works include the three-screen installation The Unfinished Conversation (2012), a moving portrait of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall’s life and work; Peripeteia (2012), an imagined drama visualising the lives of individuals included in two 16th century portraits by Albrecht Dürer and Mnemosyne (2010) which exposes the experience of migrants in the UK, questioning the notion of Britain as a promised land by revealing the realities of economic hardship and casual racism.

In 2015, Akomfrah premiered his three-screen film installation Vertigo Sea (2015), that explores what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls ‘the sublime seas’. Fusing archival material, readings from classical sources and newly shot footage, Akomfrah’s piece focuses on the disorder and cruelty of the whaling industry and juxtaposes it with scenes of many generations of migrants making epic crossings of the ocean for a better life. Akomfrah presented his largest film installation to date, Purple, in 2017 at the Barbican in London, co-commissioned by Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden, TBA21—Academy, The Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston and Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon. The six-channel video installation addresses climate change, human communities and the wilderness. More recently, Akomfrah debuted Precarity at Prospect 4 New Orleans. Through archival imagery and newly-shot footage, Precarity follows the life of forgotten New Orleans jazz singer Buddy Bolden.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

White Material
July 18th, 2019

White Material
Thursday, July 18th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2010 / 106 minutes / French with English subtitles / Color
Directed by: Claire Denis
Print supplied by: the Swank Films

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with Claire Denis’ critically-acclaimed White Material [2010].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

“No more smirking. We’re stopping the bullshit right now and staying put.”

The regular army is preparing to re-establish order in the country. To clean up. To eliminate the rebel officer also known as The Boxer and rid the countryside of roving child soldiers.

All the expatriates have gone home, getting out before things turn nasty.

Of the Vials – coffee planters who have lived here for two generations – Maria stands firm. She’s not about to give in to rumors or abandon her harvest at the first sound of gunfire.

Just like her father-in-law and her ex-husband who is also the father of her son (a little too much of a slacker in her opinion) she is convinced that Cherif, mayor of the neighboring town, will protect them. If she asks him, he will save the plantation. He has a personal guard, a private militia of tough guys, heavily armed and well trained.

Director Statement

courtesy of press kit:

Had I burdened it with all the intentions I wanted, this film would have sunk like an overladen container ship. Luckily, at every stage – from the writing with Marie, to the location scouting, to the shoot –
at every stage we jettisoned them.

It remains, nonetheless, the conduit of a primitive, visceral obsession – fortitude struggling against lassitude, against slackness.

I’d like to dedicate this film to Sony Labou Tansi for his novels, his plays, for the Rocado Zulu Theatre Company, for his struggle against rotten luck.

He said, “We didn’t invent the wheel. We handled that which is found only in the great works of poetry – the sap of the world.” (Les Yeux du Volcan)

Director Bio

“Even if it’s the dream of a voyage, I think it was very important for me that the film offer the two sides of the globe.”

courtesy of The European Graduate School:

Claire Denis (b. 1948) is a Paris-based filmmaker and one of the major artistic voices of contemporary French cinema. After studying economics, Claire Denis enrolled in the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (now École nationale supérieure des métiers de l’image et du son) where she graduated in 1971. At the beginning of her film career, she worked as an assistant director to Dušan Makavejev, Costa Gavras, Jacques Rivette, Jim Jarmusch, and Wim Wenders.

Denis has developed a highly individualistic style, favoring visual and sound elements over dialogue, and her editing technique has been compared to jazz improvisation for its rhythmic quality. She refuses to conform to narratives and structures of classical cinema, nor to psychological realism and scenic continuity, thus often blurring the border between dreams and reality. Her films are often based on non-subjective memories and intertextual references to literature and other films. In terms of subject matter, Denis’s films show a deep affection and solidarity with marginalized characters usually absent from mainstream cinema (immigrants, exiles, alienated individuals, sexual transgressives), simultaneously questioning prejudices of the dominant white European culture and its myth of progress. One of the main components of her films is the accompanying music. Her distinctive use of pop songs and musical themes is a result of frequent collaborations with the pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahi and with the British band Tindersticks. Claire Denis is also considered to be one of the representatives of the “New French Extremity,” a term coined by James Quandt to designate transgressive films made by French directors at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Born in Paris, Claire Denis spent her childhood and formative years traveling across Africa due to her father’s career as a colonial administrator and his interest in teaching his children about the importance of geography. This experience formed the basis for her interest in national identity and the legacy of French colonialism, which was translated into her first film Chocolat (1988), a non-biographical account of post-colonialism. The film begins with a white French woman in her late twenties named France who is returning to Cameroon to visit her childhood home. During a car ride with two strangers, Mungo Park and his son, the film flashes back to her childhood in the colonial outpost. Here, we are introduced to Protée, a local domestic worker patiently serving the needs of France’s parents and their ill-mannered guests. The film relies on visual rather than verbal elements to explain interracial tensions and conflicts and to illustrate the intermingling of power relations and desire. The interactions between members of the household are charged with sexual longing, yet the complicity of their relations is revealed to be based on an inferiorization of the local inhabitants. The film ends with Mungo’s failed attempt to read the future from France’s palm, which is too scarred by burns, and with his refusal to have a drink with her following the pattern of interracial relations established in the flashback. With this ending, Claire Denis seems to suggest that not much has changed in post-colonial Cameroon.

After her debut, Claire Denis made a documentary about the first French tour of the Cameroon band Les Têtes Brulées, entitled Man No Run (1989). She continued to explore post-colonial attitudes in her next feature, S’en fout la mort / No Fear, No Die (1990). This claustrophobic and grainy film tells the story of two men, one from Benin and one from the Caribbean, living on the margins of French society. They become involved in an illegal cock-fighting ring, and the experience depicted is one of cultural displacement and racial conflict. Denis explored these themes further in J’ai Pas Sommeil / I Can’t Sleep (1994), portraying the cultural and familial tensions affecting several immigrants in Paris while the city is in the grip of a serial killer.

In one of her most successful films to date, Nénette et Boni / Nenette and Boni (1996), Denis deepens her dissection of family relations. The film is a coming-of-age drama about a lovelorn brother and his pregnant teenage sister recovering from their mother’s suicide. Claire Denis’s international breakthrough came with her next film, Beau Travail / Good Work (1999), based loosely on Herman Melville’s novella Billy Budd, Sailor. The story focuses on a group of French legionnaires stationed in Djibouti and observes the rituals of male bonding and codes of repression as displayed in this homosocial, militarized environment. At the center of the film is the extremely antagonistic, and at the same time erotic, relationship between a sergeant, Galoup, and a new recruit, Gilles. The film’s sensual focus is clearly fixed upon the male body as well as its movements and gestures, and many critics underlined Claire Denis’s talent in replacing Melville’s verbosity with a silence that speaks more than words.

In 2001, Claire Denis shocked Cannes audiences with Trouble Every Day, an exploration of the violent poetics of desire, featuring Vincent Gallo and Beatrice Dalle as carriers of a blood-hungry virus released by erotic stimulation. The plot follows a young American couple on honeymoon in Paris, where the husband takes part in a secret experiment by an unorthodox doctor. Although considered to be the film in which Denis came closest to making a horror film, it simultaneously blurred the lines between high and low genres. The scenes of sexual cannibalism examine our society’s violence of desire as well as our anxieties about science and its ethics.

With Vendredi soir / Friday Night (2002), Denis tells the story of an intimate relationship between two strangers who meet during a public transportation strike. A man and a woman engage in a passionate one-night stand, during which the communication between the two occurs through a mere glance. The result is a sensual, ravishing visual experience told through a series of non-voyeuristic images of their bodies.

L’Intrus / The Intruder (2004) was nominated for a Golden Lion at the 2004 Venice Film Festival and represents, according to many, Denis’s most mysterious and invigorating work. The film takes inspiration from the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Paul Gauguin’s paintings, and a memoir by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, from whom she borrowed the title and the motif of a heart transplant. The story follows an enigmatic man in his late sixties as he travels across the South Seas in an attempt to find a son he has never met—and a new heart. The result is a poetic, dreamlike experience as this “heartless” man and his new acquaintance, an equally mysterious Russian woman, search for signs of home amidst the borderlands inhabited by aliens and natives, intruders and guests.

According to Claire Denis, the inspiration for her film 35 rhums / 35 Shots of Rum (2008) came from her mother’s relationship with her Brazilian father, while on a formal level it represents a homage to the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. The story focuses on a widowed father and his grown-up daughter who is supposed to be starting a life and family of her own. The film seems to be in flux, relying mostly on faces and bodies to depict feelings that are impossible to verbalize. Its focus is on the integrity of a small family unit of two surrounded by a network of outsiders trying to break in. At the crucial moment, the resolution comes with the daughter’s decision to act instead of remaining a passive participant in the flow of life.

Returning to Cameroon, Matériel Blanc / White Material (2009), is Denis’s film scripted by the novelist Marie NDiaye. It depicts the members of a white family in present-day Cameroon, surrounded by unrest and rebellion, who are trying to save their coffee plantation while seemingly blind to the new power constellation established in the outside world. Denis’s most recent film, Les Salauds (2013), a “neo-noir” that, through dense and atmospheric fragments, follows a ship captain’s (Vincent Lindon) return to Paris to unravel the tragedy of his brother-in-law’s suicide, and take revenge. The film’s depth is palpable all the while maintaining its surfaces, and surface tension, in order to find its cracks. Denis has also recently filmed a few film shorts, To the Devil (2011) and Voilà l’enchaînement (2014), and, as one of seventy renowned film directors, contributed a documentary short on the future of cinema to the documentary Venice 70: Future Reloaded (2013).

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Embrace of the Serpent
August 15th, 2019

Embrace of the Serpent
Thursday, August 15th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2015 / 125 minutes / Spanish with English subtitles / Black and White/Color
Directed by: Ciro Guerra
Print supplied by: the Oscilloscope

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent [2015].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

At once blistering and poetic, the ravages of colonialism cast a dark shadow over the South American landscape in Embrace of the Serpent, the third feature by Ciro Guerra. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, Serpent centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.

Director Statement

courtesy of press kit:

Whenever I looked at a map of my country,
I was overwhelmed by great uncertainty.
Half of it was an unknown territory, a green sea, of which I knew nothing.
The Amazon, that unfathomable land, which we foolishly reduce to simple concepts. Coke, drugs, Indians, rivers, war.
Is there really nothing more out there?
Is there not a culture, a history?
Is there not a soul that transcends?
The explorers taught me otherwise.
Those men who left everything, who risked everything, to tell us about a world
we could not imagine.
Those who made first contact,
During one of the most vicious
holocausts man has ever seen.
Can man, through science and art, transcend brutality? Some men did.
The explorers have told their story.
The natives haven’t.
This is it.
A land the size of a whole continent, yet untold. Unseen by our own cinema.
That Amazon is lost now.
In the cinema, it can live again.

Director Bio

“Losing all the preconceptions that I had about storytelling, about the world, you know, and learning to see the world from a different perspective. It sounds romantic, but it’s not an easy process at all.”

courtesy of press kit:

Ciro Guerra was born on Río de Oro (Cesar, Colombia) in 1981 and studied film and television at the National University of Colombia. At the age of 21, after directing four multi-award-winning short films, he wrote and directed LA SOMBRA DEL CAMINANTE (THE WANDERING SHADOWS), his feature directorial debut, which won awards at the San Sebastian, Toulouse, Mar de Plata, Trieste, Havana, Quito, Cartagena, Santiago, and Warsaw film festivals, and was selected for 60 more, including Tribeca, Locarno, Seoul, Pesaro, Seattle, Hamburg, Kolkata, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, and Guadalajara.

His second feature film, LOS VIAJES DEL VIENTO (THE WIND JOURNEYS), was part of the Official Selection – Un Certain Regard of the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. It was released in 17 countries and selected by 90 festivals, including Toronto, Rotterdam, San Sebastián, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, and London, receiving different awards in Cannes, Santa Bárbara, Málaga, Santiago, Bogotá, and Cartagena. It was recently selected in a national critic’s poll as one of the 10 most important Colombian films.

All of Guerra’s feature films to date have been chosen to represent Colombia in the Academy Awards®.

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Jauja
September 19th, 2019

Jauja
Thursday, September 19th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2014 / 109 minutes / Spanish/Danish with English subtitles / Color
Directed by: Lisandro Alonso
Print supplied by: the The Cinema Guild

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We finish with Lisandro Alonso’s critically-acclaimed Jauja [2014].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

An astonishingly beautiful Western starring Viggo Mortensen, Jauja (pronounced how-ha) begins in a remote outpost in Patagonia during the “Conquest of the Desert” in the late 1800s. Captain Gunnar Dinesen has come from Denmark with his fifteen year-old daughter to take an engineering job with the Argentine army. Being the only female in the area, Ingeborg creates quite a stir among the men. She falls in love with a young soldier, and one night they run away together. When Dinesen realizes what has happened, he decides to venture into enemy territory, against his men’s wishes, to find the young couple. Featuring a superb performance from Mortensen, Jauja is the story of a man’s desperate search for his daughter, a solitary quest that takes him to a place beyond time, where the past vanishes and the future has no meaning.

The Legend:
The Ancient Ones said that ‘Jauja’ was a fabled city of riches and happiness. Many expeditions tried to find this place. With time, the legend grew disproportionately. People were undoubtedly exaggerating, as they usually do. The only thing that is known for certain is that all who tried to find this earthly paradise got lost on the way.

Director/Producer Statement

courtesy of press kit:

Director Statement:

A few years back I received an email telling me that a close friend had been assassinated in a land far away from her place of birth. She loved to write and to talk about films, a bit too much at times. In any case, I was strongly disturbed and shocked by what had happened to her and I began to think of this story. Following her advice, I have devoted more space to words here, and to my own desires. Oddly enough, I feel that this film has come to me and taken its unreal form as a way of helping me to grasp the world and the time we live in, how we vanish in order to inexplicably return, in utterly mysterious ways.


Producer Statement:

When my friend from Boedo, the Argentine poet Fabián Casas, told me in 2011 that he was going to collaborate on a movie project with Lisandro Alonso, I was intrigued. I’d briefly spoken with Lisandro in Toronto a few years earlier, and was familiar with his work, having especially liked “Los muertos”. When we met again, on the set of Ana Piterbarg’s “Todos tenemos un plan”, he told me he wanted to shoot a story set in the 19th century on the Argentine frontier. He said he wanted me to play a Dane who is in the country with his fifteen year-old daughter, working for the military during its genocidal war against the aboriginal population.

It took a lot of patience and hard work by a relatively small but fiercely loyal crew to complete Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja”, and this collaborative experience has been one of the most satisfying I’ve ever been involved in. We have ended up with a movie that is as Danish as it is Argentine; not an easy thing to do! Fabián and I both admire Lisandro’s creative impulses, and have striven to live up to his philosophy of story-telling in our work on “Jauja”. Lisandro’s is a process that constantly seeks distillation, gently but stubbornly insisting on the intrinsic, essential truth of any given moment. It is one thing to want to achieve this sort of “clean” aesthetic, and another to be able to convey it with grace and originality. Directors like Lisandro, who can truly move us with the subtlety and unmistakable authenticity of their story-telling, do not come along very often. I am proud to have been witness to an important creative step forward for this director, and part of the team that produced what surely will be one of the most special viewing experiences at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Director Bio

“If tomorrow I have to quit filmmaking, I will. I’m not going to sell my house for a project, that’s for sure. If I have to go back and work on my family’s farm, fine. I don’t have any problem with it. But I would cry a lot.”

courtesy of Festival Scope:

Born in Buenos Aires in 1975, Lisandro Alonso studied at the Universidad del Cine (FUC)and co-directed in 1995 with Catriel Vildosola his first short film DOS EN LA VERDERA (1995). After working as assistant sound engineer in many short films and a few features and as assistant director of Nicolas Sarquis for his film SOBRE LA TIERRA, he made his first feature film, LA LIBERTAD (2001), which was screened at Cannes (Un Certain Regard). In 2003, he founded 4L, a production company based in Buenos Aires, to produce his own films. LOS MUERTOS (2004), FANTASMA (2006) and his latest feature film JAUJA (2014) were also invited to Cannes.

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