Summer 2002
Director Todd Solondz (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, HAPPINESS) presents this characteristically bleak and darkly comic drama in two distinct parts. The first story, "Fiction" stars Selma Blair as Vi, a confused university student who engages in an impulsive tryst with her Pulitzer Prize-winning professor (Robert Wisdom) after arguing with her cerebral palsy-afflicted boyfriend (Leo Fitzpatrick). The second (and longer) tale, "Non-Fiction," stars Paul Giamatti as Toby, a down-on-his-luck documentary filmmaker who turns his camera on Scooby (Mark Webber), an unmotivated teenager, and his suburban New Jersey family. At times even more controversial and confrontational than Solondz's previous films, STORYTELLING bluntly addresses issues such as race, sex, physical impairment, education, censorship, and exploitation, while not-so-subtly referencing and parodying both AMERICAN BEAUTY and AMERICAN MOVIE (whose own Mike Schank appears in the film). Cannily aware of both his admirers and detractors, Solondz has taken the intriguing step of criticizing his own work within the creative confines of the two stories. As with HAPPINESS, the director has assembled an impressive ensemble cast that also includes John Goodman, Julie Hagerty, Franka Potente, and Lupe Ontiveros. (Synopsis by Rotten Tomatoes.) USA, 2002, English, color, 87 min., Rated R. 35mm (1.85:1, Dolby SR) Russian w/English subtitles, Color and B&W, 185 min., unrated.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Amelie" is a delicious pastry of a movie, a lighthearted fantasy in which a winsome heroine overcomes a sad childhood and grows up to bring cheer to the needful and joy to herself. You see it, and later when you think about it, you smile. Audrey Tautou, a fresh-faced waif who looks like she knows a secret and can't keep it, plays the title role, as a little girl who grows up starving for affection. Her father, a doctor, gives her no hugs or kisses and touches her only during checkups--which makes her heart beat so fast he thinks she is sickly. Her mother dies as the result of a successful suicide leap off the towers of Notre Dame, a statement which reveals less of the plot than you think it does... It is so hard to make a nimble, charming comedy. So hard to get the tone right and find actors who embody charm instead of impersonating it. It takes so much confidence to dance on the tightrope of whimsy. "Amelie" takes those chances, and gets away with them. (Roger Ebert) France, 2001, in French with English subtitles, color, 122 min., Rated R. 35mm (2.35:1, DTS)

American Astronaut
Rooted firmly in the tradition of such major film eccentrics as Guy Maddin, Aki Kaurismaki and Darren Aronofsky of "Pi", Cory McAbee's The American Astronaut crosses Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville with the Star Wars bar and Twin Peaks. It has been a hit at film festivals and has been described as a "midnight-style musical." (McAbee calls it his autobiographical/musical/space Western.) In an indeterminate future, interplanetary trader Samuel Curtis (McAbee) pops into an all-male culture of dance contests, sexual obsession and the occasional disintegration. The women of Venus, meanwhile, are looking for their singular male; Curtis wants the job. A demented killer wants him. Shot in glorious black and white, The American Astronaut is a true independent: independent of narrative convention as well as any particular need for continuity. It also bears a distinctly improvisatory ingenuity from the sets, which may have been budgeted by whatever tightwad did the original Star Trek, to the music of the Billy Nayer Show, McAbee's cult band, which supplies much of the alternately eerie or headbanging or anthemic rock that carries The American Astronaut through its very special space. (Excerpt by John Anderson, Newsday.) USA, 2001, in English, B&W, 91 min., unrated. 35mm (1.75:1, Dolby Digital)

Scotland P.A.
Yahtzee, chicken nuggets, weed-smoking clairvoyant hippies, Shakespeare refrains, and jamming rock songs by Bad Company are some of the key elements of director Billy Morrissette's ode to HAMLET and early 1970s small town American. A comic interpretation of the William Shakespeare classic, SCOTLAND, PA tells the story of a fast food restaurant called McBeth's, an innovative establishment that offers drive-through service. However, the success of the restaurant's young owners, the stylish and popular local couple Mack and Pat McBeth (James LeGros and Maura Tierney) is largely due to the convenient murder of its former owner (James Rebhorn). When the quirky vegetarian Lieutenant Ernie McDuff (Christopher Walken) is assigned to investigate the murder, each of Scotland's strange characters—the tanning salon operator, the homeless guy that lives in a barn, the perpetually drunk barfly--come forward to share what they know about the case. Some of the funniest moments of the film come from the lieutenant's interrogations of the teenage sons of the late restaurant owner, the amped rock guitarist Malcom (Tom Guiry) and his poised, artistic gay brother Norm (Geoff Dunsworth). SCOTLAND, PA is a funny, light hippie movie with an excellent grasp of '70s music, decor, and dress. USA, 2002, in English, in extra-groovy color, 104 min., Rated R. 35mm (Dolby Digital)

Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf presents this partially fictionalized documentary that illustrates the suffering of Afghan women under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the year 2000. The quiet, stark, powerful film follows an Afghan native, Nafas (the stunningly beautiful Noulifar Pazira), who left Afghanistan years back and got a journalism degree in Canada, upon which she built a career reporting the plight of women in oppressive nations. When she receives a letter from her sister, who is still in Afghanistan and who has decided that she will kill herself on the night of the next eclipse, Nafas decides to sneak back inside the border to rescue her. Traveling in a Red Cross helicopter to Pakistan, where she is lead on a treacherous all-night trek across an icy river and over deadly mountains, Nafas finally crosses over the border. But from there she must get to Kandahar, with only three days left before the eclipse. As a woman in Afghanistan she cannot speak out loud, travel without a husband, or show her face, elements which make her journey nearly impossible. Disguised in a heavy head-to-toe burka (the mandatory dress for women), she begins a Kafkaesque journey across the barren land, encountering obstacles both threatening and mesmerizing along the way. (Synopsis from R.T.) Iran, 2001, in Farsi/Polish/English w/ English subitles, in color, 85 mins, Not Rated. 35mm (1.85:1)

Welcome to Calgary, where the workspace is so disconnected from Mother Nature that walkways have been constructed in order to link industry to residential and commercial towers. In the Company of Men and The Business of Strangers successfully tore into soul-sucking capitalism but never with as much acid-wit as Gary Burns's waydowntown. Burns is an unabashed hipster, implementing jagged editing and hyper-stylized dialogue into his narrative as if they were going out style. Watching Burns's film is like watching what Mallrats should have been: a commentary with a moral floor plan so scathingly and ironically tuned that it suggests capitalism is the ultimate of inimical, inescapable forces. Hell-bent on bemoaning the spatial disharmony of a city's urban planning, Burns goes the extra distance in disassociating the viewer by fracturing the film's timeline. Characters seem to free-float through the story's Plus-15 walkways, appearing and reappearing at any given moment with the kind of hyper-caffeinated verve expected from soldiers lost in ancient Greek labyrinths. Although tunnels allow easy access from malls to restaurants to shops to homes, the rat maze's dehumanizing consequences are parlayed through Burns's clever (if not incidental) parlor game: one of four young co-workers will win $10,000 if they can outlast the competition by being the last one to step into the outside world. (Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine). Canada, 2000, in English, color, 87 min., Rated R. 35mm (stereo).

Kissing Jessica Stein
"Kissing Jessica Stein" has the look and feel of a smart, stylish New York romantic comedy in which the principals are articulate and forthright about their intelligence and sophistication. Yet for an American film it is a groundbreaker in exploring the realm of sexual fluidity, and it does so with wit, wisdom and in a completely entertaining fashion. It has the sheen of a polished Hollywood production but is never glossy or glib as it deals with serious matters with delicacy, good humor and, at times, outright hilarity. Jessica Stein (Jennifer Westfeldt) is a beautiful but neurotic newspaper feature writer who aspires to be a painter. She is 28 and has yet to find Mr. Right. Her single state is of great concern to her doting mother, Judy (Tovah Feldshuh), a chic Scarsdale, N.Y., matron. That her older brother has just announced he's getting married and that Joan (Jackie Hoffman), her best pal at work, has become pregnant increases the pressure on her and triggers a disastrous dating spree. (Kevin Thomas, L.A. Times) USA, 2002, in English, color, 96 min., Rated R. 35mm (DTS) ts are not guaranteed and are taken purely on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder remembered)(archive print)
Billy Wilder's classic 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft, a movie that's about nothing but sex and yet pretends it's about crime and greed. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. USA, 1959, in English, B&W, 120 min., unrated. 35mm (1.85:1, mono)

The Apartment
(Billy Wilder remembered)(archive print)
A classic Billy Wilder comedy-drama about a put-upon insurance clerk (Jack Lemmon) who rises through the ranks by loaning out his apartment as a trysting-place for his philandering superiors. When one of them (Fred MacMurray) callously casts off his elevator girl-mistress (Shirley MacLaine), causing her to attempt suicide, the clerk lovingly nurses her back to health. USA, 1960, in English, B&W, 125 min.

Kiss Me Deadly (BFA femme noir)(new 35mm print)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) is the definitive, apocalyptic, nihilistic, science-fiction film noir of all time. The film's 50's Los Angeles hero, from pulp novel writer Mickey Spillane, follows in the footsteps of other detective heroes from the pens of Raymond Chandler (Phillip Marlowe), Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain. It features a cheap and sleazy, contemptible, fascistic private investigator/vigilante named Mick Hammer whose trademark is brutish violence…Kiss Me Deadly is rich with symbolic allusions, labyrinthine and complex plot threads, and Cold War fear and nuclear paranoia about the atomic bomb. The film is a masterpiece of cinematography, exhibited in the camera angles and compositions of Ernest Laszlo. It has all the elements of great film noir - destructive femme fatales, low-life gangsters, expressionistically-lit night-time scenes, a vengeful quest, and a dark mood of hopelessness. (Excerpt by Tim Dirks.) USA, 1955, in English, B&W, 106, unrated. 35mm (1.85:1, mono). min., unrated. Co-sponsored by the Boulder Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

Double Indemnity (Wilder remembered) (BFA femme noir) (archive print)
Double Indemnity is director Billy Wilder's classic film noir masterpiece, adapted for the screen by director Billy Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler. This great film noir received no Academy Awards, although it was nominated in seven categories… The film's story was based on a real-life crime in March of 1927 (and) the influence of this definitive film noir can be found in other countless imitations ever since - such as The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Body Heat (1981) and The Last Seduction (1994). (Excerpt by Tim Dirks.) USA, 1944, in English, B&W, 107 min., not rated. 35mm (1.37:1, mono).

Sunset Boulevard
(BFA femme noir) (Wilder remembered) (archive print)
Sunset Boulevard is a classic black comedy/drama, and perhaps the most acclaimed, but darkest film-noir story about "behind the scenes" Hollywood, self-deceit, spiritual and spatial emptiness, and the price of fame. The mood of the film is immediately established by the narrator - a dead man floating in a swimming pool. With caustic, bitter wit in a story that blends both fact and fiction and dream and reality, co-writer/director Billy Wilder realistically exposes the corruptive, devastating influences of the new Hollywood and the studio system by showing the decline of old Hollywood legends many years after the coming of sound.(Excerpt by Tim Dirks.) USA, 1950, in English, B&W, not rated, 110 min. 35mm (1.37:1, mono).

The Endurance (Antarctic Adventures)(Back by popular demand)
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton, having lost his bid to be the first explorer to reach the South Pole, set sail with a crew of 28 men to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent. His three-masted sailing vessel was named after his family motto, 'By endurance we conquer.' In 1999, producer/director George Butler mounted an expedition to retrace Shackleton's two year struggle of extraordinary courageousness. Among Shackleton's many wise decisions was to bring along Australian photographer Frank Hurley, who documented their journey in both still photographs and moving film, which he editted into the 1919 documentary "South." What Butler has done is to recreate the entire amazing story, beginning with descendents of Shackleton's crew recalling the tales they were told and filling out personalities of the men who responded to Shackleton's newspaper ad. While he uses Hurley's footage and photos, Butler's documentary is a far richer, more emotional work. New footage and unobtrusive recreations continue Shackleton's determination to save his men after ten months trapped in the ice pack which crushed their ship. (Excerpt by Laura Clifford) USA, 2001, in English, B&W/color; 97 min., Rated G. 35mm (stereo).

The Thing (John Carpenter's Antarctic Adventures)
Based on John W. Campbell's short novella "Who Goes There?" and the 1951 Howard Hawks / Christian Nyby film The Thing, John Carpenter's The Thing is an intense, claustrophobic, and unsettling exercise in visceral horror, a film guaranteed to disturb even the most jaded genre fan. Mac MacReady (Kurt Russell) and a small group of scientists/workers are stationed at a remote Antarctic research station. After a stray dog wanders into camp (being chased by what appears to be a stir-crazy group of Norwegians) strange things start happening. The dog isn't really a dog, but rather an alien who crash landed here hundreds of thousands of years ago, an alien with the ability to imitate any life form it comes into contact with…including the men populating the research station. What ensues is a taut and frightening film as Russell and company try and determine who is really human and who has become a thing. The Thing is one of those genre films that is best when it's experienced - a simple verbal retelling will never manage to adequately capture the mood of Carpenter's vision, nor the terror inherent in the situation. No, for the full effect, you've got to see the film. (Excerpt by Mike Bracken.) USA, 1982, in English, color, 109 min., Rated R. 35mm (2.35:1, Dolby Stereo).
Monsoon Wedding
July 18 & 19 – 7pm & 9:30pm

Rarely do films come along that are as intelligent, exuberant, and moving as Monsoon Wedding. Director Mira Nair's kaleidoscopic portrait of an Indian family preparing for their daughter's marriage takes a cue from Robert Altman and succeeds in creating a vivid panoply of characters and telling a variety of stories. In under two hours, Nair manages to reflect on Indian culture, class differences, and matters of the heart, all the while entertaining her audience immensely. Terrific scenes like the ones where Lalit breaks down in front of his wife or when Ria expresses her relief at being freed of her secret wouldn't work if Monsoon Wedding's characters weren't developed as well as they are. After the disastrous Kama Sutra, Nair has returned to make good on the promise she showed in Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala. Like the torrential rainstorms that permeate India and threaten the wedding of Aditi and Hermant, her Monsoon Wedding will sweep viewers away. (Excerpt by Rod Armstrong.) India, 2002, in English, Hindi, Punjabi with English subtitles, color, 114 min., Rated R. 35mm (1.85:1, Dolby Digital)
Trouble Every Day (BFA femmes with fangs)
July 20 & 21 - 7pm & 9:15pm

Without question Trouble Every Day was the most scandalous and shocking films at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Starring Vincent Gallo ("Buffalo 66"), Tricia Vessey ("Ghost Dog") and Beatrice Dalle ("Betty Blue"), Trouble Every Day, Claire Denis' 12th film could almost be called a silent movie; instead of words her penetrating, crystalline, sensual images speak volumes about this meditation of a human being's ability to love, our inability to love, and the hunger to love, carried out to its most extreme and unspeakable degree. Vincent Gallo and Tricia Vessey are Shane and June Brown, an American couple honeymooning in Paris, her desire to nurture their new life together, to protect their love, and to embrace their union compromised by her husband's mysterious and frequent disappearances to a medical clinic where breakthroughs in the study of the libido are undertaken. When Shane seeks out the one doctor who is the world's foremost expert in the field, he happens upon the doctor's wife, another victim of the same malady. She has become so dangerous to herself and emotionally paralyzed by its symptoms that her husband imprisons her by day in their home. It is Shane's chance encounter with this woman that triggers an event so cataclysmic and shocking it might just lead him to rediscover the tranquility he seeks to restore for he and his new bride. France, 2001, in French with English subtitles, color, 100 min., Not Rated. 35mm (Dolby). Anderson, Newsday.) US, 2001, in English, B&W, 91 min., unrated.

Please note that The Hunger will only have 7pm showings and Lair of the White Worm will only have 9:15pm showings (but on the same days). Separate admission prices apply.

The Hunger
(BFA femmes with fangs)
July 25 & 26 - 7pm only

A beautiful 2000-year-old vampire (Catherine Deneuve) needs help when she realizes that her current lover (David Bowie) is aging fast. Enter a blood specialist (Susan Sarandon) whose research involves geriatrics. This is a guilty pleasure for anybody craving sumptuous big-screen Gothic atmosphere with lots of mood. UK, 1983, in English, color, 100 min., Rated R. 35mm (2.35:1)

Lair of the White Worm
(BFA femmes with fangs)
July 25 & 26 - 9:15pm only

Christianity and paganism clash in Ken Russell's quirky, albeit campy, diversion on the horrors that beset a small England town when the mysterious Lady Sylvia Marsh (Catherine Oxenberg) decides to conjure up the ghosts of worms from long ago…Lord James D'Ampton (Hugh Grant) is heir to a family of dragon-slayers, instantly suspecting Marsh of wrongdoing once her penchant for "Snakes & Ladders" is revealed. (Excerpt by Ed Gonzalez) UK, 1988, in English, color, 93 min., Rated R. 35mm (Dolby).

Time of Favor
July 27 & 28 - 7pm & 9:15pm

Given the latest outbreaks of Middle East violence and the Israeli tanks parked at Yasser Arafat's door in Ramallah -- not to mention the continuing traumas of September 11 -- it is timely, if unsettling, that a new Israeli film about religious fervor and extremist political commitment in that embattled nation is being released in the United States. Written and directed by 33-year-old Joseph Cedar, a native New Yorker who moved with his family to Israel at age five, Time of Favor (HaHesder) combines a charismatic rabbi, a love triangle and a secret plot to blow up a sacred site in Jerusalem in a potent mixture of melodrama, action and keen political observation. Last year, this film dominated the Israeli version of the Academy Awards. It's strong stuff. Set largely in a rugged West Bank settlement, Cedar's story (supposedly fact-based) turns on the internal intrigues in a "Hesder" army unit, whose young soldiers study the Torah when they're not on maneuvers. …this fascinating look at Israel in ferment feels as immediate as the latest news footage from Gaza and, because of its heightened, well-shaped dramas, twice as powerful. (Excerpt by Bill Gallo) Israel, 2000, in Hebrew with English subtitles, color, 102 min., not rated. 35mm (Dolby SR).

Italian for Beginners
August 1 & 2 - 7pm & 9:30pm

A confirmed film festival crowd-pleaser, Lone Scherfig's Italian for Beginners is a funny, relationship-driven ensemble piece that takes the chill out of the Danish winter with a snuggly blanket of humanism. Scherfig's third feature is the first Dogme film to be directed by a woman, and it's by far the tendency's most benign example. A youngish, recently widowed, Maserati-driving pastor (Anders W. Berthelsen) takes over a diminished congregation in a drab Copenhagen suburb and, amid a flurry of introductory scenes, falls in with (and, ultimately, helps sort out) a crowd of mildly eccentric, somewhat vulnerable thirtysomething singles. Four of the movie's six main characters are taking Italian lessons at a community night school—the remaining two principals are Italian, albeit played by Danish actors. (To the degree that the movie has a subtext, it might be that these "new Danes" have brought a welcome Mediterranean passion to a less hospitable clime.) Heartwarmingly predicated on second chances and last-minute redemptions, Scherfig's human comedy is sweet and cuddly, but not nearly as sentimental as it might have been. (Excerpt by J. Hoberman) Denmark, 2000, in Danish/Italian with English subtitles, color, 112 min., Rated R. 35mm (1.37:1, Dolby stereo). es.) France, 2002, French with English subtitles, Color, 142 min., Rated R.

Yeelen (new 35mm print)
Aug 3 & 4 - 7pm & 9:15pm

This adaptation of an ancient oral legend from Mali, is one of the most acclaimed and widely seen African films ever made. An Oedipal story mixed with magic; YEELEN is as visually stunning as anything from Hollywood. Set in the powerful Mali Empire of the 13th century it tells of the journey of Nainkoro, a young warrior who must confront an evil sorcerer who is also his father. Niankor uses his own magical powers to battle his father. The film follows him on a quest across arid Bambara, Fulani and Dogan lands and through a cross-section of West African cultures and folklore. Souleymane Cisse’s extraordinary use of landscapes and light produces a unique and striking cinematic style. “Concievably the greatest African film ever made… should make George Lucas green with envy… not to be missed.” (Johnathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader) Burkina Faso, 1987, in Bambara with English subtitles, color, 105 min., not rated. New 35mm print.