2014 Spring Cinema Series

Wednesday nights in the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium
SRJC Petaluma Campus, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway
Pre-film lecture at 6pm
Film screening at 7pm
Post-screening discussion until 10pm

January 29: DAY FOR NIGHT

Francois Truffaut, 1973, France

In the rarely-screened classic Day For Night acclaimed filmmaker Francois Truffaut plays a director struggling to finish his movie as he is bombarded with one crisis after another. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, this self-reflexive homage to moviemaking is an impressively funny and innovative exploration of the perils and triumphs of the motion picture industry.

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February 5: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Jean-Marc Vallee, 2013, USA

When the free-wheeling Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof discovers he has AIDS, he becomes the most unlikely of heroes as he decides to smuggle unapproved pharmaceuticals in from Mexico. As word gets out, an ever-growing and unexpected alliance of social misfits find themselves in a showdown with the federal government where the stakes are nothing short of life and death. Based on a true story, the film has received extraordinary critical acclaim and picked up Golden Globes for actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards this year including Best Picture.

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February 12: PARIS JE T’AIME

Various, 2006, France 

Twenty world-class filmmakers, including the Coen brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Walter Salles, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven, and Alexander Payne, individually craft a series of brief encounters in the twenty arrondissements of Paris.  The sum is greater than the parts in this captivating collection of shorts featuring a wide range of cinematic styles. Paris Je T’aime is the ultimate love letter to the City of Lights.

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February 19: FRUITVALE STATION

Ryan Coogler, 2013, USA

Fruitvale Station recounts the heart wrenching true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old bay area man who was fatally shot by police in a BART station on News Years Day in 2009. Winning both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, this engaging and thought provoking film is a triumphant debut for Oakland director Ryan Coogler.

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February 26: THE FOURTH MAN

Paul Verhoeven, 1983, The Netherlands

Before Paul Verhoeven became famous for such sci-fi blockbusters as Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers, he was one of Europe’s most beloved arthouse filmmakers. In this rarely screened neo-noir masterpiece, a broken-down bisexual novelist is lured into a web of intrigue by a mysterious beautiful blond whose motives become increasingly suspect. Exquisitely crafted, and packed with religious iconography and symbolism, The Fourth Man is a feast for the intellect as well as the senses.
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March 5: ATONEMENT

Joe Wright, 2007, England

Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy star in this romantic English war drama chronicling the travails of two star-crossed lovers over several decades surrounding World War II. Featuring top notch performances and stunning cinematography and production design, Atonement earned 7 Oscar nominations including a win for Best Musical Score.

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 March 12: WOMAN OF THE YEAR

George Stevens, 1942, USA

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn team up for the first time in this Oscar-winning 1942 romantic comedy. When Tess, a successful journalist is chosen as “Woman of the Year,” she quickly finds herself struggling to find harmony in her marriage with rival journalist Sam Craig. The film sparked a long, offscreen love affair between Hepburn and Tracy and their chemistry shines on screen in this gender-bending and wickedly funny American classic.

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March 26: AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY

Terence Nance, 2012, USA

With arresting insight, vulnerability, and a delightful sense of humor, Terence Nance’s explosively creative debut feature documents the relationship between Nance and a lovely young woman as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. Nance creates an exquisite tapestry of live action and various styles of animation to delve deeply into his own young male psyche as he sweats and stretches toward maturity. The result is an exciting and original film that announces the arrival of a bright new cinematic talent. Writer/Director/Star Terence Nance will participate in a 6pm onstage interview and take questions after the film.

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April 2:  DESERT RUNNERS

Jennifer Steinman, 2013, USA

This inspirational documentary follows four scrappy amateur athletes competing in the world’s most grueling sporting event: a yearlong series of 250K races known as the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon. Excellent direction and stunning nature photography shot in Chile, China, Egypt, and Antarctica contribute to this moving portrait of the human spirit. Writer/Director Jennifer Steinman will participate in a 6pm onstage interview and take questions after the film.

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April 9:  TAXI DRIVER

Martin Scorsese, 1975, USA

When a mentally unstable Vietnam war vet finds work as a late-night New York cab driver, he becomes irrationally obsessed with cleansing the city of its filth and scum. A tour-de-force performance by Robert De Niro and masterful direction by Martin Scorsese has made this film one of the most iconic works in motion picture history. Nominated for 4 Academy Awards and winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes, the film also stars Cybill Shepherd, Jodie Foster, and Harvey Keitel.

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April 16: CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE

Jan Svankmajer, 1996, Czech Republic

Czech animator Jan Svankmajer creates this absurdist tale of six outwardly average individuals whose lives intertwine as each secretly covets a bizarre and ritualistic fetish. Inspired by surrealism and utilizing a combination of live action and stop motion animation, Svankmajer constructs a striking and wholly original vision that delves into people’s interior lives and private obsessions without the aid of dialogue.
 

April 23: O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

Joel and Ethan Coen, 2000, USA

Set in the Deep South during the Great Depression, Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney) and fellow inmates Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and Pete (John Turturro) escape from a chain gang with the hopes of retrieving a $1.2 million dollar treasure. Inspired in part by Homer’s The Odyssey, this unique blend of American folk music, over-the-top comedy, and extraordinary sepia-tinted cinematography from master DP Roger Deakins makes this film among the Coen Brothers most ambitious and memorable works.

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April 30: DOGTOOTH

Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009, Greece

In this biting social allegory, three children are raised on a country estate in complete isolation of the outside world. Inexplicably, the parents indoctrinate them with a bizarre set of social norms until one day an invited guest disturbs the balance. Highly original in content and extremely formal in its aesthetic design, Dogtooth is a cinematic experience that provokes and challenges viewers in a way few films can or ever will. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

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 May 7:  HER

Spike Jonze, 2013, USA

In Spike Jonze’s brand-new award-winning satire, Theodore, a withdrawn and lonely writer, develops a romance with a newly purchased operating system designed to meet his every need. A cautionary fable about our love affair with technology, this innovative comedy is a mesmerizing and heartfelt examination of human relationships in the 21st century. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards this year including Best Picture.

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May 14: (500) DAYS OF SUMMER

Marc Webb, 2009, USA

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel star in this roller-coaster romantic comedy that has become the Annie Hall for Generation Y. Through a non-linear exploration of Tom’s memories of life with Summer, the perfect girl, director Marc Webb uses a wild array of cinematic conventions to bend and subvert the genre’s traditional expectations of stories that should end happily ever after.

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