2012 Spring Cinema Series

February 1st - May 16th

February 1:  INCEPTION

Christopher Nolan, 2010, USA

The Cinema Series opens with Christopher Nolan’s existential heist thriller Inception.  Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a highly skilled thief charged with his toughest job to date: navigating the architecture of someone’s dreams to implant an idea that will change his life forever.  Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

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Kevin Macdonald, 2006, UK

When a young Scottish doctor gets lured into the inner circle of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin’s corrupt regime, his responsibilities are more than he bargained for.  Forest Whitaker dominates the screen in this beautifully shot political thriller about the abuses of money and power in African politics of the 1970s. Whitaker’s tour-de-force performance earned him the Oscar for Best Actor in 2006.

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Lewis Milestone, 1930, USA

This WWI tale told from the German point-of-view is arguably one of the most powerful anti-war films ever made. Fiery patriotism transforms into horror and misery as a close knit group of schoolboys are introduced to the harsh realities of combat. Its powerful message, epic scale, and dazzling cinematography earned it Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director of 1930.

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February 29: BLADE RUNNER

Ridley Scott, 1982, USA

This neo-noir sci-fi masterpiece follows a jaded cop (Harrison Ford) assigned to track down a group of escaped replicants in a future vision of dystopian Los Angeles. Intellectually provocative and highly stylized, this allegorical adaptation of the classic Philip K. Dick novel, has been recut an astonishing seven times.  Come enjoy the “Final Cut” of Scott’s Oscar-nominated enigmatic cult thriller.

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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, 2011, USA

This highly acclaimed film exposes and challenges the media’s disparaging and sexualized portrayals of women that negatively affect girls’ self esteem and contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and esteem.  Loaded with interviews of influential women in America, the film features Condoleezza Rice, Jane Fonda, Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, and Nancy Pelosi among others.  Special guest panel will be in conversation at 6pm.

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March 14:  THE PIANO

Jane Campion, 1993, Australia

When a mute pianist begins to rebel against 1850s mores, it unleashes a torrent of plagues and pleasures on all those around her. The lush and evocative landscapes of New Zealand are the perfect milieu for this haunting and surreal feminist fable.  Winner of the prestigious Palm d’Or at Cannes as well as Oscars for actresses Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin, as well as writer/director Jane Campion.

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Heather Courtney, 2011, USA

From a small snowy town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, the film chronicles the four year journey of childhood friends forever changed by a faraway war. At once intimate, yet epic in scale, this award-winning documentary offers a remarkably unvarnished look at the war and its impact on an increasingly disillusioned generation. Director Heather Courtney will be in conversation at 6pm.

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William Wyler, 1953, USA

When a sheltered princess escapes the confines of her royal entourage, she embarks on a free-spirited holiday with an American journalist in Rome.  Enchanting performances by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and gorgeous iconic locations make this a memorable modern classic.  Nominated for ten Oscars, the film earned awards for Hepburn, costumer Edith Head, and blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

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Danny Boyle, 1996, UK

Overwhelmed by the host of dull options facing their lives, a group of Scottish youths, aptly led by Ewen McGregor, attempt to escape through heroin only to realize that the drug doesn’t relieve them of the choices they inevitably must make. Slick and stylish, this hit at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival was the first major success of director Danny Boyle (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire).

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Tim Burton, 2007, USA

Tim Burton adapts Steven Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical about a barber who plots revenge against a corrupt judge that ruined his life.  Spectacularly stylized and highly entertaining, Depp delivers another pitch perfect performance dripping with humor, horror, and a serious punch in the gut.  Nominated for three Oscars, including a win for Best Art Direction.

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April 25: THE TIN DRUM

Volker Schlöndorff, 1979, Germany

This cinematic adaptation of Nobel Prize Winner Gunter Grass’ allegorical novel follows young Oskar as he refuses to grow up during the rise of the Nazi Socialist Party. A stunning technical achievement  with a standout performance by 12-year-old David Bennett, the film was awarded the prestigious Palm d’Or at Cannes as well as the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. 

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Miranda July, 2005, USA

When John, a lonely shoe salesman, meets Christine, a quirky performance artist (played by director Miranda July), he is at once hopeful and fearful of the miraculous changes he feels is about to take place.  A favorite at Cannes and Sundance, the film offers a touching and poetic examination of converging lives that is both painfully ordinary and strangely unreal.

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Byambasurem Davaa, 2003, Mongolia

When a mother camel rejects her rare white camel calf, a family of Mongolian nomads orchestrate an ancient ritual in hope of reuniting the pair.  Combining reality, myth, and ritual, the film calls into question the age-old tensions between tradition and modernization, technology and nature, and knowledge and belief, ultimately renewing our faith in the cosmic connection between all living things.  Nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

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May 16:  KING KONG

Merian C. Cooper & Ernest Schoedsack, 1933, USA

The season closes with the classic adventure story of a film crew who travels to a remote tropical island where a giant gorilla becomes infatuated with their female star.  With pioneering special effects and provocative allegorical implications, this original tale of beauty and the beast continues to delight audiences nearly 80 years after its initial release.

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