Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bluegrass Film Society: Spring 2011 Series

1/19: Terribly Happy (Denmark: Henrik Ruben Genz, 2008: 90 mins)

1/26: Lorna's Silence (Belgium: The Dardenne Brothers, 2008: 105 mins)

Bluegrass Film Society: 2011 screening schedule
By Michael Dean Benton
North of Center

The Bluegrass Film Society is celebrating its sixth year by joining with Ondine Quinn of the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to initiate a Social Documentary Series and by extending our audience range through a new Family Film Series (suggested by BCTC Librarian Meagan Brock) that will provide films suitable for all ages. Additionally, in April we will screen and discuss Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, an important documentary about the financial crisis, for the BCTC Peace and Earth Justice Spring 2011 Speaker Series (organized by BCTC Geography professor Rebecca Glasscock).
Below are the dates for our 2011 Spring Semester screenings. All films are shown in the Oswald Building Auditorium on the campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College at 7:30 P.M. unless otherwise specified. All screenings are free of charge and open to the public. By the time this article hits the streets we already will have screened Terribly Happy (Denmark: Henrik Ruben Genz, 2008) and Lorna’s Silence (Belgium: The Dardenne Brothers, 2008), so we will forgo a caption description and encourage readers to check these films out on their own.

2/2: Demonlover (France: Olivier Assayas, 2002: 129 mins): Olivier Assayas merges a soundtrack by Sonic Youth with the diegetic sounds of this thriller. At times the non-diegetic and the diegetic sounds merge and intertwine, causing us to question what is being presented and what is the reality of the story. An exploration of perception buried in a thriller about corporate intrigues, personal vendettas, and the global spectacle. A film guaranteed to divide audiences.

2/9: Slither (Canada/USA: James Gunn, 2006: 95 mins): Part of the Cult Film Series at Al’s Bar on 6th and Limestone. Making a horror or comedy film must be difficult as evidenced by the onslaught of terrible films from the two genres that are released each year. It is a pleasant surprise then to come across a film that combines both genres in an enjoyable, yet trashy film. Perfect for a bar atmosphere!

2/10: Deep Down: A Story From the Heart of Coal Country (USA: Jennifer Gilomen and Sally Rubin, 57 mins): Part of the KFTC Social Documentary Series. This relevant documentary examines the interests and divisions of two lifelong neighbors in the struggle over coal mining and mountaintop removal in Eastern Kentucky. The film will be followed by a discussion led by KFTC members.

2/16: Dogtooth (Greece: Giorgos Lanthimos, 2009: 94 mins) Lanthimos’s film has caused a sensation for its vivid, emotional and brutal science fictional/ surreal exploration of the structures of family and society. Just as shocking as the film’s subject matter was its nomination for Best Foreign Language Film by the normally conservative Oscar judges.

2/23: The Cove (USA: Louie Psihoyos, 2009: 92 mins): This 2010 Oscar winning documentary is a hard hitting expose of an annual hidden massive roundup and slaughter of dolphins in a Japanese cove. This is activist filmmaking in action and is one of the most intense documentaries ever made, a thrilling narrative of environmental activism against political corruption and ecological destruction. The film is devastating in its horrific reality and absolutely necessary viewing.

2/24: An Unfinished Dream (USA: Andrea Ortega and Margarita Reyes, 2010: 58 mins): Part of the KFTC Social Documentary Film Series this film will be followed by a discussion led by DREAM ACT advocate Erin Howard. The film examines the issues surrounding the DREAM Act and the struggles of the students who are fighting for its passage.

3/2: Howl’s Moving Castle (Japan: Hayao Miyazaki, 2004: 119 mins): Part of the BCTC Family Film Series (we will have a showing later in the Spring of the animated film Despicable Me). Miyazaki is a master of animated films and they can be equally enjoyed by adults as they are by children. Miyazaki continues to hand draw his cells rather than rely on computers and the lush colors of his films are matched by the vivid complex narratives. Miyazaki is not only a master of animated filmmaking, he also should be considered as ranked amongst the world’s best fantasy storytellers.

3/9: Valhalla Rising (Denmark: Nicholas Winding Refn, 2009: 93 mins): Just as winter hopefully leaves Lexington, we will screen a dark brutal tale of an enigmatic warrior from the frozen wastelands. Refn upped the ante with his previous bombastic 2008 bio- pic of England’s notorious prisoner Bronson. Now he dials it down for this imagistic, although at times even more brutal, tone poem ala Jodorowsky acid westerns. If you expect non-stop action based upon the movie’s poster and its trailer, you will be disappointed (although the first 15 minutes has more battles than most films), but if you are open to stunning imagery, Mads Mikkelsen’s enigmatic portrayal of One-Eye, and open-ended storytelling, then this will be your cup of tea!

3/10: Toilet Training (USA: Tara Mateik, 2004: 30 mins) Part of the KFTC Social Documentary Series. A look at the difficulties transgendered people have in using gender segregated public toilets and the fight to bring awareness to this issue. Film will be followed by a discussion led by KFTC members.

3/23: Mother (South Korea: Bong Joon-Ho, 2009: 128 mins): Bong Joon-Ho is the celebrated director of Memories of Murder (2003) and The Host (2006). With Mother he continues to build his reputation as one of the best directors coming out of South Korea. Mother follows the struggles of a devoted mother whose son has been charged with the murder of a young woman. He claims he had nothing to do with it and she sets out on a journey through the underside of Korean society. As is typical with many of the new wave of Korean films released in the US, this film artfully blends genres, provides lush colors and images, and provides laughs as well as chills.

3/30: The Trap (Serbia: Srdan Golubovic, 2007: 106 mins): How much is a life worth? Can we compare the value of a life to another life when one of those lives means everything to us and the other is a stranger? What would you be willing to do to save the life of someone you love? One father and husband must answer this question in Post- Milosovic Serbia as he is pressed by the demands of the cold realities of a privatized healthcare system and the opportunities of a sinister possible benefactor who asks of him only one favor in return for his monetary help.

4/13: Inside Job (USA: Charles Ferguson, 2010: 120 mins): Special 2 P.M. showing and discussion for the BCTC Peace and Earth Justice Spring Speaker Series. Charles Ferguson, the director of the superb Iraq War documentary No End in Sight (2007), turns to an examination of the causes of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 (and onwards) in Inside Job.

Ferguson is uniquely qualified to tell this story. He has a B.A. in Mathematics (UC Berkeley 1978), a Ph.D. in Political Science (MIT 1989), worked at the Brookings Institute, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, was a consultant for various high-tech companies, and founded Vermeer Technologies where he created the Front-Page software. Ferguson is also a critical researcher and relentless interviewer, and in this film these skills are put to good use as he maps out the root causes of our current economic crisis.

4/20: Still Walking (Japan: Hirokazu Koreeda, 2008: 114 mins): A beautiful, subtle exploration of a family coming together to heal in the long aftermath of a tragedy. Koreeda, the director of Afterlife (1998) and Nobody Knows (2004), provides a rich literary experience that examines all of the intricacies, heartbreak and joy of family without sliding into mawkish melodrama. It is celebrated as a masterpiece and was released on DVD by Criterion Collection in a high-quality transfer.

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