Release Date: June 25, 2010
Films at National Gallery of Art in Summer 2010 Heat Up with Phil Solomon, New Films from Mexico, Ciné-Concerts, and a Retrospective Look at Edith Carlmar, Film Noir, and the 1930s Docudrama The March of Time
Washington, DC—This summer the National Gallery of Art's renowned film program presents a wealth of recent documentaries on subjects ranging from American painters and art collectors to musicians with deep connections to the quintessentially American art form of jazz.
The work of renowned avant-garde filmmaker Phil Solomon is highlighted in Rhapsodies in Silver, a retrospective trilogy presented by the artist and organized to coincide with his installation American Falls, on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Other series include Edith Carlmar: Of Love and Loss, a cycle of four films by this groundbreaking mid-20th-century Norwegian director who remains little known outside of her own country; Film and Reality in the 1930s: Roots of the Docudrama, a survey of films from the 1930s and 1940s that took the newsreel to new heights; and GenMex: A New Generation of Cine Mexicano, which introduces contemporary feature films by seven young Mexican directors.
The Gallery's annual summer preservation series From Vault to Screen this year focuses on the celebrated festival and film conference in Bologna Il Cinema Ritrovato, now in its 24th year, with a program of 15 rare works and restorations from international archives. Finally, the seasonal film series New Masters of European Cinema showcases work by up-and-coming Belgian filmmaker Fien Troch, presented in person by the director on September 26.
All films are shown in the East Building Auditorium. Programs are free of charge with seating available on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Programs are subject to change. Films are shown in original format. For current information, visit www.nga.gov/programs/film, or call (202) 842-6799.
Art Films and Events
Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World
Friday, July 2, at 12:30 p.m.
Recorded over several years, this balanced and beautiful portrait combines archival footage, private conversation, and Agnes Martin's paintings from her 50-year career. The Canadian-American abstractionist quietly captivates as she shares her methods and ideas. (Mary Lance, 2002, DigiBeta, 57 minutes)
The Painter Sam Francis
Saturday, July 3, at 1:00 p.m.
Jeffrey Perkins' recent portrait of his mentor, Sam Francis, revisits the painter's past—his California upbringing, formative years in Europe, and emergence as a major American abstractionist. Artists such as Ed Ruscha offer perspective. (Jeffrey Perkins, 2008, HD-Cam, 85 minutes)
John Marin: Let the Paint Be Paint!
Introduction by Michael Maglaras
Saturday, July 3, at 3:00 p.m.
Modernist John Marin, one of the first Americans accorded a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1930s, is the subject of a new film essay tracking his career, illustrated with watercolors, paintings, etchings, and drawings. The filmmaker leads a post-screening discussion. (Michael Maglaras, 2010, HD-Cam, 85 minutes)
Sunday, July 4, at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 10, at 1:00 p.m.
Internationally celebrated abstract expressionist Sam Gilliam talks with filmmaker Rohini Talalla about his life and the often contradictory process of creating his edgy, jazzlike body of work. One of the key painters of the Washington Color School, Gilliam is a fascinating raconteur. The director leads a post-screening discussion on July 10. (Rohini Talalla, 2008, DigiBeta, 52 minutes)
The Art of the Steal
preceded by From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection
Sunday, July 4, at 4:30 p.m.
The saga of art collector Albert C. Barnes and the political fray that recently ensued over the future of his invaluable works by Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, and other early modernists is, in the words of one reviewer, "a deep and troubling story [of] an art hijacking at its most bureaucratic." (Don Argott, 2009, HD-Cam, 100 minutes)
From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection charts the career of the businessman and art lover who gave the National Gallery of Art more than 300 works by Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Picasso, among others.. (Carroll Moore, 2010, DigiBeta, 15 minutes)
B-Side: Music in Barcelona
Fridays, July 9 and 16, at 3:00 p.m.
Barcelona filmmaker Eva Vila seeks out the city's impromptu musical life from concert rehearsals to informal jazz jamming. The result is a detective film and a collective musical biography, with musicians and their stories emerging, fading away, and then turning up again in a different spot. (Eva Vila, 2009, DigiBeta, Catalan with subtitles, 90 minutes)
Les deux de la vague (Two in the Wave)
Sunday, August 1, at 4:30 p.m.
The story of the early camaraderie and later rift between French New Wave founders François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard is crafted with archival interviews and footage, as it tracks the course of the celebrated 1960s film movement. (Emmanuel Laurent, 2009, DigiBeta, French with subtitles, 93 minutes)
Fragments of Conversations with Jean-Luc Godard
Sunday, August 8, at 4:30 p.m.
Jean-Luc Godard's exhibition at the Centre Pompidou provides a platform to view the French New Wave icon musing on a range of topics—young artists, his own vision of the cinema, and the hopelessness of talking about contemporary art—and then challenging himself in conversation with Jean Narboni, Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet, and others. Said the film's director, "Perhaps JLG never exposed himself as he does here, working, discussing, thinking." (Alain Fleischer, 2007, DigiBeta, French with subtitles, 125 minutes)
The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg
Introduction by Jerry Aronson
Friday, September 3, at 1:00 p.m.
Monday, September 6, at 1:00 and 3:30 p.m.
The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg catches the pace of the Beat poet's life through archival footage, the company of friends and family, and remarks from such observers as Norman Mailer, Ken Kesey, William Burroughs, and Timothy Leary. Released in 1994 and updated in 2005, "the result is a fiercely funny and moving document of a cultural era"—Rolling Stone. (Jerry Aronson, 2007, DigiBeta, 84 minutes)
Charlie Haden—Rambling Boy
Friday, September 3, at 3:00 p.m.
A new documentary from Swiss filmmaker Reto Caduff on renowned jazz bassist Charlie Haden documents the trendsetting years with the Ornette Coleman Quartet and an astonishing 60-year career as composer, producer, bandleader, teacher, and activist. (Reto Caduff, 2009, HD-Cam, 85 minutes)
Sounds and Silence
Sunday, September 5, at 2:00 p.m.
Contemporary music's fascination with the language of experimental tones is the domain of Manfred Eicher, famous founder of ECM Records. Inspired by many visual phenomena, including shifting patterns of light, the film follows Eicher to out-of-the-way music venues with such friends as Arvo Pärt, Dino Saluzzi, Jan Garbarek, and Kim Kashkashian. (Peter Guyer and Norbert Wiedmer, 2009, HD-Cam, German and French with subtitles, 88 minutes)
Return to Gorée
Friday, September 10, at 3:00 p.m.
African singer Youssou N'Dour's epic journey stalking the musical trail left by slaves in America resulted in an extraordinary jazz repertoire later performed and recorded in Gorée, the African island that today symbolizes the history of the slave trade. (Pierre-Yves Borgeaud, 35 mm, French and English with subtitles, 108 minutes)
New Masters of European Cinema:
Director Fien Troch in person
Sunday, September 26, at 4:30 p.m.
The sudden disappearance of their only daughter years before has left a middle-class couple (Emmanuelle Devos and Bruno Todeschini) unable to converse. Slowly, the hermetic world of their home acquires an otherworldly aura through the accretion of odd occurrences and visual ambiguities. One of the rising stars of the new European cinema, Flemish director Fien Troch (b. 1978) leads a post-screening discussion. "[Her] imposingly intimate camera understands how deeply the imperceptible can resonate"—Cameron Bailey. (Fien Troch, 2008, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 97 minutes)
Phil Solomon: Rhapsodies in Silver
Over a three-decade career, filmmaker Phil Solomon has established himself as one of the great visionary artists of American experimental cinema. Transforming original and found footage into scenes of melancholic beauty, Solomon employs both photochemical manipulation and re-photography of the filmstrip to make haunting, expressionistic films. More recently he has expanded his horizons into machinima, digital art derived from videogame software. "The concept of the filmmaker as auteur has rarely been more appropriate or defensible"—Manohla Dargis. This survey in three parts, each consisting of multiple films, is presented in conjunction with American Falls, the artist's new site-specific video installation for the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The Gallery wishes to thank Paul Roth.
Introduction by Phil Solomon
Saturday, July 10, at 3:00 p.m.
Solomon's recent forays in machinima arose from the unexpected death of his friend, filmmaker Mark LaPore. The two had collaborated to make Crossroad (2005), shaping an allegorical videogame noir from the software used to make Grand Theft Auto. Solomon went on to make Rehearsals for Retirement (2007), Last Days in a Lonely Place (2007), and Still Raining, Still Dreaming (2009) in tribute. American Falls (2010) combines celluloid transformations with high-def video: this is the theatrical, single-channel premiere of Solomon's recent Corcoran Gallery of Art installation, both a love song and a lament for a nation perpetually on the brink. (Total running time 103 minutes)
Introduction by Phil Solomon
Sunday, July 11, at 4:30 p.m.
Stan Brakhage observed that many of Solomon's films address "the lost world of childhood, in direct opposition to every notion of the Romance of being young." This program features three tone poems surveying the midnight passage from innocence to experience: The Secret Garden (1988), Clepsydra (1992), and The Snowman (1995). Also included is the finest of Solomon's hand-painted film collaborations with Brakhage, Seasons… (2002). The allegorical Twilight Psalm II: Walking Distance (1999) appears onscreen like a dream poured from noble metals: analogous, in the artist's words, to something found in "rusted medieval film cans…a two-reeler [from] a time when images were smelted and boiled rather than merely taken." (Total running time 86 minutes)
Saturday, July 17, at 1:00 p.m.
Remains to Be Seen (1989/1994) and The Exquisite Hour (1989/1994), Solomon's melancholic masterpieces of distressed found footage, envision the passage from life to death. Nocturne (1980/1989) and What's Out Tonight Is Lost (1983) are silent imaginings of suburban disquiet. Solomon's haunting Twilight Psalm III: Night of the Meek (2002) appears like an excavation of buried collective memory: an incantation in molten silver, it conjures the Golem on Hitler's Kristallnacht. The program concludes with Solomon's joyful Yes, I Said Yes, I Will, Yes (1999). (Total running time 76 minutes)
Film and Reality in the 1930s: Roots of the Docudrama
In 1895 Auguste and Louis Lumière conceived their Cinématographe as a device for reproducing an unadorned and unmediated reality. Thomas Edison and Georges Méliès held a different view, and soon fiction films supplanted nonfiction as the main attraction on the world's movie screens. By the 1930s the situation began to change, as new technologies and the introduction of narrative strategies borrowed from print journalism demonstrated the cinema's unique ability to represent and even recreate the living history of the 20th century. The resulting hybrid "docudrama," mainly the invention of nonfiction film crews and political radicals in New York, paved the way for the newsreel realism of such later films as The Naked City or On the Waterfront, signaling the cinema's greatest stylistic transformation since the coming of sound. The Gallery wishes to thank Richard Koszarski.
The Political Documentary
Introduction by Richard Koszarski
Saturday, July 17, at 3:00 p.m.
"The Camera Is a Weapon in the Class Struggle," blurted a hand-painted banner on the New York headquarters of the Workers Film and Photo League in 1930. Confronted by economic upheaval, and inspired by the Soviet cinema's dramatic recreations, organizations such as NYKINO and Frontier Films by the mid-1930s had launched a stylistic revolution. Following an introduction by Rutgers University professor Richard Koszarski, author of Hollywood on the Hudson: Film and Television in New York from Griffith to Sarnoff, screenings include: The City (Willard Van Dyke and Ralph Steiner, 1939), Footnote to Fact (Lewis Jacobs, 1933), People of the Cumberland (Elia Kazan, 1937), and Native Land (Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand, 1942). (Total running time 160 minutes, with intermission)
The March of Time: Seventy-fifth Anniversary
Saturday, July 24, at 1:00 p.m.
American movie audiences, accustomed to the weekly newsreel in any local theater's programming, were introduced in 1935 to Henry Luce's "new pictorial journalism" in the form of The March of Time. Suddenly, the most dramatic—and dramatized—item on the bill was not necessarily the Hollywood feature. This 75th-anniversary screening celebrates The March of Time with three short episodes from the late 1930s and producer Louis De Rochemont's feature-length The Ramparts We Watch (1940). (Total running time 150 minutes)
From Vault to Screen: Il Cinema Ritrovato
The National Gallery's annual preservation series this year focuses on Il Cinema Ritrovato, the famous festival in Bologna lauded by cinephiles, historians, and film conservators from around the world. Each summer's events include restorations, rediscoveries, and rare treasures from archives, private collectors, and cinematheques as well as events that run the gamut from scholarly discussions to open-air screenings in the heart of the historic city. Special thanks to Guy Borlée, Gian Luca Farinelli, Peter von Bagh, and the staff of Cineteca del Comune di Bologna for their support.
Al-Momia (The Mummy)
Sunday, July 18, at 4:30 p.m.
Inaccessible for 40 years, this majestic Egyptian masterpiece was inspired by an incident from the 1880s—the shocking discovery of clandestine raids of royal tombs. "Al Momia has a stately, poetic, powerful grasp of time and the sadness it carries. . . . In the end, it is strangely and even hauntingly consoling: the final understanding of whom and what we are"—Martin Scorsese, World Cinema Foundation. (Shadi Abdel Salam, 1969, 35 mm, Arabic with subtitles, 103 minutes)
The Matinee Idol
preceded by Fiddlesticks
Andrew Simpson on piano with the Snark Ensemble
Saturday, July 24, at 4:00 p.m.
The first of four early Frank Capra films stars Johnnie Walker as a Broadway minstrel, recruited for a Civil War melodrama with a bottom-of-the-barrrel traveling tent show. Rediscovered in the vaults of the Cinémathèque Française, the long-lost Matinee Idol is one of the director's finest early comedies. (Frank Capra, 1928, 35 mm, 70 minutes)
Capra was co-screenwriter for the madcap Fiddlesticks, featuring famed comic Harry Langdon as he struggles to become a bona fide musician on his beloved bass fiddle. (Harry Edwards, 1927, 20 minutes)
The Miracle Woman
Sunday, July 25, at 4:30 p.m.
Cult evangelist and media icon Aimee Semple McPherson's story, dramatized in the 1927 play Bless You, Sister, was adapted for screen idol Barbara Stanwyck. Her Sister Fallon, whose girl-next-door wholesomeness turns triumphantly evil, is a victory of cynicism over virtue. "Capra can do more with Barbara Stanwyck than any other director"—Variety. (Frank Capra, 1931, 35 mm, 90 minutes)
The Way of the Strong
Andrew Simpson on piano
Saturday, July 31, at 2:00 p.m.
"So grotesque it verges on the operatic." Columbia Pictures' publicity notes portrayed hulking hero Handsome Williams (Mitchell Lewis) as the world's ugliest man—he could bear anything except the sight of his own face. "Beauty underlies his brutish exterior, as shown in his tenderness toward Nora, the blind violinist"—Joseph McBride. The film is preceded by a trailer for the lost 1928 Capra film Say It with Sables. (Frank Capra, 1928, 35 mm, 65 minutes)
Ladies of Leisure
Saturday, July 31, at 3:30 p.m.
In pre-code Hollywood, "lady of the evening" and artist's model Barbara Stanwyck ensnares wealthy would-be painter Ralph Graves. When his parents ask her to leave him, Stanwyck obliges and boards a boat bound for Cuba. This was Capra's first effort with the future star. (Frank Capra, 1930, 35 mm, 99 minutes)
Le Amiche (The Girlfriends)
preceded by A Century Ago: Films from 1909
Saturday, August 7, at 2:30 p.m.
Antonioni's first critical success was this polished adaptation of a Cesare Pavese story about class conflict and shifting relationships inside an elite clique of Turin fashionistas. "Le Amiche demonstrates how Antonioni redefined cinematic language, using space, symbol, and image to express emotion"—British Film Institute. Restored by Cineteca de Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata, funding from Gucci and The Film Foundation. (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1955, 35 mm, Italian with subtitles, 100 minutes)
One of the delights of the annual Il Cinema Ritrovato is Films from 100 Years Ago. A selection from 1909 from the collection of the National Film Archive of the British Film Institute includes, among others, Une Pouponnière, Blériot Traverse la Manche, Les Surprises de l'Aviation, and Cretinetti Paga i Debiti. (18 minutes)
A Brighter Summer Day
Saturday, August 14, at 2:00 p.m.
Edward Yang's masterful tapestry of everyday life in 1960s Taiwan—from family relations, to youthful alienations, to the fondness for American culture—is a brilliant evocation of a particular time and one of the great achievements of late 20th-century cinema. "While restorations are usually reserved for relics, sometimes we need to dust off recent memories to remind how brightly the not too distant past shined"—Wong Kar-Wai. (Edward Yang, 1991, 35 mm, Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles, 237 minutes with intermission)
Sunday, August 15, at 4:30 p.m.
When Faces appeared in theaters in 1968, its bracing frankness and black-and-white cinema-verité aesthetic struck a resonant chord with mainstream moviegoers accustomed to more conventional fare. Arguably John Cassavetes' most influential work, Faces retains today a power to rouse through its raw scrutiny of human relationships. (John Cassavetes, 1968, 35 mm, 130 minutes)
Maciste all'Inferno (Maciste in Hell)
Andrew Simpson on piano
Sunday, August 22, at 4:30 p.m.
Bartolomeo Pagano's commanding presence in Pastrone's 1914 Cabiria led straight to stardom in 1920s Italian cinema as the beloved strong man Maciste (Fellini, for example, was an admirer from childhood). The last and arguably best of the Maciste series, Maciste all'Inferno envisions a "sensual baroque hell where Maciste works wonders defeating an entire fleet of devils"—Stella Dagna and Claudia Gianetto. (Guido Brignone, 1925, 35 mm, 95 minutes)
Friday, August 27, at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 28, at 12:30 p.m.
This prewar Carol Reed gem from the vaults of Great Britain's National Film Archive follows an assortment of colorful working-class characters as they leave London for their final seaside spree of summer. Margaret Lockwood is luminous as nurse Catherine Lawrence, while the location shooting on England's East Sussex coast offers up insightful social history. (Carol Reed, 1938, 35 mm, 86 minutes)
Saturday, August 28, at 2:30 p.m.
The first of two urbane and rarely revived comedies by the colorful, aristocratic, Argentine-born Harry d'Arrast, Laughter was scripted by Algonquin Round Table regular Donald Ogden Stewart. Nancy Carroll plays the blasé spouse of wealthy Wall Street magnate Frank Morgan and Fredric March is her fun-loving former boyfriend, one of Carroll's many admirers. (Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast, 1930, 35 mm, 85 minutes)
A Gentleman of Paris
Andrew Simpson on piano
Saturday, August 28, at 4:30 p.m.
A butler plots revenge on elegant man-about-town Adolphe Menjou after discovering his wife's dalliance with this wealthy roué. Although Harry d'Arrast had worked closely with Charlie Chaplin on the latter's A Woman of Paris (also featuring Menjou), this film's worldly-wise ways evoke a graceful irony closer to the manner of Lubitsch or Stroheim. (Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast, 1927, 35 mm, 65 minutes)
The Beginning or the End
preceded by The Town
Sunday, August 29, at 4:30 p.m.
One of the more intriguing American offerings from Il Cinema Ritrovato is this postwar "first apocalyptic bomb film" introduced by Hume Cronyn as Robert Oppenheimer and (as its newsreel opening reveals) intended for a time capsule to be opened in 2446. Corporate heads and characters such as Einstein and Fermi—plus a ubiquitous Zelig-like figure anticipating "a new American utopia"—add a bone-chilling irony to the proceedings. (Norman Taurog, 1946-1947, 35 mm, 120 minutes)
Von Sternberg's short The Town was made for the State Department's American Scene series designed to show the lives of ordinary Americans in the 1940s. With Madison, Indiana, as a location, "The Town is ultimately the director's most sustained exposure to reality"—Andrew Sarrris. (Josef von Sternberg, 1943, 35 mm, 12 minutes)
Lang and Ulmer: Noir Duo
A 1948 film noir pairing with classic motifs and a strong sense of visual experimentation, Ruthless and Secret Beyond the Door are both preserved 35 mm prints from the collection of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Secret Beyond the Door
Saturday, August 21, at 2:00 p.m.
"Joan Bennett's heroine gradually realizes that—married to architect Michael Redgrave who obsessively collects rooms in which murders have occurred—she must uncover the secret of the one room always kept locked"—Tom Milne. (Fritz Lang, 1948, 35 mm, 99 minutes)
Saturday, August 21, at 4:00 p.m.
The flashback-structured tale of a sociopath's remorseless drive for station and wealth, Ruthless features undercurrent of emotional violence personified in Zachary Scott's remarkably muted performance. (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1948, 35 mm, 104 minutes)
Edith Carlmar: Of Love and Loss
Norway's Edith Carlmar (1911–2003) reenergized the country's cinema following World War II with the box office success of her engaging, noirish melodramas. Still unknown outside Norway, Carlmar launched the career of Liv Ullmann in the late 1950s, casting the future celebrity as the lead in The Wayward Girl. Devoting the remainder of a long career to theater and television, Carlmar became a beloved figure in Norwegian society. This cycle of four films, concurrent with Edvard Munch: Master Prints, is presented through the cooperation of the Embassy of Norway and the Norwegian Film Institute, Oslo, with special thanks to Ingrid Dokka and Jan Erik Holst.
Døden er et kjærtegn (Death Is a Caress)
Saturday, September 4, at 2:00 p.m.
An odd magnetism draws wealthy woman-about-town Sonja to her handsome working-class mechanic, Erik. In classic noir fashion, the protagonists' fatal attraction leads to their undoing. "Few films have ever more effectively conveyed a kind of male-hysteria, as Erik comes to regard Sonja increasingly as an enigma whom he can not control or understand"—Norwegian Film Institute. (1949, 35 mm, Norwegian with subtitles, 88 minutes)
Ung flukt (The Wayward Girl)
Introduction by Ingrid Dokka
Saturday, September 11, at 2:00 p.m.
In Carlmar's best-known work—a coming-of-age tale in an idyllic rural setting that marked the screen debut of Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann—young love is mired in youthful hedonism and the awakening moral constraints of adult life. (1959, 35 mm, Norwegian with subtitles, 95 minutes)
Ung frue forsvunnet (A Young Woman Missing)
preceded by Bare Kødd (Just Kidding)
Saturday, September 18, at 2:00 p.m.
Archeologist Arne Berger returns home to find his wife, Eva, has vanished. As new facts about Eva's life materialize, Arne discovers she had been feeding a drug dependency while working for a pharmacist. True to form, Carlmar gradually thickens the plot as disturbing patterns from Eva's marriage start to surface—a more probable source for her distress. (1953, 35 mm, Norwegian with subtitles, 91 minutes)
Skadeskutt (Damage Shot)
Saturday, September 25, at 2:00 p.m.
Carlmar's films were especially appealing in the 1950s because they exposed contemporary problems that today are seen as social and cultural history. In the noirish melodrama Skadeskutt, a man's disturbing domestic crisis triggers the onset of a deep depression. The ways in which his society expresses both a fear of mental illness and attempts to cope with it shape a thoughtful yet curious film. (1951, 35 mm, Norwegian with subtitles, 94 minutes)
GenMex: A New Generation of Cine Mexicano
In a memorable year for Mexico—2010 marks both the bicentennial of independence from Spain and the 100th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution—it's also becoming abundantly clear that fresh directorial talents are invigorating the burgeoning pool of distinctive cinema known as Nuevo Cine Mexicano, one of the world's most dynamic national cinema movements. This series includes the work of seven young directors. The Gallery wishes to thank Carlos Gutiérrez.
Saturday, September 4, at 4:00 p.m.
Winner of the Best Mexican Film Award at the prestigious Guadalajara Festival, Perpetuum Mobile is the story of young Gabino, a van driver in Mexico City living with his nagging mother. In an impressively disciplined narrative, the film creates a portrait of family relationships within a panorama of urban street life. Director Pereda (b. 1982), with only three features, is well on his way to becoming a leading stylist of the new Mexican cinema. (Nicolás Pereda, 2009, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 90 minutes)
Sunday, September 5, at 4:30 p.m.
A delicate and accomplished debut feature, Norteado's fresh take on the border-crossing tale tracks young Andrés, an Oaxacan in Tijuana attempting to enter California. Temporarily finding employment and a few fragile friendships, Andrés not only learns to tolerate the anguish of wanting to be elsewhere but more importantly discovers "the fleeting pleasures to be found in transitional spaces"—Melissa Anderson. (Rigoberto Pérezcano, 2009, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 93 minutes)
Saturday, September 11, at 4:00 p.m.
Adrift and lonely in a quiet coastal village, a rootless young Frenchman meets an older local fisherman who gradually helps the outsider resume a life, with a few surprises along the way. As in his earlier work, Matías Meyer probes the connections between society and nature with a documentary-like approach that watches while characters struggle to synchronize with often hostile environments. (Matías Meyer, 2009, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 95 minutes)
Director Natalia Almada in person
Sunday, September 12, at 4:30 p.m.
Natalia Almada shapes an arresting portrait of her great-grandfather, Plutarco Eliás Calles, Mexico's notorious president during the 1920s. From the most ephemeral of sources—private audio recordings of her grandmother, the president's daughter—Almada completes the portrait with archival footage, photographs, and texts, reconstructing myriad details in this remarkably illuminating essay. (Natalia Almada, 2008, HD Cam, 83 minutes)
Saturday, September 18, at 4:00 p.m.
Constructing a fictional tale from a true life episode, Alamar documents a boy's extended visit with his father and grandfather in the fishing villages near Mexico's fabled Banco Chinchorro, before returning to Rome to live forever with his Italian mother. "The simplicity and details of a wonderful but limited experience pared down to their most honest, most untroubled, and often most beautiful essences"—Daniel Kasman. (Pedro González-Rubio, 2010, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 73 minutes)
Sunday, September 19, at 4:30 p.m.
The formal elegance of Lake Tahoe belies its undercurrent of offbeat charm. In the aftermath of some unidentified family misfortune, young Juan searches for answers but spends most of his time in droll encounters with a variety of colorful locals. "Exquisitely captured in natural light by cinematographer Alexis Zabé, Juan's journey is framed by sherbet-colored houses and lemon sidewalks, dipping palm fronds and a burnished, turquoise horizon. The director calls his style 'artisan cinema'"—Jeannette Catsoulis. (Fernando Eimbcke, 2008, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 84 minutes)
Saturday, September 25, at 4:00 p.m.
Two filmmakers track two young lawyers in a quixotic quest to unmask Mexico's labyrinthine legal system. Based on the case of Antonio Zúñiga, wrongly condemned for murder, Presumed Guilty shows an impressive access to courts and prisons and exposes the loopholes of an entangled system in which, traditionally, an accused remains guilty until proven innocent. (Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith, 2008, Spanish with subtitles, 87 minutes)
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