Film Forum, one of NYC’s finest art houses, has announced its Summer premieres slate.
Highlights include Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Elena,” Matthew Akers’ “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” and Mads Matthiesen’s “Teddy Bear.”
Full preview reprinted below:
May 9 – 15
PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD)
Directed by Grant Gee
UK 2011 82 Mins. In English Cinema Guild
W.G. Sebald (1944-2001), one of the 20thcentury’s greatest literary figures, wrote evocatively of memory and exile, destruction and decay; his legion of fierce admirers compare him to Virginia Woolf, Proust, and Rousseau. A.O. Scott writes inThe New York Times: “PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD) is, to some degree, a survey of the work of the German writer W.G. Sebald, who spent most of his career in England and whose books, blending fiction, memoir, philosophy and travel writing, defy easy classification. The film, assembling critics and colleagues to reflect on Sebald’s 1998 book,The Rings of Saturn, is both an essay in interpretation and an attempt to replicate the writer’s distinctive, elusive sensibility in a visual medium. (The film) tries to be both descriptive and immersive, explaining its subject even as it reproduces aspects of his style.” Includes commentary by writers and artists Robert McFarlane, Rick Moody, Adam Phillips, Tacita Dean, and Chris Petit.
May 16 – 29
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Russia 2011 109 Mins. In Russian with English subtitles Zeitgeist Films
Winner, Special Jury Prize,Un Certain Regard, 2011 Cannes Film Festival.From the acclaimed director of THE RETURN comes a film noir fueled by class warfare in Putin’s new Russia. Sixtyish spouses Vladimir and Elena share his expensively decorated glass and chrome Moscow apartment. He’s a virile, wealthy businessman; she’s his dowdy former nurse who “married up.” Estranged from his own wild-child daughter, Vladimir openly resents his wife’s ne’er do well son and family. But when a sudden illness threatens Elena’s potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan. This stylish, suspenseful domestic thriller is punctuated by Philip Glass’s entrancing, Hitchcockian music. “A wise and impeccably controlled drama that finds Russian helmer Andrey Zvyagintsev in outstanding form… A taut, engrossing yarn about a coveted inheritance, cruel class differences and quietly monstrous misdeeds.” – Justin Chang,Variety
Israel / Palestinian Territories / France / Netherlands 2011 90 Mins.
In Arabic, English and Hebrew with English subtitles Kino Lorber
Emad Burnat is a Palestinian farmerwho lives with his wife and four small children in the village of Bil’in in the central West Bank. Teamed with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, the two men document Burnat’s experiences with his neighbors, the Israeli army, and Israeli activists as his village is increasingly drawn into a multi-year conflict over the construction of a barrier that will confiscate much of the village’s cultivated land. His “five broken cameras” are all shot or smashed in the course of nonviolent demonstrations by the villagers: olive trees are burnt; buildings are bulldozed and lives are lost. A prize-winning film at both Sundance and IDFA (Amsterdam’s famed documentary festival), 5 BROKEN CAMERAS takes an international tragedy and reframes it in light of its impact on one family’s life. The film illuminates the warning of Israeli Knesset member Daniel Ben-Simon: “Israel is making a mistake in its unwillingness to recognize a Palestinian state.”
June 13 – 26
THE ARTIST IS PRESENT
Directed by Matthew Akers
USA 2012 105 Mins. HBO Documentary Films & Music Box Films
Marina Abramović: seductive, controversial, fearless, outré.Her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (March – May 2010) featured an extraordinary performance, experienced by 750,000 people, many of whom waited hours for the chance to sit silently across from her at a small table, where she remained for 7½ hours daily, without eating, drinking, or moving. The intensity of her gaze, the intimacy of the act (paradoxically in a huge, brightly lit room, filled with onlookers) moved some to tears and other acts of extreme emotion. Matthew Akers’s film records the artist as she prepares herself physically and spiritually for the ordeal — as might be expected — with tremendous discipline, humor and guile. With comments by MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach, art critic Arthur Danto, gallerist Sean Kelly, and hundreds of members of the public (including James Franco) who were fortunate enough to attend this landmark event.
Czech Republic / Slovakia 2011 107 Mins. In Slovak and Romany with English subtitles
Shades ofHamletamong the gypsies(the Roma): A Czech-Slovakian tale of a teenage boy who loses his father and distrusts his sleazy new stepdad. This poignant, resonant drama is equal parts neo-realism and modern Shakespearean tragedy. As Americans, most of us know little of the hardscrabble lives of contemporary gypsies, or their pariah status in Eastern Europe. A multiple prize-winner at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival last year, GYPSY limns memorable portraits, some flecked with bitter humor: the boy who dreams of going to Western Europe so that he may be mistaken for Pakistani; stolen ostriches accepted as payment in lieu of cash; the white documentary film crew whose members combine compassion with unconscious racism. Jan Mizigar gives a superb, naturalistic performance as a child on the brink of adulthood, attempting to shape a future that rejects the more sordid aspects of this world, but one that remains true to family and culture.
Sweden 2010 120 Mins. In Swedish, Serbian, English and Spanish with English subtitles
The Weinstein Company
A thriller of intrigue and self-delusion in contemporary Sweden.JW (The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman) is a handsome, suave grad student at Stockholm’s business school. He’s a much-prized guest at weekend parties at palatial family estates where clever repartee holds sway over candlelit dinners. But there’s another JW who’s busy sewing expensive buttons onto cheap shirts while working nights as a cabbie and selling term papers to make ends meet. When a beautiful young woman from on high is smitten with him, the stakes grow ever higher. JW falls in with an international array of drug-dealing thugs who promise easy money for some solid financial advice about laundering the big bucks they plan to make from a cocaine deal. JW may be a shallow cad, but he’s an amateur in the double- and triple-crossing world of Serbian mafiosos and Swedish bankers who provide a post-graduate education he’ll never forget.
July 25 – August 7
PLANET OF SNAIL
Directed & Photographed by Seung-Jun Yi
South Korea 2011 89 Mins. In Korean with English subtitles Cinema Guild
A love story like no other.He is tall and thin and very handsome, but cannot see or hear. She is tiny with a strikingly beautiful face. South Koreans Young-Chan and Soon-Ho are a loving married couple who communicate through finger braille (a touch-based sign language which she taps into his palm; he responds verbally). Often he carries her on his shoulders and together they accomplish ordinary domestic tasks to which the rest of us wouldn’t give a second thought. Young-Chan is an accomplished poet and his writings imbue the film with an otherworldly sensibility that reflects his self-image as a snail or as an astronaut. It is tempting to see them as characters from a fairytale, cursed by an evil spell. In reality, the extraordinary love which passes between them suggests the opposite: that they are blessed with immeasurable happiness the rest of us would be fortunate to experience. “A delicate and entrancing film” –Screen Daily
August 8 – 21
MEET THE FOKKENS
Directed by Rob Schröder & Gabriëlle Provaas
The Netherlands 2011 75 Mins. In Dutch with English subtitles
Directed by Ruth Lingford
USA 2010 11 Mins.
Louise and Martine Fokkens are 69-year-old identical twins, working residents of Amsterdam’s notorious red light districtfor the past 50 years. Today Louise is retired (citing arthritis: “I couldn’t get one leg over the other”), but Martine still works in the window. Dressed in the world’s most endearing dominatrix outfit, she solicits men, young and old, and seems to have no dearth of customers. Brash, funny, racy stories punctuate their conversations: one laughs at the naivety of young prostitutes who are ignorant of the secrets of the trade; the other recalls a client who was a chaplain: “Don’t you remember, we even had a little confessional!” The sisters also have scary stories to tell, but in the main they recall their clients with compassion and affection. The Fokkens are a wonderfully amusing cultural mix: one part beloved grandma, one part Xaviera Hollander, times two.
August 22 – September 4
Directed by Mads Matthiesen
Denmark 2012 93 Mins. In Danish, English & Thai with English subtitles Film Movement
Six-foot-seven, tattooed 38-year-old Dennis is a Danish bodybuilder:308 pounds of raw muscle that’s made him a world-famous super-heavyweight champion. Yet he still lives at home with a domineering mother, and is so painfully shy that he can’t carry on a conversation with a woman, let alone develop a relationship. Following the lead of other men who trawl for brides in Thailand, Dennis (played by real-life Danish muscleman Kim Kold) travels to Pattaya, a hub of the sex tourism trade. Turned off by the scene, he frequents a local gym where he meets the owner, a young widow, with whom he becomes close. But how will he introduce her to his maniacally possessive mom? This charming debut feature by Mads Matthiesen, a late-adult coming-of-age tale, won the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.