This summer’s the Film Society of Lincoln Center returns with their annual FREE Film Society Talks series, sponsored by HBO. The events, free and open to the public, are held in the Amphitheater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. The featured directors will lead discussions, sharing rare insight on their recent releases. The format will consist of the discussion and a combination of clips, trailers, extended conversations and questions from the audience.
British actor and filmmaker Alan Rickman will appear at the Film Society to discuss his second feature as a director, in which he appears opposite Matthias Schoenaerts, Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Ehle, and Helen McCrory. Following a string of standout supporting roles in such films as Die Hard and Sense and Sensibility, Rickman won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his lead role in TV’s Rasputin in 1996. Since then, he’s appeared on the big screen in films on both sides of the Atlantic, playing such varied roles as the wizard Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, a corrupt judge in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and President Ronald Reagan inLee Daniels’ The Butler. A Little Chaos is a romantic drama following Sabine (Winslet), a talented landscape designer, who, while building a garden at Versailles for King Louis XIV (Rickman), struggles with class barriers as she becomes romantically entangled with the court’s renowned landscape artist (Schoenaerts). The film debuted at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and opens in the U.S. on June 26. (Tuesday, June 16, 6:30pm)
The Tribe packed the house when it screened earlier this year at New Directors/New Films, but Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the festival. He will now be in town with lead actress Yana Novikova to talk about his crime-drama on the day of its release in the United States. Winner of multiple 2014 Cannes Film Festival Awards (including the coveted Critics’ Week Grand Prix), The Tribe is a silent film with a unique difference: its entire cast is deaf, non-professional actors and the “dialogue” is strictly sign language—without subtitle or voiceover. Set at a spartan boarding school for deaf coeds, the film follows new-arrival Sergey (Grigory Fesenko), who’s immediately initiated into the institution’s hard-as-nails culture with a beating before ascending the food chain from put-upon outsider to foot soldier in a criminal gang that deals drugs and pimps out their fellow students. With implacable camerawork and a stark, single-minded approach worthy of influential English director Alan Clarke, Slaboshpytskiy overcomes what may sound like impossible obstacles to tell an intense, but uncannily immersive story of exploitation and brutality in a dog-eat-dog world. (Wednesday, June 17, 6:30pm)
Director Matthew Heineman won audience accolades and the Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for his powerful documentary Cartel Land, and the film, which opens the Human Rights Watch Film Festival this week and opens July 3, has continued to impress on the festival circuit and will likely have a presence this coming Awards Season. Cartel Land is a classic Western set in the 21st century, pitting vigilantes on both sides of the border against the vicious Mexican drug cartels. With unprecedented access, this character-driven film provokes deep questions about lawlessness, the breakdown of order, and whether it is just for citizens to take up arms to fight violence with violence. Making a compelling documentary is never easy even under the most “ideal” situations; capturing the war that is right at the doorstep of the U.S. is nothing short of breathtaking. (Tuesday, June 30, 6:30pm)
Texas-born filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing (New Directors/New Films 2013) has elicited its fair share of controversy. The film, which opens July 17, asked former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass killings using the cinematic genre of their choosing, resulting in lavish musical numbers and scenes in the style of classic Hollywood gangster flicks. Oppenheimer’s follow-up, The Look of Silence (New York Film Festival 2014), returns to Indonesia to view the genocide of 1965-66 through the eyes of one of its victims, Adi, who tracks down a number of retired torturers—under the guise of paying them medical visits—to confront them about their past deeds. And as Indiewire critic Eric Kohn observes: “The result is the opposite of the unnerving showmanship that dominated The Act of Killing. A soft-spoken, levelheaded interrogator, Adi is an object of continual fascination as he attempts to get real answers from unwitting and potentially dangerous men.” (Thursday, July 16, 6:30pm)