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Film / Festivals / Review SOMEONE TO TALK TO — #NYAFF2017

Another Excellent Revie from our own Tanimaru.

 

Right from the start, it is too good to be true, after viewing one couple who want to divorce, Angio and Lina proudly submit their papers for marriage. Fast forward 10 years and now with a daughter, they are falling apart. Angio’s sister plants the seed that Lina is cheating. Lush in visuals (you can almost taste the food of a restaurant) SOMEONE TO TALK TO pulls you into a world of infidelity, pursuit and murderous plans. The sense of China as mix of traditional and contemporary is both fascinating and tragic as the marriage falls apart and other adulterer goes back to his partner. Angio refuses to divorce Lina so she runs away with her lover, leaving her daughter and her life behind to be cared for by her sister in law and a new husband, as Angio travels north pretending to look for them. He meets an old high school friend, recently divorced, who shares with him – “Life is in the Future, not the past”. Angio leaves abruptly as his daughter falls ill. When she finally wakes up, he goes out to buy her wontons and at the station, meets Lina, still on the run. Considering first to kill them both, he abandons his plan now ready to divorce her and move into the future.

Everyone in the movie talks about wanting “someone to talk to”. Relationships have fallen apart because people do no communicate. SOMEONE TO TALK TO is sensitive and full of life – ordinary people seeking someone to talk to.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | CULTURE, FILM, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM/FESTIVALS — New York Asian Film Festival Returns 6/30 -7/16/17 *NYC

FSLC and Subway Cinema announce New York Asian Film Festival, June 30 – July 16

 

 

Jane © House in Seoul All Rights Reserved Courtesy of M-Line Distribution

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema announced the complete lineup for the 16th New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which will take place from June 30 to July 13 at the Film Society and July 14 to 16 at the SVA Theatre. North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema will showcase 56 feature films, including 3 International Premieres, 21 North American Premieres, 4 U.S. Premieres, and 15 films making their New York City debuts. The festival will feature in-person appearances by more than 20 international filmmakers and celebrity guests from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

Birdshot_1

This year, all three of NYAFF’s Gala screenings are brilliant reinventions of the thriller genre. The Opening Gala will be the International Premiere of Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius, the first Southeast Asian film to open the festival, with the director and stars in attendance. In this exhilarating high-school thriller, straight-A students Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) and Bank (Chanon Santinatornkul) stage a heist that will undermine the U.S. university entrance system after they lose their own scholarships. The Centerpiece Gala of the festival will be the North American Premiere of Mikhail Red’s Birdshot, a continuation of the festival programmers’ efforts to champion films from Southeast Asia, and the Philippines in particular. The Closing Gala is the U.S. Premiere of Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess, fresh from its Midnight screening in Cannes. The adrenaline-soaked action film stars Kim Ok-vin as a ruthless female assassin trained in China who starts a new life with South Korea’s Intelligence Agency.

Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno © OPOT Pictures; Courtesy of M-Line Distribution

New to NYAFF in 2017 is the Main Competition section, featuring seven diverse works by first or second-time directors that are all having their North American premieres at the festival. Competing are Bad Genius (Thailand), Birdshot (Philippines), A Double Life (Japan), The Gangster’s Daughter (Taiwan), Kfc (Vietnam), Jane (South Korea), and With Prisoners (Hong Kong). The competition jury will be announced at a later date, with winners revealed on the festival’s final night at Film Society of Lincoln Center on July 13.

Mad World

“We were seeking a range of original films from first-time directors, films that represent the diversity of filmmaking from Asia, stories that say something both very local and specific to their countries of origin and something very universal: we hope we achieved at least some of this with our inaugural competition selection, which includes films from seven countries/cities in the region in a broad variety of genres,” NYAFF executive director Samuel Jamier said. “It’s important for us to champion new filmmaking from Asia, and the diversity of film made there at a time when other festivals in North America seem to be reducing the size of their Asian lineups.”

Vanishing Time © Showbox

More now than ever, Hong Kong cinema is at the core of the festival’s programming: faithful to its Chinatown origins, this year’s edition celebrates the best filmmaking from the Special Administrative Region with a central Hong Kong Panorama section, commemorating the 20th anniversary of its establishment, with major support from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York. Over the past two decades, Hong Kong cinema has continuously influenced and inspired many filmmakers in Asia and in the world. This year’s lineup proves the originality and excellence of its production is intact: from a powerful condemnation of life inside the territory’s juvenile detention centers (With Prisoners), to a tale of corruption and redemption set in the underbelly of 1960s Hong Kong (Dealer/Healer), the films bear testimony to the city’s rich cinema history.

Dealer Healer © Sil-Metropole Organisation

The core of the panorama will be a special (and first of its kind) focus on the exciting new generation of directors, titled Young Blood Hong Kong. As part of the 20th anniversary, the festival is looking to the future of Hong Kong cinema, rather than its past: these recent Hong Kong directors are working in various genres, tackling a range of social issues, and paying homage to the film traditions they grew up with, from tenement dramas to vampire comedies. Meanwhile, NYAFF continues to bring established, major filmmakers from the region: Lawrence Lau, who, along with Ann Hui, is one of Hong Kong’s best neorealist directors, will be introducing his star-studded crime action drama Dealer/Healer; the Panorama will spotlight the new generation from the region with guest filmmaker Wong Chun and screenwriter Florence Chan with Mad World, Derek Hui with This Is Not What I Expected, and Alan Lo with Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Other films by first-time Hong Kong directors in this year’s lineup are Derek Tsang’s Soul Mate, Yan Pak-wing and Chiu Sin-hang’s Vampire Cleanup Department, and Andrew Wong’s With Prisoners.

Extraordinary Mission 4

The 2017 lineup also includes five LGBTQ-themed films: two dramas with transsexual protagonists, Naoko Ogigami’s Close-Knit from Japan, and Cho Hyun-hoon’s drama Jane from South Korea; two coming-of-age high-school youth dramas, Ahn Jung-min’s Fantasy of the Girls from South Korea, and Leste Chen’s 2006 Eternal Summer from Taiwan, which merits a second look a decade on; and Lee Sang-il’s wild and violent mystery thriller Rage, featuring Go Ayano (NYAFF 2016 Rising Star Asia awardee) as a homeless stranger invited into the home of a semi-closeted salaryman (Satoshi Tsumabuki) as his live-in-lover.

The Villainess - Courtesy of Well Go USA

Another highlight of this year’s festival are three films that celebrate Japan’s unique “Roman Porno” genre, each having their North American premieres: Aroused by Gymnopedies, Dawn of the Felines, and Wet Woman in the Wind. Nikkatsu, Japan’s oldest film studio, is celebrating 45 years since they birthed the softcore Roman Porno genre (roman derives from the French word for novel). Invented to save a dying industry, they gave carte blanche to directors with minimal rules: keep it under 80 minutes with a sex scene every ten. This allowed for wild stream of consciousness works of both the highest and lowest caliber. Now, Nikkatsu has enlisted top contemporary talent for the Roman Porno Reboot Project, with these three filmmakers taking the provocative, envelope-pushing format to a whole new level.

Bad Genius © GDH 559

In addition to the festival’s screenings, the NYAFF awards a number of honorees each year, including this year’s recipients:

  • The 2017 NYAFF Lifetime Achievement Award goes to veteran Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka-fai, who will attend a three-film tribute, including Johnnie To’s Election, Longman Leung & Sunny Luk’s Cold War 2 and Tsui’s Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D. In a career spanning 35 years, Leung has worked with the iconic directors Li Han-hsiang, Wong Kar-wai, Stanley Kwan, and Jean-Jacques Annaud, and starred opposite the screen legends Jackie Chan, Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Jet Li, and Fan Bingbing. Leung was arguably the first Hong Kong star to become an international heartthrob, in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Lover.
  • Our Star Asia Award recipient is Korean movie star Gang Dong-won, whose charisma and emotional investment in his performances gives his films a unique edge. His most iconic films include Lee Myung-se’s Duelist, Park Jin-pyo’s Voice of a Murderer, and Jang Hoon’s Secret Reunion. Last year, NYAFF presented two of his films, The Priests and A Violent Prosecutor, and in 2017, the festival will be joined by Gang to present a special screening of the magical fable Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned.

A Quiet Dream ©

  • The Screen International Rising Star Asia Award will be given to Thailand’s Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying. The 21-year-old model, who is still a student at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, found fame last year in Thank You for Sharing, an eight-minute, viral short about cyber-bullying. The NYAFF is opening with her feature debut, Bad Genius, in which she stars as a high-school student who masterminds an ambitious heist of the American university entrance exam system. It’s a demanding role, in which her quick-witted character must navigate a complex moral universe where parents and teachers don’t always know best.

Tickets go on sale June 15, with Film Society and Subway Cinema members receiving an early access period beginning June 13. Tickets are $14; $11 for students and seniors (62+); and $9 for Film Society members. See more and save with a 3+ film discount package and All Access Pass. Learn more at filmlinc.org.

Credits:
Curated by executive director Samuel Jamier, deputy director Stephen Cremin, and programmers Claire Marty and David Wilentz.

The New York Asian Film Festival is co-presented by Subway Cinema and the Film Society of Lincoln Center and takes place from June 30 to July 13 at Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th St), and July 14 to 16 at SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd St).

Keep up to date with information at www.filmlinc.org and www.subwaycinema.com.  Subway Cinema can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nyaff and Twitter at www.twitter.com/subwaycinema.

FULL LINEUP (57):
Titles in bold are included in the Main Competition

CHINA (6):
Co-presented with Confucius Institute Headquarters and China Institute
 Battle of Memories (Leste Chen, 2017)
 Blood of Youth (Yang Shupeng, 2016)
 Duckweed (Han Han, 2017)
 Extraordinary Mission (Alan Mak & Anthony Pun, 2017)
 Someone to Talk to (Liu Yulin, 2016)
 Soul on a String (Zhang Yang, 2016)

HONG KONG PANORAMA (10):
Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York
 Cold War 2 (Longman Leung, Sunny Luk, 2016)
 Dealer/Healer (Lawrence Lau, 2017)
 Election (Johnnie To, 2005)
 Mad World (Wong Chun, 2016)
 Soul Mate (Derek Tsang, 2016)
 The Taking of Tiger Mountain (Tsui Hark, 2014)
 This Is Not What I Expected (Derek Hui, 2017)
 Vampire Cleanup Department (Yan Pak-wing, Chiu Sin-hang, 2017)
 With Prisoners (Andrew Wong, 2017)
 Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight (Alan Lo, 2017)

JAPAN (15):
 Aroused by Gymnopedies (Isao Yukisada, 2016)
 Close-Knit (Naoko Ogigami, 2017)
 Dawn of the Felines (Kazuya Shiraishi, 2016)
 Destruction Babies (Tetsuya Mariko, 2016)
 A Double Life (Yoshiyuki Kishi, 2016)
 Happiness (Sabu, 2016)
 Japanese Girls Never Die (Daigo Matsui, 2016)
 The Long Excuse (Miwa Nishikawa, 2016)
 Love and Other Cults (Eiji Uchida, 2017)
 The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio (Takashi Miike, 2016)
 Rage (Lee Sang-il, 2016)
 Suffering of Ninko (Norihiro Niwatsukino, 2016)
 Survival Family (Shinobu Yaguchi, 2017)
 Traces of Sin (Kei Ishikawa, 2016)
 Wet Woman in the Wind (Akihiro Shiota, 2016)

SOUTH KOREA (11):
Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Center New York
 Fabricated City (Park Kwang-hyun, 2017)
 Fantasy of the Girls (Ahn Jung-min, 2016)
 Jane (Cho Hyun-hoon, 2016)
 Ordinary Person (Kim Bong-han, 2017)
 A Quiet Dream (Zhang Lu, 2016)
 A Single Rider (Lee Joo-young, 2017)
 Split (Choi Kook-hee, 2016)
 The Tooth and the Nail (Jung Sik, Kim Whee, 2017)
 The Truth Beneath (Lee Kyoung-mi, 2016)
 Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned (Uhm Tae-hwa, 2016)
 The Villainess (Jung Byung-gil, 2017)

SOUTHEAST ASIA (6)
 Bad Genius (Nattawut Poonpiriya, Thailand, 2017)
 Birdshot (Mikhail Red, Philippines, 2016)
 Kfc (Le Binh Giang, Vietnam, 2017)
 Mrs. K (Ho Yuhang, Malaysia, 2016)
 Saving Sally (Avid Liongoren, Philippines, 2016)
 Town in a Lake (Jet Leyco, Philippines, 2015)

TAIWAN (6):
Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York
 Eternal Summer (Leste Chen, 2006)
 The Gangster’s Daughter (Chen Mei-juin, 2017)
 Godspeed (Chung Mong-hong, 2016)
 Mon Mon Mon Monsters (Giddens, 2017)
 The Road to Mandalay (Midi Z, 2016)
 The Village of No Return (Chen Yu-hsun, 2017)

DOCUMENTARIES (2)
 Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno (Jung Yoon-suk, 2017)
 Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman (Jero Yun, 2016)

NYAFF TEASER:
https://youtu.be/Hw-mCSel3N4

OFFICIAL POSTER:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B–YOkNIV_ZhTjdqNjRVMm9IU00/view?ts=5931c144

 

NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (NYAFF)
Now in its 16th year, the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema, which The Village Voice has called “the best film festival in New York,” and The New York Times has called “one of the city’s most valuable events.” Launched in 2002 by Subway Cinema, the festival selects only the best, strangest, and most entertaining movies to screen for New York audiences, ranging from mainstream blockbusters and art-house eccentricities to genre and cult classics. It was the first North American film festival to champion the works of Johnnie To, Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, Takashi Miike, and other auteurs of contemporary Asian cinema. Since 2010, it has been produced in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from The New York Times, Shutterstock, Variety, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.

ABOUT SUBWAY CINEMA
Subway Cinema is America’s leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian popular film culture in all forms, building bridges between Asia and the West. With year-round festivals and programs, the organization aims to bring wide audience and critical attention to contemporary and classic Asian cinema in the U.S. In 2002, Subway Cinema launched its flagship event, the annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema. Subway cinema’s other events and initiatives include Old School Kung Fu Fest (OSKFF).

For more information, visit www.subwaycinema.com, www.facebook.com/NYAFF, and follow @subwaycinema on Twitter (#nyaff16).

Subway Cinema receives generous, year-round support from the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation and sponsorships from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, Korean Cultural Center New York, Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, China Institute, Manhattan Portage, Tsingtao Beer, Japan Foundation New York, Maven Wine, Bruce R. Watts, and thanks their media partners: Screen International, Asian Crush, China Film Insider, Chopsticks NY

June 22, 2017 Posted by | ART, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, LIFESTYLES, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dance/ Music/ Film/ Events — We Recommend BAM Dance Africa May 2017 *bklyn May 20-29, 2017

Make sure you attend the FREE outdoor Bazaar on the weekend!

DanceAfrica 2017 Bazaar

Dance Africa 2017, Bazaar

Rain or Shine!
May 27—May 29, 2017
Performance dates & times
LOCATION:

Ashland Pl / Lafayette Ave

Hours subject to change. Rain or shine.
Free
Saturday May 27, 2017

12pm

BACK

DanceAfrica’s beloved bazaar returns, featuring more than 150 vendors from around the world, offering African, Caribbean, and African-American food, crafts, and fashion. Celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Africa and its diaspora—and see the streets surrounding BAM transformed into a global marketplace.

Bazaar Hours

Sat, May 27, 12—10pm
Sun, May 28, 12—8pm
Mon, May 29, 12—8pm

(Hours subject to change. Rain or shine.)

<img width=”305″ height=”171″ src=”/media/9577279/17-MKTING-0605-NEW-DanceAfrica2017-640×359.jpg” alt=”DanceAfrica 2017 ” />DanceAfrica 2017
Dance
DanceAfrica 2017

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DanceAfrica 2017
May 26—May 29, 2017

Performance dates & times
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
RUN TIME: Approx 2hrs with intermission
SUBSCRIPTIONS START AT  $17.50
TICKETS START AT  $25

Buy Tickets

See all on-sale dates
Part of 2017 Winter/Spring Season and DanceAfrica Festival 2017

The Healing Light of Rhythm: Tradition and Beyond
Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam and Artistic Director Emeritus Chuck Davis
Forty years after its inauguration under the artistic direction of Chuck Davis, the nation’s largest festival of African dance returns for a special anniversary celebration. This year’s performance, under the leadership of Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam, is a special curated program that pays tribute to the past, present, and future of the landmark festival and the transformative power of movement.
Members of Philadelphia’s hip-hop based Illstyle & Peace Productions join with members of New York City’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and the drummers and dancers of Asase Yaa, performing a joyful collision of traditional and contemporary styles. Then, Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble—a master group of US-based Guinean dancers and musicians—present a spirited showcase of West African culture. Both groups are joined by the BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble.
Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble
Asase Yaa
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre
llstyle & Peace Productions
BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble (Brooklyn)
Lighting design by Al Crawford
Sound design by David Margolin Lawson
Costume design by Hopie Lyn Burrows
Read the BAM program notes for Danceafrica 2017

Related Content

Artists
Abdel R. Salaam

Abdel R. Salaam is the Artistic Director for DanceAfrica.

Abdel R. Salaam

DanceAfrica Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam is the executive artistic director and choreographer of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, which he co-founded in 1981. The company led the historic procession for Nelson and Winnie Mandela on their visit to New York in 1990 and, along with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, received the 41st annual Audelco Award for Excellence in Black Theater Award as the 2013 Dance Company of the Year.

Salaam has directed and choreographed for theater and television to critical acclaim and has been active in the world of the performing and visual arts since 1955. He has served on the faculties of Lehman College, the American Dance Festival in the US and Korea, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and the Chuck Davis Dance Academy. He is currently a director at the Harlem Children’s Zone/Forces of Nature Youth Academy of Dance and Wellness at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Harlem. He has received many awards, including the Monarch Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance from the National Council for Arts & Culture (1993), the Silver Anniversary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, Teaching and Performance from Lehman College (1994), and Better Family Life Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts (2000). Salaam is a 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow and was an artist in residence at the Tennessee Performing Art Center from 2003 to 2007.

<a target=”_blank”><img width=”305″ height=”305″ src=”/media/3376500/32163_DanceAfrica_Bio_AbdelSalaam_305x305.jpg” alt=”” /></a>

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Artists
Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble

This Guinea company is led by Artistic Director M’bemba Bangoura.

Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble

Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble comprises 17 master drummers, dancers, and instrumentalists, all from their native country of Guinea. They bring with them the vast knowledge of the traditional music and dance from each region and represent more than 15 different Guinean ethnicities. Wula Artistic Director M’bemba Bangoura, who has played the djembe drum since childhood, has traveled the world as a performer and teacher and is acclaimed for his high level of mastery of the drum. At age 21, he was invited to play for Ballet Djoliba, the national company of Guinea. Since moving to the US in 1992, Bangoura has become an integral part of the drum and dance scene, teaching hundreds of students, many of whom are now teachers themselves. Additionally, Bangoura has choreographed his own works and developed repertory for many dance companies worldwide.

<a target=”_blank”><img width=”305″ height=”305″ src=”/media/9195437/wula-305×305.jpg” alt=”Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble” /></a>Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble

 

Artists
Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater

This company of musicians, dancers, and vocalists was founded by Artistic Director Yao Ababio.

Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater

Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater was founded in 2001 by Artistic Director Yao Ababio. With a diversity of artistic skill, this company of musicians, dancers, and vocalists creates unique productions that mine the richness of the African diaspora. The company has appeared in VH1’s Hip Hop Honors Awards; Sing Your Song, a documentary about Harry Belafonte at the Apollo Theater; DanceAfrica; Kente Arts Alliance in Pittsburgh; and the first annual dance festival at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In January 2013 Asase Yaa opened its own multi-cultural performing arts facility in Brooklyn.

<a target=”_blank”><img width=”305″ height=”305″ src=”/media/9115594/asae-yaa-305×305.jpg” alt=”Asae Yaa” /></a>Asae Yaa

 

Artists
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre

Forces of Nature performs a blend of contemporary dance and traditional African forms.

Artists

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company was founded by Executive Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam, Executive Managing Director Olabamidele Husbands, and company member Dyane Harvey in 1981. The group has produced ballet and concert pieces and offered dance classes and educational programs in New York and throughout the world for over 36 years.

Forces of Nature performs a unique blend of contemporary modern dance, traditional West African and neo-African dance, contemporary ballet, house and hip-hop forms, and martial arts. The company has performed and toured widely throughout the US and abroad. In addition to annual appearances at Aaron Davis Hall, the Apollo Theater, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the ensemble has also performed at the Joyce Theater, the American Dance Festival, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) among others.

Forces of Nature was part of the 12th Annual Festival for Peace in Moscow, the only African-American dance company to engage with members of the Bolshoi Ballet, and had the honor to dance and lead the historical procession for Nelson Mandela during his first appearance in the US in 1990. The company was featured in the three-part PBS series Free to Dance, as part of Great Performances, on the history of black dance in the 20th-century. Forces of Nature was also the featured dance company in the film and Smithsonian exhibition When the Spirit Moves, on the influence of African-American dance in Western culture. And most recently, the company was honored with the 41st annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Award for Best Dance Company of 2013

In addition to performing and touring, Forces of Nature has gained national and international recognition for its work with youth of all ages through workshops, master classes, and training seminars. The company has developed ongoing programs offered to schools, community service organizations, and cultural art institutions, believing that the arts, coupled with informative, stimulating academic presentations and creative participation, are among the best educational tools for redirecting youth on a positive, progressive, alternative path.

 

Artists
Illstyle & Peace Productions

This Philadelphia-based dance company was founded in 2000 by Brandon “Peace” Albright.

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Artists
BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble (Brooklyn)

BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble celebrates ancestral roots and the modern-day community.

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Related EVENTS

Neighborhood
Tribute to the Ancestors
Sat, May 20, 2017

Tribute to the Ancestors
Sat, May 20, 2017

This traditional tribute to those who have passed on features music and drumming, dance performances, and a libation ceremony for the ancestors conducted by the DanceAfrica Council of Elders.
MORE

Free

Neighborhood
DanceAfrica Community Day at RestorationART
Sat, May 20, 2017

DanceAfrica Community Day at RestorationART
Sat, May 20, 2017

This year’s festival kicks off with the annual community welcome for the artists, featuring performances by students from RestorationART who have participated in BAM Education’s DanceAfrica program.
MORE

Free

Visual Art
Maeva Kounta: Modernism and Tradition
May 22—Jun 30, 2017

Maeva Kounta: Modernism and Tradition
May 22—Jun 30, 2017

BAM Visual Art presents a new work by Guinean painter and illustrator Maeva Kounta.
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Free

Film Series
FilmAfrica 2017
May 26—May 29, 2017

FilmAfrica 2017
May 26—May 29, 2017

This cinematic companion to the annual DanceAfrica celebration features the best narrative and documentary films from across Africa and beyond, with a special focus on Guinea.

Film Series

FilmAfrica 2017

Le Balon d'or

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May 26—May 29, 2017
BACK
BACK

Part of BAMcinématek and DanceAfrica Festival 2017

Co-presented by the New York African Film Festival

This cinematic companion to the annual DanceAfrica celebration features the best narrative and documentary films from across Africa and beyond, with a special focus on Guinea.

<img width=”305″ height=”171″ src=”/media/8805923/clouds-over-conakry-640×359.jpg” alt=”Clouds Over Conakry, Film Africa” />Clouds Over Conakry, Film Africa
Film
Clouds Over Conakry
Fri, May 26, 2017
Clouds Over Conakry
Fri, May 26, 2017

A young artist is torn between following his father’s path and living his own life.

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<img width=”305″ height=”171″ src=”/media/8805930/rain-the-color-blue-2-640×359.jpg” alt=”Rain The Color Blue, Film Africa” />Rain The Color Blue, Film Africa
Film
Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red In It
Fri, May 26, 2017
Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red In It
Fri, May 26, 2017

This homage to Purple Rain, the first narrative feature in the Tuareg language is the universal story of one musician’s struggle to make it against all odds.

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<img width=”305″ height=”171″ src=”/media/8806040/martha-and-niki-640×359.jpg” alt=”Martha And Niki, Film Africa” />Martha And Niki, Film Africa
Film
Martha & Niki
Sat, May 27, 2017
Martha & Niki
Sat, May 27, 2017

This documentary chronicles the incredible story of the first-ever female champions of the largest hip-hop street-dance competition in the world.

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Paris According To Moussa
Sat, May 27, 2017
Paris According To Moussa
Sat, May 27, 2017

An immigrant on an important trip finds difficulties and solidarity in France, in this film which was awarded the Human Rights Award by the United Nations.

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Guinean Independence Documentaries
Sun, May 28, 2017
Guinean Independence Documentaries
Sun, May 28, 2017

One of the first African nations to win its independence, this program of rare documentaries gives an intimate first-hand account of life in Guinea in the first years of independence.

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Le Ballon d’or
Sun, May 28, 2017
Le Ballon d’or
Sun, May 28, 2017

A spirited young boy pursues his dream of becoming a professional soccer player in this vivid, joyous portrait of growing up in West Africa.

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Price of Love
Mon, May 29, 2017
Price of Love
Mon, May 29, 2017

A young taxi driver must confront his past when he helps a prostitute out of a fight.

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Shorts Program
Mon, May 29, 2017
Shorts Program
Mon, May 29, 2017

A group of contemporary stories on love and connection in the French-African diaspora.

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Neighborhood
DanceAfrica 2017 Bazaar
May 27—May 29, 2017

DanceAfrica 2017 Bazaar
May 27—May 29, 2017
Rain or Shine!

DanceAfrica’s beloved bazaar returns, featuring more than 150 vendors from around the world, offering African, Caribbean, and African-American food, crafts, and fashion.
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Free

Classes
DanceAfrica Master Class
Mon, May 29, 2017

DanceAfrica Master Class
Mon, May 29, 2017

Participants are introduced to West African rhythmic traditions and learn the fundamentals of Guinean movement styles in this immersive workshop.
MORE

Classes
DanceAfrica Family Workshop
Mon, May 29, 2017

DanceAfrica Family Workshop
Mon, May 29, 2017

Caregivers and children alike deepen their engagement with DanceAfrica in this fun-filled, hands-on workshop focusing on Guinean movement and music.
MORE

Iconic BAM Artists
Chuck Davis

Chuck Davis

Chuck Davis (1937—2017) was the founding artistic director of DanceAfrica, BAM’s longest running series, and one of the foremost teachers and choreographers of traditional African dance in America.
MORE
CONTACT
Sign up to receive BAM email

Sign-up for our email lists and receive exclusive ticket offers, discounts, and updates.
Sign up
You Might Also Enjoy

Music
Santana Redux w/ The BRC Orchestra

The all-stars of Black Rock Coalition honor legend Carlos Santana for Cinco De Mayo.
Fri, May 5, 2017

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Free

Music
Rabasi Joss with Soul Inscribed

The beloved funk band returns to BAM with Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Rabasi Joss.
Fri, May 19, 2017

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Free

Photo: Richard Termine and Julieta Cervantes
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Dance | Music
DanceAfrica 2017
 

May 26—May 29, 2017

Performance dates & times
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
RUN TIME: Approx 2hrs with intermission
SUBSCRIPTIONS START AT  $17.50
TICKETS START AT  $25

Buy Tickets

See all on-sale dates
Part of 2017 Winter/Spring Season and DanceAfrica Festival 2017

The Healing Light of Rhythm: Tradition and Beyond
Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam and Artistic Director Emeritus Chuck Davis
Forty years after its inauguration under the artistic direction of Chuck Davis, the nation’s largest festival of African dance returns for a special anniversary celebration. This year’s performance, under the leadership of Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam, is a special curated program that pays tribute to the past, present, and future of the landmark festival and the transformative power of movement.
Members of Philadelphia’s hip-hop based Illstyle & Peace Productions join with members of New York City’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and the drummers and dancers of Asase Yaa, performing a joyful collision of traditional and contemporary styles. Then, Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble—a master group of US-based Guinean dancers and musicians—present a spirited showcase of West African culture. Both groups are joined by the BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble.
Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble
Asase Yaa
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre
llstyle & Peace Productions
BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble (Brooklyn)
Lighting design by Al Crawford
Sound design by David Margolin Lawson
Costume design by Hopie Lyn Burrows
Read the BAM program notes for Danceafrica 2017

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Artists
Abdel R. Salaam

Abdel R. Salaam is the Artistic Director for DanceAfrica.

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Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble

This Guinea company is led by Artistic Director M’bemba Bangoura.

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Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater

This company of musicians, dancers, and vocalists was founded by Artistic Director Yao Ababio.

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Forces of Nature Dance Theatre

Forces of Nature performs a blend of contemporary dance and traditional African forms.

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Illstyle & Peace Productions

This Philadelphia-based dance company was founded in 2000 by Brandon “Peace” Albright.

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BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble (Brooklyn)

BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble celebrates ancestral roots and the modern-day community.

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Related EVENTS

Neighborhood
Tribute to the Ancestors
Sat, May 20, 2017

Tribute to the Ancestors
Sat, May 20, 2017

This traditional tribute to those who have passed on features music and drumming, dance performances, and a libation ceremony for the ancestors conducted by the DanceAfrica Council of Elders.
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Neighborhood
DanceAfrica Community Day at RestorationART
Sat, May 20, 2017

DanceAfrica Community Day at RestorationART
Sat, May 20, 2017

This year’s festival kicks off with the annual community welcome for the artists, featuring performances by students from RestorationART who have participated in BAM Education’s DanceAfrica program.
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Free

Visual Art
Maeva Kounta: Modernism and Tradition
May 22—Jun 30, 2017

Maeva Kounta: Modernism and Tradition
May 22—Jun 30, 2017

BAM Visual Art presents a new work by Guinean painter and illustrator Maeva Kounta.
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Film Series
FilmAfrica 2017
May 26—May 29, 2017

FilmAfrica 2017
May 26—May 29, 2017

This cinematic companion to the annual DanceAfrica celebration features the best narrative and documentary films from across Africa and beyond, with a special focus on Guinea.
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Neighborhood
DanceAfrica 2017 Bazaar
May 27—May 29, 2017

DanceAfrica 2017 Bazaar
May 27—May 29, 2017
Rain or Shine!

DanceAfrica’s beloved bazaar returns, featuring more than 150 vendors from around the world, offering African, Caribbean, and African-American food, crafts, and fashion.
MORE

Free

Classes
DanceAfrica Master Class
Mon, May 29, 2017

DanceAfrica Master Class
Mon, May 29, 2017

Participants are introduced to West African rhythmic traditions and learn the fundamentals of Guinean movement styles in this immersive workshop.
MORE

Classes
DanceAfrica Family Workshop
Mon, May 29, 2017

DanceAfrica Family Workshop
Mon, May 29, 2017

Caregivers and children alike deepen their engagement with DanceAfrica in this fun-filled, hands-on workshop focusing on Guinean movement and music.
MORE

Iconic BAM Artists
Chuck Davis

Chuck Davis

Chuck Davis (1937—2017) was the founding artistic director of DanceAfrica, BAM’s longest running series, and one of the foremost teachers and choreographers of traditional African dance in America.
MORE
CONTACT
Sign up to receive BAM email

Sign-up for our email lists and receive exclusive ticket offers, discounts, and updates.
Sign up
You Might Also Enjoy

MORE

Free

Music
Rabasi Joss with Soul Inscribed

The beloved funk band returns to BAM with Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Rabasi Joss.
Fri, May 19, 2017

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Photo: Richard Termine and Julieta Cervantes
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May 18, 2017 Posted by | #dance, ART, avant-garde, BUSINESS, CULTURE, Dance, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, FOOD AND WINE, GUIDES, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, Music, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM – FSLC and UniFrance announce complete lineup for Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, March 1-12

FSLC and UniFrance announce complete lineup for Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, March 1-12

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and UniFrance announce the complete lineup for the 22nd edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the celebrated annual series showcasing the variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking, March 1-12.

The lineup features 23 diverse films, comprised of highlights from international festivals and works by both established favorites and talented newcomers, including François Ozon’s Lubitsch adaptation Frantz, set after World War I; Bertrand Bonello’s Nocturama, a provocative exploration of a Paris terrorist attack carried out by young activists; Bruno Dumont’s oddball slapstick detective story Slack Bay, starring Juliette Binoche; Rebecca Zlotowski’s visually arresting Planetarium, with Natalie Portman as a touring psychic who catches the eye of a movie producer in 1930s Paris; Jean-Stéphane Bron’s The Paris Opera, a documentary that peeks behind the scenes of the famed institution; and, for the first time, a Film Comment magazine presentation within Rendez-Vous with French Cinema: Julia Ducournau’s cannibal thriller Raw, which titillated audiences at Toronto and Cannes.

This year’s programming, including the selected films, panels, and events, includes a special focus on the myriad of ways that French culture influences the arts in America, and vice-versa. As previously announced, the Opening Night selection is the North American premiere of Étienne Comar’s Django, starring Reda Kateb as the legendary jazz musician and Cécile de France, and the Closing Night selection is the U.S. premiere of Jérôme Salle’s The Odyssey, with Lambert Wilson as explorer Jacques Cousteau and co-starring Audrey Tautou and Pierre Niney.

Selections in this year’s edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema garnered an impressive 47 combined nominations for this year’s César Awards, which were announced last week. Best Film nominees include Frantz (eleven nominations), Slack Bay (nine nominations), Nicole Garcia’s Marion Cotillard showcase From the Land of the Moon (eight nominations), and Justine Triet’s offbeat rom-com In Bed with Victoria (five nominations). In addition, Emmanuelle Bercot’s gripping real-life drama 150 Milligrams, with Sidse Babett Knudsen as a doctor who challenged the French pharmaceutical industry, received nominations for adapted screenplay and Best Actress; up-and-coming filmmaker Stephanie de Giusto was nominated for Best First Film for The Dancer, which stars Soko as modern dance icon Loïe Fuller and Lily-Rose Depp as Isadora Duncan (both nominated); and additional nominations went to Sébastien Marnier’s Faultless, Katell Quillévéré’s Heal the Living, Sólveig Anspach’s The Together Project, and Salle’s The Odyssey.

Filmmakers and talent who will be in attendance at this year’s festival include, in alphabetical order: Emmanuelle Bercot, Bertrand Bonello, Étienne Comar, Caroline Deruas, Stéphanie Di Giusto, Julia Ducournau, Marc Fitoussi, Marina Foïs, Cécile de France, Nicole Garcia, Christophe Honoré, Reda Kateb, Sébastien Marnier, François Ozon, Antonin Peretjatko, Katell Quillévéré, Jérôme Salle, Justin Taurand, Justine Triet, Martin Wheeler, and Rebecca Zlotowski.

The 2017 edition of Rendez-Vous also features a number of special events, headlined by an intimate discussion with Agnès Varda on March 10 and a free public screening of an episode of the hit French TV series Call My Agent! on March 11. Free talks will include a panel on the many ways that film can function as political intervention; a conversation with French and American film producers about international co-producing; and the festival’s annual panel featuring French Touch musicians and film composers. A special exhibition imported from the esteemed photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles will be on view in the Walter Reade Theater’s Furman Gallery throughout the festival, displaying newly discovered color photos from behind the scenes of Fellini’s black-and-white masterpiece 8 1/2, shot by the late Paul Ronald and accompanied by recollections from the film’s co-star Anouk Aimée.

Co-presented with UniFrance, Rendez-Vous with French Cinema demonstrates annually that the landscape of French cinema is as fertile, inspiring, and distinct as ever. Press screenings will take place February 15-22 and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Artistic direction: Florence Almozini and Dennis Lim

The 22nd edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema benefits from the support of CNC, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, PROCIREP, Renault Nissan, Lacoste, TV5 Monde, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Sacem, FIAF, Blum & Poe, and The ENGIE Foundation.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 16, with early access for Film Society members beginning Tuesday, February 14. Tickets are $16; $12 for seniors (62+); and $10 for students and members; Opening Night tickets are $25; $20 for members, seniors, and students. Learn more at filmlinc.org.

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All films are screened digitally at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted

MAIN SLATE

Opening Night:
Django
Étienne Comar, France, 2017, 115m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
The world of legendary Romani jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt is brought to vivid life in this riveting saga of survival, resistance, and artistic courage. Reinhardt (Reda Kateb) is the toast of 1943 Paris, thrilling audiences with his distinctive brand of “hot jazz” and charming his admirers (including an intrepid friend and muse played by Cécile de France). But even as the rise of Nazism and anti-Romani sentiment force Reinhardt—whose music is considered degenerate under the Third Reich—to make a daring escape from the city, he refuses to be silenced, his music becoming his form of protest. The feature debut from acclaimed screenwriter Étienne Comar (Of Gods and Men) immerses viewers in a tumultuous chapter in the life of one of the 20th century’s greatest musical geniuses.
Wednesday, March 1, 6:00pm and 8:30pm (Étienne Comar, Reda Kateb, and Cécile de France in person)

Closing Night:
The Odyssey / L’odyssée
Jérôme Salle, France, 2016, 122m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Lambert Wilson is magnetic in this grandly lyrical dramatization of legendary explorer-turned-filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Spanning half a century and criss-crossing oceans, the film charts Cousteau’s professional triumphs and personal failures as he achieves renown for the underwater documentaries he produced on his oceanographic expeditions, amid the constant struggle to secure financial backing for increasingly ambitious scientific (and cinematic) objectives. Set against the backdrop of cross-generational family drama—centered on his long-suffering wife Simone (Audrey Tautou) and his talented, deeply conflicted son Philippe (Pierre Niney)—The Odyssey is an epic ode to scientific exploration and documentary filmmaking, and a celebration of the human drive to seek out new realms of discovery.
Saturday, March 11, 6:00pm (Q&A with Jérôme Salle)
Sunday, March 12, 8:00pm

150 Milligrams / La fille de Brest
Emmanuelle Bercot, France, 2016, 128m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
A fearless everywoman stands up to a drug company in this gripping David vs. Goliath story, based on a real-life medical scandal. Irène Frachon (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is a pulmonologist at a hospital in Brest who begins digging into the connection between a widely prescribed diabetes drug and a spate of fatal valve disorders, with help from a research scientist (Benoît Magimel). Soon enough, Irène sets off a media firestorm, making powerful enemies in the pharmaceutical industry who will stop at nothing to suppress her story. Knudsen and writer-director Emmanuelle Bercot have created a memorably eccentric heroine, at once a tireless crusader and compelling human.
Saturday, March 4, 3:15pm (Q&A with Emmanuelle Bercot)
Monday, March 6, 4:15pm

The Dancer / La danseuse
Stéphanie Di Giusto, France/Belgium/Czech Republic, 2016, 108m
English and French with English subtitles
This visually sumptuous drama set amidst the opulence of La Belle Époque Paris charts the real-life saga of modern dance icon Loïe Fuller (Soko). Raised on the plains of the American Midwest, Fuller became the unlikely toast of turn-of-the-century France with her legendary performances, in which swirling swaths of silk fabric and dazzlingly colored lights created a kaleidoscopic spectacle of color and movement. Boasting lavish period detail, breathtaking dance sequences, and fiercely committed performances by Gaspard Ulliel, Mélanie Thierry, and Lily-Rose Depp as Fuller’s rival Isadora Duncan, The Dancer is an arresting chronicle of an artist’s struggle to realize her vision.
Thursday, March 2, 1:45pm
Monday, March 6, 9:30pm (Q&A with Stéphanie Di Giusto)

Daydreams / L’indomptée
Caroline Deruas, France, 2016, 98m
French and Italian with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Past and present, fantasy and reality collide in the boldly original feature debut from Caroline Deruas. A group of young French artists converge at Rome’s sun-dappled Villa Medicis for a one-year residency. Among them are Camille (Clotilde Hesme), a writer whose marriage to a famous novelist (Tchéky Karyo) is disintegrating, and Axèle (Jenna Thiam), an erratic photographer haunted by spectral visions of the villa’s past. Deruas conjures a subtly surreal atmosphere through striking stylistic flourishes—iris shots, color effects, dream sequences—in this beguiling tale of creative struggle, romantic rivalry, and ghosts.
Wednesday, March 8, 4:30pm
Friday, March 10, 6:45pm (Q&A with Caroline Deruas)

Faultless / Irréprochable
Sébastien Marnier, France, 2016, 103m
French with English subtitles
Out of money and options, 40-year-old Constance (Marina Foïs) abandons her life in Paris and returns to her suburban hometown in hopes of picking up where she left off. After she finds no real romance from her occasional lover (Benjamin Biolay), something finally snaps when she discovers that her old job as a real-estate agent has been given to a younger woman (Joséphine Japy). It soon becomes clear: Constance is dangerous, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Both a wild-ride thriller and a chilling character study, Faultless is driven by a riveting central performance: almost always onscreen, Foïs brings unexpected depth and poignant humanity to her portrayal of a coldly calculating sociopath.
Sunday, March 5, 6:15pm (Q&A with Sébastien Marnier and Marina Foïs)
Monday, March 6, 2:00pm

Frantz
François Ozon, France/Germany, 2016, 113m
French and German with English subtitles
The new film from acclaimed director François Ozon is a sublime, heartrending saga of guilt, forgiveness, and forbidden love in post–World War I Europe. Based on Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 antiwar drama Broken Lullaby, it charts the complex bond that forms between two strangers: Anna (Paula Beer), a young German woman grieving the loss of her fiancé, Frantz, in the war, and Adrien (Pierre Niney), a former French soldier. What plays out between them is a haunting investigation of postwar trauma and healing rendered in gorgeous black-and-white that occasionally gives way—gloriously—to psychologically charged bursts of color. A Music Box Films release.
Thursday, March 2, 9:15pm (Q&A with François Ozon)
Saturday, March 11, 1:00pm

From the Land of the Moon / Mal de pierres
Nicole Garcia, France/Belgium/Canada, 2016, 116m
French and Spanish with English subtitles
Marion Cotillard delivers a performance of searing emotional intensity in this psychologically charged, 1950s-set saga of amour fou. She stars as Gabrielle, a troubled young woman—sick in both body and mind—who is stuck in a loveless marriage. When she travels to Switzerland for a rest cure, she meets the handsome, terminally ill lieutenant André (Louis Garrel), beginning a decades-long romantic obsession that will shape the course of her life. Beautifully photographed in the sunny south of France and the snow-capped Swiss mountains, From the Land of the Moon is an exquisite showcase for one of the finest actresses working today. A Sundance Selects release.
Friday, March 3, 6:30pm (Q&A with Nicole Garcia)
Sunday, March 12, 1:00pm

Heal the Living / Réparer les vivants
Katell Quillévéré, France/Belgium, 2016, 103m
French with English subtitles
A medical drama of unusual depth and sensitivity, Heal the Living charts the disparate lives touched by a tragedy. Following a car accident, 17-year-old Simon (Gabin Verdet) is left brain-dead, setting into motion a chain of events that affects everyone from his family to the hospital staff to a mother of two (Anne Dorval) in need of a heart transplant. Director Katell Quillévéré weaves together the multistrand narrative with consummate grace, abetted by a remarkable ensemble cast (including Emmanuelle Seigner and Tahar Rahim), elegant camerawork, and a striking score by Alexandre Desplat. The result is an enormously affecting study of human interconnectedness that finds a silver lining of hope in a wrenching situation. A Cohen Media Group release.
Thursday, March 2, 6:30pm (Q&A with Katell Quillévéré)
Friday, March 3, 1:45pm

In Bed With Victoria / Victoria
Justine Triet, France, 2016, 97m
English and French with English subtitles
Victoria (Virginie Efira) is a hotshot lawyer with a disastrous personal life. Between juggling a demanding job, raising two kids, and fending off an ex-husband who’s slandering her on the Internet, she can barely be bothered with the hit-or-miss (mostly miss) online hookups she sets up. Around the time Victoria agrees to help her old friend Vincent (Melvil Poupaud) with a decidedly bizarre legal matter, she runs into a charming former client Sam (Vincent Lacoste). Now that a shot at real romance comes along, will the perpetually harried Victoria even recognize it? This refreshingly offbeat (how else to describe a film that features a trial in which the star witness is a Dalmatian?) farce is propelled by Efira’s irresistible performance as a heroine who’s raw, real, and complicated in ways that transcend the rom-com formula.
Saturday, March 4, 9:30pm (Q&A with Justine Triet)
Sunday, March 12, 3:30pm

In the Forest of Siberia / Dans les forêts de Sibérie
Safy Nebbou, France, 2016, 105m
English, French, and Russian with English subtitles
Based on the award-winning memoir by adventurer Sylvain Tesson, this tale of survival follows Teddy (Raphaël Personnaz), a young Frenchman who leaves everything behind to live in isolation in the icy Siberian taiga. But initial exhilaration soon gives way to the harsh reality of staying alive in a frozen wilderness miles from civilization with roaming bears, life-threatening blizzards, and no electricity. The film captures majestic footage of the unspoiled Siberian landscape, its bleak beauty underscored by jazz trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf’s plaintive soundtrack.
Sunday, March 5, 1:00pm
Thursday, March 9, 4:00pm

Journey to Greenland / Le Voyage au Groënland
Sébastien Betbeder, France, 2016, 98m
English, Inuktitut, and French with English subtitles
Scruffy, thirtysomething best friends both named Thomas (Thomas Blanchard and Thomas Scimeca) leave behind their struggling acting careers in Paris for an extended sojourn in a remote, snowbound stretch of Greenland. One is there to reconnect with his off-the-grid father, the other for adventure. What ensues is a perceptive, warm-spirited study of cross-cultural misunderstanding and connection, as the two men learn to survive in a place without alcohol, indoor plumbing, or a reliable Internet connection. Director Sébastien Betbeder balances wry, unforced comedy with casual insight into human relationships: between friends, family members, and the strangers who touch your life. A Netflix release.
Tuesday, March 7, 4:30pm
Wednesday, March 8, 6:45pm

Mum’s Wrong / Maman a tort
Marc Fitoussi, France/Belgium, 2016, 110m
French with English subtitles
When idealistic 14-year-old Anouk (Jeanne Jestin) embarks on a weeklong internship at her mom’s insurance company, she gets a crash course in the less-than-rosy reality of the corporate world, discovering some unsavory truths about her own mother along the way. An emotionally complex look at parents, children, and the moral compromises we make, Mum’s Wrong adroitly blends workplace satire with a compassionate social-issue message, while its leads Jestin and Émilie Dequenne (Rosetta, Our Children) create a nuanced, wholly believable portrait of a mother-daughter relationship undergoing a crisis.
Sunday, March 5, 3:30pm (Q&A with Marc Fitoussi)
Friday, March 10, 2:00pm

Nocturama
Bertrand Bonello, France/Germany/Belgium, 2016, 130m
French with English subtitles
The audacious new film from Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent) unfolds in two mesmerizing segments. The first is a precision-crafted thriller, following a multi-ethnic group of millennial radicals as they carry out a mass-scale terrorist attack on Paris. The second—in which the perpetrators hide out in the consumerist mecca of a luxury department store—is the director’s coup, raising provocative questions about everything that came before. Bonello stages his apocalyptic vision with stylishly roving camerawork, blasts of hip-hop, and a lip-synced performance to Shirley Bassey’s “My Way.” This is edgy, risk-taking filmmaking that is sure to ignite debate. A Netflix release.
Saturday, March 4, 6:15pm (Q&A with Bertrand Bonello)
Sunday, March 5, 9:00pm (Introduction by Bertrand Bonello)

The Paris Opera / L’Opèra de Paris
Jean-Stéphane Bron, France, 2017, 110m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
This all-access documentary goes behind the scenes of the Paris Opera, following the array of personnel—management, performers, costumers, cleaning crew—who work to bring breathtaking spectacle to audiences night after night. Over the course of a season, director Jean-Stéphane Bron nimbly juggles a dizzying number of storylines, from labor disputes to procuring a live bull for Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron to a PR crisis involving the head of the company’s ballet. Sweeping in scope yet full of intimate human moments, The Paris Opera offers a candid look at everything that goes into operating one of the world’s foremost performing arts institutions.
Thursday, March 2, 4:00pm
Saturday, March 11, 3:30pm

Planetarium
Rebecca Zlotowski, France/Belgium, 2016, 105m
English and French with English subtitles
Natalie Portman lends her star power to this dreamy, visually ravishing tale of magic and movies set in a glamorous vision of 1930s Paris. She and her sister (Lily-Rose Depp) form a psychic duo, touring the stages of Europe performing séances. When they catch the eye of a movie producer (Emmanuel Salinger), he resolves to make them stars and to capture an act of spiritualism on film. Forgoing traditional narrative structure in favor of swooning atmosphere, director Rebecca Zlotowksi revels in the Art Deco architecture, sumptuous period couture, and doomed decadence of prewar Paris. A Swen Group release.
Friday, March 3, 9:30pm (Q&A with Rebecca Zlotowski)
Tuesday, March 7, 2:00pm

Film Comment Presents:
Raw / Grave
Julia Ducournau, France/Belgium, 2016, 99m
French with English subtitles
When incoming freshman—and lifelong vegetarian—Justine (Garance Marillier) joins her older sister (Ella Rumpf) at a strangely decrepit veterinary college, she seems poised to be the school’s new star pupil. But a hazing ritual in which she’s forced to eat raw meat awakens something primal in Justine: a newfound—and highly disturbing—taste for flesh. The feature debut from Julia Ducournau marks the arrival of a bold new directorial voice, blending blood-spattered body horror, pitch-black comedy, and one of the most dysfunctional sisterly relationships ever depicted on screen into a potent, emotionally resonant coming-of-age nightmare. A Focus Features release.
Tuesday, March 7, 6:45pm (Q&A with Julia Ducournau)
Wednesday, March 8, 9:15pm (Introduction by Julia Ducournau)

Right Here Right Now/ Tout de suite maintenant
Pascal Bonitzer, France/Belgium/Luxembourg, 2016, 98m
French with English subtitles
Workplace drama doesn’t get any messier than in this intriguingly knotty tale of corporate backbiting and buried secrets. Nora (Agathe Bonitzer) is a bright young professional whose new job at a financial firm turns out to be a trial by fire when she learns that her bosses (Lambert Wilson and Pascal Greggory) share a tumultuous history with her prickly mathematician father (Jean-Pierre Bacri). Meanwhile, an interoffice romance with a competitive colleague (Vincent Lacoste) leads to even more complications, leaving Nora to navigate a minefield of delicate relationships as she climbs the corporate ladder. Isabelle Huppert costars and delivers a typically multilayered performance as one of many sharply etched characters populating this complex moral tale.
Friday, March 10, 9:30pm
Sunday, March 12, 5:45pm

Slack Bay / Ma Loute
Bruno Dumont, France/Germany, 2016, 122m
English and French with English subtitles
In a postcard-perfect seaside village in 1910, an eccentric (to put it mildly) leisure-class family whiles away the summer. But something troubling is afoot: what’s behind the string of tourists gone mysteriously missing? Former enfant terrible Bruno Dumont continues his surprising foray into farce—which began with 2014’s acclaimed Li’l Quinquin—with this surreal, oddball mix of slapstick and detective story. The director and his cast (which includes Fabrice Luchini, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and a very game Juliette Binoche) stretch each joke to its breaking point, resulting in a winking, weirdly captivating comedy that’s in on its own absurdity. A Kino Lorber release.
Thursday, March 9, 6:30pm
Saturday, March 11, 9:00pm

Sophie’s Misfortunes / Les malheurs de Sophie
Christophe Honoré, France, 2016, 106m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Based on the French children’s classic by the Countess of Ségur, the latest from Christophe Honoré is an enchanting fable for adults and kids alike, set in a light-filled 19th-century chateau. The film captures the imaginative freedom of childhood through the eyes of the irrepressible Sophie (Caroline Grant), a mischievous young girl whose life changes drastically after she’s left in the care of a severe stepmother (Muriel Robin)—a far cry from the life she had with her loving mother (Golshifteh Farahani). With the help of her two friends and their mother (Anaïs Demoustier), Sophie works to escape her stepmother’s wicked grasp. Throughout, Honoré combines gorgeous period detail with playful modern touches: a bouncy electronic score by Alex Beaupain, expressive handheld camerawork, and a menagerie of animated animals.
Saturday, March 4, 12:30pm (Q&A with Christophe Honoré)
Wednesday, March 8, 2:00pm (Intro with Christophe Honoré)

The Stopover / Voir du pays
Delphine & Muriel Coulin, France/Greece, 2016, 102m
French and Greek with English subtitles
On their way home from Afghanistan, a band of French soldiers stop in Cyprus for decompression: three-days at a sun-splashed resort, where they will undergo intense psychological debriefing. There, amidst the crystal-blue waters and hordes of vacationing tourists, Marine (Soko) and Aurore (Ariane Labed)—two of only three women in their male-dominated unit—confront rage, trauma, and army sexism as they struggle to readjust to “normal” life. This riveting drama—winner of the Best Screenplay award in the Un Certain Regard competition at Cannes—is an all-too-rare exploration of war’s psychological wounds on female soldiers. A First Run Features release.
Thursday, March 9, 9:00pm
Friday, March 10, 4:15pm

Struggle for Life / La Loi de la jungle
Antonin Peretjatko, France, 2016, 99m
French with English subtitles
In this wild, joke-a-minute slapstick satire, a middle-aged intern (Vincent Macaigne) is sent from France to French Guiana to oversee the creation of a South American ski resort led by Galgaric (Mathieu Amalric). There, he meets a beautiful intern at the National Forestry Office named Tarzan (Vimala Pons) and what ensues is a surreal journey through the Amazon jungle, with absurdist bureaucratic disasters, an aphrodisiac mishap, and a cannibal encounter. Playing something like a Jerry Lewis gag-fest meets Survivor, Struggle for Life combines anarchic black comedy with a scathing critique of colonialism.
Monday, March 6, 7:00pm (Q&A with Antonin Peretjatko)
Tuesday, March 7, 9:15pm (Introduction by Antonin Peretjatko)

The Together Project / L’effet aquatique
Sólveig Anspach, France/Iceland, 2016, 83m
English, French, and Icelandic with English subtitles
The final film from the late French-Icelandic director Sólveig Anspach is an irresistibly offbeat aquatic comedy. When gawky construction worker Samir (Samir Guesmi) encounters prickly swim instructor Agathe (Florence Loiret Caille), he’s immediately smitten. But his unconventional plan to win her over—pretending he can’t swim in order to take lessons from her—proves more than a little problematic. Sweet without being cloying, quirky without being grating, this romantic charmer succeeds thanks to the interplay between the two leads and Anspach’s breezy sincerity.
Friday, March 3, 4:00pm (Q&A with composer Martin Wheeler)
Thursday, March 9, 2:00pm

SPECIAL EVENTS

Live Talk with Agnès Varda
French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda has been a major voice in world cinema for more than sixty years, ever since her 1955 debut feature La Pointe Courte. Her distinguished and varied career includes photography, nonfiction and fiction shorts and features, and, more recently, multimedia installations at museums and galleries around the world. Join Varda in this special live event as she reflects on her voluminous body of work, influences, and approach to filmmaking.
Presented in conjunction with the French Institute Alliance Française’s upcoming series Agnès Varda: Life as Art and Varda’s first exhibition in NYC at Blum & Poe gallery.
Friday, March 10, 6:00pm
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street

Panel: International Co-Productions
Producers from the U.S. and France will sit down to discuss the strategies and challenges of international co-productions—from the creative to the technical, and everything in between. Scheduled panelists include Killer Films’ Head of Production & Development David Hinojosa (Wiener-Dog, Frank & Lola), Parts & Labor co-founder Jay Van Hoy (Beginners, Frank & Lola, The Witch), and Les films du bélier’s Justin Taurand (Heal the Living, 2016 IFCIC Award for Best Young Producer). Moderated by Eugene Hernandez. Presented in partnership with IFP and French in Motion.
Thursday, March 2, 5:30pm
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street

Panel: Film as Political Intervention
In response to the disillusionment and frustration currently felt worldwide, directors from this year’s edition will discuss how films can address political turmoil or social unrest and operate as whistle-blowers.
Friday, March 3, 5:00pm
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street

Panel: Julian Starke’s French Waves with French Touch DJs Pedro Winter, Para One and Jacques
French touch (aka French house) musicians Pedro Winter, Para One, and Jacques will discuss their perspectives on and experiences with French electronic music following a free screening of Julian Starke’s French Waves, an immersive documentary that pinpoints key moments of French Touch since the 1990s.
Saturday, March 4, 5:00pm
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street

Free Screening: Call My Agent! / Dix pour cent
Episode 1 (“Cécile”), France, 2015, 60m
French with English subtitles
At a top-tier talent firm in Paris, a group of agents juggle their personal and hyper-competitive work lives after experiencing an unexpected crisis. Watch the first episode of the hit French miniseries, created by Dominique Besnehard and Fanny Herrero and featuring Cécile de France (who also appears in this year’s Opening Night film, Django), at this special free screening during Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. A Netflix original series.
Saturday, March 11, 4:30pm
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street

EXHIBITION

Fellini, 8 ½ in Color
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL RONALD
Curated by Sam Stourdzé
8 ½ was Federico Fellini’s last black-and-white film after more than a decade of directing. Although the film’s images were never intended to be seen in color, Piero Servo—a frequent camera operator for Fellini—recently found the late photographer Paul Ronald’s long-forgotten box of color negatives. These rediscoveries are the focus of this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema exhibition, curated by Sam Stourdzé, the director of the esteemed Les Rencontres d’Arles, and accompanied by recollections from one of the film’s stars, Anouk Aimée.
Special thanks to Anouk Aimée, Piero Servo, Antonio Moraldi, and Stéphane Marti.
On view in the Furman Gallery in the Walter Reade Theater, March 1-12

UNIFRANCE
For more than 65 years, UniFrance has been using its experience of the international marketplace for the good of French cinema. UniFrance is based in Paris, and also has representatives in New York, Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo. Its membership brings together around 1,000 French producers, filmmaking talents, agents, and sales companies, who are working together to promote French film among foreign audiences, industry executives, and media.

UniFrance receives generous, year-round support from CNC, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Institut français, PROCIREP, Renault, Lacoste, Air France and Titra Film. For more information, visit http://en.unifrance.org/.

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from The New York Times, Shutterstock, Variety, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.

February 9, 2017 Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, FILM, HOLIDAY GUIDES, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM REVIEW – Greek myth thrives with THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE – VOD 5/1/15 iTunes

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE was executive produced by Ruth Mutch (INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, LITTLE ACCIDENTS), and co-executive produced by Debbi Berlin. The film was shot and produced in Dallas, Texas.
The film is currently available for pre-order on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-ladies-of-the-house/id971575169

 

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE follows the fate of two brothers, Jacob and Kai, who, along with their friend Derek, go to a dance club to celebrate Kai’s birthday. After Derek convinces the other two to follow one of the dancers home, things take a tragic turn resulting in the young woman’s death.

John Wildman’s THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE launches on VOD, May 1st. The grindhouse-style feminist thriller will wrap up a successful year-long film festival run with an appearance at the Nashville Film Festival on Friday, April 16 as part of the fest’s Graveyard Shift lineup prior to the VOD date.

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE - Michelle Belladonna Sinclair as 'Ginger' (Photo by Sean Anderson)

Feminist Grindhouse-thriller stars

Melodie Sisk (Summer of Blood), Brina Palencia (“Star-Crossed”),

and Michelle “Belladonna” Sinclair (Inherent Vice)

 THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE - Farah White as 'Lin' and Melodie Sisk as 'Getty' (Photo by Marc Lee)

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE is a post-feminist thriller, following the events surrounding a

birthday outing with two brothers and their friend which turns into a fight for survival after they

become trapped in a house with a pin-up style-loving “family” of malevolent women.

In addition to its origins as a feminist fable, THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE celebrates the mythology of ancient Greek lore : the BACCHANTE.

The BACCHAE is one of the most renowned Greek tragedies, written by Euripides and first performed around 405 B.C. The Bacchae is often perceived to describe the perils of denying or ignoring human desire: that those who celebrate will find spiritual power, while those who repress it will be transformed or consumed by destructive forces.

Well this is an elaborate modernized retelling of the story of the women who worship Dionysus. Celebrated for pleasure, repression or perversion turns them deadly. On the one hand, it considers a feminist empowerment respectful of strippers; on the other, it fulfills a vengeful wish fulfillment for the woman wronged.

This film, of course, overtly and cheekily brands the tight band of women Dionysian worshippers as lesbians. It doesn’t degrade them by that status, by any means, but make no mistake – this IS a horror movie. Greek tragedy does not favor or reward the squeamish. THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE is A BOLD MOVIE.

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE - Samrat Chakrabarti as 'Derek' (Photo by Marc Lee)

Borrowing the horror tropes of 80’s exploitation films, the club is a bare-bones set, but maybe stripper clubs in the mid-West were scaled down to exploitation movie styling in real life. We weren’t there. The fun is all in watching the ladies act. (Not so much the men, who, although diverse in colors, shapes, and sizes, aren’t the point of the movie.) The cast includes Belladonna from the Adult film world (Michelle Sinclair), so the proto-feminist views might be entirely accurate.

But this is not a man-hating castrating female movie. Although actor Gabriel Horn as Jacob acquits himself nicely in the role of Jacob, we are firmly rooting for the ladies. The film’s co-writer, author and playwright Justina Walford, cannily subverts expectations and delivers exploitation horror. This will be a 21st century cult classic. In the same way that Erich Segal reinterpreted Ancient Greek and Roman classical literature to great modern effect with his novel LOVE STORY (Young noble defies his patrician family and loves and marries peasant girl; peasant girl dies), so Walford and co-writer and director John Stuart Wildman modernize ancient Greek myth to great modern effect, albeit in a zombie mode. Sit up with your date or your friends and make a party of it when it arrives via iTunes and Video On Demand on May 1st. Have a Dionysian bacchanal!

 THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE poster image

John Stuart Wildman – Director/Co-Writer/Producer

The Senior Publicist for the Film Society of Lincoln Center and writer for Film Comment.com as

well as a columnist for Film Threat “Films Gone Wild”, John Stuart Wildman has enjoyed an

eclectic career in entertainment and film. The former Head of Press & Public Relations for the

American Film Institute, as well as the PR Director for AFI FEST and the DALLAS International

Film Festival, Wildman has headed the PR efforts for several film festivals across the country.

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE will mark Wildman’s feature directorial debut following a series of

short films including THE DANCER’S BEATDOWN, PAIN TALK SHOW and MONEY STORE,

which he directed from his own scripts. Film credits as an actor include David deCoteau’s cult

classic, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, Josh Evans’ THE PRICE OF

AIR, Kevin Alber’s MIND GAMES with Brian Krause, Don Jones’ LETHAL PURSUIT, Michael

Miner’s DEADLY WEAPON, and Nick Marino and Andre de Toth’s BLOODY MOVIE. On the

television front, Wildman wrote and produced THE VISION AWARDS from 2007-2011. The

award show, which benefited Retinitis Pigmentosa aired on the ION Network.

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE - Melodie Sisk as 'Getty' and Farah White as 'Lin'

Justina Walford – Co-Writer/Producer

After a number of years in Los Angeles theater, Justina Walford moved to screenwriting after

teaming up with John Wildman on LADIES OF THE HOUSE. She was a finalist in the Queens

International Film Festival Screenplay Competition and the Beverly Hills Film Festival with the

film adaptation of her theatrical production of EVOLUTION OF SUNDAY. The stage version

enjoyed four successful runs – twice at Walford’s own Split Id Theater, the Hudson Guild

Theater in Hollywood, and the Camino Real Playhouse in Dana Point, California. Praised by

both the LA Weekly and Backstage West, the play was described as “a thoughtful and affecting

drama about faith, love and forgiveness.” For her productions on the stage, Walford was a

proud recipient of the 2004 Women in Theater Red Carpet Award. She was the Artistic Director

of Split Id Staged Performances in Hollywood for three years. During that time, she produced six

full-length productions a year and countless one-night shows where she acquired a talent for

improvised storytelling. Walford is currently a regular host and speaker at New York’s Sunday

Assembly and a performer at various storytelling events. Her non-fiction book, BAD SEXY

GOOD BORING, will be published in 2015.

 

A Gravitas Ventures release.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, LIFESTYLES, opportunity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Guide –The BEST Way to Read your iPads, Kindles and Tablets! We Recommend TABLIFT — flexible stand for tablets and Pads

AWESOME!

 

We LOVE using the new TABLIFT everywhere we recline — home or office. Handsfree, infinitely poseable, adjustable to multiple viewing positions, excellently spaced for charging cords, this invention is a dream to use.

 

 tablift landscape_mode_white_large

 

Hands-FREE!

You can take notes, reach for a snack, grab your favorite beverage. The TABLIFT is not going to tip over. You can continue to watch — uninterrupted– without touching the tablet. We find it durable and ingenious.

Q: Can I use Tablift with a case?

A: Generally no. Cases can add significant bulk to a tablet and may make it not slide into the Tablift.

 

tablift photo-main

 

Q: Why does my Tablift topple forward or backward?

A: The tablift is very stable when all legs are separated; imagine four table legs. If the legs are too close together, as in step 3, it will not be stable.

 

Q: What tablets will the Tablift work with?

A: All generations of iPads, Android tablets, Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows tablets, HP WebOS, and many more.

September 23, 2014 Posted by | BUSINESS, ENTREPRENEURS, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, TECHNOLOGY, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

12 Years a Slave vs. Django Unchained : Why It Matters

12 Years a Slave vs. Django Unchained : Why It Matters

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The existence of the motion picture 12 YEARS A SLAVE has drawn rapturous approval from young audiences, but
several critics have seemed eager to compare it to last year’s DJANGO UNCHAINED. Several lauded DJANGO UNCHAINED and seemed less than willing to praise 12 YEARS A SLAVE as the necessary corrective it represents to many. Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, which had its New York premiere at the 51st New York Film Festival, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor in the true story about Solomon Northup, a free black man who is abducted and sold into slavery in the American South.

I had two conversations with critics whose comments bear repeating.

One female critic despaired of the ending, in which Solomon is “rescued” by his old contacts from upstate NewYork, 12 years later.

She objected to the intervention of a white man saving the black man. (She herself is a progressive academic female critic of European/American extraction).

A male critic whom we have known for years objected to what he termed the exploitation factor of the whippings of the female slave Patsy. This same critic referred to DJANGO UNCHAINED as a “masterpiece” and said he and his wife give DJANGO repeated viewings, filled with laughter. (He is a non academic individual also of the majority race.) Our conversation ended with him asking me to stop kicking his chair.

Why the disparity in viewer reactions? Why does the difference in the film’s perception matter?

First, I must disclose that I found the opening forty minutes of 12 YEARS A SLAVE a brilliant masterpiece of image and sound, the finest of the year. I am not a fan of DJANGO UNCHAINED.

DJANGO_UNCHAINED_back_lowres-detail-main-detail-main

Not because I think it’s an evil movie, but mostly because, when I look at 12 YEARS A SLAVE, I understand the emotions of the characters and the story of the man’s hardship and determination a one based in reality. I look at DJANGO UNCHAINED and I miss the movie it COULD have been.

Sadly, DJANGO UNCHAINED has more in common with the Will Smith film version of THE WILD WILD WEST than with any narrative about slavery.

But the clearest answer lies in the persistent perception of the American Dream as a reality available to all, with the concomitant belief in individual agency.  Call it the Booker T. Washington “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” philosophy so adored by the GOP stalwarts, if you like; it is insidious enough a fiction that it is ingrained in some Americans as much as the image of the steam locomotive pushing across the Western frontier. It is a belief that DJANGO UNCHAINED subscribes to and that 12 YEARS A SLAVE exposes as a fiction. There are malignant strains of it coursing through the American mindset that calls itself to attention whenever “entitlements” programs become an issue for debate.

It is a lie for the lives of many African Americans. It is a lie for many non-African Americans as well, but that fundamental truth is never exposed as part of the story of America and, importantly, the issues of class that slumber underneath this lie remain undisturbed.

Americans find it hard to believe that American slaves could not just simply rescue themselves and pull themselves and their families and friends and everyone they just met out of slavery, as if by a whim. But the reality of American history is plain: A third party was necessary because the issue of individual agency was removed from the grasp of the enslaved. Slaves did not have the ability to walk or act freely, period. Exterior forces beyond their control governed the ability to do Anything. It is the Conspiracy Theory writ large, but it is the true story of the slave experience. There was a MOVEMENT to abolish slavery, there were individual heroes and heroines, Harriet Tubman and the many who aided and participated in the Underground Railroad among them. There were White and Black supporters of the movement against slavery. But there were just as many thugs and killers and miscreants who took advantage of slavery and thought it just. And many individuals died who stood up against slavery. Many lives were destroyed. That is the reality of the slavery experience. It was not a revenge fantasy writ large. It wasn’t one man against the system.

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There is a reason that South Africans modeled Apartheid on the American system.

But I will answer the question posed at the outset: several film critics prefer DJANGO UNCHAINED because, thematically, DJANGO UNCHAINED goes down in their minds as a film trope of a western, a revenge fantasy with a hero. 12 YEARS A SLAVE appears to some, frightfully as a documentary, not a fantasy and the reality is that, thematically, it most resembles a film noir. Not stylistically, of course: no shadows and gritty mis-en-scene, no “dutch angles” (off- center camera angles that probably would be more accurately described as “Deutsche” angles, harkening to their use in German expressionism) no world weary protagonists, no era of cynicism.

But, Mid-20th century America, the film noir story was a crucial turning point in the history of our country. Prior to the film noir movement, the myth in America /Hollywood was that, if you work hard, you will get what you deserve and you’ll achieve the American dream. Film Noir was well, you know, it doesn’t work that way for everybody.

And Film Noir had the femme-fatale: Women, wicked and multiple-layered, who led the protagonist astray.

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But the nature of Film Noir is of the ordinary individual, a god-fearing well-meaning innocent who, through no action or fault of their own, gets caught and punished for no reason by persons unknown to them.

And this is why the perceptions of the films matter: real life. In America today, there are in the year 2013, true newspaper headlines like this one: Another Tragic Murder of a Black Man Near Jasper, Texas

Alfred Wright, a 28-year-old young man, husband and father of three from Jasper, Texas went missing in Sabine County on November 7, 2013. His body was found three weeks later by a family-organized search party, just 25 yards from where he was last seen. Over the last several weeks of January, 2014, the Wright family has grown increasingly concerned with the method by which the Sabine County Sheriff and Texas Rangers have dealt with Alfred’s case.

The Wright family’s desire to take action is compounded by the fact that this area of southeast Texas is notorious for harboring deep-rooted racial hatred. These tensions manifest periodically into violent, racially motivated crimes, such as the murder of James Byrd Jr., who was dragged to his death in Alfred’s hometown of Jasper.

Kevin Powell is now working closely with Alfred Wright’s family on this case:

“I and BK Nation are deeply concerned about the circumstances that led to the disappearance and subsequent finding of Alfred Wright’s body. We are demanding a full, thorough and independent investigation as to why the family had to hire a private investigator to locate his body, and also why they had to get a second autopsy report. It has been two months that this family has had to suffer not only through the lost of their loved one, but also a very careless and irresponsible investigation. As we approach the national holiday celebrating the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we are saying we want justice in all forms, and we want it immediately. That means we want the Department of Justice and its national arm of the FBI to deal with this.”

Anderson Cooper 360 will air a segment on the case of Alfred Wright Monday January 13th at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

A Bernsen Law Firm press release states that Texas Rangers’ autopsy report fails to explain apparent signs of severe trauma found on Alfred’s body, revealed by an independent second autopsy. One of the firm’s many concerns include the actions of a local member of law enforcement who began communicating toxicological findings with the general public even though that same person told members of the Wright family that no toxicology report was in existence.

“It is deeply troubling and hard to imagine why law enforcement is all of a sudden choosing to engage in investigatory efforts – interviewing family members and performing basic property searches – all of which should have occurred on day one.” -Bernsen Law Firm

Finally, the Wright family is requesting that the United States Department of Justice and its Civil Rights and FBI units take over the case and investigate Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox and Texas Ranger Danny Young.

This is why it matters. The dilemma of racial injustice is not merely an entertainment, it is not a cartoon.The misperceptions of race and power and race and revenge and race and class still consume everyday life – not like the imagined buffoonery of DJANGO UNCHAINED, but just like the arbitrary but real violence and savagery of 12 YEARS A SLAVE. These are still current affairs issues. Real slavery still exists in the modern world. Arbitrary injustice and violence still exist in the modern world. Racial disparity still exists in the modern world. Economic injustice still exists in the modern world. Our severest problems are man-made. We must not despair or look for revenge, but we must be the solution. The leadership is us. It is within this context that the discussion of DJANGO UNCHAINED vs. 12 YEARS A SLAVE arises.

January 16, 2014 Posted by | CULTURE, FILM, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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