We want to keep sharing with you our mad love for the arts and especially the art of film by bringing you ONLINE SCREENINGS of new release movies and documentaries.
Something as simple as a herring roasting on a hearth, or a meal of bread, wine and winter melon, takes on the humble aura of a Caravaggio painting in this masterful film. That is to say, Straub-Huillet extol ordinary Sicilians who are poor of means but rich in spirit. Filmed in Syracuse and Messina, SICILIA! is a tragicomedy involving an orange peddler, an Italian recently returned from America, two “stinky” police officers, a guilt-stricken landowner, a traveling knife sharpener and, perhaps most unforgettably, an indomitable peasant mother who reminisces about meals of snails and wild chicory, her husband’s philandering and cowardice, and her own father’s belief in an honest day’s labor, socialism, and St. Joseph
A film of deeply concentrated beauty, acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela stars nonprofessional actor Vitalina Varela in an extraordinary performance based on her own life. Vitalina plays a Cape Verdean woman who has travelled to Lisbon to reunite with her husband, after two decades of separation, only to arrive mere days after his funeral. Alone in a strange forbidding land, she perseveres and begins to establish a new life. Winner of the Golden Leopard for Best Film and Best Actress at the Locarno Film Festival, as well as an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, Vitalina Varela is a film of shadow and whisper, a profoundly moving and visually ravishing masterpiece.
Winner of major prizes at the Berlin and Turin film festivals, the hauntingly beautiful debut feature from Pietro Marcello (Lost and Beautiful, Martin Eden) interweaves two love stories: the 20-year romance between a Sicilian tough guy and a transsexual former junkie whom he met in prison, and a poetic reverie of the Italian port town of Genoa, depicted in all its mysterious, fading glory. Commissioned by the Fondazione San Marcellino, a Jesuit order dedicated to helping society’s poor and marginalized, The Mouth of the Wolf masterfully combines documentary with fiction and melancholy home movies from the past century with poetic images, sounds, and music of the waterfront today.
Ham on Rye is a coming-of-age comedy centered on the nervous excitement of youth and the strange horror of entering adulthood. Tyler Taormina’s directing debut uses an expansive ensemble of over one hundred performers, including non-actors, musicians, 90’s Nickelodeon child stars, and more, to explore a suburban community’s relationship with a prom-like ritual and the decay of the human spirit. It begins with the crowd-pleasing spirit of a John Hughes movie and fades slowly into an off-kilter dystopia with the energy of Dazed and Confused.
DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION unravels a mutating tale of self-delusion, greed, and fraud — the $80 million forgery scandal that rocked the art world and brought down Knoedler, New York City’s oldest and most venerable gallery. Was the gallery’s esteemed director the victim of a con artist who showed up with an endless treasure trove of previously unseen abstract expressionist masterpieces? Or did she eventually suspect they were fakes, yet continue to sell them for millions of dollars for fifteen years? Whatever the truth, two women from very different worlds crossed paths in what would become the greatest hoax ever of Modern American Art.
One of the most revolutionary and influential fashion designers of his time, Martin Margiela has remained an elusive figure the entirety of his decades-long career. From Jean Paul Gaultier's assistant to creative director at Hermès to leading his own House, Margiela never showed his face publicly and avoided interviews, but reinvented fashion with his radical style through forty-one provocative collections. Now, for the first time, the "Banksy of fashion" reveals his drawings, notes, and personal items in this exclusive, intimate profile of his vision.
The film features interviews with, among others, Margiela himself, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carine Roitfeld, trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort, fashion critic Cathy Horyn, and fashion historian Olivier Saillard. The score has been composed by the Belgian rock band dEUS.
Five years in the making, and filmed across 9 countries, the feature-length documentary WILD DAZE depicts the dire threats facing African wildlife. Since human beings are part of nature, when we work to save nature and other species, we are also working to save ourselves. This powerful cinematic call to action demonstrates the tremendous challenges facing all species in a single planetary environment called Earth.
Nineteen-year-old Julio heads to Lisbon from the provinces and gets a job as a shoemaker for his uncle Raul. But when he meets Ilda, a confident young housemaid who becomes a regular shop visitor, his working-class values collide with the bourgeois trappings of modern life. Never before released in the U.S., Rocha’s debut, gloriously shot in black-and-white, is an extraordinary and haunting coming-of-age film. Winner of Best First Film at the 1964 Locarno Film Festival.
New digital restoration by Pedro Costa.
Paulo Rocha’s haunting second feature, Change of Life, tells the beautiful and deeply felt story of a young man, a veteran from the war in Angola, who returns home to his remote fishing village to discover that his former sweetheart is now married to his brother. Inspired by his work with Manoel de Oliveira, Rocha “cast” the local villagers as themselves, interspersed with experienced actors led by the great Isabel Ruth who would go on to become an Oliveira regular and an iconic presence in Pedro Costa’s Ossos. The poetry of the local vernacular is captured in the textured dialogue written by fellow Portuguese filmmaker Antonio Reis, who met Rocha through Oliveira. The film was a critical and commercial success upon release, though it would effectively be the last film Rocha made for nearly two decades.
New Digital Restoration by Pedro Costa (watch the teaser below directed by Costa).
Acoustic Java is proud to present a new generation of independent films as part of our new Virtual Cinema.
Independent films educate and entertain. Independent films stand up for the vulnerable, the marginalized, the outsiders, the rebels, the dreamers, the poets, the imaginative. Independent film exposes the evils of the world and offers solutions. Independent film changes people’s lives. Forever.
The movies below benefit the filmmakers and your favorite coffee shop. Thank you!
"One of the boldest artistic statements of year"-Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine
“'Tito' is an instant classic of acting."-Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"Visionary."-Eric Kohn, IndieWire
Tito is trapped. With long black hair, greasy sideburns, and an emergency whistle dangling from his neck, he is so stricken with fear that he's developed a hunch in his back. Any attempt to venture into the outside world is met with the threat of elusive predators who hunt him relentlessly. Starved for food and security, Tito's terrorized existence threatens to overwhelm him - until the sudden arrival of a cheerful intruder, offering breakfast and protection...
Tito is a vision of predation, friendship, and fear, told through a wildly inventive and expressive new lens.
"The filmmakers do yeoman’s work stitching together a brisk-moving narrative from what was surely a glut of footage – one might question certain inclusions, like the long shot Hoon took of himself peeing, but then again unexpected nudity was an undeniable part of the Shannon Hoon experience – and it certainly helps that Hoon makes for consistently engaging company. " -David Fear, Variety
Shannon Hoon, lead singer of the rock band Blind Melon, filmed himself religiously from 1990- 1995 with a video camera, recording up until a few hours before his sudden death at the age of twenty-eight. His camera was a diary and his closest confidant. In the hundreds of hours of footage, Hoon meticulously documented his life—his family, his creative process, his television, his band’s rise to fame, and his struggle with addiction. He filmed his daughter’s birth, and archived the politics and culture of the 90s, an era right before the internet changed the world. Created solely with his own footage, voice, and music, this rare autobiography is a prescient exploration of experience and memory in the age of video. It is also Hoon’s last work, completed twenty-three years after his death.
“A treat for anyone who appreciates the printed word.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history. THE BOOKSELLERS takes viewers inside their small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.
“The Booksellers is a documentary for anyone who can still look at a book and see a dream, a magic teleportation device, an object that contains the world.” – Variety
“A snapshot of a life that leaves you grateful for having encountered it.” – Variety
Told in Bill Cunningham’s own words from a recently unearthed six-hour 1994 interview, the iconic street photographer and fashion historian chronicles, in his customarily cheerful and plainspoken manner, moonlighting as a milliner in France during the Korean War, his unique relationship with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, his four decades at The New York Times and his democratic view of fashion and society. Narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, The Times of Bill Cunningham features incredible photographs chosen from over 3 million previously unpublicized images and documents from Cunningham.
“The minute Bill Cunningham starts talking in this charming documentary is the minute you fall in love with him.” – RogerEbert.com
“A unique New York story” – The Hollywood Reporter
World Premiere: 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Winner of the Audience Award: NEXT and the NEXT Innovator Prize
THE INFILTRATORS is a docu-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into a shadowy for-profit detention center—on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri attempt a daring reverse ‘prison break,’ things don’t go according to plan.By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, THE INFILTRATORS tells an incredible and thrilling true story in a genre-defying new cinematic language.
"Hong Sang-soo’s Woman on the Beach is his most complicated film, yet it seems his most accessible."
Filmmaker Joong-rae, suffering from writer’s block, takes a trip to the coast with his production designer Chang-wook, who brings along the vivacious Moon-sook. Soon after their arrival, Moon-sook falls for Joong-rae’s advances; however, the fickle hero can’t commit and he awkwardly parts with her. What had been a sardonic JULES AND JIM turns into a burlesque VERTIGO when Joong-rae returns to the coastal resort and attempts to recreate the original romance with a woman who resembles Moon-sook, until his jilted lover shows up. A new 4K restoration completed by the Korean Film Archive from the original 35mm negative.
“Enjoyably demented” – Los Angeles Times
In this black comedy of middle-aged masculinity gone awry, Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) is a recent divorcee who becomes obsessed with a vintage fringed deerskin jacket that begins to exert an uncanny hold on him. Set in a sleepy French alpine village, he falls into the guise of an independent filmmaker and befriends a trusting bartender and aspiring editor (Adèle Haenel, Portrait of a Lady on Fire) who becomes his collaborator on a movie that will document a surprising new goal he sets himself.
“A loopy entertaining WTF lark” – Variety
“Hilarious and unhinged” – Indiewire
“A Daring and Important Film.” - Variety
Acclaimed writer-director Yaron Zilberman (A Late Quartet) chronicles the disturbing descent of a promising law student to an intransigent ultranationalist obsessed with murdering his country's leader, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Incitement is a gripping and unnerving look through the eyes of a murderer who silenced a powerful voice for peace.
“Powerful. The incitement in Israel that killed Yitzhak Rabin.” - The New York Times
“Timely. Remarkable. Chilling.” - The Hollywood Reporter
“A Chilling Portrait. Explores the mind of an assassin.” - Los Angeles Times
“A cinematic gift, an intellectual challenge, an emotional adventure”
– New York Times, Critic’s Pick
A complex portrait of a city and its inhabitants, THE HOTTEST AUGUST gives us a window into the collective consciousness of the present. The film’s point of departure is one city over one month: New York City, including its outer boroughs, during August 2017. It’s a month heavy with the tension of a new President, growing anxiety over everything from rising rents to marching white nationalists, and unrelenting news of either wildfires or hurricanes on every coast. The film pivots on the question of futurity: what does the future look like from where we are standing? And what if we are not all standing in the same place? THE HOTTEST AUGUST offers a mirror onto a society on the verge of catastrophe, registering the anxieties, distractions, and survival strategies that preoccupy ordinary lives.
“Two outstanding performances. Medel is marvelous, utterly engaging. Kuhling is a knockout." — Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
FOURTEEN, the remarkable new film by Dan Sallitt (The Unspeakable Act) starring Tallie Medel (Stinking Heaven, Jules of Light and Dark) and Chicago Med's Norma Kuhling.
Mara and Jo, in their twenties, have been close friends since middle school. It soon becomes apparent that Jo, despite her intellectual gifts, is unreliable in her professional life, losing and acquiring jobs at a troubling rate. Substance abuse may be responsible for Jo’s instability… but some observers suspect a deeper problem. Over the course of a decade, the more stable Mara sometimes tries to help, sometimes backs away to preserve herself, but never leaves behind her powerful childhood connection with Jo.
An intimate, incisive look at female friendship, FOURTEEN earned major acclaim upon premiering at the Berlinale and is now virtual-cinema booking in all markets.
“One of the best films I’ve seen about fine art. It casts an entrancing spell that allows the staggering depth of its subject’s work to consume us.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. Director Halina Dryschka’s dazzling, course correcting documentary describes not only the life and craft of af Klint, but also the process of her mischaracterization and erasure by both a patriarchal narrative of artistic progress and capitalistic determination of artistic value.
“FIVE STARS! Ken Loach raises his game yet further with this gut-wrenching tale of a delivery worker driven to the brink...It’s fierce, open and angry, unironised and unadorned... This brilliant film will focus minds.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
The British working class is once again the empathetic subject of Ken Loach’s SORRY WE MISSED YOU, a wrenching, intimate family drama that exposes the dark side of the so-called “gig economy”. Ricky, a former laborer, and his home-attendant wife Abby—who lost their home in the 2008 financial crash—are desperate to get out of their financial distress. When an opportunity comes up for Ricky to work as his own boss as a delivery driver, they sell their only asset, Abby’s car, to trade it in for a shiny new white van and the dream that Ricky can work his way up to someday owning his own delivery franchise. But the couple find their lives are quickly pushed further to the edge by an unrelenting work schedule, a ruthless supervisor and the needs of their two teenage children. Capturing the sacred moments that make a family as well as the acts of desperation they need to undertake to make it through each day, this universal story is skillfully and indelibly told with unforgettable performances and a searing script by Loach’s long-time collaborator Paul Laverty.
“A candid, frank, and comprehensive whirlwind tour through the life and work of one of the world’s most celebrated (and uncompromising) chefs.” - The Gate
Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy is an intimate, candid perspective into the curious world of 95-year-old cookbook author and British ex-patriot Diana Kennedy, widely regarded as the world’s academic expert on Mexican cuisine. Standing barely five feet tall with a thick English accent, Diana is a formidable critic of anyone who doesn’t agree with her views on Mexican culinary traditions, or, God forbid, doesn’t recycle.
The author of nine acclaimed cookbooks, Diana has spent nearly seventy years exploring Mexico (typically solo in her truck), and researching the country’s varied and complex cuisines. A two-time James Beard Award winner, Diana was decorated with an Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican government in 1982 and became a Member of the Order of the British Empire from the UK in 2002. Despite her notable achievements, Diana is difficult to categorize; often referred to as the “Julia Child of Mexico”. Given her ediger style, however, Diana prefers a different title: “The Mick Jagger of Mexican Cuisine”.
“Brazilian cinema has been flourishing for several years and is especially strong this year, and that’s a great accomplishment considering the political situation which is very difficult for filmmakers.” - Variety
A proud transgender sex worker since the age of eleven, Luana Muniz, now fifty-nine, shapes a new reality in her “hostel” by housing a new generation of transgender sex workers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Queen of Lapa explores the day-to-day lives, rivalries, and quests for love of sex workers, as Muniz’s guides them in a city full of hostility towards its LGBTQ community.
"Affecting in its portrayal of the in-limbo phase of a young person’s life [...] The uncertainty of youth, the black-and-white cinematography of the city, and the use of classical music may call to mind Frances Ha (2012), though the cultural concerns are miles apart."
— Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, Artforum
After failing his university entrance exams for the third year in a row, Min Suk, a directionless twenty-something Korean man, travels to New York to visit his long-distance girlfriend Yeon Jae. Over the course of a rollercoaster week, he experiences both the thrill of losing himself in a new city and the bitter realization that his relationship is gradually imploding. A romantic, outsider’s view of New York shot in elegiac black and white, Sunrise/Sunset perfectly captures the wonder and disorientation that comes with being a stranger adrift in a strange land.