Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting special events and repertoire programming for the discerning Camberville cinephile. It also includes film capsule reviews that are not rated.
The Boston Independent Film Festival presents its Fall Focus program at the Brattle Theater this week, with 11 independent entrances and highly anticipated awards. Wednesday brings “The French Dispatch”, Wes Anderson’s take on the New Yorker’s heyday. The phenomenal cast includes Adrien Brody, Benicio del Toro, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Jeffrey Wright and LÃ©a Seydoux. Wright and Seydoux recently teamed up in the Bond movie “No Time to Die” and are quite excellent here, as is del Toro. On Thursday there’s Sean Baker’s âRed Rocketâ (âTangerine,â âThe Florida Projectâ) with Simon Rex playing an incarnation of himself as a failed pornstar trying to navigate his dysfunctional final years. Pablo LarraÃn’s âSpencerâ, starring Kristen Stewart as Lady Di, is on Friday. LarraÃn has already probed the melancholy of famous women with âJackieâ (2016), so expect something more than just a biopic. Also on Friday, Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast”, about a boy who came of age in the city of Northern Ireland during the chaotic 1960s. On Saturday, the festival goes into high gear with “Memoria”, a meditative drama by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives”) starring Tilda Swinton as a Scottish woman on vacation in the Andes who begins to have strange meanings. overload problems at night. Then there is âHappeningâ, an adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s novel retracing her experience of abortion while it was still illegal in France in the 1960s, and âThe Worst Person in the Worldâ, a portrait of abortion. ‘a young Norwegian (Renate Reinsve) as she navigates the drama in her relationships and a slow-developing career. And finally, old pal Bobcat Goldthwait serves up his road travel documentary “Joy Ride”, in which he and fellow comedian (and occasional friend) Dana Gould roam the southern United States, recounting their past, their personal conflicts. (in between), an almost fatal car accident and their stint on the comedy circuit. Most screenings are regional premieres, and some will have questions and answers after screenings. The IFFB and Brattle websites have details and tickets.
The GlobeDocs Film Festival ends this weekend at The Brattle with three different feature films on Sunday: “Jagged”, Alison Klayman’s return to 1995, when 21-year-old Alanis Morissette and her album “Jagged Little Pill” became the voice of the empowerment of women; âEscapeâ by Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen on a refugee child from Afghanistan; and the closing entry, “Bernstein’s Wall”, Douglas Tirola’s take on the life of the legendary composer and his struggle with his sexual identity. The filmmakers will attend questions and answers after the screening of their film. Many festival films are also available for virtual screenings. GlobeDocs has access and information.
There are more docs on Monday because The DocYard is showing “Far From Afghanistan”, a collection by five American filmmakers (including Boston-based documentary filmmaker John Gianvito, whose work has been at the center of DocYard’s fall programming) recounting the toll the war in Afghanistan has taken on people there and here. The project, inspired by the 1967 effort “Far from Vietnam” directed by Chris Marker (“La JetÃ©e”, the basis of “12 Monkeys”), marks perfectly another example of Gianvito’s commitment to the cinema of the resistance and counter-current. street outlook on screen. The screening also marks the 20th anniversary of the US-led war, the recent US withdrawal and the fall of Kabul. Proceeds from the screening go to the Community Supported Film Fund for the Evacuation and Resettlement of Afghans.
If experimental cinema is your thing, Tuesday Festival of revolutions per minute Features the work of feminist filmmaker and queer cinema pioneer Barbara Hammer, who died in 2019. Hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston, film studies professor Sarah Keller, the evening’s list features six short films directed by Hammer in the 1970s and 1980s on 16mm film. Topics range from the personal (“Psychosynthesis”) to the philosophical (“Vital signs”) and the LGBTQ lens (“Double strength”). They are projecting at The Brattle.
Note: Brattle’s Covid policy requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result for admission.
In cinema and streaming
“Escape from Mogadishu” (2021)
Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001) grimly captured the heartbreaking ordeal of American soldiers embroiled in the Somali Civil War of the 1990s; here, Korean action director Seung-wan Ryoo (âCrying Fist,â âCity of Violenceâ) approaches the bloody conflict from a very different foreign perspective, as we integrate a group of southern diplomats. Koreans on a mission to forge better relations with African countries. Initially, their biggest obstacles are the mercenaries the North Koreans send to take them to diplomatic meetings, but when the violent siege of Mogadishu breaks out, the South Koreans are forced to join the North Koreans in a desperate attempt to escape. Some of the early political seedlings can be a bit slow, but once the match is on, the action and chase sequences are impressive, not only in terms of Ryoo’s full-scale staging and sets, but in their clean and fluid choreography. . On Apple TV +, Amazon Prime Video, and more on Tuesday.
‘Halloween kills’ (2021)
David Gordon Green has had an intriguing career behind the lens, from his humble independent roots (“George Washington”) to the hugely successful “Pineapple Express” (2008) and even the intimate chronicle of the Boston Marathon bombing of Recovery. traumatic experience of Jeff Bauman in âStrongerâ (2017). Since his return to John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic âHalloweenâ in 2018, he has enjoyed a frenzy of horror reboots, with âThe Exorcist,â a “Hellraiser” television series and the end of a “Halloween” trilogy, “Halloween Ends” to come. This mid-size film, “Kills”, much like this 2018 re-tool, is utterly useless, inept and does not do much. to move the series forward. It’s a cash check that puts Jamie Lee Curtis back in the mix and adds Anthony Michael Hall (“Sixteen Candles”, “Breakfast Club”) as Tommy, the young boy saved by the hero. of Curtis in the original, now an adult and rallying a mob to hunt down Michael Me yers, the inhuman psychopath wearing a Bill Shatner Blue Origin flight mask and tagged as “the boogeyman”. âEvil dies tonight! the crowd sings, as if it was an eighth inning cheer to Fenway. More silly still, no one seems to care when more people die and the police are nowhere to be found, despite there being a fire response team that gets hacked before they can put out a hell. It’s lazy, predictable, and hollow. Myers should call his agent and get his own series on Netflix or Prime. At Apple Cinemas Cambridge, 168 Alewife Creek Parkway, Cambridge Highlands near Alewife and Fresh Pond, and AMC Assembly Row 12, 395 Chemin des artisans, Assembly Square, Somerville.
“Fever dream” (2021)
Peruvian director Claudia Llosa seems to design her films along the blurred lines between waking reality and the other feathery realms. It was the case with “Aloft” (2014) and it’s more the same here. Based on Samanta Schweblin’s 2014 book, âFever Dreamâ is sort of a psychological thriller told in feverish swirls and driven by a looming sense of dread and bad intention. Did I mention that it is also about the evils of pollution and humans as bad shepherds of the environment? The film focuses on two mothers, Amanda (MarÃa Valverde) and Carola (Dolores Fonzi), the effects of pesticides in the water of the bucolic Argentinian enclave where they met, and a holistic healing ritual to treat poisonings. Such a visit to the local priestess turns Carola’s son, David (Emilio Vodanovich and Marcelo Michinaux play it at different ages), into something of a Damien-lite hellspawn. Carola’s nonchalant attitude about her son’s condition and the child’s prophetic ideas, whispered in Amanda’s ear or in a narrative voiceover, carry a strange chill. The nonlinear structure works to the benefit of the movie, but sometimes the heavy, wet moodiness becomes distractingly posture and overworked. On Netflix.
‘The Velvet Underground’ (2021)
Fans of the iconic ’60s band started by Andy Warhol and famous for their male toxicity and fuck-you attitude will appreciate this nostalgic throwback, which is pretty much a straightforward timeline of the group’s forward-thinking creation, first challenges, from the graph- highs and an inevitable demise. It’s directed by Todd Haynes, who has proven his rock’n’roll knowledge with great fictional rides on Bob Dylan (“I’m Not There”) and David Bowie (“Velvet Goldmine”). Most of the talking heads are surviving band members, namely John Cale and âMoâ drummer Maureen Tucker, who tagged the skins standing up and with mallets instead of sticks. Boston’s bonus here is Modern Lovers frontman Jonathan Richman (âRoadrunnerâ), who was a loving fan and eventually became a close friend. Iconic frontman Lou Reed, all vinegar and sneer, passed away almost a decade ago, so we only get him in archive footage. As the film said, his charisma mothballed those around him. Famous Fellini actress Nico, who was part of the group (“I’ll Be Your Mirror”), and Warhol were intoxicated by her impetuous confidence, as were the fans of the group. It became something of a weapon when clashing with Cale over Creative Differences. In Kendall Square and streaming on Apple TV.
Cambridge writer Tom Meek’s reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.