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Mar 012013
 

The pre-festival film season features free screenings, a selection of international cinemas, many great documentary films, and a weekend of feminist films.

By Tim Jackson.

A scene from the documentary WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL

B.U. Cinematheque Screenings. At Boston University College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, March 1, 22, and 29.

The open and free screening series curated and moderated by Gerald Peary continues in March. The series is an opportunity to hear insights from the filmmakers themselves in discussion with Peary and the students of B.U. Fee free to raise your hand and opine.

March 1: An Evening with Susan Ray. The widow of Hollywood maverick Nicholas Ray presents and discusses We Can’t Go Home Again (1974), the filmmaker’s head trip of an autobiography.

March 22. An Evening with David Nugent. The filmmaker presents his film How to Survive a Plague, nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary, and a powerful and riveting look at how America’s gay community banded together to battle the AIDS epidemic.

March 29. An Evening with Joshua Z. Weinstein. B.U. film graduate and cinematographer Weinstein will show two documentaries that he shot and directed. Drivers Wanted reveals hardscrabble multicultural life at a Queens, NY, taxi company, and I Beat Mike Tyson about a Boston boxer’s one day in the ring.

The Salem Film Festival. At Cinema Salem, Salem, MA, and nearby venues, March 7–10.

This is a terrific documentary festival, one of great integrity and a growing reputation. They consciously reach out to schools and colleges. There is a 5-Minute High School Documentary Contest on Thursday and a forum on “What Makes a Good Documentary” on Sunday from 11 to 12:30 p.m.

Some of the films include Bay Of All Saints, directed by Annie Eastman, who will be present; The World Before Her, about 20 young women from across India who arrive for an intense, month-long, beauty boot camp; Emmett Malloy’s road movie/concert film Big Easy Express with Indie folk heroes Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Tennessee’s Old Crow Medicine Show, and Mumford & Sons; and Portrait Of Wally, Andrew Shea’s film about Egon Schiele’s celebrated painting Portrait of Wally. (Fuse review here)

U Mass Documentary Film Series. At Campus Center Ballroom, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, March 7 and 28.

This free series continues in March with two screenings:

March 7. Lemon follows three-time felon-turned-poet/performer Lemon Andersen as he takes his street smarts to the stage with astounding success.

March 28. Where Heaven Meets Hell follows four of the nearly 500 sulfur miners working at Kawah Ijen, an active volcano in Indonesia. This intimate portrait chronicles their attempts to escape the endemic poverty and lack of education that haunts their community. Drawing strength from their families and their Muslim faith, the miners search for meaning in their daily struggles and triumphs.

A scene from NIGHT ACROSS THE STREET.

The Boston Cinema Census, The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 7.

The BCC is an annual showcase of the most interesting and innovative works produced by local emerging filmmakers, whether they are students, professionals, struggling artists, or film enthusiasts. Always fun and unpredictable, the BCC has is an entertaining way for local filmmakers to present their work to a audience of filmlovers.

Night Across the Street. At The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 8–10.

This is the final film of Raoul Ruiz, completed just before his death at age 70. His previous film, the epic Mysteries of Lisbon, was an extraordinary experience and played for a similar short run at the Brattle. Ruiz films are elegant mediations on life, history, and imagination. This film (previously titled La Noche de Enfrente) concerns an elderly office worker who begins to relive both real and imagined memories from his life. Stories hide within stories, and the thin line between imagination and reality steadily erodes, opening up a marvelous new world of personal remembrance and fantastic melodrama.

Belmont World Film Festival. At the Studio Cinema 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA, March 11, 18, 27, and April 1

The unique and imaginative Belmont World Film is now in its 12th year. They present weekly screenings throughout March and April of US or New England premieres of international cinema. The series’ eight films are from the world’s top international film festivals. All films feature either post-film discussions by notable experts or culturally-related performances and several screenings feature pre-film dinners and receptions. Check the site for details.

This month the films include:

March 11: Chinese Take-Away (Argentina). A bitter loner who collects news stories about rare freakish events begrudgingly takes in a young Chinese immigrant in search of his long lost family, which sets off a series of events that tosses him out of his tightly wound world. Followed by tango and Chinese dance performances

March 18: Caesar Must Die. A Massachusetts premiere of a new film by directed by Italian brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Padre Padrone) who filmed the rehearsals and public presentation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as performed by inmates who are part of an acting program at a high security prison in Rome. It was winner of the Golden Bear and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin Film Festival. Speaker: Peter Keough, Film Critic at The Phoenix.

March 27: Where the Water Meets the Sky, directed by David Eberts. A documentary about a courageous group of women in rural Zambia who learn how to produce a film about an issue that has affected them all but few will discuss: the plight of young women orphaned by AIDS. The women go on to make the short Hidden Truth, an intimate portrayal of the effects of domestic violence on women and children in the same community in Zambia. Speaker: Director David Eberts via Skype. It will shown with Hidden Truth.

April 1: Queen of Montreuil (France) is a bittersweet comedy about a young woman who tries to get her life back on track as a film director after her husband suddenly dies. Returning home to Montreuil with her husband’s ashes, she is greeted by the unexpected arrival of a couple of Icelanders, a sea lion, and a neighbor that she has always desired. Speaker: Tom Meek, President of the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Royal Wedding. At The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA., March 12.

As part of Turner Classic Movies 10-City “Road to Hollywood Tour” the Brattle will present the 1951 film Royal Wedding starring Jane Powell and Fred Astaire and directed by Stanley Donan (Singing in the Rain). Film historian and author Leonard Maltin will introduce the screening with an appearance by 85-year-old Jane Powell herself! The event is free — get there early if you want a seat.

New Latin American Cinema. At The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, March 14–21.

Films from Latin America have been steadily growing in influence with stories that offer a compelling blend of the personal and the political. One of the benefits for world cinema enthusiasts is that the MFA provides an opportunity to see films that are often denied commercial distribution. The line up includes Thursday till Sunday from Chile, La Sirga from Colombia, Jonathas’s Forest from Brazil, Clandestine Childhood from Argentina, and the Mexican film Post Tenebras Luxby by Carlos Reygadas that won Best Director at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

A scene from POST TENEBRAS LUX

The Boston Turkish Film Festival. At The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, March 21 through April 7.

The second international program features films by emerging and established Turkish filmmakers. See schedule for details.

WAM! Boston Film Festival. At The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 23 and 24.

Women, Action & the Media presents unique films made by women, and about women, from up-and-coming filmmakers from New England and around the globe! WAM! The organization advocates gender justice in media. The weekend of screenings include experimental, animated, and documentary shorts and three features: Indelible Lalita, a poetic documentary about an Indian woman who completely loses her skin pigment as she migrates from Bombay to Paris to Montréal directed by local fillmaker Jullie Mallozzi; Bordering on Treason and Words of Witness, a double feature which shows the human side of the Iraq War; and Circus Dreams a regionally produced doc about Vermont’s Circus Smirkus, one of the best traveling youth circuses in the world.

Boston Underground Film Festival. The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 27 – 31.

The festival that began in 1999 at the now defunct Revolving Museum in Fort Point Fort Point is an insane celebration of alternative cinema. This year the celebration features the East Coast premiere of I Declare War, about two groups of thirteen-year old friends who play “war” in a local forest, a film the Hollywood Reporter calls “delightful and troubling.”

There are also premieres of Vanishing Waves, Kristina Buozyte’s shockingly dark tale of neuron-transfer scientist who experiments with the thoughts of a comatose young woman, and Pieta, Kim Ki-duk’s acclaimed new feature about a loan shark forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. You never know what to expect with the BUFF, so check in first!

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