March is shaping up to be the month for strong, female leads. Hollywood has its eye turned toward the classics, with Jane Eyre, Red Riding Hood, and a modern, stylized take on Alice in Wonderland in Sucker Punch. In addition, Boston hosts several film festivals including Jewishfilm.2011, the Irish Film Festival, and Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
By Sarah Sanders.
Jewishfilm.2011. At the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), March 2–14. Presented by The National Center for Jewish Films, Jewishfilms.2011 features new, independent, Jewish-content films as well as international classics. The MFA will host five screenings, including The Matchmaker (Once I Was), which was nominated for Best Picture at the 2010 Israeli Academy Awards; Cabaret Berlin: The Wild Scene, about the prominence of Jewish performers in Berlin prior to the rise of the Nazi Party; and Mahler On The Couch, about composer Gustav Mahler and his meetings with Sigmund Freud.
The International Experimental Cinema Exposition. At the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), March 5, 6 p.m. Witness a different artistic perspective at this screening, produced especially for the ICA by curator and exposition founder Christopher May. The line-up will showcase 11 16mm experimental films by international and Boston-based filmmakers. May will introduce each film, with a Q&A session with several of the directors to follow.
Jane Eyre. Wide release, March 11. Finally, a film in a style worthy of the book. This eerie take follows orphan Jane Eyre as she makes her way through an unhappy childhood and schooling to become governess at Thornfield Hall. There, Jane meets her brooding employer Edward Rochester and unravels the mysteries hidden in the man and the house itself. The two stars Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) look poised to give stellar, subdued performances in this dark remake.
Red Riding Hood. Wide release, March 11. Director Catherine Hardwicke, known for her edgy take on youth with films like Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown (Oh, and the first Twilight movie), tries her hand once again at impressing young audiences in this Gothic remake of the classic fairy tale. The film looks beautiful, with lush scenery and vivid colors—but the Twilight-esque love triangle between Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and her two romantic interests, outsider Peter and her betrothed Henry, might make the film another teen dud. But, with a cast including Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen, and Julie Christie, Hardwicke may just deliver the goods.
Sucker Punch. Wide release, March 25. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland may be the source material for this Zack Snyder directed action-adventure, but the bleak world of Sucker Punch is a far cry from Wonderland. Committed to a mental hospital by her abusive stepfather, Babydoll (Emily Browning) retreats to a fantastical world she controls in her mind, where her and her fellow inmates are an elite fighting force on a mission to secure Babydoll’s escape from the asylum. In the saturated style now iconic to Snyder (300, Watchmen), Sucker Punch looks to pack a wallop of non-stop thrills: Babydoll has to fight a fire-breathing dragon, a robot army, and samurai ogres.
Transcendent Man. At the Coolidge Corner Theater, March 21. Ray Kurzweil is a technology prophet, and his predictions for the future have been startling accurate. In this documentary by Barry Ptolemy, Kurzweil travels the world to share and explore his vision of the future: in the next 30 years, humans and machines will converge to lengthen human life and expand intelligence. Kurweil will answer questions and introduce the film, with a Q&A by Ptolemy to follow the screening.
Irish Film Festival. At the Stuart Street Playhouse and the Somerville Theater, March 24–27. The best of Irish cinema returns to Boston for the 12th year, screening over 30 contemporary shorts and features over the course of the four-day festival. In addition to the full schedule, the festival will also award filmmakers in the categories of Best Film, Best Short Animation, and Best Documentary.
Wild and Scenic Film Festival. At the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, March 25, 6 p.m. WBUR’s Robin Young hosts the opening night of the largest environmental film festival in the United States. Films include documentaries Carbon Nation, Witness: Defining Conservation Photography, and A Mongolian Couch, about a Mongolian man who changes the way his village uses energy. Young will also lead an expert panel discussion on the future of energy.