What’s coming up now in this small gap between the awards shows and the film festival season? Lots! This month is a cornucopia of adventurous, off-the-radar films. March features several great director’s series, Hong Kong, German, and Czech premieres, women directors, local directors, and a range of documentaries on music that you probably never heard of. It’s quite a month; plan early, plan wisely!
By Tim Jackson.
A Drummer’s Dream. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, March 7–11.
Drummers love to talk about drumming. I should know, I am one. Here’s a real treat. Seven world-renowned master drummers—including Dennis Chambers—blow the roof off a barn in Ontario’s remote cottage country where they gather to teach and end up delivering performances that lift the spirit with gusts of pure joy and exhilaration.
Such Hawks, Such Hounds. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, March 9.
This is a night of heavy metal music at the MFA. Yikes! This film explores the American hard rock underground from 1970–2007 focusing on the psychedelic and ’70s proto-metal-derived styles. Some of the bands in the line-up include Acid King, The Atomic Bitchwax, and Fatso Jetson. Um, how can you lose? From 7-7:30p.m. there’s a set by Zozobra in the Contemporary Wing.
The Turin Horse. At Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA, March 9 and 11.
The great Czech director Béla Tarr’s last film has its debut at the Archive. It is described as one week in the back-breaking lives of an aging farmer and his daughter, alone on a barren, windswept farm with a recalcitrant horse that suddenly refuses to work. Tarr is an acquired taste: an attraction to the hypnotic and surreal helps. A series of the director’s films are being shown, and the big screen is the only way to experience the spell cast by Tarr.
Cracks in the Shell (Die Unsichtbare). At Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA, March 11, 11 a.m.
The films in the German Film Series are rare treats that you get nowhere else, so it is worth going out on Sunday morning. The Goethe Institut description follows: “Acting student Josephine can’t seem to land a leading role. She keeps on being passed over and begins to think of herself as invisible, but when famous director Gaspar Friedmann chooses her to play the lead role in his new production Josephine is the first to wonder why.”
Life Without Principle. At Bright Family Screening Room, ArtsEmerson, Boston, MA, March 16–18.
The prolific and wildly unpredictable Hong Kong director Johnny To’s new film receives its Boston premiere. It follows the fortunes and misfortunes of three desperate people during a financial meltdown and how their lives are changed. The stories weave in and out, go back and forth in time, and dip into all corners of Hong Kong life. It’s dense, clever, and the pay off is worth the intricacies of the plot—this is a real treat from To, who was once called the “Jerry Bruckheimer of Hong Kong.”
The Films of Atom Egoyan. At Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 16–18.
Armenian/Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan has made some unique thoughtful and haunting films such as The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe, and Felicia’s Journey. Here is a chance to catch the ones you may have missed.
Battle For Brooklyn. At Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 19.
This month the wonderful DocYard Series presents Battle For Brooklyn, which follows the story of a reluctant activist as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for a professional basketball arena and the densest real estate development in U.S. history. It’s a classic American struggle told with great style plenty of suspense.
Shane McGowan: If I Should Fall From Grace. At Somerville Arts Armory, Somerville, MA, March 19.
A scrappy, new, monthly series of odd films in the Armory mini-max. A low-cost, intimate night out that comes with an opportunity to imbibe beer, wine, and snacks. According to the publicity release, “The subject of this documentary is Irish ex-Pogues singer Shane McGowan. The film uses music videos, archived footage supplement and recent interviews with family, friends, and former bandmates to comment on the music, the rumors, and the alcohol.”
The Heretics. At Bright Family Screening Room, ArtsEmerson, Boston, MA, March 23.
The Heretics uncovers the inside story of the Second Wave of the Women’s Movement for the first time in a feature film or video. A chance to see the history of a feminist collective from the inside out. Award-winning, New England video artist and Hampshire College Professor Joan Braderman will be there in person.
WAM! Film Festival. AtBrattle Theatre Cambridge, MA, March 24.
An entire day of films made by and about women made by up-and-coming filmmakers, A Q&A follows each film. The festivities are presented by Women, Action & the Media.
Ivan & Ivana. At Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA, March 31. In Balkan Rhapsodies Jeff Daniel Silva, visited the charismatic, young Serb, Ivan. In Ivan and Ivana, Silva catches up with his friend, now married to his sweetheart Ivana and seemingly living the good life in Southern California. The story of what happens between them says much about America during the recession, relationships, and the American Dream. Silva, a curator of the long running Balagan Film Experimental Film series and a teacher a Mass College of Art, has a unique way of unfolding a story.