HILL OF FREEDOMFriday, September 11, 2020 -
Kwon (Seo Young-hwa) returns to Seoul from a restorative stay in the mountains. She is given a packet of letters left by Mori (Ryo Kase), who has come back from Japan to propose to her. As she walks down a flight of stairs, Kwon drops and scatters the letters, all of which are undated. When she reads them, she has to make sense of the chronology… and so must we. Alternately funny and haunting, Hill of Freedom is a series of disordered scenes based on the letters, echoing the cultural dislocation felt by Mori as he tries to make himself understood in halting English. At what point did he drink himself into a lonely stupor? Did he sleep with the waitress from the Hill of Freedom café (Moon So-ri) before or after he despaired of seeing Kwon again? Sixteen films into a three-decade career, Hong had achieved a rare simplicity in his storytelling, allowing for an ever-increasing psychological richness and complexity. Directed by Hong Sangsoo (in English Korean and Japanese with English subtitles)
THE KILLING FLOORFriday, September 25, 2020 -
Praised by The Village Voice as the most "clear-eyed account of union organizing on film," The Killing Floor tells the little-known true story of the struggle to build an interracial labor union in the Chicago Stockyards. The screenplay by Obie Award-winner Leslie Lee, based on an original story by producer Elsa Rassbach, traces the racial and class conflicts seething in the city’s giant slaughterhouses, and the brutal efforts of management to divide the workforce along ethnic lines, which eventually boiled over in the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. The first feature film by director Bill Duke, The Killing Floor premiered on PBS' American Playhouse series in 1984 to rave reviews. In 1985 the film was invited to Cannes and won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award. It has been showcased at the Lincoln Center and festivals around the world. The cast includes Damien Leake, Moses Gunn and the amazing Alfre Woodard.
MR. TOPAZEFriday, October 9, 2020 -
Unwilling to sacrifice his principles, Auguste Topaze (Peter Sellers), a poor but proud French schoolmaster, loses his job after he refuses to alter the failing grades of one of students. Seizing the opportunity to exploit his well-known honesty, actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses. But when Topaze learns he is being used, he cunningly turns the tables on Benac and makes off with all the money. Seller’s first and only credited directorial feature, Mr. Topaze displays the British comic genius at the peak of his powers alongside his future Pink Panther nemesis Herbert Lom and a stellar supporting cast that includes Nadia Gray, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and Michael Gough. Long considered a “lost” classic, Mr. Topaze was digitally restored from the lone surviving 35mm prints in the BFI National Archive at the request of the British public.
A WHITE, WHITE DAYFriday, October 23, 2020 -
In a remote Icelandic town, an off-duty police chief (a chilling Ingvar Sigurdsson, who received Cannes’ Critics’ Week award for Best Actor for his performance) begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife, who died in a tragic accident two years earlier. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth takes over his life and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones. Combining classic thriller tropes with a distinctly Nordic arthouse sensibility, the second feature from Hlynur Palmason "engages in storytelling that’s both powerful and fresh throughout, marking him as a talent to watch.” - The Hollywood Reporter (in Icelandic with English subtitles)
SUNLESS SHADOWSFriday, November 6, 2020 -
Mehrdad Oskouei’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Starless Dreams (2016), Sunless Shadows takes another look at the lives of incarcerated teenage girls. As they serve time in a Tehran juvenile correction facility for the murder of their abusive fathers, husbands, and brothers-in-law—some of them abetted by their mothers, now on death row—a group of Iranian teenage girls share intimate, harrowing stories of the past and their adolescent dreams of the future. “It says everything that many of these long-mistreated young women finally find liberty in incarceration,” Guy Lodge writes in Variety. “The great grace of Oskouei’s subtly devastating film is that he doesn’t take it upon himself to say so.” ( in Farsi with English subtitles)
GHOST TROPICFriday, November 20, 2020 -
Khadija (Saadia Bentaïeb) is a fifty-eight-year-old Maghrebi cleaning woman living in Brussels in the wake of the 2016 bombings that shook the city. After work one night, she falls asleep on the last subway train, wakes up at the end of the line and has no choice but to make her way home—all the way across the city—on foot. Along the way, she has a series of encounters: with a security guard, a convenience store clerk, a group of teenagers. She asks for help and she gives it and slowly, steadily makes her way. Director Bas Devos’ lightness of touch combines with the richness of Grimm Vanderkerckhove’s 16mm images to create a small wonder of humanistic storytelling. Ghost Tropic is a testament to the everyday drama of immigrant life and insists on the possibility of goodness and beauty, even in the dark of night. "A compressed epic… This poetic Belgian feature manages to say a good deal about life, death, and the state of the globalized world." -Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader (in Dutch and Arabic with English subitltes)