Cinema Explorations

Dedicated to fostering the voices and choices of our community of film lovers, our winter film series is programmed by a volunteer steering committee to present works of cinema from around the world and encourage the shared experience of communal film viewing and thoughtful discussion.

While our 2018 program details are being finalized, see below for last winter's offerings.

 
 
 
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The anthropologist
Jan. 14 & 15 | 10 a.m.

At the core of THE ANTHROPOLOGIST are the parallel stories of two women: Margaret Mead, who popularized cultural anthropology in America; and Susie Crate, an environmental anthropologist currently studying the impact of climate change. Uniquely revealed from their daughters’ perspectives, Mead and Crate demonstrate a fascination with how societies are forced to negotiate the disruption of their traditional ways of life, whether through encounters with the outside world or the unprecedented change wrought by melting permafrost, receding glaciers and rising tides. Unrated. 78 minutes. Saturday screening followed by Skype Q&A with director Seth Kramer!


Speed sisters
Jan. 28 & 29 | 10 a.m.

The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, SPEED SISTERS takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could. “An eye-opening doc that succeeds in its goal of shattering stereotypes.” – The Hollywood Reporter. “A spirited, crowd pleasing portrait.” – Indiewire.  Unrated. 80 minutes.

 
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As i open my eyes
Feb. 4 & 5 | 10 a.m.

This music-filled, French-Tunisian production is set in Tunis, summer 2010, a few months before the Revolution, and depicts the clash between culture and family as seen through the eyes of a young Tunisian woman balancing the traditional expectations of her family with her creative life, as the singer in a politically charged rock band. Director Leyla Bouzid’s feature offers a nuanced portrait of the implications of the Arab Spring on the lives of young people in the region, while also creating a complex story about a young woman using art to transform her reality. “Ms. Medhaffer has the charisma, if not the voice, of a young Joan Baez.” – New York Times. “Best fictional film yet about the Arab Spring.” – Indiewire. “Showcases a standout lead performance by first-timer Baya Medhaffar.” -Variety. Unrated. 102 minutes.


disturbing the peace
feb. 11 & 12 | 10 a.m.

DISTURBING THE PEACE is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities. DISTURBING THE PEACE follows former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. While based in the Middle East, DISTURBING THE PEACE evokes universal themes relevant to us all and inspires us to become active participants in the creation of our world. Andy Webster of the New York Times noted, “their stories are compelling – and persuasive.” Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times described it as “a vital, absorbing documentary.” Unrated. 82 minutes.

 
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after the storm
feb. 25 & 26 | 10 a.m.

AFTER THE STORM is from the profoundly humanist Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-eda (OUR LITTLE SISTER). Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother and ex-wife seem to be moving on with their lives. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son  – until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again. Wendy Ide of Screen International opines, “Like Kore-eda’s 2008 family drama, STILL WALKING, this is a film which is interested in the architecture, both emotional physical, of the family home.” Deborah Young of the Hollywood Reporter states, “the filmmaking is so exquisite and the acting so calibrated, it sticks with you.” Unrated. 117 minutes.


The babushkas of chernobyl
march 4 & 5 | 10 a.m.

In the radioactive Dead Zone surrounding Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4, a defiant community of women scratches out an existence on some of the most toxic land on Earth. They share this hauntingly beautiful but lethal landscape with an assortment of interlopers—scientists, soldiers, and even ‘stalkers’—young thrill-seekers who sneak in to pursue post-apocalyptic video game-inspired fantasies. Why the film’s central characters, Hanna Zavorotyna, Maria Shovkuta, and Valentyna Ivanivna, chose to return after the disaster, defying the authorities and endangering their health, is a remarkable tale about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one’s destiny and the subjective nature of risk. THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL has won 11 prizes during its festival appearances – including 4 Audience Awards. George Johnson of the New York Times states, “A beautiful film…Captures the subtleties and uncertainties of Chernobyl and, moreover, the resilience of the human soul.” The Chicago Tribune calls it “a haunting and provocative movie, powerful and poignant and, frankly, unforgettable.” Unrated. 70 minutes.

 
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