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Memories of Matsuko
Sometimes bizarre, sometimes uplifting, sometimes heartbreaking, but always charming, the musicals of Japanese cinema are often overlooked, but have a style all their own. And now the Japan Society (333 E 47th St, New York, NY) will be doing its own retrospective on Japan’s musical history (in glorious 35mm) with Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film, running April 8 - 23. Featuring ten films, the festival focuses primarily on the teen idol films of the 1950s and 60’s, but also pre-war musical films, and some of the more offbeat musicals to emerge from the 2000s. And since most of the films being shown are not available on DVD in the US, you better catch this festival while you can.
Series curator, Michael Raine (Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Western University, Canada) says"Seeing and hearing the tradition of musical films in Japanese cinema gives us a different view of Japanese popular culture that is smart as well as silly and sometimes devastating, too. In the 20th century, American culture became global culture: Japanese filmmakers faced up to that geopolitical fact with a mix of homage and parody that also sometimes offered audiences a way of understanding their place in the world."
The films being shown are:
For more information, go to http://www.japansociety.org/
Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical FilmApril 8 - 23, 2016
The Japan Society333 E 47th St.New York, NY 10017
Dance Iranian Style
Now in it’s third year, the rising Socially Relevant Film Festival (March 14 - 20, 2016) has its own blend of panels, documentaries, features, and shorts tackling a range of issues in today’s society in its mission to promote social change through the power of cinema.
Addressing genocide, sexuality, race, and identity, the Socially Relevant film fest assembles filmmakers from around the world for its hard-hitting themes and stories.
Narrative features include:
There will also be panels and workshops addressing issues like low-budget production and distribution, the applications of virtual reality to filmmaking and documentary storytelling.
To learn more, go to: http://www.ratedsrfilms.org/
Socially Relevant Film FestivalMarch 14 - 20, 2016
Various locations in Manhattan
When it comes to North American film festivals, Austin, Texas’ South By Southwest (or SXSW) is one of the top three fests, alongside Sundance and Toronto. But SXSW not just a film festival, but a music festival, political event, and electronics trade show in one.
Most of the SXSW "festival territory" is on the notorious Sixth Avenue entertainment district, where there are dozens of clubs and the best pizza in the state. Within this area is 80% of the whole thing.
The SXSW festival (known by some as “South-buy”) was founded in 1986 by the people who ran the New Music Seminar (http://newmusicseminar.com/). After the first few years, the festival changed it’s name from NMS to Southwest, and became an annual fixture that basically takes over downtown Austin for two weeks. The whole mishegas is divided into three major parts and several smaller ones. Music, Movies and Interactive, plus what they call “eco” and some other things I can’t recall.
InteractiveThe Interactive portion of the festival is is a trade show, pure and simple, with products on exhibition and various seminars. The thing will start when at 8AM with the first panel discussions. President Obama himself makes a keynote speech Friday, March 11 at 2:30pm at Dell Hall at The Long Center for the Performing Arts (701 W Riverside Dr., off Guadalupe), admission for that is via a lottery.
MusicWhen Interactive ends, then the music festival starts. This is also a convention, but is more open and there are lots of places where one can just hang out and do what God put Austin there for you to do, listen to country-western and punk until you’re ears bleed. The entire industry will be there to some extent and it’s going to be one of those party-till-you-drop events.
FilmThis thing goes on for nine days. They’re going to screen 139 films: 89 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and seven U.S. premieres, including 52 films from first-time directors. These films were selected from 2,455 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,467 U.S. and 990 international feature-length films from a total of 7,235 submissions.
Among the highlights are a special work-in-progress preview screening of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s catnapping comedy Keanu, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused sequel Everybody Wants Some and John Michael McDonagh’s brilliantly titled: War on Everyone.
Notable world premieres include Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice, starring the above mentioned Keegan-Michael Key; Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence, starring Ethan Hawke and Taissa Farmiga; The Master Cleanse, with Johnny Galecki and Anna Friel; Sophie Goodhart’s My Blind Brother, starring Adam Scott and Nick Kroll; Shovel Buddies, featuring Bella Thorne; The Trust, starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood; and Kasra Farahani’s The Waiting, with James Caan.
Among the non premiers are: Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition, which opened Toronto in September, stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper and biopics about Miles Davis Miles Ahead, starring Don Cheadle, which closed the New York Film Festival last year) and Chet Baker (Born to Be Blue, starring Ethan Hawke).Not only that, they’ve decided to include TV shows: Danny McBride’s Vice Principals will also be featured. Between these three, there’s almost no time to sleep. (there is also an “Eco” section, or so they say—wow).
My Golden Days
From March 11th through March 17th, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting a comprehensive retrospective of the films of Arnaud Desplechin, one of the most exciting and remarkable of contemporary filmmakers, whose extraordinary body of work includes such impressive achievements as: La Sentinelle, his fascinating and enigmatic first feature (regrettably screening in a digital format); My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, arguably his masterpiece (alas, also being screened in digital); and the absorbing Kings and Queen, one of his finest accomplishments.
The series is being launched to celebrate the release of the director’s beautiful new feature, the autobiographical My Golden Days, which will open at the Film Society on March 18th, and will be shown in a sneak preview on March 15th followed by Q&A with Desplechin (He will also be appearing on the 18th and the 19th).
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