Tuesday, January 16 at 7pm
BUSHMAN – Exclusive Sneak Peek!
David Schickele (U.S. 1971) 74 min. DCP. With David Schickele, Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam, Elaine Featherstone, Jack Nance.
“For a few days you are unable to think of anything else,” Il Cinema Ritrovato co-director Cecilia Cenciarelli rightly observes of this astonishing rediscovery by David Shickele, the younger brother of Peter (aka P.D.Q. Bach). Interweaving past and present (and the organ music of Henry Purcell’s Ground in C Minor with tribal chants and Yoruba percussion), Schickele’s film focuses on his friend Gabriel, who straddles two worlds with firm roots in neither. The young Nigerian, having escaped a bloody civil war back home—“entering its second year and no end is in sight”—finds himself adrift in a San Francisco riven by its own cultural antipathies and political violence. “With one eye on cinéma vérité, the European new waves and early Cassavetes, and the other on African pioneers like Sembène, Ecaré and Hondo,” Cenciarelli writes, “Schickele not only condemns the reactionary and racist America which will later frame Gabriel on the slightest of pretexts, but also the liberal America of progressive intellectuals who quote McLuhan and Malraux but lapse into rhetoric and misunderstand the deeper meaning of human experience. With irony, poetry and a delicate touch, Bushman leads us into the darkness of the beginnings of an odyssey.” This special screening was arranged as part of Bucknell’s Martin Luther King Week 2024: Sustaining Social Movements.
4K digital restoration by University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and The Film Foundation from the original negatives, funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Peter Conheim, Cinema Preservation Alliance; courtesy Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.
“An example of cinema’s ability to encode little packages of explosive revelation into its fabric… just waiting for the next viewer to trigger another real-time detonation.” – Jessica Kiang, Film Comment
Tuesday, January 23 at 7pm
Nancy Savoca (U.S. 1993) 125 min. DCP. With Lili Taylor, Tracey Ullman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Michael Imperioli.
Nancy Savoca’s star-studded indie gem is a chronicle of a spirited Italian-American New York family that perfectly balances humor, tragedy, and pathos. Joseph Santangelo (D’Onofrio) is a butcher with a wicked sense of humor who “wins” his wife Catherine (a stellar Tracey Ullman) in a pinochle game. Over the protests of his mother (Malina) who talks to ghosts and makes deals with saints, Joseph marries Catherine. When the old lady dies, her spirit is channeled into her granddaughter Teresa who overtakes the film with her yearning to serve God. Perfectly embodying a modern-day Bernadette, Lili Taylor imbues Teresa with a mix of dedicated innocence and naïveté. Executive produced by Jonathan Demme, with memorable performances from Michael Imperioli, Michael Rispoli and Victor Argo, Household Saints showcases a unique voice in 1990s independent filmmaking.
Household Saints has been digitally restored and remastered by Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts (Philadelphia) in collaboration with Milestone Films with support from Ron and Suzanne Naples. Restoration Supervisor: Ross Lipman, Corpus Fluxus. Picture Restoration: Illuminate Hollywood. Sound Restoration: Audio Mechanics.
“An offbeat, involving story told with perfect confidence… Savoca has a way of magnifying small, unglamorous events until they become unaccountably magical.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Tuesday, January 30 at 7pm
Aki Kaurismäki (Finland/Germany 2023) 81 min. DCP. With Alma Pöysti, Jussi Vatanen. Finnish with English subtitles.
Sweet-souled in story, scalpel-sharp in filmmaking precision, this enchanting love story from Finnish virtuoso Aki Kaurismäki circles around two financially strapped Helsinkians who keep finding and losing one another in a world that seems to be falling apart. Evoking dark-comic romances from his early career such as Shadows in Paradise and Ariel, the sardonic yet exquisitely melancholic Fallen Leaves devotes its wry, humane gaze to grocery clerk Ansa (Pöysti) and construction laborer Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), who commence an on-again, off-again relationship of extreme tentativeness, while seeking employment and stability. As with the greatest of Kaurismäki’s films, everyday details register as grand, meaningful cinematic gestures. This filmmaker has scrupulously carved another fictive universe out of a handful of specific, vivid locations, yet Fallen Leaves very much takes place in the world we’re living in, which makes its surrender to hope all the more affecting. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Finland’s official entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards.
“Fallen Leaves is 81 minutes long and light on dialogue, its third most pivotal character is a wayward dog Ansa takes into her life—yet it’s one of the best movies of the year.” – David Sims, The Atlantic
Tuesday, February 6 at 7pm
ORLANDO, MY POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY – Exclusive Area Engagement!
Paul B. Preciado (France 2023) 98 min. DCP. French with English subtitles.
“Come, come! I’m sick to death of this particular self. I want another.” Taking Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando: A Biography as its starting point, academic virtuoso turned filmmaker Paul B. Preciado has fashioned the documentary, Orlando: My Political Biography, as a personal essay, historical analysis, and social manifesto which premiered and took home four prizes at the 2023 Berlin Film Festival. For almost a century, Woolf’s eponymous hero/heroine has inspired readers for their gender fluidity across physical and spiritual metamorphoses over a 300-year lifetime. Preciado casts a diverse cross-section of more than twenty trans and non-binary individuals in the role of Orlando as they perform interpretations of scenes from the novel, weaving into Woolf’s narrative their own stories of identity and transition. Not content to simply update a seminal work, Preciado interrogates the relevance of Orlando in the continuing struggle against anti-trans ideologies and in the fight for global trans rights. Introduced by Erica Delsandro, Associate Professor of Womens & Gender Studies.
“Few movies this year have lived in my head as long and as happily…a sharp, witty, low-budget experimental work of great political and personal conviction…a pointed, spirited, up-to-the-minute exploration of sex, gender and sexual difference through the character of Orlando, who serves as Preciado’s mirror and avatar…This is, on the one hand, a movie made by a philosopher who studied with Michel Foucault. At the same time, Preciado’s lightness of touch and intellectual nimbleness buoys the movie, lifting both it and you…Preciado’s superpower in this warm, generous movie is that while he speaks brilliantly to the cages of identity, he sees — and shares — a way out of them…He insists on pleasure, speaks to happiness, invites laughter and opens worlds. Here, joy reigns supreme, and it is exhilarating.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Tuesday, February 13 at 7pm
HERE – Exclusive Area Engagement!
Bas Devos (Belgium 2023) 85 min. DCP. With Stefan Gota, Liyo Gong. Dutch, French, Romanian, and Mandarin with English subtitles.
On Valentine’s Day eve, we are thrilled to bring to Lewisburg a gorgeous Brussels city symphony radiating with grace and love. The story: a migrant construction worker plans a trip home to his mother in Romania. While waiting for his car to be fixed, he meets a Belgian-Chinese woman preparing a doctorate on mosses. Her attention to the near-invisible stops him in his tracks. Their friendship “motivates this hushed, emotionally resonant film about the power of observation, of people often deemed socially invisible, and of the larger green world surrounding us. In his lovely and tranquil fourth feature, Belgian filmmaker Bas Devos (Ghost Tropic) has created a work that finds transcendence in the simplest human encounters and the most radiant of cinematic gestures” (Film at Lincoln Center). Winner of the Best Film prize in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Encounters competition. Introduced by Bucknell Film Club President Jamie Granato (’25).
“Remarkable…A quietly overwhelming study of human connection and our relationship with the natural world.” -Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
Tuesday, February 20 at 7pm
THE MYSTERY OF THE LAGOONS, ANDEAN FRAGMENTS
Atahualpa Lichy (Venezuela 2011) 92 min. DCP. Spanish with English subtitles.
Venturing into the once-inaccessible region of Venezuela’s southern Andean frontier, vet documaker and cinephile Atahualpa Lichy and his crew lovingly capture the cultural traditions and working lives of the region’s people in The Mystery of the Lagoons. This serious-minded and entertaining piece of anthropological cinema is a cascade of observations edited with concision and graceful transitions; the film that emerges is a cinematic mural of a place few audiences have seen (adapted from Variety film review). Introduced by Spanish professor Victor Garcia Ramirez.
Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm
Charles Vidor (U.S. 1946) 110 min. DCP. With Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready.
Rita Hayworth’s entrance in Gilda, her head tossed back with an amused, teasing smile in Charles Vidor’s quintessential noir, is the stuff of legend. Yet as with so many preposterously beautiful movie stars, sheer glamour and erotic force sometimes got in the way of a full appreciation of talent—Hayworth, like Marilyn Monroe, is one of that handful of major movie stars who went unnominated by Oscar their entire careers. In the twisting and turning Gilda, she plays the wife of a dastardly criminal (Macready), living in Buenos Aires and reconnecting with an old flame (Ford) who she sees as her last chance to escape her prison of a marriage. Gilda provides undeniable evidence of Hayworth’s ability to hold the screen, toggling between sympathetic victim and wiseacre femme fatale. A major hit, it confirmed Hayworth’s superstar status and remains one of the most unpredictable and artful crime dramas of the era (Museum of Moving Image program notes). Introduced by Film/Media Studies professor Josie Barth.
Tuesday, March 5 at 7pm
POISON – Zeitgeist Co-Founder in Person!
Todd Haynes (U.S. 1991) 85 min. 35MM. With Edith Meeks, Millie White, Buck Smith, Anne Giotta.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival
The second feature directed by Haynes — the Oscar-nominated filmmaker of Far from Heaven and Carol—this groundbreaking American Indie was the most fervently debated film of the early 1990s and a trailblazing landmark of queer cinema. A work of immense visual invention, Haynes’ spectacular follow-up to his legendary Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is audacious, disturbing and thrillingly cinematic.
Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, Poison deftly interweaves trio of transgressive tales-“Hero,” “Horror” and “Homo”-that build toward a devastating climax. “Hero,” shot in mock TV-documentary style, tells a bizarre story of suburban patricide and a miraculous flight from justice; “Horror,” filmed like a delirious ’50s B-movie melodrama, is a gothic tale of a mad sex experiment which unleashes a disfiguring plague; while “Homo” explores the obsessive sexual relationship between two prison inmates.
A runaway hit which made national headlines when it was attacked by right-wing figures including Dick Armey, Ralph Reed and minister Donald Wildmon, Poison is unsettling, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining.
Tuesday, March 19 at 7pm
NOT A PRETTY PICTURE – New Restoration!
Martha Coolidge (U.S. 1976) 83 min. 35MM. .
In 1976, trailblazing director Martha Coolidge (Valley Girl, Rambling Rose) made her feature debut with the startling Not a Pretty Picture, a documentary-fiction hybrid that continues to raise provocative questions about sexual violence and the ethics of its on-screen representation. Coolidge based the film’s fictional sections on her rape at the age of sixteen; in the role of her younger self, she cast Michele Manenti, also a rape victim. As they interpret Coolidge’s script, cast members reflect on their encounters with assault; their feelings about acting out these scenes of intense aggression; their attitudes concerning consent, trauma, and self-blame; and, in the case of Coolidge’s best friend, Anne Mundstuk, their ability to play themselves. Realizing documentary’s potential to foster catharsis and interpersonal dialogue, Not a Pretty Picture stands as one of the genre’s boldest and most revelatory experiments in metacinema.
“A film I wished I had seen as a teenager. Not a Pretty Picture feels strikingly close to contemporary narratives and the reflexive politics around the gaze … it means it contributed to inventing them all.” – Céline Sciamma (Director of Portrait of a Lady on Fire)