The film is directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who gave us the exceptional movie The Eye Has To Travel about her grandmother-in-law, legendary Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland. (My grandfather recently watched the Vreeland documentary on Netflix and revered the “entertaining and informative” film for its “fantastic editing job.” Though our opinions may vary when discussing the filmic merits of Napoleon Dynamite, we both recommend that you add The Eye Has To Travel to your queue.) With her second film Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Lisa I. Vreeland has established that powerful women with cultural capital are her beat.
As you probably know by now, the bro-comedy The Interview has caused quite the controversy in the past few weeks. The film documents the story of Seth Rogen and James Franco as two loser-ish reporters who hit it big by scoring an interview with Kim Jong-Un, and are asked by the CIA to assassinate the dictator. After the Sony hacking crisis and a terrorist message from the hackers that threatened theaters that played the film, most major cinema chains (including AMC, Showcase, and Regal Entertainment) announced they would not be screening the film. However, over 200 independent theaters have agreed, even petitioned, to screen The Interview, our own Cable Car Cinema among them. Cable Car will be the only theater screening The Interview in Rhode Island. Tonight’s screening is already sold out; owner Daniel Kamil told the Providence Journal that Providence and RISD police will provide security for the event, commenting that, “It’s strange that a James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy has been elevated to a political film.”
In case you missed the details of the Sony Hack (after all, the events did begin during finals), Sony Pictures was originally planning a Christmas Day major theatrical release of the film. This plan was thwarted when the company’s network was hacked by a group calling themselves the “Guardians of Peace.” The hackers released thousands of private emails, leaked unreleased films and top executive salaries, creating a myriad of PR issues for Sony. The FBI initially stated they did not believe the hack was perpetrated by North Korea, though later confirmed that North Korean officials were indeed involved. A second message from the attackers invoked 9/11 when threatening any theater that screened the film, resulting in the decision of major theatrical chains not to air the film. Sony eventually decided to release the film online, and to private theaters that requested to air it.
Perhaps you are well acquainted with Blog’s column, This Week at the Avon. Meet the Avon’s sulky, redheaded step-sister hip, closer-to-sea-level competitor, the Cable Car Cinema and Cafe. Cable Car, located on seabreezy South Main Street, has recently been deemed “Best Art House Cinema in New England” by Yankee Magazine. This week, Cable Car has extended their screening of the new, much-anticipated documentary Finding Vivian Maier through Thursday. This film seeks to unveil the mysterious nanny who also happened to be one of the most prolific street photographers of the 20th century. She created work on par with Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, and Robert Frank, but her fruits of her Rolleiflex were unknown to the world until 2007.
A 26-year-old real estate agent and director of the film, John Maloof, discovered Maier’s work at a storage auction in Chicago while looking for images of the Windy City to include in a book he was co-authoring at the time. Maier had stashed her work away in boxes, and 100,000 negatives and undeveloped rolls of film had remained unseen until Maloof stumbled upon them. The art world and the general public feel immense gratitude towards Maloof because he made Maier’s work known, but, as the film progresses, the problematic nature of Maloof’s nearly tyrannical possession of the work bubbles to the surface. Maloof had no personal connection to Maier before he bid on a trunk of her negatives for $300, but now he is producing (and profiting from) posthumous prints of her work, and receiving international attention because of Maier’s eccentric story. At times, Finding Vivian Maier comes across as a thinly veiled promotional piece for John Maloof, and it makes the viewer wonder what this film could have been if it had been directed by a third party documentarian.
Short films are possibly the most ignored categories of Oscar nominees (except sound mixing, but does anyone even know exactly what that is?) and it’s a crying shame. Short films are where many of today’s most brilliant filmmakers got their start–including Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Tim Burton and Gus van Sant–and began exploring cinematic themes upon which they continue to expand today.
In typical Providence fashion, Cable Car Cinema (204 South Main St.) is showing both the animated and live action Oscar-nominated short films through Friday.
The films come from a host of countries, including Spain, England, Denmark, and Finland. They range from comedy (such as Finland’s “Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa?”, or, “Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?”about a woman desperately trying to leave her house for a wedding but fighting her husband and young daughters’ incessant antics) to heart-wrenching drama (like “Avant Que De Tout Perdre”, or, “Just Before Losing Everything”, a French film depicting a woman and her two daughters escaping their abusive husband and father). The animated shorts are equally varied in content, although not as heavy hearted as some of the live action films.
The live action shorts are showing tonight at 8:15 p.m. and tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. The animated shorts are playing today at 6:15 p.m., tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. and Friday at 2:00, 4:15, 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. Student tickets are $8.25 at the the theatre and $9.25 online. Plus, for all those freshman out there, Cable Car is only a four minute walk from Keeney.
The Providence French Film Festival, co-sponsored by the MCM Department, is running through Sunday at the Cable Car Cinema (204 Main Street, down the Hill and just in front of the river). As reluctant as I am to endorse anything MCM-related – I’m still a little worried that the French film I saw Sunday comes with required theoretical readings on the psychosexual motivations of the animated characters – this is the place to be if you consider yourself artsy or trendy or hipster or none of those things but still someone who likes cool shit. The festival is screening 18 different movies two times each (although it has been happening since the 21st and a few have already ended their runs), and most of them are critically acclaimed.
Also, if you’ve never been to a movie at the Cable Car, as I hadn’t, you should just get the hell down there whether or not you like reading subtitles or hearing yourself described as a “Francophile” (i.e. whether you care about French film). It is one of the most delightful theater-going experiences – perhaps the most delightful – that I’ve ever enjoyed. Any venue that can replace previews with an ad for their Kickstarter to purchase digital projection and seem even cuter for doing so must have some kind of inexplicable magic about it. Plus, there’s a full-fledged cafe inside that serves a number of self-described “Good Eats” (they are indeed good). So go. And go now, so you can tell your parents you’re a cultured Ivy League student who does shit like go to the “Providence French Film Festival.”
The French Film Festival runs through Sunday, March 3. The full schedule can be found here.
Part drama, part comedy, “Judas” tells the story of one Purgatory-trapped lawyer on a mission to get Judas’ sentence reversed. Witnesses for the defense include a handful of apostles, Sigmund Freud and Satan, or Lou as he is familiarly called here. Throw in a sassy Saint Monica and a zealot or two and we’re good to go. Enjoy the laughs, debate the big questions at the Ratty tomorrow morning and try not to do anything else this weekend that will get you in this court’s docket. Free tickets available on the Blueroom and one hour before the show at the door.
BTS (Brown Taiwan Society) Nightmarket
8:00 P.M. – 11:00 P.M., Sayles Hall Auditorium
Well I’ve never been to a Taiwanese Nightmarket but if BTS puts together anything like this I’m sold. Food, fun ‘n games and performances from Tae Kwon Do, Badmaash, Impulse Dance Company, among others. Sounds like a deliciously fabulous evening.
I’m Still Here
Cable Car Cinema, 6:00, 8:10, 10:20
Casey Afflek makes his directorial debut with this documentary chronicling a year in the life of Joaquin Phoenix. The film starts a few months before Phoenix’s memorable announcement to retire from acting and devote himself to becoming a hip-hop musician on Letterman. Whether it tells the true story of a tortured artist or is a hoax from start to finish is up to you to decide.