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19TH ANNUAL ROGER EBERT’S FILM FESTIVAL – INDIVIDUAL TICKETS
April 19 - April 23
19TH ANNUAL ROGER EBERT’S FILM FESTIVAL
Parking, Marathon Info and Directions
Special guest Michael Hausman, Assistant Director
Milos Forman’s critically acclaimed HAIR is the film adaption to the provocative Broadway musical of the same name that explores the hippie movement of the late 1960s. The film focuses on Claude, a Midwestern farm boy who travels to New York to join the army and fight in the Vietnam War. However, while in Central Park he meets a group of hippies and discovers the ideals of freedom, drugs and his first love Sheila. HAIR is an anti-war story full of hippie tenderness, psychedelic fantasies, and successful musical numbers.
Roger Ebert gave HAIR a four star review. In his review, he said ‘I walked into Hair with the gravest doubts that this artifact of 1960s social shock would transfer to our current, sleepier times. In the 1960s we went to angry musicals; now we line up for ‘La Cage aux Folles.’ My doubts disappeared with the surge and bold authority of the first musical statement: This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius! So maybe it isn’t, really, and maybe the sun set on that particular age back around the time they pinched the Watergate burglars. But Milos Forman’s ‘Hair’ opens with such confidence and joy, moves so swiftly and sustains itself so well that I wonder why I had any doubts. ‘Hair’ is, amazingly, not a period piece but a freshly conceived and staged memory of the tribulations of the mid-sixties.’
Special guests Tanya Wexler, Director and Hugh Dancy, Actor
HYSTERIA, starring Academy Award® nominees Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, is a lighthearted romantic comedy that tells the surprising story of the birth of the electro-mechanical vibrator at the very peak of Victorian prudishness.
Roger gave HYSTERIA a 3 star review. In his review, Roger said, ‘Tanya Wexler’s quietly saucy ‘Hysteria’ takes place in London at a time when medical authorities didn’t know the word for or the concept of ‘orgasm,’ and apparently many women never experienced them. His treatments consisted of modestly covering a patient’s private regions with a little tent, reaching delicately beneath it and using digital stimulation to effect a cure. How he hit upon this method must be attributed to sheer genius.’ And continued, ‘One of the pleasures of Wexler’s third feature is how elegantly it sets its story in the period. The costumes, the sets, the locations and the behavior are all flawless, and the British characters in the screenplay by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer are all masters of never quite saying what they mean.’
Special guests Charles Burnett, Director and Robert Townsend
TO SLEEP WITH ANGER, starring Danny Glover and Mary Alice, is the story of a middle-class black family in Los Angeles whose life is disturbed by the arrival of an old friend from the South. What starts out as a charming reminder of their past becomes quite threatening as the strained household heads towards an inevitable conflict.
In his 4 out of 4 star review, Chuck Bowen says that TO SLEEP WITH ANGER is ‘another neglected masterpiece of African-American cinema, along with NOTHING BUT A MAN, GANJA & HESS, LOSING GROUND, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST and others that have been restored and re-released in a limited handful of theaters over the last few years’ and that ‘Burnett sketches the details of the lives of Gideon and his family, bridging theatrical dialogue, portentous omens, and presentational acting with a grace that’s so masterful as to appear effortless, capturing enough life and subtext for several films.’
Directed by critically acclaimed Park Chan-wook, THE HANDMAIDEN, which is inspired by the novel Fingersmith by British author Sarah Waters, is a stunning love story and revenge thriller of two women, a young Japanese woman living on a secluded estate and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, who is covertly working with a conman to defraud her of a large inheritance.
Matt Zoller Seitz stated in his 4 star review that the film, ‘is voluptuously beautiful, frankly sexual, occasionally perverse and horrifically violent. At times its very existence feels inexplicable and yet all of its disparate pieces are assembled with such care, and the characters written and acted with such psychological acuity, that you rarely feel as if the writer-director is rubbing the audience’s nose in excess of one kind or another.’ Seitz further says, ‘THE HANDMAIDEN stirs the senses by appealing to our gut feelings, our sense of morals and ethics, and our appreciation for the sight of great artists making magic as if it’s the easiest thing in the world.’
Friday, April 21, 2017
THEY CALL US MONSTERS (2017)
with short subject JULY AND HALF OF AUGUST
Special Guests Ben Lear, Director and Sasha Alpert, Producer
The powerful documentary THEY CALL US MONSTERS is the directorial debut of Ben Lear, son of Emmy Award winner Norman Lear, which follows the lives of three teenage boys Juan, Jarad and Antonio who have been sentenced to decades in prison and ultimately questions whether serious juvenile offenders should be tried the same as adults, and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. During their confinement they are given a means to look at their lives differently through a screen-writing course taught by Hollywood producers.
Matt Fagerholm gave the film a 3.5 star review on Roger Ebert.com and called the film an ‘invaluable nonfiction work.’ Further in his review, Fagerholm says, ‘Though his abilities as a filmmaker are entirely distinctive, Lear shares his father’s gift for bringing dimension and context to people widely deemed by society as monstrosities’ and punctuates by saying ‘There’s a considerable amount of catharsis in THEY CALL US MONSTERS but it is bittersweet at best.’
JULY AND HALF OF AUGUST
(played just prior to THEY CALL US MONSTERS)
Directed by Brandeaux Torville, 11 mins, DCP
Special guest Sheila O’Malley, Writer
In his review, Matt Zoller Seitz stated, ‘The film captures how a certain kind of smart person talks: sincerely and passionately, but also in a way that flaunts their education and intellect, in hopes of salving old wounds and convincing the listener that the image they’re trying to put forth is accurate, and not just hype or wishful thinking.’
Friday, April 21, 2017
Silent Film with musical accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra
Directed by Ewald Andre Dupont, VARIETÉ is a silent German film filled with jealousy, obsession and murder, set against the backdrop of the circus. The film is based on the novel Der Eid des Stephan Huller by Felix Hollaender.
Critic Richard Neupert said, ‘VARIETÉ remains Dupont’s most fascinating work… Ewald André Dupont offers a splendid example of both German and European film style of the mid-1920s.’ Neupert further stated, ‘Dupont is now considered one of the great cinematic figures of the 1920s, helping usher in the era of the European auteur-director.’
Special guest Isabelle Huppert
Michèle seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle’s life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game—a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.
Special guests Rick Goldsmith, Director and Chamique Holdsclaw
This film is sponsored by the Alliance for Inclusion and Respect, an organization that embodies the four principles this year’s EbertFest are dedicated to – the principles of empathy, compassion, kindness and forgiveness—principles Roger believed cinema could generate.
Recruited from the rough-edged courts of New York City by Coach Pat Summitt for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols, Chamique Holdsclaw was hailed as the ‘female Michael Jordan,’ impressing crowds with her artistry, athleticism and drive. A three-time NCAA champ and Number One draft pick in the WNBA, Holdsclaw seemed destined for a spectacular professional career—until her long-suppressed battle with mental disorders emerged to derail her career and threaten her life.
MIND/GAME intimately chronicles Holdsclaw’s athletic accomplishments and personal setbacks, and her decision, despite public stigma, to become an outspoken mental health advocate. Still, she would face dramatic, unexpected challenges to her own recovery. The film, narrated by Glenn Close, tells a powerful story of courage, struggle, and redemption.
In his review, Matt Fagerholm called MIND/GAME ‘an inspiring portrait of an extraordinary female warrior’ and said that ‘The open-ended quality of the film’s ending is entirely appropriate since Ms Holdsclaw’s story is far from over. I cannot wait for the sequel.’
Special guest Gary Ross, Director
Directed by Gary Ross and starring Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, J.T. Walsh and Don Knotts, PLEASANTVILLE focuses on two siblings who end up trapped in a 1950s TV show, about a town where all the residents are outwardly perfect. While adjusting to their new surroundings, the brother and sister become more aware of bigger issues including racism and free speech.
Roger Ebert called PLEASANTVILLE ‘one of the year’s best and most original films’ in his 4 star review. Additionally, he commented, ‘PLEASANTVILLE is the kind of parable that encourages us to re-evaluate the good old days and take a fresh look at the new world we so easily dismiss as decadent.’
Special guests Norman Lear, Brent Miller, Heidi Ewing, and Rachel Grady
Arguably the most influential creator, writer, and producer in the history of television, Norman Lear brought primetime into step with the times. Using comedy and indelible characters, his legendary 1970s shows such as All In the Family, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons, boldly cracked open dialogue and shifted the national consciousness, injecting enlightened humanism into sociopolitical debates on race, class, creed, and feminism.
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You is the definitive chronicle of Mr. Lear’s life, work, and achievements, but it is so much more than an arm’s-length, past-tense biopic; at 93, Mr. Lear is as vital and engaged as he ever was. Top-notch cinéma vérité documentarians Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, 12th & Delaware, DETROPIA) seize the opportunity to fashion a dynamic portrait that matches the spirit of their subject. Breaking down the fourth wall to create an evocative collage where past and present intermingle, they reveal a psychologically rich man whose extraordinary contributions emerge from both his personal story and a dialogue with the world.
Special guest Caleb Deschanel, Cinematographer
BEING THERE, starring Academy Award® nominee Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Academy Award® winner Melvyn Douglas, is the story of a simple, sheltered gardener who becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics. In his 4 star review, Roger Ebert called BEING THERE, ‘a rare and subtle bird that finds its tone and stays with it’ and stated that the film ‘has the appeal of an ingenious intellectual game, in which the hero survives a series of challenges he doesn’t understand, using words that are both universal and meaningless.’
Special guest Irwin Winkler, Director and Producer will be in attendance, and Jimmy Demers will be performing Cole Porter songs accompanied by Donnie Demers
Irwin Winkler’s 2004 musical biopic DE-LOVELY, starring Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce and Kevin McNally, is told as a series of flashbacks from a ghostly rehearsal for a stage musical based on Porter’s life.
Roger Ebert championed the film with a 3.5 star review. In his critique, Ebert said, ‘DE-LOVELY is a musical and a biography, and brings to both of those genres a worldly sophistication that is rare in the movies. We’re reminded how exhilarating the classic American songbook is, and how inarticulate so much modern music sounds by contrast. Kline plays Porter as a man apparently able to write a perfect song more or less on demand, which would be preposterous if it were not more or less true.’