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Courtesy of Neon

September 4, 2017

So Many Movies, So Little Time: Cinemapolis Fall Preview

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Maybe it’s the senior year anxiety talking, but I’ve been experiencing an acute need to make sure that I do everything all the time lately.

Screenshot from Good Time. Courtesy of A24.

Courtesy of A24

Screenshot from Good Time. Courtesy of A24.

Cinemapolis is not helping. The independent theatre’s fall line-up is jam-packed, full of must-see indies, fascinating documentaries and local collaborations. It hurts me to say this, but I simply can’t make it to all of them (I already missed Brigsby Bear, for God’s sake). Honestly, there are too many great offerings to even profile them all, so I’ve made some tough decisions and given you the run-down on my viewing wish-list.

Editor’s Note: We made a YouTube playlist of trailers for all of the movies mentioned in this preview. We hope you enjoy!

First off, Cinemapolis and Cornell Concert Series have partnered to present a free screening of Crescendo: the Power of Music this Thursday, Sept. 7. The documentary follows the stories of three United States children in youth orchestra programs modeled off of El Sistema, a massively successful program in Venezuela founded more than 40 years ago. A Sept. 9 performance by the Catalyst Quartet, who themselves started off in youth orchestra programs, at Bailey Hall will serve as a complement to the movie.

Shakespeare lovers can rejoice as well. Cinemapolis has collaborated with Ithaca Shakespeare Company to create a film series — “Shakespeare The Rest Of The Year” — showcasing various film adaptations of Shakespeare works. The once-a-month screenings begin with Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, while October returns to a classic with Marlon Brando starring in Julius Caesar. 2017 closes out with two modernized and Americanized adaptations — Scotland, PA and West Side Story.

Maybe you’re not only looking to see some movies, but also to submit one of your own. Cinemapolis is taking submissions for their Outer Docs Film Festival. The festival, which is run by Veverka Bros. Production, seeks to showcase mold-breaking and expectation-defying documentaries. For those seeking to attend as spectators, the festival runs for eight hours on Sunday, Oct. 8.

At Cinemapolis right now, Good Time, the fourth full-length movie by the Safdie Brothers, stars Robert Pattinson as a conniving, manipulative criminal Connie Nikas who leaves a path of destruction in his wake, ostensibly to save his brother Nicholas (Ben Safdie). Good Time throws punch after punch at the viewer; it’s urgent and uncompromising, showing just how far Connie will go to avoid being caught. Music nerds can also revel in a score composed by experimental music giant Oneohtrix Point Never.

Also currently showing, Ingrid Goes West is a bizarre, unnerving comedy flick grounded in the Instagram age. Aubrey Plaza stars in another detached, perpetually sarcastic role. First-time director Matt Spicer crafts a tale about Instagram “influencers,” fake friendships and California living that is equal parts hilarious and uncomfortable.

Starting on Sept. 8, catch one of a number of terrific documentaries at Cinemapolis this fall, Whose Streets?, the work of two activist-cum-filmmakers: Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis. The film, the first by Folayan, follows the lives of a number of Ferguson, MO residents and activists in the wake of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. Folayan and Davis seek to provide an honest account of the protests in Ferguson, one not spun by the media, and Whose Streets? already seems to be both an essential documentary for our current political climate and a story of the Black Lives Matter movement for future generations.

The next week, Fumiyo Kono’s manga In This Corner of the World comes to the big screen in this adaptation directed by Sunao Katabuchi (Mai Mai Miracle). The movie tells the story of Suzu, a gentle and perceptive woman who must sustain her family and herself during World War II. Katabuchi tells a story of a human spirit beaten down, only to rise up once again.

In a Jan. 18 Los Angeles Times story, Steven Zeitchik writes that Hasidic Jews are “generally depicted in pop culture as enigmatic props, when they’re even seen at all.” Joshua Z. Weinstein’s Menashe starts to unravel this trend, telling a semi-fictionalized story of Menashe (Menashe Lustig), a widower who must fight for custody of his son. Maybe it’s the memory of hearing the calming lilt of my grandparents speaking Yiddish, but the fact that Menashe is entirely acted in it seems to welcome in the viewer. (Editor’s Note: English subtitles provided.)

Suckers for beautiful architecture and beautiful people who talk wistfully in view of said architecture will love Columbus, which opens on Sept. 29. First-time South Korean director Kogonada cut his teeth by creating insightful supercuts that explored filmmakers’ techniques. John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson play the romantic leads, although viewers argue that the modernist architecture of the titular city — Columbus, Indiana — is a star itself.

Artist, documentarian and architect Ai Weiwei is no stranger to speaking truth to power (nor is he any stranger to paying the price for it, as evidenced by the 2013 documentary Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case). In his latest documentary, Human Flow, Weiwei turns his focus to refugee crises. Despite his sometimes detached manner of speaking, Weiwei is a scathing polemic, unafraid to criticize those in power who are too cruel or too cowardly. Yet, his documentary focuses on refugees themselves, making the audience hear and see the lives to which they are subjected. Catch Human Flow starting on Oct. 20.

Finally, In Lucky, which begins its run on Oct. 27, Harry Dean Stanton adds another credit to his massive filmography in a role that seems like the culmination of his career so far. Stanton plays Lucky, an elderly atheist who decides, at age 90, to look inward. Along Lucky’s journey, viewers meet an escaped tortoise, David Lynch in a supporting role and an ensemble of friends who are certainly, well, characters.

The above films are only a sampling of Cinemapolis’ offerings this fall. There’s also Eliza Hittman’s quiet, brooding exploration of late teenage sexuality in Beach Rats (starting Sept. 22),  J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye (starting Sept. 29), Ruben Östlund’s alarming satire The Square (starting Nov. 17) and many more. Tickets are nine bucks for students. Do yourself a favor and go see some movies, friends.

Shay Collins is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at scollins@cornell.edu.