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Houston Premieres

Enjoy these critically acclaimed, award-winning international films as they make their Houston debut!

 

Finding Fela!

2014
Alex Gibney

Showtimes

Musician and activist Fela Kuti (1938–1997), credited with creating the musical movement Afrobeat, rose to international stardom. He turned his prominence into a political forum to oppose the Nigerian dictatorship, and after developing AIDS, he helped to raise awareness of the disease's devastating presence in Africa. Directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney and inspired by the Bill T. Jones-directed Broadway hit FELA!, this documentary combines behind-the-scenes shots from the stage show, interviews with Kuti’s family and contemporaries, and riveting ... more info
 

Take Me to the River

2014
Martin Shore

Showtimes

Prerelease screening courtesy of Social Capital Entertainment Winner of an audience award at the 2014 South by Southwest film festival, Take Me to the River follows multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians through the creative process of recording a historic new album that reimagines the utopia of racial, gender, and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday. Hosted by Terrence Howard, the film features William Bell, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Otis Clay, Snoop Dogg, Frayser Boy, Lil P-Nut, ... more info

Past Films in This Series

 

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

(L'instinct de mort)

2008 (French with subtitles)
Directed by Jean-François Richet
Similar to Olivier Assayas’s Golden Globe Award-winning Carlos, this docudrama focuses on another legendary gangster: France’s Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel). The two-part Mesrine charts the outlaw’s odyssey during the 1960s and 1970s. This film, Mesrine: Killer Instinct (part one) concentrates on the years 1956 to 1969, when Mesrine begins his criminal career by meeting a crime boss (Gérard Depardieu) and an equally reckless girlfriend (Cécile de France). Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (part two) details the years 1972 to 1979. “A French Goodfellas. ... more info
 

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1

(L'ennemi public n° 1)

2008 (French with subtitles)
Directed by Jean-François Richet
Similar to Olivier Assayas’s Golden Globe Award-winning Carlos, this docudrama focuses on another legendary gangster: France’s Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel). The two-part Mesrine charts the outlaw’s odyssey during the 1960s and 1970s. Mesrine: Killer Instinct (part one) concentrates on the years 1956 to 1969. This film, Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (part two) details the years 1972 to 1979. The infamous mobster continues his incredible life of crime while manipulating the media, the government, and the police. He plans his last and greatest ... more info
 

Certified Copy

(Copie conforme)

2010 (French with subtitles)
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Juliette Binoche won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for her performance in this playful and provocative romantic drama. It is the first feature by legendary auteur Abbas Kiarostami (The Wind Will Carry Us) made outside of Iran. Binoche plays a gallery owner in a Tuscan village. She attends a lecture by a British author (opera star William Shimell) on authenticity and fakery in art and afterward invites him on a tour of the countryside, during which he is mistaken ... more info
 

442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity

2010
Directed by Junichi Suzuki
During WWII, soldiers of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed mainly of Japanese Americans, fought not only the enemy, but also prejudice, as they faced severe racial discrimination in their homeland. Despite these challenges, the 442nd became one of the most decorated regiments for its size and length of service in the history of the United States military. A Q&A with Floyd Mori, president of the National Japanese American Citizens League and one of the film’s participants, follows the screening. Presented ... more info
 

Trust

2010
Directed by David Schwimmer
This film is recommended for mature audiences. A suburban family is torn apart when 14-year-old Annie (Galveston native Liana Liberato) befriends "16-year-old" Charlie (Chris Henry Coffey)  online. After months of communicating via chat and phone, Annie discovers that her new boyfriend is not who he originally claimed to be. Her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) are shattered by their daughter's actions and struggle to support her as she comes to terms with what has happened to her once-innocent life. Trust is ... more info
 

Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm

2010
Directed by Laura Harrison and Elizabeth Federici
This is the first independent video documentary to delve into the work of the renegade 1970s art/architecture collective Ant Farm, best known for its iconic land-art piece Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. The Ant Farmers—radical architects, video pioneers, and mordantly funny cultural commentators—created a body of deeply subversive work that questioned everything by posing a set of creative and comedic alternatives. In addition to the MFAH screenings May 24–27, a free screening with filmmakers in attendance is offered Sunday evening, May 22, at ... more info
 

Malayaka House

2010
Directed by Jacqueline Harlow and Jesse Bradley
Introduced by Robert Fleming and director Jacqueline Harlow Robert Fleming traveled to Uganda and became aware of the urgent needs of ill and abandoned children. An unlikely activist, he was inspired to found Malayaka House, an orphanage that offers the children a home, healthcare, and education. Inspiring and eye-opening, this documentary reveals how Malayaka House serves as a community center that employs local women to care for the children. The film also shows how Malayaka House has become a model for ... more info
 

Best of the 2010 Ottawa International Animation Festival

2010
Directed by Various Directors
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
The Best of Ottawa delivers the top animated shorts “for grown-ups” every year, celebrating stylistic and technical innovation with gems that inspire, entertain, and provoke. The 2010 line-up includes David O’Reilly’s grand-prize winner The External World; the pulsating metamorphic madness of Andreas Hykade’s Love & Theft; Dustin Grella’s deeply moving and brilliantly executed award-winning film Prayers for Peace; the mesmerizing crowd favorite Sinna Mann (Angry Man) by Anita Killi; the snap-crackling goodness of Masaki Okuda's Kuchao (A Gum Boy); and ... more info
 

Our Beloved Month of August

Aquele querido mês de Agosto

2008 (Portuguese with subtitles)
Directed by Miguel Gomes
In rural Portugal, the month of August is languid and buzzing, with crowds of people enjoying an annual music festival. In this film-within-a-film, a documentary director (director Miguel Gomes) and his crew wait to shoot the activity. The narrative takes a left turn midway through, as people who have played background roles unexpectedly become characters in a complex family drama, enriched by a lively musical soundtrack. “Transparently a movie about a group of filmmakers who attempt to possess a particular location, ... more info
 

Poetry

Shi

2010 (Korean with subtitles)
Directed by Lee Chang-dong
Mija (veteran actress Yun Jung-hee) is a woman in her sixties who moves through life with elegance and a dash of eccentricity. She takes care of her insolent grandson and cleans for an elderly man. On a whim, Mija enrolls in a poetry class and begins a personal quest to find the perfect words to describe her feelings. However, she’s plagued by the onset of Alzheimer’s, and struggles with the challenges of the creative process. When her world is turned ... more info
 

Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune

2010
Directed by Kenneth Bowser
Over the course of a meteoric music career that spanned the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, Phil Ochs sought the bright lights of fame and social justice in equal measure—a contradiction that eventually tore him apart. From youthful idealism to rage to pessimism, the arch of Ochs’s life paralleled that of the times, and the anger, satire and righteous indignation that drove his music also drove him to dark despair. In this brilliantly constructed film, interview and performance footage of Ochs ... more info
 

Bill Cunningham New York

2010
Directed by Richard Press
Additional screening scheduled! For decades, Bill Cunningham, an 80-something New York Times photographer and Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist, has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high-society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.” Documenting uptown fixtures, downtown eccentrics, and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place, and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a ... more info
 

Meek's Cutoff

2010
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Hailed by the Associated Press as “Kelly Reichardt’s (Wendy and Lucy) most powerful film yet,” and as “a meticulously constructed piece of art” by Pop Matters, Meek’s Cutoff is “as much a functional Western as it is a feminine or feminist one, using realistic detail to reorient or extend the genre” (Film Comment). The epic story takes place in 1845 and concerns three families who hire a mountain man (Bruce Greenwood) to guide their wagon train across the Cascade Mountains ... more info
 

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Loong Boonmee raleuk chat

2010 (Thai with English subtitles)
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
The recipient of the prized Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, this hypnotic drama tells the haunting story of a Thai man, suffering from kidney failure, who retreats to the countryside to die in the company of his loved ones. As Uncle Boonmee nears the end of his life, the spirit of his late wife returns to guide him into the unknown, and his estranged son reappears in the form of a jungle spirit. “[Apichatpong Weerasethakul] is a ... more info
 

Circo

2010, in Spanish with English subtitles
Directed by Aaron Schock
Gorgeously filmed along the back roads of rural Mexico, Circo follows the Ponce family’s hardscrabble circus as it struggles to stay together despite mounting debt, dwindling audiences, and a simmering family conflict. Tino, the ringmaster, is driven by his dream to lead his parents’ circus to success and corrals the energy of his whole family, including his four young children, toward this singular goal. But his wife Ivonne is determined to make a change. Feeling exploited by her in-laws, she ... more info
 

Page One: Inside the New York Times

2011
Directed by Andrew Rossi
"Something akin to The Social Network for the news business, a movie uniquely capturing this moment in time." —Reuters  In the tradition of great fly-on-the-wall documentaries, Page One: Inside the New York Times deftly gains unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom and the inner workings of the Media Desk. With the Internet surpassing print as society's main news source, and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, Page One chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its ... more info
 

Passione

2010 (English and Italian, with subtitles)
Directed by John Turturro
Please note: John Turturro had been invited to attend, but because of professional obligations he will not be here for any screenings of the film. "A brilliant actor in film, theater, and television, John Turturro is a man whose talents are fueled by an unquenchable zest for life. He describes Passione as 'a musical adventure that comes directly out of the people and the volcanic land they inhabit. Conjuring ancient stories and myths that still live—of love, sex, jealousy, and ... more info
 

Manhattan Short Film Festival

2010
Directed by various directors
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
The 2011 winner of the Manhattan Short Film Festival is David and Goliath from the USA's George Zaverdas.   Houstonians unite with audiences spanning six continents by voting for the film they think should become the winner of the annual Manhattan Short Film Festival. The MSFF is not only the largest short film festival, it is the first global film festival, with over 200 cities taking part in the event this week. Take this opportunity to glimpse the future filmmakers and ... more info
 

World on a Wire

1973, in German with English subtitles
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Shown in two parts with a 15-minute intermission between the films Part 1 = 105 minutes / Part 2 = 107 minutes (To attend on separate days, bring your ticket when you come back for Part 2) "Cinechat" on Sunday afternoon* A dystopic science-fiction epic, World on a Wire is German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s gloriously cracked, boundlessly inventive take on future paranoia. With dashes of Stanley Kubrick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Phillip K. Dick, Fassbinder tells the noir-spiked tale of ... more info
 

Film Socialisme

2010, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
These screenings take place in the Freed Auditorium, located in the MFAH Glassell School of Art at 5101 Montrose. Seating is limited! Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard returns to the screen with Film Socialisme, a magisterial essay on the decline of European civilization. Presented as a symphony in three movements, a garish cruise ship (with Patti Smith among its guests) travels the Mediterranean while Godard embarks on a state of the European Union address in a vibrant collage of philosophical quotes, ... more info
 

One Lucky Elephant

2011
Directed by Lisa Leeman
David and Laura Balding (Flora’s adopters), Cristina Colissimo, and Jordana Glick-Franzheim (coproducers) in attendance. Sixteen years have passed since circus producer David Balding adopted Flora, the orphaned baby African elephant he lovingly raised as part of his family and made the star of his show. As Flora approaches adulthood, he realizes that she is not happy performing. Ultimately, David must face the difficult truth that the circus is no place for Flora. She needs to be with other elephants. The ... more info

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

2011
Directed by Constance Marks
Beloved by children of all ages around the world, Sesame Street’s Elmo is an international icon. Few people know his creator, Kevin Clash. Displaying his creativity and talent at a young age, Clash’s inventive puppet creations earned him a reputation in his native Baltimore. Initially hired for the Captain Kangaroo TV program, his abilities were tapped by Jim Henson—a master puppeteer and Clash’s idol—for whom he worked before ultimately finding a home on Sesame Street. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this ... more info
 

The Mill and the Cross

2011
Directed by Lech Majewski
Renaissance painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel (1525–1569) was renowned for his landscapes and peasant scenes. His masterpiece The Way to Calvary imagines the story of Christ’s Passion set in Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation in 1564, the very year in which Bruegel created his painting. The Mill and the Cross gives life to the painting by focusing on a dozen characters whose stories unfold and intertwine in a panoramic landscape populated by villagers and red-caped horsemen. Acclaimed Polish artist and ... more info
 

!Women Art Revolution

2010
Directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
Sunday, February 5, 5 p.m. Talkback with artist Lynn Randolph and Jenni Sorkin, assistant professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Houston*  Sunday, February 12, 5 p.m. Talkback with members of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s Teen Council** An entertaining and revelatory “secret history” of Feminist Art, !Women Art Revolution deftly illuminates this under-explored movement through conversations, observations, archival footage, and works of visionary artists, historians, curators, and critics. Starting from its roots in 1960s antiwar and civil rights protests, the ... more info
 

Le Havre

2011, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
MFAH film faithful will remember seeing prior films by iconoclastic Finn Aki Kaurismäki, including Ariel, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses, I Hired a Contract Killer, and The Match Factory Girl. His latest film is warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name. Fate throws young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoe shiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his ... more info
 

Mysteries of Lisbon

Mistérios de Lisboa

2010 in Portuguese and French with English subtitles
Directed by Raoul Ruiz
Part I: Friday, February 24, 7:00 p.m. (120 min.) Part II: Saturday, February 25, 6:00 p.m. (147 min.) The passing last August of legendary filmmaker Raoul Ruiz was mourned by critics, programmers, and cinephiles around the world. This film, his last to receive global distribution on the festival and art-house circuit, was called “the most glorious achievement of [his] prodigious career” by Film Comment. Epic in scope, it is a masterful adaptation of the eponymous nineteenth-century Portuguese novel by Camilo ... more info
 

blacktino

2011
Directed by Aaron Burns
Introduced by executive producer Elizabeth Avellán Post-film discussion lead by Houston Film Commission's Alfred Cervantes with Avellán and local filmmaker Greg Carter Next-day Cinéchat* with Avellán and Carter on Saturday blacktino is a dark teen comedy about an overweight, half-black, half-Latino nerd named Stefan Daily. Raised by his black grandmother in a suburb of Austin, and struggling to find his place in a mostly white high school, Stefan finds sanctuary among the eclectic mix of social outcasts in the school's Theater Department. A coming-of-age story reflective of today's cynical times, blacktino gives an honest, and hilarious, depiction of high ... more info
 

Best of the Ottawa International Animation Festival

2011
Directed by various directors
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
The Ottawa International Animation Festival is North America´s largest animation showcase. The 2011 edition received 2,005 entries from 75 countries, and their “best of” tour samples award-winning shorts created with an inventive array of techniques. This year’s showcase is populated by a unique array of humans and animals in tales ranging from delightful to foreboding.  Acting legend Max von Sydow narrates one of the selections!  Film buffs, art lovers, and cartoon fans won´t want to miss this year´s great line ... more info
 

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

2011, in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by David Gelb
Eighty-five-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearance, Sukiyabashi Jiro is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin review—sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimages, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a ... more info
 

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

2011, in Catalan and French with English subtitles
Directed by Gereon Wetzel
Back by popular demand after drawing capacity crowds at the MFAH in February, this documentary chronicles the unique methodology of the brilliant and audacious Spanish chef, Ferran Adrià.  His restaurant, El Bulli (which closed in July 2011) was a Michelin three-star restaurant in Roses, Spain that nightly served a tasting menu of 30 courses to a single seating of up to 50 guests. Chef Adrià took over the restaurant in 1987 and became a leading inspiration for avant-garde cuisine worldwide, ... more info
 

Stick ’Em Up!

2011
Directed by Alex Luster
"Stick ‘Em Up!" filmmakers are scheduled to introduce each screening.  After the Saturday 6:45 p.m. screening, stay for a short discussion presented by the Teen Council of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. This gritty, Houston-made documentary explores the subculture of artists involved with wheat pasting, an inexpensive, provocative, and misunderstood technique for creating inner-city art. Stick ‘Em Up! filmmakers Alex Luster, Tony Reyes, and GONZO247 delve into the minds and motivations behind some of Houston’s most-active guerilla street artists, capturing the life span of ... more info
 

Payback

2012, in English, Spanish, and Albanian
Directed by Jennifer Baichwal
Margaret Atwood regaled Houston audiences in January with her spirited reading and repartee at the Inprint Brown Reading Series. Her visionary work Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth is the basis for this riveting and poetic documentary on “debt” in its various forms—societal, personal, environmental, spiritual, criminal, and of course, economic. Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes) strikingly interweaves these (sometimes surprising) debtor/creditor relationships: two families in a years-long Albanian blood feud; the BP oil spill vs. the environment; ... more info
 

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da

2011, in Turkish with English subtitles
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylon
Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival The new film from leading Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Distant; Climates) follows a group of men—including a police commissioner, a prosecutor, a doctor, and a murder suspect—as they drive through the dark Anatolian countryside. They are searching for a corpse, the victim of a brutal murder. The suspect, who claims he was drunk, cannot remember where he buried the body. As night wears on, details about the murder ... more info
 

The Turin Horse

A Torinói ló

2011 (Hungarian with English subtitles)
Directed by Béla Tarr
In 1889, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse's neck to protect it and then collapsed to the ground. In less than a month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would render him bedridden and speechless until his death eleven years later. But whatever happened to the horse? This film – which the great Hungarian director Béla Tarr (whose Sátántangó screened at the ... more info
 

The Night Watchman / El Velador

2011, in Spanish with English subtitles
HD-Cam
Directed by Natalia Almada
Natalia Almada presented her debut film, Al otro lado, at the MFAH during the inaugural Latin Wave festival in 2005. Since then her honors have included a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Alpert Award, and the Sundance Documentary Directing Award (for El general). She continues to explore contemporary Mexico in this, her latest film, which premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The camera accompanies Martin on his night shift as watchman to the extravagant mausoleums of some of Mexico’s most notorious ... more info
 

Lost Bohemia

2010
Directed by Josef Astor
“Lost Bohemia will strike a chord with anyone who enjoyed Bill Cunningham New York. For over 100 years, significant 20th-century artists and performers lived and worked in 165 studios and apartments atop Carnegie Hall. In 2001, the Carnegie Hall Corporation began to systematically evict the artists (some in residence for over 40 years), destroy the studios, and convert the spaces into offices. Alarmed by the situation, photographer Josef Astor, a resident of the Carnegie Hall Studios for over 20 years, began ... more info
 
In Person: Producer Daniel Wolff In 2005, Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) set out to document the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. When he met Carolyn Parker, what began as a historical documentary morphed into a vibrant character study of the courage and resiliency of this fearless matriarch and civil-rights activist. I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful is Demme's intimate account of Parker's ... more info
 

The Day I Saw Your Heart

Et soudain tout le monde me manque

2011, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Jennifer Devoldère
Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) stars as a twenty-something struggling with commitment issues in this touching French comedy-melodrama that tackles thorny father-daughter relationships. After a trail of boyfriends, Justine thinks she has found her soul mate, a hunky shoe salesman (Guillaume Gouix). But her temporary happiness is thrown when her neurotic 60-year-old Jewish father (Michel Blanc) suffers a delayed midlife crisis and announces that his young second wife is expecting a baby. Justine and her half-sister Dom (Florence Loiret Caille), who ... more info
 

Manhattan Short Film Festival

2012, in various languages with English subtitles
Directed by Various Directors
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
An extraordinary event takes place in venues across the globe! More than 100,000 people in 250 cities across six continents gather to view and vote in the annual Manhattan Short Film Festival. The festival’s mission is to unite audiences from all corners of the globe for one week via the most compelling short films of the year. Houston audiences vote for their favorites, and the results are compiled along with those of viewers at all the other venues, with the winner ... more info
 

Sushi: The Global Catch

2011
Directed by Mark Hall
Taking a different approach from the popular film Jiro Dreams of Sushi (which screened at the MFAH last spring), this revealing documentary also celebrates sushi while considering the impact of its consumption on the world's seas. The Austin-based filmmakers trace the historical origins of sushi in Japan to its current status as a lucrative worldwide industry. The explosion in demand for sushi over the past 30 years has prompted concerns as fish stocks have steadily depleted, threatening the balance of the ... more info
 

Walk Away Renee

2011
Directed by Jonathan Caouette
In Person: Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette Preceded by Caouette’s 2010 short film, All Flowers in Time. (14 minutes) Picking up where his trailblazing, internationally celebrated, first-person fever dream Tarnation left off, Houston filmmaker Jonathan Caouette is back with his latest film: a bold, brave, and emotionally potent documentary reverie. Caouette embarks on a cross-country road trip to move his mentally ill mother, Renee, from Texas to New York, a journey that both tightens and tests their bond. Through candid home movies, split-screen verité, ... more info
 

You Are the Apple of My Eye

Na xie nian, wo men yi qi zhui de nu hai

2011, in Mandarin with English subtitles
Directed by Giddens Ko
Introductory remarks by Ambassador Daniel T. C. Liao, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston This coming-of-age charmer was a blockbuster in Taiwan in 2011. Adolescent Ko-Teng (Zhendong Ke) and his friends go through high school with a crush on honor student Shen Chia-Yi (Michelle Chen). Shen is chosen to tutor Ko, and when he begins to pursue Shen, she is hesitant. Eventually the two teens become a couple but are separated when they attend different ... more info
 

The Well-Digger's Daughter

La fille du puisatier

2011, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Daniel Auteuil
Twenty-five years after rising to international acclaim in Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, actor Daniel Auteuil makes his directorial debut in this celebrated remake of a 1940s classic based on the novel by Marcel Pagnol. Auteuil stars as the eponymous well-digger Pascale, a widower living with his six daughters in the Provence countryside at the start of World War I. His eldest (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) has returned home from Paris to help raise her sisters, and Pascale dreams ... more info
 

2012 British Arrows

2012
Directed by Various
British Arrows is the new name for the British Television Advertising Awards, which have been a popular offering at the MFAH for many years. Newcomers will be equally entertained! From elevated pitches for household products to compelling public-service announcements, these TV ads showcase the innovative approaches UK creative teams take to sales, promotion, and marketing. The 2012 winners bring viewers an apocalyptic vision of the future where cats develop opposable thumbs; a boy band singing the praises of yogurt; tips ... more info
 

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters

2012
Directed by Ben Shapiro
The meticulously composed, large-scale images of photographer Gregory Crewdson are stunning, psychological narratives of small-town American life. Shot over a decade, this documentary follows the artist during the elaborate process of staging his shoots using set-ups as complicated as moviemaking. Crewdson discusses his family background and his influences, who include Diane Arbus, Edward Hopper, and David Lynch. Speaking about his creative process, Crewdson observes, “the whole act of making art is an act of faith.” “A brilliant new documentary about ... more info
 

56 Up

2012
Directed by Michael Apted
Starting in 1964 with 7 Up, this film series has explored the Jesuit maxim “Give me the child until he is 7 and I will give you the man.” The documentaries interview the same 14 children, who come from diverse backgrounds all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted (Coal Miner's Daughter; The World Is Not Enough) returns to examine the progression of their lives.  Learn more about ... more info
 

Room 237

2012
Directed by Rodney Ascher
In conjunction with the Room 237 premiere, The Shining screens at the MFAH on April 12 and 14. Click here for more information. Stanley Kubrick released The Shining in 1980, and more than 30 years later, viewers are still struggling to understand its hidden meanings. Loved and hated by equal numbers, the film is considered a genre standard by many loyalists, while others dismiss it as the lazy result of a legendary director working far below his talent level. In between these two poles, ... more info
 

Consuming Spirits

USA
Directed by Chris Sullivan
In Person: Filmmaker Chris Sullivan FILM CONTAINS MATURE THEMES. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. • “Critic’s Pick. Entirely original . . . an inquiry into the darkest zones of the human heart . . . Weaves a complicated, intoxicating spell . . . a wonder.” —New York Times • “A sprawling, slithering, stream-of-consciousness tale—a moribund, Rust Belt dreamland. The rare animated feature whose subtext is as rich as its sensuality . . . Consuming Spirits (is) not only a monstrous visual ... more info
 

Neighboring Sounds

O som ao redor

2012, in Portuguese with English subtitles
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho
A palpable sense of unease hangs over a single city block in the coastal town of Recife, Brazil. Home to prosperous families and the servants who work for them, the area is ruled by an aging patriarch and his sons. After a spate of petty crime, a private security firm is reluctantly brought in to protect the residents, unleashing the fears, anxieties, and resentments of a divided society still haunted by its troubled past. On the "best of 2012" lists ... more info
 

One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das

2012
Directed by Jeremy Frindel
In 1970, suburban teen Jeffrey Kagel walked away from the American dream of rock ’n’ roll stardom—turning down the lead-singer slot in the band that would become Blue Oyster Cult. He sold all his possessions and moved from Long Island to the foothills of the Himalayas in search of happiness and a little-known saint named Neem Karoli Baba (or Maharaji). One Track Heart follows Kagel’s journey, his struggles with depression and drug abuse, and his eventual emergence as Krishna Das—the ... more info
 

Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation

2012
Directed by Laura Archibald
Between 1961 and 1973, musicians in Greenwich Village banded together to sing about the radical social upheaval of the time. Their music challenged the status quo by addressing taboo subjects: fighting for civil liberties, protesting the Vietnam War, and holding governments accountable. Featuring poignant interviews, Greenwich Village combines talking heads with archival footage and new live performances to tell a story about a community that created a generation-defining music. This 2012 release includes dozens of music luminaries, including Tom Chapin, Judy ... more info
 

Night Across the Street

La noche de enfrente

2012, in Spanish and French with English subtitles
Directed by Raul Ruíz
Elderly office worker Don Celso an begins to relive both real and imagined memories from his life – a trip to the movies as a young boy with Beethoven, listening to tall tales from Long John Silver, a brief stay in a haunted hotel. The line between imagination and reality blurs, opening a world of memories and melodrama. Loosely adapted from the fantastical short stories of Chilean writer Hernán del Solar, Raul Ruíz (1941-2011) has crafted a final masterwork on ... more info
 

Band of Sisters

2012
Digital
Directed by Mary Fishman
Band of Sisters tells the story of Catholic nuns and their work for social justice after Vatican II of the 1960s. For Catholics who wonder what became of the nuns they knew in habits and convents many years ago, for activists who may feel profoundly discouraged given the problems of today's world, for women seeking equality in their church, and for people of all faiths yearning for an inclusive and contemplative spirituality, Band of Sisters challenges audiences to ask what ... more info
 

Augustine

2013, in French with English subtitles
35mm
Directed by Alice Winocour
Based on a true story from Belle Epoque Paris, this drama follows Augustine (French singer/actress Soko), a 19-year-old kitchen maid. After suffering an inexplicable seizure that leaves her partially paralyzed, Augustine is sent to a psychiatric hospital specializing in the ailment of “hysteria.” There, she captures the attention of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon), a renowned neurologist who begins using her as his principal subject, hypnotizing her in front of colleagues. more info
 

Museum Hours

2012, in German and English with English subtitles
Digital
Directed by Jem Cohen
The acclaimed filmography of director Jem Cohen includes mesmerizing shorts, features, performances, and music videos. His latest feature, Museum Hours, is especially well-suited to screen at the MFAH. Johann, a guard at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Art Museum, develops a relationship with Anne, an American new to the city who finds solace in the museum’s galleries. Their conversations evolve into a friendship as they discuss their lives, explore the city, and consider how art can reflect and shape daily experiences. Read an interview ... more info
 

Houston

2013, in English and German with English subtitles
Directed by Bastian Günther
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
The Friday screening features an appearance by director Bastian Günther. The audience is invited to a reception in the Museum galleries following the film.  Corporate headhunter Clemens Trunschka (Ulrich Tukur from The Lives of Others and The White Ribbon) is sent on a mission to recruit the CEO of Houston Petrol for a German car company. Failed attempts to connect with the man lead Trunschka deeper into his jet-lag and whiskey-induced daze, causing him to slip further from reality until his perception no longer ... more info
 

Le joli mai

The Lovely Month of May

1963, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Pierre Lhomme and Chris Marker
The late writer/director Chris Marker (La jetée; Sans soleil) cast his critical gaze toward French social attitudes in the early 1960s after the Algerian War. The spring of 1962 was a hopeful season that held the elusive promise of peacetime, following years of political agitation and terrorist insurgency. For Le joi mai, the filmmakers interviewed Parisians about a wide range of topics, from dancing to racism, editing the footage into what French newspaper Paris-Presse called "a sincere, brilliant, and highly idiosyncratic essay.” The new ... more info
 

La Camioneta

The Journey of One American School Bus

2012, in Spanish with English subtitles
Directed by Mark Kendall
Every day, dozens of yellow American school buses leave the United States on a southward migration to Guatemala, where they are resurrected as the brightly colored camionetas that take Guatemalans to work each day. Since 2006, nearly 1,000 camioneta drivers have been murdered for not paying the extortion money demanded by local gangs. Using an observational approach, the filmmakers of this vivid new documentary chronicle the experiences of those involved with a harrowing situation. “The film wrings an almost bizarre ... more info
 

A Fierce Green Fire

The Battle for a Living Planet

2012
Directed by Mark Kitchell
Sunday, September 22, 5 p.m. / Skype interview with director Mark Kitchell follows screening A Fierce Green Fire is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement—grassroots and global activism spanning 50 years from conservation to climate change. Directed and written by Academy Award-nominated director Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties) and narrated by Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende, and Meryl Streep, the film has won acclaim at festivals around the world. Inspired by the book by Philip Shabecoff and informed by advisers ... more info
 

Herb & Dorothy 50 x 50

2012
Directed by Megumi Sasaki
Megumi Sasaki’s 2008 documentary Herb & Dorothy was a hit with audiences at the MFAH and many other museums. The filmmaker updates their story in this new film. Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a retired postal clerk and librarian, began collecting works of contemporary art in the 1960s. The collection grew to nearly 5,000 pieces over 50 years and is worth millions. This follow-up to the award-winning documentary shadows the couple as they launch an unprecedented gift project: giving artworks to one ... more info
 
This award-winning documentary follows the story of Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian man who stole Leonardo da Vinci’s La Giaconda (Mona Lisa) from the Louvre in 1911. Although the painting was discovered and returned in 1913, the reasons behind the theft were never made clear, even to Peruggia’s daughter, who appears in the film at age 84. Filmmaker Joe Medeiros spent more than 30 years in search of the surprising truth. The entertaining The Missing Piece is the result of dogged research ... more info

Baring It All

2011
Directed by Patricia Zagarella
Introduced by Anne Wilkes Tucker, the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Photographer David Jay joins some of the women featured in the film for a panel discussion following the screening.  The heart-wrenching yet inspiring Baring It All puts a human face on the heroism of breast-cancer survivors who are in their 20s and 30s. This Emmy Award-winning documentary follows New York-based fashion photographer David Jay and four brave women who become subjects ... more info
 

More Than Honey

2013; in German and English with English subtitles
Directed by Markus Imhoof
A panel discussion follows the October 23 screening. Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof (The Boat is Full) tackles the vexing issue of why bees are facing worldwide extinction. He “captures the breeding of queen bees in minute detail, ventures to a laboratory to witness a bee brain scan, and discovers the dangerous prospects of a hive facing the infection of mites. In this latter case, the camera's magnifying power renders the infection in sci-fi terms, as if we've stumbled into a ... more info
 

Computer Chess

2013
HD-Cam
Directed by Andrew Bujalski
Appearance by writer/director Andrew Bujalski at Saturday's screenings. Also appearing: actor Tishuan Scott; Margie and Terry Beegle, members of MFAH Film Buffs who have small parts in the film. Computer Chess is an existential comedy from Austin writer/director Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha) about the brilliant scientists who taught machines to play chess—back when the machines seemed clumsy and humans seemed smart. Set over the course of a 1980s weekend tournament for chess-software programmers, the film follows a group of eccentric geniuses who possess ... more info
 

Muscle Shoals

2013
Directed by Greg “Freddy” Camalier
Muscle Shoals, Alabama—located on the banks of the Tennessee River—is the unlikely breeding ground for some of the most creative and defiant music in American history. "Brown Sugar," "Freebird," "Kodachrome," "Mustang Sally," and "When a Man Loves a Woman," are just a few of the tens of thousands of tracks created there. At the heart of it all is Rick Hall, who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought together black and white musicians, resulting in ... more info
 

Cutie and the Boxer

2013
Directed by Zachary Heinzerling
“Cutie and the Boxer is a movie that makes you feel less like a spectator than a guest, a friend welcomed into the home of an odd and fascinating couple.” —New York Times This candid and highly entertaining story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. The two met in New York in 1973 when Ushio was a 41-year-old painter and sculptor, and Noriko a 19-year-old student. Director Zachary Heinzerling pays tribute to these two charismatic artists, showing ... more info
 

The Great Beauty

La grande bellezza

2013, in Italian with English subtitles
35mm
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
ADDED SCREENING! Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, "The Great Beauty" is also nominated for the Oscar in that category. Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) has been a permanent fixture in Rome’s literary and social circles since the legendary success of his one and only novel. Armed with a roguish charm, he has seduced his way through the city's lavish night life for decades, but when his 65th birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds ... more info
 

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

2013
Directed by Sophie Fiennes
Cultural theorist superstar Slavoj Žižek re-teams with director Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema) for another wildly entertaining romp through the crossroads of cinema and philosophy. With infectious zeal and a voracious appetite for popular culture, Žižek literally goes inside some truly epochal movies, all the better to explore and expose how they reinforce prevailing ideologies. What hidden Catholic teachings lurk at the heart of The Sound of Music? What are the fascist political dimensions of Jaws? Other titles ... more info
 

Faust

2011, in German with English subtitles
Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
Winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion, this idiosyncratic and playful reinvention of Goethe’s classic play marks the return of Aleksandr Sokurov (Russian Ark; Alexandra). Sokurov’s Faust immediately overthrows Goethe by adopting a broadly comic treatment grounded in scatological touches, slapstick, and a nonstop barrage of dialogue. Mephistopheles (referred to here as the Moneylender and played by Anton Adasinsky) is depicted as a clumsy and grotesque figure, while Faust is largely stripped of dignity and rendered absurd in Johannes ... more info
 

A Touch of Sin

Tian zhu ding

2013, in Mandarin with English subtitles
Directed by Jia Zhangke
Friday, January 31, 7 p.m. – Introduced by Jing Sharon Dolphin, president of the Rice Ethnographic Film Society, Rice University Saturday, February 1, 7 p.m. – Introduced by Aynne Kokas, PhD, Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University "A brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China." —The Atlantic A Touch of Sin was inspired by four shocking (and true) events that forced the world's fastest-growing economy into a period of self-examination. Written and directed by master filmmaker Jia Zhangke ... more info
 

If You Build It

2013
Directed by Patrick Creadon
On Saturday, February 22, the film screening is followed by a panel discussion with teens from Project Row Houses and CAMH Teen Council. From the director of Wordplay and I.O.U.S.A. comes a captivating look at a radically innovative approach to education. If You Build It follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with high school students on transforming both the community and the teens' lives. Living on credit ... more info
 

The Retrieval

2013
Directed by Chris Eska
Prerelease screening with special guests: filmmaker Chris Eska and actor Tishuan Scott Set during the Civil War, this powerful drama tells the story of what happens when a boy and his uncle are sent north by a bounty hunter to retrieve a wanted man (Tishuan Scott). “Equal parts suspenseful road movie, persuasively detailed period drama and emotionally resonant coming-of-age story, The Retrieval is an outstanding example of regional independent filmmaking accomplished with limited resources and an abundance of skill. Writer-director ... more info
 

I Am Divine

2013
Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
Spitting in the face of conventional beauty, Divine (1945–1988) was the ultimate outsider-turned-underground royalty, possessing a style blurring the lines between performer and personality. I Am Divine tells the story of Harris Glenn Milstead’s humble beginnings as an overweight, bullied Baltimore youth; his life-altering collaborations with filmmaker John Waters; and his stature as the internationally iconic drag superstar known as Divine. more info
 

Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony

2013, in multiple languages with English subtitles
Directed by Kerry Candaele
In 1824, completely deaf and adrift from the people he loved, Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Ninth Symphony as an act of transcendence near the end of his life. Today, the piece of music still resonates as the international anthem of hope. The Ninth buoyed the protesters in Tiananmen Square, provided solace to those struggling for freedom in Pinochet’s Chile, and continues to fill seats in symphony halls and karaoke bars around the world. Following the Ninth captures the power ... more info
 

Martin Elkort: An American Mirror

2014
Directed by Stefani Elkort Twyford
Introduced by Anne Wilkes Tucker, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography Q&A with filmmaker Stefani Elkort Twyford follows the screening Exploring the life and work of New York street photographer Martin Elkort, An American Mirror is the documentary debut of his daughter, Houston-based filmmaker Stefani Twyford. An American Mirror chronicles Elkort’s life growing up in New York during the Great Depression, being stricken by polio, and discovering his affinity for documentary photography. Educated at the Cooper Union, Elkort (born 1929) ... more info
 

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq

2013
Directed by Nancy Buirski
Of all the great 20th-century ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929–2000) may have been the most transcendent. Tanny was the foremost dancer of the 1940s, captivating audiences around the world. She mesmerized choreographers—her elongated, race-horse physique became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine—and ballets were produced specifically for Tanny. Her unique style, humor, and authenticity redefined ballet for all dancers who followed. Amazingly, she was the muse to not one great artist but two: both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins ... more info
 

Child's Pose

Pozitia copilului

2013, in Romanian with English subtitles
Directed by Călin Peter Netzer
Călin Peter Netzer’s sharply crafted, award-winning Child’s Pose pivots on a riveting performance by Luminita Gheorghiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) as a steely, well-to-do Bucharest architect determined to keep her 30-something deadbeat son out of jail after a deadly car crash. Savagely witty and utterly engrossing, this spellbinding drama of social commentary and psychological realism is a caustic look into the corrupt heart of Eastern European bourgeoisie, which twists into a brilliantly ambiguous study of obsessive motherly love. more info
 

In Bloom

Grzeli nateli dgeebi

2013, in Georgian with English subtitles
Directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groβ
A brilliant example of the flourishing Georgian cinema, the stylish coming-of-age story In Bloom is set in 1992 Tblisi, the first year after independence was established in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere in post-Soviet Russia. In this world of long food lines, poverty, lack of electricity, and unemployment, 14-year-old girlfriends Natia and Eka must grow up quickly as they encounter patriarchal traditions, arranged marriages, and domestic/public violence. —Big World Pictures more info
 

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power

2013
Directed by Freida Lee Mock
Television viewers around the world were transfixed in 1991 as a poised woman in a blue dress sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men, and—with a clear, unwavering voice—recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. On that October day, a bookish law professor from Oklahoma was thrust onto the world stage and instantly became a celebrated, hated, venerated, and divisive figure. Anita Hill's graphic testimony was ... more info
 

Manakamana

2013
Directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez
The view from a Nepalese cable car is a window on the world in this one-of-a-kind ethnographic documentary. William Blake’s oft-quoted observation about finding the world in a grain of sand comes to mind more than once during Manakamana, the latest in a string of marvelously original nonfiction features to emerge from Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. Here, the grain of sand is a cable car system high in the mountains of Nepal, ferrying passengers to and from the titular ... more info
 

Stop the Pounding Heart

2013
Directed by Roberto Minervini
Texas Premiere! On Friday, August 8, a Q&A follows the screening. Guests include filmmaker Roberto Minervini; Sara, LeeAnne, and Tim Carlson; and Colby Trichell. Italian-born filmmaker Roberto Minervini captures the lives of a devoutly Christian goat-farming family in Texas with a distinctive hybrid approach that fuses documentary and fiction. The Carlsons’ daily lives revolve around work on the farm, selling their dairy products to neighbors and at farmer’s markets, and Bible study. The main story line follows the lovely teenage ... more info
 

The Summer of Flying Fish

El verano de los peces voladores

2013; in Spanish with English subtitles
Directed by Marcela Said
Reflecting the rise of Chile's growing film-production industry, The Summer of Flying Fish is an example of cinema being made for more global audiences. In Marcela Said's subtly ominous coming-of-age story, a girl comes to realize her rich family’s idyllic Chilean life of leisure on a misty hot springs ranch is deeply flawed. She’s old enough not just to see her parents’ imminent marital breakdown, but more important, the indigenous Mapuche’s growing intolerance of the moneyed elites on their land. ... more info
 

Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

2013; in Mandarin and English with English subtitles
Directed by Andreas Johnsen
After 81 days of solitary detention, world-famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (born 1957) is put under house arrest. He suffers from a sleeping disorder and memory loss; 18 cameras are monitoring his studio and home; police agents follow his every move; and heavy restrictions from the Kafkaesque Chinese authorities weigh him down. Journalists, the art world, and his family all want a piece of him—and on top of that, he is met with a gigantic lawsuit from the Chinese government, soon ... more info