Enjoy these critically acclaimed, award-winning international films as they make their Houston debut!
Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s latest documentary takes an immersive look behind the scenes of the New York City library system.
In this new drama from filmmaker Petra Volpe, a housewife becomes an activist for women’s right to vote in 1970s Switzerland.
Past Events in This Series
Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana
This revelatory new documentary spotlights the profound and overlooked influence of Native American musicians on popular music in North America.
Filmmaker Bill Morrison explores the history of Dawson City, a Canadian Gold Rush town that once had a population of 100,000, through footage that was discovered buried nearby in 1978.
Carlos Carrera, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Carlos Bolado, Ernesto Contreras, Alfonso Pineda Ulloa, Alejandro Valle, Iván Ávila Dueñas, Natalia Beristáin
This omnibus feature film connects eight distinctive stories set in the same Mexico City apartment across 100 years.
This new documentary profiles the life and work of Texas-born artist Julian Schnabel, who burst on the international art scene in the 1980s.
Blending Buddhist spiritual elements with classic Western motifs, this adventure set in Tibet features a lonely hunter who discovers a sacred stone in the mouth of a deer he just killed.
Acclaimed Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) returns with this searing human saga about a father driven to extremes in order to protect his daughter’s future.
An eccentric bourgeois family on vacation gets caught up in an investigation of missing tourists in a slapstick comedy in the vein of Peter Sellers and Monty Python.
Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm
Artist and filmmaker David Lynch treats audiences to an intimate journey through the early decades of his life, from his idyllic upbringing in small-town America to the completion of his first feature film, Eraserhead.
In this bold horror-musical debut mashup, a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters are drawn ashore in 1980s Poland to explore the wonders and temptations of life on land.
This documentary chronicles the remarkable marriage between storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson—and their six-decade career of movie-making history.
In order to get their parents out of jail, siblings try to raise money to bribe corrupt cops. Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for her performance as Ma’ Rosa in this social critique of contemporary problems in the Philippines.
A down-and-out private detective struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son—until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.
Ann Marie Fleming
This charming animated film about a young Canadian poet (voice of Sandra Oh) invited to perform at a poetry festival in Iran is a vibrant story about love, family, poetry, history, and culture. Free admission / Introduced and discussed by members of hang@mfah
In this wry drama by filmmaker Albert Serra, King Louis XIV (Jean-Pierre Léaud, known to many as Antoine Doinel from The 400 Blows and other François Truffaut films) struggles to run France during an illness.
Justin Bare and Matthew Miele
With unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, photographer Harry Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of luminaries such as the Beatles, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack
This profile of renowned poet, singer, dancer, and civil-rights activist Maya Angelou (1928–2014) explores her impact on American life and culture.
Fire at Sea is one of 2016’s most compelling documentaries. The Italian island of Lampedusa has long been the destination of men, women, and children making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean from Africa, fleeing conflicts, famine, and drought. This observational approach chronicles the unlikely coexistence of recently arrived refugees with the island’s residents.
The turmoil of adolescence is plumbed with wit and compassion in this film about tall, dark, and androgynously handsome Pierre, who is returned to his bourgeois, biological parents after his working-class mom is arrested for having stolen him (and his “sister”) at birth.
Director Ron Howard’s new documentary follows the Beatles on the road from 1962 to 1966. The touring experience is re-created through the eyes of the band members themselves, with new interviews plus rare footage from fans, news outlets, and the Beatles’ own private collection.
In this vibrant portrayal of Australian adolescence, Greta Driscoll’s bubble of obscure loserdom is burst when her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and invite the whole school.
In 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes in what was a previously unimaginable event. Tower highlights the fear, confusion, and visceral realities on a day when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.
Jim Jarmusch’s new documentary about the Stooges features concert scenes, interviews with front man Iggy Pop, and commentary from former bandmates, tracing the trajectory of a band that influenced generations of musicians.
Pieter van Huystee
This fascinating documentary follows the research and drama surrounding preparations for a museum exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the death of artist Hieronymus Bosch.
Iconoclastic photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924) was invited by Laura Israel, his longtime editor and collaborator, to reflect on his life and art. The result is essential viewing for anyone interested in contemporary photography.
Kirsten Johnson is one of the most notable cinematographers working in documentary film today, With this visually radical memoir, she transforms scenes she's shot for other directors into her own personal journey.
In 1965, the historic Selma, Alabama, march known as Bloody Sunday was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. John Lewis—now a U.S. congressman, then a student—co-led hundreds of peaceful marchers seeking voting rights for African Americans. This film is a riveting portrayal of Lewis’s personal journey over the decades. Introduced by filmmaker Kathleen Dowdey; panel discussion follows
Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler
In collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler, renowned artist Matthew Barney (whose The Cremaster Cycle screened at the museum in 2003) combines traditional modes of narrative cinema with filmed elements of performance, sculpture, and opera.
Sunset Song addresses rural life in northeastern Scotland during the early decades of the 20th century. As the old ways fade—agriculturally, domestically, and politically—an independent, passionate young woman (Agyness Deyn) comes of age while her family is ruled by a tyrannical patriarch (Peter Mullan).
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
The inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran who dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. But her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride worth $9,000.
Werner Herzog chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with a fervent curiosity. Provocative conversations reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed the real world.
Don’t let the title fool you: the Museum and many venues around the globe maintain a commitment to screening films on 35mm reel-to-reel. The Dying of the Light explores the history and craft of motion-picture presentation through the stories of career projectionists. Their candid reflections on life in the booth reveal the mysteries of a world that has largely gone unnoticed. The result is a loving tribute to the art and romance of the movies—and to the unseen people who[…]
Admission is free! Reserve your tickets below. Expect the unexpected in this popular annual showcase of new short films presented by the tweens and teens from Aurora Picture Show's summer camps.
Introduced by Holocaust Museum Houston’s Mary Lee Webeck, who also leads a post-film discussion via Skype with filmmaker Ada Ushpiz German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt caused an uproar in the 1960s by coining the subversive concept of the "Banality of Evil" while covering the trial of Adolf Eichmann for the New Yorker. Her private life was also controversial, as she was romantically involved with German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Arendt remains a topic of debate, as reflected in this new documentary profile. About[…]
Opinionated British artist David Hockney (born 1937) pursued art studies in London, became a fixture in the Swinging ’60s, and moved to Los Angeles, where his career and personal life flourished. This intimate portrait of the bespectacled artist includes candid interviews with his family and close friends, photos and home movies from his personal archive, and a survey of the vivid paintings he has created over decades.
Winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes, Rams tells the tale of two sheep farmers whose decades-long feud is interrupted by a contagious disease threatening their flock. With keen observation and gently sardonic humor, the film offers an incisively satirical take on the Icelandic values of independence and self-reliance. Driven by the stellar performances of its two leads, Rams is warmhearted, funny, and distinctively Scandinavian.
Sunday's screening introduced by art historian Linda Shearer Talented artist Eva Hesse (1936–1970) tragically died of a brain tumor at age 34. Her pioneering sculptures using latex, fiberglass, and plastics helped establish the post-Minimalist movement. This new documentary traces her life through journals, her correspondence with mentor Sol LeWitt, and interviews with family members and fellow artists. A celebration of her achievements, the film also addresses the challenges faced by women artists in the years preceding the feminist movement. “I[…]
Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin
Thursday's screening introduced by filmmaker and activist Tish Stringer In the 1960s and 1970s, a group of renegade journalists, the Videofreex, democratized the media, using handheld video cameras to record the world around them. This film taps into a treasure chest of restored tapes shot by the Freex, including interviews with activists Fred Hampton and Abbie Hoffman. These innovators changed the nature of journalism, forging a legacy that has evolved into today’s all-access media environment. "Here Come the Videofreex is[…]
Set in the 19th century, this Romanian road movie follows gendarme Costandin and his son across a barren landscape, in search of a slave who has run away and is suspected of having an affair with a nobleman's wife. While the unflappable Costandin comments on every situation with a cheery aphorism, his son takes a more contemplative view of the world. Inspiring comparisons to films as diverse as The Searchers, The Last Detail, and Pulp Fiction, this richly entertaining epic[…]
The October 2015 suicide of revered artist and filmmaker Chantal Akerman stunned the global film community and makes watching her final film all the more poignant, as No Home Movie reveals the tender intimacy of her relationship with her mother, Natalia, an Auschwitz survivor who died in 2014. The film unfolds as a series of landscapes, cityscapes, and conversations: sometimes together in Natalia’s Brussels apartment, and on other occasions long-distance via Skype. Akerman’s experimental style favors long takes, shot with a[…]
More than a decade after his breathtaking, single-take tour of the Hermitage in Russian Ark, Aleksandr Sokurov enters another renowned museum: the Louvre in Paris. This meditative essay shifts from the present—the filmmaker Skypes with the captain of a ship carrying treasured works of art—to dramatized scenes about the intersections of history and art. The history spans the establishment of the Louvre after the French Revolution to the 20th century, tracing the relationship between Louvre director Jacques Jaujard and Nazi[…]
Another gem from celebrated Thai artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasekathul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), this film made many “Best of 2015” lists. Soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The space becomes a revelatory world for volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier with no family visitors. Jen befriends young medium Keng, who uses her powers to help loved ones communicate with the comatose[…]
Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna
By 1970, Steve McQueen was the “King of Cool” and the world’s most notorious ladies’ man. Hot off classics like The Thomas Crown Affair and Bullitt, the racing fanatic began production of his passion project, Le Mans, centering on the 24-hour car race in France. But the film was plagued with financial troubles, on-set rivalries, and the star’s own personal issues. This documentary interweaves newly discovered footage and McQueen’s private recordings to reveal the true story of how this cinema[…]
As Oscar season heats up, see the films nominated for best documentary short subject—on the big screen! Always diverse and unexpected, this program is a perennial favorite of Museum filmgoers. Program Part I (87 minutes) • Body Team 12 Directed by David Darg and Bryn Mooser (Liberia, 13 minutes) • A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness Directed by Sharmen Obaid-Chinoy (Pakistan, 40 minutes) • Last Day of Freedom Directed by Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman (USA, 32 minutes) Intermission (15 minutes) Part II (76 minutes) • Chau, Beyond the[…]
“Among Mr. Wiseman's masterpieces. An immersive celebration of democracy. Under Mr. Wiseman’s watchful, empathetic eye, the ordinary rises to the level of poetry.” —A. O. Scott, New York Times For his 40th film, venerable documentarian Frederick Wiseman immerses us in the vibrant, diverse neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York, where immigrants from dozens of countries speak more than 150 languages. You'll meet a cross-section of residents as they tackle various challenges in civic, religious, political, and cultural settings.[…]
Established in 1976, the British Arrows recognize and reward the best television, online, outdoor, and cinema commercials made by British advertising agencies and production companies. The British Arrows celebrate the advertising agencies who produce the ads and honor the individual craftsmanship behind the commercials. See the top winners in the annual national tour at one of MFAH Films’ most popular programs (since 1987)!
Master filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien won Best Director at Cannes for this lavishly told tale, which occurs in the 9th century when China is being torn apart militarily. Yinniang (Shu Qi) was abducted as a child and lives in the countryside. Trained as an unrivaled practitioner of the martial arts, she is sent back to her hometown of Weibo on a mission of vengeance. The British Film Institute's Sight & Sound says The Assassin “takes control of the wuxia period with[…]
Auteur Philippe Garrel’s latest, about marital infidelity, is crisply shot in black and white. Parisian couple Pierre (Stanislas Merhar), a struggling documentarian, and his film-editor wife, Manon (Clothilde Courau), have a seemingly stable relationship until he embarks on an affair with a flirtatious film intern (Léna Paugam). Discovering her husband's transgressions, Manon strays as well, leading to an inevitable confrontation. TheFilmStage.com declares the material is treated “with a freshness that is discreetly radical,” by employing “an ironic narration (Louis Garrel)[…]
In person: director Grace Lee and producer Eurie Chung, as well as other collaborators and Houstonians featured in the film The audience is invited to a post-film reception in the Museum galleries. Off the Menu celebrates how family, tradition, faith, and geography shape our relationship to food. Traveling across the United States, the documentary delves into a wealth of stories, traditions, and unexpected characters that explore America as a nation of immigrants. The Houston scenes spotlight "sushi king" Glen Gondo, as[…]
A dark road, a cop, and a dead body: classic elements that set in motion this thrilling, flawlessly executed neo-noir. A darkly humorous take on the “policier” genre, it follows homicide detective Ko Gun-soo on a disastrous day that starts with a hit-and-run on the way to his mother’s funeral. A blackmailing phone call and a pileup of calamities lead him spiraling downward, seemingly with no way out. "An all-out, over-the-top bad cop vs. bad cop Korean thriller . .[…]
The haunting stories of Edgar Allan Poe take on a terrifying new look in Extraordinary Tales. This visually stunning, heart-pounding animated anthology features Oscar-nominated shorts and narration by some of the top names in horror-film history: Roger Corman, Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Julian Sands, and Guillermo del Toro. Murderous madmen, sinister villains, and cloaked ghouls stalk the darkened corridors of Poe's imagination in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Facts[…]
Post-film discussion with writer Nick Flynn (in person) and director Hubert Sauper (via Skype) We Come as Friends is a modern odyssey, a dizzying, science fiction-like journey into the heart of Africa. As war-ravaged South Sudan claims independence from North Sudan and its brutal President Omar al-Bashir, a tiny, homemade prop plane flies in from France. It is piloted by eagle-eyed documentarian Hubert Sauper (Oscar-nominated for Darwin's Nightmare), who is mining for stories in a land trapped in the past[…]
As we move toward more sustainable farming practices, some of the most prized elements of high-quality beef production are rapidly changing, and the effects are far reaching. Smaller-scale operation is impacting the industry and many view this trend as a positive change. In this gourmet, across-the-world road trip, chefs, farmers, butchers, journalists, and other experts weigh in on the various factors at play to help us understand the (r)evolution taking place, as well as the challenges associated with this change.[…]
India's submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film! “Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals, Court is a quietly devastating, absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India. An elderly folk singer and grassroots organizer dubbed the ‘people’s poet’ is arrested on a trumped-up charge of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. His trial is a ridiculous and harrowing display of institutional incompetence, with endless procedural delays, coached witnesses[…]
Meet the filmmaker at a pre-film reception in the Caroline Wiess Law Building's North Foyer at 6:00 p.m. Post-film discussion with filmmaker Adam Curtis; moderated by Bill White, former mayor of Houston Iconoclastic journalist Adam Curtis (The Century of Self; The Power of Nightmares) returns to the Museum with his latest film. Bitter Lake investigates the intervention—and depiction in mainstream media—of powerful Western countries in Afghanistan. The documentary features Curtis’s trademark voiceover commentary, brilliantly edited archival footage (taken from decades[…]
Special guest at the screenings on August 28 & 29: Harrod Blank Digitally remastered and never officially released until 2015, the first feature-length documentary by Les Blank (1935–2013) has some critics declaring it the best rock 'n' roll film ever made. A Poem Is a Naked Person captures music and other events taking place at the Oklahoma recording studio of musician Leon Russell from 1972 to 1974. Commissioned by Russell when he was living on Grand Lake of the Cherokees, the documentary features George[…]
Presented in conjunction with "Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna's Imperial Collections" The Great Museum offers a revealing look behind the scenes of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. Over several years, the staff of this remarkable institution prepared a renovation and reinstallation of the palatial Kunstkammer galleries that house extensive Habsburg collections. The filmmaker uses an observational approach to document this ambitious initiative, shadowing the employees through their challenges and triumphs. The agile camerawork showcases not only the public spaces and galleries, but also[…]
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence—the conclusion to filmmaker Roy Andersson’s “Trilogy of Life”—surprised many by nabbing the top prize at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. Citing Dostoevsky as a primary influence, Andersson sets the film in Gothenburg, Sweden, with scenes that follow recurring characters from the past and present through scenarios that are alternately absurdist, humorous, and shocking. The film was made possible with the support of Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman) and Darren Aronofsky (Noah). ► Check[…]
Renovation of Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum started in 2003. From the beginning, the plan was opposed by unyielding counter-forces. Director Oeke Hoogendijk filmed behind the closed doors of the museum for 10 years. What was meant to be a standard-length documentary grew into an epic about ambition, love of art—and finally the historic and emotional “homecoming” of the masterpieces in 2013. Community partner: Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
Director Samantha Fuller—evoking the spirit of her father, legendary filmmaker Sam Fuller (1912–1997)—shot entirely within “The Shack,” the backyard writing refuge that he filled with notes for future projects. This documentary follows Sam Fuller on his path from New York tabloid journalist to Hollywood hyphenate—including his experiences as a World War II infantryman. Combining scenes from his films with newly discovered home movies, A Fuller Life is a celebration of a passionate American artist. Among the celebrities who appear are[…]
Newly added screenings! The inspiring She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry takes audiences from the 1966 founding of NOW (National Organization for Women), when women still wore hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation. Artfully combining dramatizations, performance, and archival imagery, the documentary recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality and created a worldwide revolution. She’s Beautiful captures the scandalous spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s, yet points out[…]
A zany, dark, and comedic portrait of everyday life for a unit of young, female Israeli soldiers. The human resources office at a remote desert base serves as the setting for this cast of characters who bide their time pushing paper and battling in computer games, counting down the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Amidst their boredom and clashing personalities, issues of commitment—to friendship, love, and country—are handled with humor and sharp-edged wit. “Over the course of[…]
John Boorman’s sequel to his 1987 semi-autobiographical Hope and Glory, which told the tale of nine-year-old Bill Rohan growing up in London during the Blitz of WWII, has Bill (Callum Turner) conscripted into the military at the end of the Korean War. Bill lives just a stone’s throw from the Shepperton film studio, whose crews occasionally film in the area, prompting Bill’s thoughts of a lifelong profession. The future filmmaker is made a sergeant and sent not to the front[…]
An Italian box-office smash, Human Capital is about the unraveling of a wealthy family who destroys everything around them in their quest for success.The clever storytelling is divided into three chapters, each observing the same incident from the perspective of a different character. The film is based on the American novel by Stephen Amidon, and it garnered seven wins at the David di Donatello Awards (the Italian Oscars). "Perfectly cast! This slick, stylish fusion of class critique and murder mystery[…]
Final screening added! Sunday, March 8, 2 p.m. One of the most iconic and enduring structures ever built, Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia is an architectural project conceived by Antoni Gaudí in the late 19th century. More than 125 years after construction began, the basilica remains unfinished. This documentary considers Gaudí’s vision and the continuing work of countless laborers, artisans, designers, and architects as they strive to complete the colossal project while delving into the mysterious process of artistic creation. “A[…]
Dancer Elizabeth Streb and the STREB Extreme Action Company form a motley troupe of flyers and crashers. Propelled by Streb’s edict that “anything too safe is not action,” these daredevils challenge the assumptions of art, aging, injury, gender, and human possibility. Born to Fly traces the evolution of Streb’s movement philosophy as she pushes herself and her performers from the ground to the sky.
Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) has created a compelling and cinematic wartime thriller, based on a true story. As the Allies march toward Paris in the summer of 1944, Adolf Hitler gives orders that the French capital should not fall into enemy hands except as “a field of rubble.” The Nazi commander for Paris (Niels Arestrup) has bombs planted in the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame. The Swedish consul general (André Dussollier) sneaks into German headquarters through a[…]
"Magnificent" —New York Times From the excitement of new exhibition openings to fascinating insights about great works of art, the spectacular new National Gallery takes you behind the scenes of the prestigious London institution. This immersive delight for art lovers is a virtual tour of the National Gallery, exploring its extraordinary permanent collection and recent exhibitions, complemented by insider access to conservation of the art, tours led by the dedicated staff, and meetings with administrators, curators, educators, and scholars. National Gallery[…]
This coming-of-age story finds 9-year-old Junior (Samuel Lange) living in near-poverty in Caracas, Venezuela, with his single mother (Samantha Castillo) and baby brother. Junior's best friend imagines herself entering beauty pageants, and he obsesses about straightening his curly hair and becoming a pop singer. Addressing issues of burgeoning sexuality and complicated gender roles, Mariana Rondón’s critically acclaimed third feature film is an intelligent, tender, and at times desolate portrayal of what it is like to grow up when one is a[…]
In a bright, topsy-turvy landscape of fluctuating figures, artist and animator Signe Baumane recounts the lives of five women in her Latvian family and their struggles with depression. A combination of hand-drawn animation, papier-mâché settings, and stop motion figures bring these individual stories of mental illness to life. The result is a continually morphing parade of surreal images that light up this darkly funny and moving saga of family history and genetics. “This story of mystery and redemption is based[…]
Writer-director Mohammad Rasoulof (Head Wind; The White Meadows; Iron Island) has been an outspoken critic of artistic censorship in Iran throughout his career, earning him a ban on making films, similar to his colleague Jafar Panahi (Offside; This Is Not a Film; Closed Curtain). Nonetheless, he has managed to extend his remarkable body of work with this drama based on real-life events. Shot covertly in Iran, the film focuses on two stories: a father seeking money for his ailing child[…]
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,[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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.[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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
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.
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[…]
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)[…]
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[…]
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.
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
“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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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.
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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,[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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,[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
“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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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;[…]
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,[…]
"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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
Lynn Hershman Leeson
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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,[…]
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[…]
"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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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,[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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.[…]