probably the strongest category at the academy awards this year was the foreign language film section. notably, four of the five nominated movies were from first time directors and each of those four movies are being shown in maine in the coming weeks.
first up, mustang is showing friday and sunday at the pma. a turkish/french co-production that was made by turkish female director deniz gamze urguven, and takes place in turkey, mustang has been compared favorably to virgin suicides, as it focuses on a group of five sisters’ intense struggle and subtle resistance to patriarchal society-and parents- that condemn and imprison them.
mustang shows at the pma in portland on friday march 4 at 2pm and 6pm and sunday march 6 at 2pm
next up- son of saul- by first time filmmaker lazlo nemes- hungary’s oscar submission and this past weekends winner of the category. the film is a disturbing glimpse at 2 days in the life the life of a jewish prisoner in auschewitz in 1944. its artful, haunting approach has earned it a ton of accolades worldwide throughout 2015 and 2016 and we’re lucky to have it landing at some arthouse theaters now so we can experience it on the big screen. it will be playing at railroad square cinema in waterville march 4th thru march 10th and the strand in rockland march 15th- 17th. hopefully some screenings closer to portland will pop up soon too, though the film’s visual mastery- supposedly in debt to nemes’ mentor, hungarian cinema’s great auteur bela tarr- should look stunning on the strand’s giant, gorgeous screen.
son of saul screens at railroad square cinema in waterville march 4- march 10 daily at 3pm and 7pm.
the film i’m most excited to check out is columbia’s first ever oscar nominated film, embrace of the serpent, by first time filmmaker ciro guero. shot in sumptuous black and white in the amazon jungle, this seems to be the kind of film that sort of exists in realm where i love movies most. often called transcendental cinema- examples of which date back to robert bresson and ozu- the style is a sort of minimalist, almost spiritual focus on nature- and one which absorbs elements of magic realism at times. it’s sort of “pure cinema” in that it exists on visual terms, and could be no other medium. fans of werner herzog and terrance mallick take note, embrace of the serpent screens at the pma on march 11th and 12th(2pm and 6pm on the 11th, and 2pm only on the 12th). i’ll probably write more about this one after i get the chance to view it.
embrace of the serpent shows march 11 and 12 at the pma in portland
another oscar nominated film from a country that has never had such an honor- this one coming from jordan- is theeb, which will be screening at brunswick’s frontier cinema from march 8th thru the 12th. middle eastern cinema such as theeb has been experiencing somewhat of a revival lately, despite societal constraints that have forced some filmmakers in certain countries into hiding, many to flee to europe, and others to be charged with crimes and tortured. the fact that films like theeb, which was shot with non professional actors in a region that rarely makes it onto the cinematic map is a triumph of artful determination. theeb was shot in the same desert where lawrence of arabia was filmed sixty years earlier.
theeb screens at frontier in brunswick march 8-12
maine is also super lucky to be hosting the maine jewish film festival from march 12 thru march 19th. go to http://www.mjff.org/ for more details on the screenings. the festival is in its 19th year of existence and screenings occur throughout the state.
much love to maine movie nerds,
and keep going to the theaters!