See FEELS GOOD MAN for Free + NOMAD & JAZZ Still Available!

Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with another selection from the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival: the thought-provoking documentary Feels Good Man, winner of the Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker at the Sundance Film Festival.

FEELS GOOD MAN (US, 2020, 93 min.) Laidback artist Matt Furie created the goofy cartoon character Pepe the Frog for his stoner hangout comic Boy’s Club, but in a twist that could only be caused by internet chaos, Pepe transformed into an irony-laden tool in the alt-right’s attempts to confuse reality and enact violence. Feels Good Man harnesses every imaginable expert –– internet researchers, 4chan users, occultists, crypto currency traders, you name it –– to explain how Furie’s frog went from a silly meme of immense popularity to a cartoon associated with historic and contemporary atrocities. Longing for the days of a purer Pepe, Furie fights to reclaim the character from nameless 4chan trolls and infamous online villains like Alex Jones, but the iconic image might be too far gone, fundamentally altered by an angry subculture averse to “normies.” Director Arthur Jones’s remarkably assured, gripping debut exposes the unbelievable truth about a confounding meme and a perplexed artist who just wants to be “hardcore happy” –– a vibe best illustrated by the film’s many groovy animated sequences. U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker, 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Beginning September 17, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Feels Good Man at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word FROG in the subject line or the first line of the email.  You can view a trailer for the film below.

While there is no new episode of our Cinematalk podcast this week, we recommend listening to this episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast featuring Arthur Jones and Matt Furie of Feels Good Man. Look for a new episode of Cinematalk next week!

Plus, we still have opportunities to view Werner Herzog's Nomad and Jazz on a Summer's Day for free. Visit our other recent blog posts to learn how.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #15: NOMAD, with Rob Thomas

Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

As a supplement to the Cinematheque's free view-at-home presentation of Werner Herzog's Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, this episode of Cinematalk features Cinematheque Director of Programming Jim Healy in conversation with Rob Thomas, Film Critic for Madison's Capital Times. The discussion revolves around Nomad and its relation to Herzog's prolific body of work. Plus, Rob reports from the front lines on the current state of cinema exhibition here in Madison.

See Herzog's NOMAD for Free!

Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with an opportunity to view the latest release from acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog, Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin. A selection of the 2019 Telluride and Vancouver Film Festivals, Nomad was also a selection of the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival.

NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN (2019, UK, 90 min.) Werner Herzog recreates the journeys of his friend and collaborator Bruce Chatwin, a celebrated adventurer and writer who died from AIDS in 1989. Through eight distinct chapters, Herzog travels to Patagonia, the Black Mountains of Wales, and the Australia Outback, encountering concepts, people, and places from Chatwin’s explorations. An eclectic mix of teachers and experts, from mountain guides to Australian aboriginal elders, discuss the convergences of nature and myth that fascinated Chatwin, and heartfelt interviews with his widow and biographer reveal insights into his personal life. Chatwin’s own audio recordings, added to the mix, give him a vivid presence in this tender tribute. Despite the focus on another artist, the signatures of Herzog’s films are all here: his reflective voiceover, gorgeous shots of bizarre landscapes, and clips from his past projects that involved Chatwin in some way. Nomad finds Herzog in an elegiac mode of filmmaking, contemplating the loss of a friend and trying to recapture his unique perspective on a mysterious world. (Matt St. John)

Beginning September 10, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities for Wisconsin residents only to view Nomad at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word HERZOG in the subject line or the first line of the email. Please note that the movie will only be viewable within the state of Wisconsin.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, our special guest is Madison-based journalist Rob Thomas, film critic, features editor, and social media editor for the Capital Times, where he’s been a part of the staff since 1999. Rob and the Cinematheque's Jim Healy talk about Nomad and its relation to Herzog’s prolific body of work. Plus, as commercial movie theaters begin to re-open, Rob’s been reporting from the front lines and the discussion turns to the current state of cinema exhibition here in Madison. Scroll down and listen below, or listen here on Soundcloud. You can also subscribe to Cinemtalk through Apple Podcasts.

You can also scroll below to see a Werner Herzog Q&A from the Coolidge Corner Theatre, a legendary arthouse in Brookline, MA.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #14 JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY, w/Jeff Smith, Jeff Kushner & Bob Gosse

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with UW Cinematheque's view-at-home presentation of the newly restored Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959), this episode of Cinematalk takes a close look at the influential concert documentary filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. In the first segment, UW Madison Film Professor Jeff Smith talks with the Cinematheque's Mike King about the cultural and historical significance of the artists who appeared at Newport and the influence of Jazz on a Summer’s Day on subsequently made concert movies. In the second segment, Cinematheque's Ben Reiser talks with his fellow SUNY Purchase classmates, filmmakers Jeff Kushner and Bob Gosse, about their Film Professor, Aram Avakian, and Avakian's contributions to Jazz on a Summer's Day. Listen below or here on Soundcloud.

See JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY for Free!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies starts again this week with an opportunity to view the acclaimed and influential music documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)

JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY (1959, 85 min.) Filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and directed by world-renowned photographer Bert Stern, Jazz on a Summer's Day features intimate performances by an all-star line-up of musical legends including Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington, and closes with a stunning midnight rendition of The Lord's Prayer by Mahalia Jackson to usher in Sunday morning. Setting the template for all contemporary concert movies, Jazz on a Summer’s Day features the innovative editing of soon-to-be-director Aram Avakian (End of the Road, Cops and Robbers) and has been beautifully and extensively restored in 4K from the best surviving vault elements by IndieCollect.​

Beginning September 3, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view this new restoration of Jazz on a Summer’s Day at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and make sure to have the word JAZZ in the subject line or the first line of the email.

On our Cinematalk podcast, we proudly present a new episode exploring Jazz on a Summer's Day. On the first segment, UW Madison Film Professor Jeff Smith talks with the Cinematheque's Mike King about the cultural and historical significance of the artists who appeared at Newport and the influence of Jazz on a Summer’s Day on subsequently made concert movies. In the second segment, Cinematheque's Ben Reiser talks with his fellow SUNY Purchase classmates, filmmakers Jeff Kushner and Bob Gosse, about their Film Professor, Aram Avakian, and Avakian's contributions to Jazz on a Summer's Day. Listen below or here on Soundcloud.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

See Two French Crime Classics for Free!

Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies concludes its Summer programming season this week with an opportunity to see (or see again) two great French crime movies that played on our big screen in recent years: Jules Dassin's Rififi and Claude Sautet's Classe Tous Risques.

RIFIFI (DU RIFIFI CHEZ LES HOMMES, France, 1955, 120 min., French with English subtitles): A down-and-out ex-con plans a brazen daytime robbery in order to recover his underworld status. Working in exile from McCarthy-era Hollywood, Dassin transplants his American noir aesthetic to the dark streets of Paris in this edgy heist film. Rififi’s cinematic tour-de-force: a 30-minute burglary sequence performed entirely without dialogue.

CLASSE TOUS RISQUES (Claude Sautet, France/Italy 1960, French and Italian with subtitles): In this hard-hitting French film noir, Lino Ventura plays a career thief who executes a broad daylight payroll heist on the streets of Milan. With the help of a new partner (Jean-Paul Belmondo), he returns to France after holing up in Italy, and realizes, perhaps too late, that there’s more to life than being a gangster. Following up on 50s masterworks like Rififi while anticipating 60s thrillers like Le SamouraiClasse Tous Risques has been virtually unseen in this country for over 40 years. It’s a penetrating study of a tough guy at the end of his rope, with the first teaming of Ventura and Belmondo, two of French cinema’s greatest icons. 

The Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Rififi and Classe Tous Risques at home for free. To request access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and make sure to include the word RIFIFI in the subject line or the first line of the email. Everyone making a request will receive access to view both movies

We also invite you to listen below to a wonderful interview with Rififi director and co-star Jules Dassin from New York Film Forum's Director of Repertory Programming Bruce Goldstein.

Cinematheque-at-home programming will resume in early September. Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinema in a Time of Crisis

Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

On Friday, July 24 UW Cinematheque Director of Programming Jim Healy participated in an online webinar hosted by George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. The subject was "Cinema in a Time of Crisis" and you can now view the complete discussions below.

From the George Eastman Museum description: Cinema is an immediate, immersive, and communal experience. It is an exhibition of artwork tied directly to a specific place and time. As cinemas around the globe prepare to operate in a current and post-pandemic world, new challenges are posed. Curator of Film Exhibitions Jared Case and former curator Jim Healy, now Director of Cinematheque Film Programming at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discuss the uncertainties of the current climate and plans for the immediate future, including programming and the safety of the audience. The discussion includes a recorded conversation with former Curator of Film Exhibitions Jurij Meden, now Curator of the Film Program at the Austrian Film Museum.

Discover The Ross Bros' BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS for Free!

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with a new release that was originally scheduled to be one of the Closing Night Selections of the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival, Bill and Turner Ross's fascinating doc-fiction hybrid Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets.

BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS (US, 2020, 98 min.) It’s last call at Roaring 20’s, a dive bar on the outskirts of Las Vegas that would fit right in in Wisconsin. It’s closing down, so the regulars assemble for one last 24-hour bender, some bellying up to the bar well before noon—audience members may be tempted to place bets on who will be the last person standing. As the night deepens, emotions swirl with the inscrutable logic of drink: camaraderie withers into sniping and back again, hilarious carousing seamlessly transforms into tender soul-baring. But things are not exactly as they seem. Though the film could absolutely pass for one of the Ross Brothers' earlier documentaries, Roaring 20’s is actually in New Orleans, it’s still open, and its denizens are a specifically cast group of locals worthy of Denis Johnson or John Cassavetes. At the same time, the night we see is real; there was no script, only the barest of outlines, and those are real drinks going down. The result is a captivating and original slice of pure cinema, exactly as authentic as you feel after a few too many—which is to say, very.

After premieres at the 2020 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets was scheduled to be one of the Closing Night Attractions of the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival. Now you can discover it at home for yourselves while the cinemas - and bars - remain on, shall we say, hiatus. The Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Bloody Nose at home for free. To request access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and make sure to include the word ROSS in the subject line or the first line of the email.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, Mike King talks with Bill & Turner Ross, two of the most exciting and forward-thinking contemporary American filmmakers. The Ross Brothers discuss Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. and shed light on the unusual production methods behind the film, and its relationship to their past work.  You can listen below, or here on Soundcloud. You can also subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Cinematalk Podcast #12: Peter Sellers Lost and Found

Thursday, July 16th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

July 2020 marks 40 years since the death of the brilliant actor and comedian Peter Sellers (1925-1980). In conjunction with the Cinematheque's "Peter Sellers: Lost and Found" selections, this episode features Cinematheque Programmers Jim Healy and Ben Reiser discussing The Ghost of Peter Sellers, Peter Medak's new documentary about the making - and unmaking - of his unreleased Sellers comedy Ghost in the Noonday Sun, and Mr. Topaze, Sellers lone effort as a feature film director. Listen below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts.

See THE GHOST OF PETER SELLERS & MR. TOPAZE at Home for Free!

Thursday, July 16th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

July 2020 marks 40 years since the death of the brilliant actor and comedian Peter Sellers (1925-1980) and the UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with a pair of movies to watch at home that we have packaged as "Peter Sellers: Lost and Found." The selections include a new documentary from veteran director Peter Medak, The Ghost of Peter Sellers, and a new restoration of the one feature film that Peter Sellers directed, 1961’s Mr. Topaze (aka I Like Money).

THE GHOST OF PETER SELLERS (UK, 2018, 93 min.) Director Peter Medak’s documentary chronicles the disastrous production and aftermath of Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1973), a pirate comedy set in the 17th Century directed by Medak and starring Peter Sellers. Fresh off the success of his cult comedy classic The Ruling Class, Medak was recruited by Sellers to helm the big screen adaptation of a children's book, a project that would also reunite Sellers with his former Goon Show compatriot Spike Milligan. Sellers arrived on the set in Cyprus depressed from his recent breakup with Liza Minnelli and things only went downhill from there. Sellers lost confidence with the film immediately and tried to sabotage it, firing producers and other crew members before turning on co-star Anthony Franciosa and, eventually, the young director Medak. Attempting to heal old wounds and end his persistent sense of personal guilt over the film's failure, Medak, after 43 years, speaks with surviving cast members and others involved with the production. Filled with clips from Ghost in the Noonday Sun, which was never given a theatrical release, and other vintage footage of Sellers, The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a fascinating depiction of a movie's unmaking.

MR. TOPAZE (I LIKE MONEYUK, 1961, 97 min.) In this adaptation of a play by Marcel Pagnol, Peter Sellers plays Albert Topaze, a poor but proud French schoolmaster who, unwilling to sacrifice his principles, loses his job after he refuses to alter the failing grades of one of students. Seizing the opportunity to exploit his well-known honesty, actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (frequent Sellers co-star Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses. But when Topaze learns he is being used, he cunningly turns the tables on Benac. The only feature film ever directed by Sellers, Mr. Topaze also features the actor at his inimitable, physical best, playing opposite a stellar supporting cast that includes the aforementioned Gray and Lom, plus Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and Michael Gough. Impossible to see for decades outside of the few surviving prints held at the British Film Institute's National Archives, Mr. Topaze has been digitally restored and color corrected by the BFI and can now be discovered by Sellers fans.

The Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view both The Ghost of Peter Sellers and Mr. Topaze at home for free. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu that contains the word SELLERS in the subject line.

And, on a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, Cinematheque Programmers Ben Reiser and Jim Healy discuss The Ghost of Peter SellersMr. Topaze, and several other Peter Sellers movies. Scroll below to listen or subscribe and listen through Apple Podcasts.

Pages