See Rodney Ascher's A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX For Free!

Thursday, February 4th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

UPDATE: We have reached our limit of free views of A Glitch in the Matrix that were licensed from the movie's distributor, Magnolia Pictures. Thank you for making this presentation such a success! The movie is available for a rental price here. 50% of the proceeds from rentals go to support future free Cinematheque programming. And our podcast with Rodney Ascher is still available for free listening here!

While the Cinematheque’s theatrical venues remained closed, our free Cinematheque-at-home series resumes on Friday, February 5 with an exciting new release fresh from its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week!

A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX (USA | 2021 | 105 min.)

Director: Rodney Ascher 

Are we all just characters in someone else’s video game? Could it be that we are living in a computer-simulated universe? Swallow the red pill and take a deep and fascinating dive into the rabbit hole that is simulation theory in the new feature-length movie from Rodney Ascher, director of Room 237 and The Nightmare., A Glitch in the Matrix provides the compelling testimonials of several avatar-shrouded real people, along with commentary from more established experts like Nick Bostrom, Emily Pothast, and cartoonist Chris Ware, to explore existential questions of personal identity and free will. With his own singular style, Ascher launches his investigation with a 1977 lecture from legendary sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick and playfully mixes in game footage and movie clips (from The Matrix and several other Hollywood products) to further illustrate how and why so many have come to doubt their everyday reality. Glitch ultimately ventures into serious, sometimes disturbing territory, to examine morality and social responsibility in a present-day world where even basic human interactions have become poisoned by media consumption and conspiracy theories.

A Glitch in the Matrix adapts to the internal logic of its echo chamber until it starts to sound pretty convincing on its own terms. If you’re not already one of the diehards convinced we’re living in a simulation, this movie might actually get you there” (Eric Kohn, Indiewire).

Beginning Friday, February 5, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view A Glitch in the Matrix at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and simply remember to include the word GLITCH in the subject line. No further message is necessary.

Our Cinematalk podcast has also returned with a brand new episode featuring acclaimed director Rodney Ascher, director of A Glitch in the Matrix and Room 237, in conversation with the Cinematheque’s Jim Healy. You can listen here on our blog or subscribe to Cinematalk on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Cinematalk Podcast #29: DETERMINED

Thursday, December 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with the Cinematheque's presentation of the powerful new documentary Determined, this episode of Cinematalk features our own Ben Reiser moderating a lively panel of five women who together have spent the past seven years determined to tell the story of Determined. Producers Therese Barry-Tanner, and Eileen Littig, Director Melissa Godoy, Sound person Shawndra Jones, and one of the subjects of the film, Karen McElwee, all sat down to talk with Ben via Zoom for an engaging and informative discussion about the making of this remarkable film.

Listen to this episode of Cinematalk below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Cinematalk Podcast #28: THE RABBI GOES WEST, with Amy Geller and Gerald Peary

Thursday, December 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

As a bonus to the Cinematheque's presentation of The Rabbi Goes West, this episode of Cinematalk features the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser in discussion with the husband and wife filmmaking team behind the compelling new documentary. 

Gerald Peary is the director of the documentary features For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009) and Archie's Betty (2015). He also appeared in the cast of Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess and he has frequently appeared in person at the Wisconsin Film Festival to present his work. Gerry received a Ph.D. in Communications from the UW Madison in 1977 and in addition to being a filmmaker has had a long career in film criticism and journalism with his work appearing in The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.

Amy Geller’s award-winning productions include PBS's The War That Made America (2005), For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009), and The Guys Next Door (2016), which she co-directed. Her work has been broadcast on television and screened at prestigious film festivals around the world. She served as the Artistic Director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival and teaches production courses at Boston University.

Listen to Cinematalk below, or subscribe through Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

See THE RABBI GOES WEST and DETERMINED for Free!

Thursday, December 10th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

While the Cinematheque's theatrical venues remain closed, our view-at-home series continues this week with two powerful new documentaries that were originally scheduled to screen as part of the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival.

THE RABBI GOES WEST (USA, 2019, 78 min.) Rabbi Chaim Bruk, a self-proclaimed “salesman of God,” proves unwavering in his efforts to make Jews more religious in this disarming, provocative documentary by Gerald Peary (Archie’s Betty, WFF 2016) and Amy Geller. Brooklyn-born Bruk moves to unlikely Bozeman, Montana, placed there by Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism that puts a high value on outreach. Members of the local Reform and Conservative Jewish communities are not entirely receptive to the methods of this charismatic interloper, who has made a pledge to place a mezuzah on the doorpost of every Jew in Montana. That’s less than 2,000 Jews in a state 14 times larger than Israel.  Sparks fly when Rabbi Chaim and Bozeman’s Reform rabbi clash on issues such as support of Israel, women’s rights, and interpretations of the Torah. But there is a real threat to all the Jews of Montana when Neo-Nazis cyberattack the local rabbis.

DETERMINED (USA, 2020, 74 min.) After losing their mothers to Alzheimer’s disease, three Wisconsin women — determined to find a cure — volunteer their bodies and minds to a pathbreaking UW Madison study. Hailing from Milwaukee, Madison, and Washburn County, respectively, Karen, Sigrid, and Barb face strenuous cognitive exams, exercise tests, and neural scans as part of the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP). This clear-eyed documentary secures access not only to the high-stakes inner workings of medical research, but also to the intimate personal lives and families of the participants. Determined examines, in heartbreaking detail, the toll of Alzheimer’s, particularly on the inner lives of caregivers. It also introduces us to three brave women and a team of doctors who, together, give us hope for a brighter future.

Through December 24 only, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view both Determined and The Rabbi Goes West at home for free. To receive instructions on how to view both movies, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and remember to include the code WFF in the subject line. No further message is necessary.

Two new episodes of our Cinematalk podcast, this week! First, the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser talks with The Rabbi Goes West filmmakers Amy Geller and Gerald Peary. On a separate episode, Ben talks with the team behind Determined. Listen to both episodes of Cinematalk below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Cinematalk Podcast #27: RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN, with David Bordwell

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

This episode of Cinematalk is directly tied to the Cinematheque's presentation of the restored Raining in the Mountain from master filmmaker King Hu. Returning as a guest is David Bordwell, Jacques Ledoux Professor of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Professor Bordwell has written about King Hu in his books Poetics of Cinema and Planet Hong Kong, both of which you can find at his website, davidbordwell.net, along with numerous blog posts about King Hu, and a wealth of scholarship covering every corner of cinema. In 2007, he received a special award for excellence in Asian film scholarship from the Hong Kong Film Festival. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

King Hu's RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN - See Restored Version for Free!

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

While the Cinematheque's theatrical venues remain closed, our view-at-home series continues this week with a restoration of an action masterpiece rarely screened in the U.S.

RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN (KONG SHAN LING YU, Taiwan/Hong Kong, 1979, 122 min., Mandarin with English subtitles) Hailed as “spectacular, exhilarating entertainment” in the New York TimesRaining in the Mountain is one of the final signature achievements of Hong Kong’s original action master, King Hu (Dragon InnA Touch of Zen). In a Ming Dynasty monastery, competing bands of thieves, corrupt monks, and martial artists converge as the temple’s abbot, charged with protecting a sacred scroll, prepares to name his successor. Hu’s aesthetic and technical powers are in full effect in this nimble battle of wits, brought to life through his characteristic finely tuned choreography and balletic action sequences.

“Visually gorgeous and notably abstract… one of his best” (J. Hoberman, New York Review of Books).

For a limited time, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Raining in the Mountain at home for free. To receive instructions on how to view-at-home, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu remember to include the word RAINING in the subject line. No further message is necessary.

New on our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Mike King talks about King Hu with renowned film scholar and Planet Hong Kong author David Bordwell. Listen to Cinematalk below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts.

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 #26: THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, with Matthew Rankin

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

As a bonus to the Cinematheque's presentation of The Twentieth Century, Mike King leads a lively conversation with the movie's ingenious creator, Matthew Rankin. Their talk touches on Canadian national identity, the real and fake Mackenzie King, "dollar store" production design, and much more.

The Twentieth Century was an official selection of the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival and Matthew Rankin's The Tesla World Light screened at the 2018 Wisconsin Film Festival. You can view The Tesla World Light for free here.

Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

See THE TWENTIETH CENTURY for Free

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

While the Cinematheque's theatrical venues remain closed, we invite you to supplement the American holiday celebrations this week with our latest view-at-home selection, a movie that is definitively Canadian.

THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (Canada, 2019, 90 min.) Sick to death of contemporary politics? Rewind to an even crazier campaign with this gloriously ludicrous delight, set in the improbably cutthroat political landscape of Toronto, 1899. Very loosely based on Mackenzie King, the real-life 10th prime minister of Canada (and who would surely be baffled by his own biopic), the film ushers us into a gorgeously realized, faux-technicolor dreamscape rife with surreal sex and nonstop backstabbing. The impossible-to-synopsize plot is a screwball sendup of Canadian national identity, leading its characters through a veritable ice maze of repression. Jam-packed with jokes and dazzling to behold, The Twentieth Century is guaranteed to be the most fun you have watching political machinations all year. (Mike King)

The Twentieth Century was an official selection of the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival and Matthew Rankin's The Tesla World Light screened at the 2018 Wisconsin Film Festival.

“Matthew Rankin's hilarious and unbridled debut is a national treasure, boasting incredible cinematic compositions and stylized set pieces, while delivering a magnificent burn of Canadian identity politics and manhood" (The Globe & Mail).

“A nonstop wonder... the film’s style is impeccable, its comedic delivery perfectly timed, and its editing sharp and energetic. Every laugh segues immediately into anticipatory giggling at what’s to come next. The Twentieth Century being a biopic is merely the icing on the cake of Rankin’s incredible artistry, craft, and utterly bonkers comic and visual sensibility" (/Film).

For a limited time, the Cinematheque is providing a limited number of opportunities to view The Twentieth Century at home for free. To receive instructions on how to view-at-home, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and remember to include the word CANADA in the subject line. No further message is necessary.

New on our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Mike King leads a lively discussion with The Twentieth Century's ingenious creator, Matthew Rankin. Listen to Cinematalk below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts.

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 #25: Amos Vogel at Oberhausen, with Tobias Hering

Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

On a new episode of Cinematalk, presented in tandem with the Cinematheque's free view-at-home tribute to Amos Vogel, Jim Healy speaks with film curator Tobias Hering, an independent curator, researcher and writer based in Berlin who currently directs the "re-selected" project at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. This is an ongoing series of programs based on the festival's analogue print collection and paper archives. Hering’s ongoing research around Amos Vogel, focuses on Vogel’s relations to the Oberhausen festival and his role in the advent of a new film and cinema culture in Germany in the 1960's. Hering is also the editor of several anthologies of film writing published in Europe.

The presentation of this program is fully supported by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago. Special thanks to Consul General Wolfgang Mössinger​ and Philipp von Dreusche. 

Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Free View-at-Home Program - Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel at Oberhausen

Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

While our campus theaters remain closed, the Cinematheque is continuing our series of view-at-home cinema programs with a tribute to a unique and important film programmer.

Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel at Oberhausen. This collection of remarkable and innovative short films from the 1960s reflect the personal and eclectic tastes of Amos Vogel (1921-2012), founder of the influential screening society Cinema 16 and co-founder of the New York Film Festival. Vogel was also a teacher and the author of the seminal book on experimental and avant-garde cinema, Film as a Subversive Art, originally published in 1974. His papers are currently archived at the Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research here at UW Madison.

"All along, Amos was the one hope. He had an audience of five thousand people to whom he would show works that my friends and I regarded as art. That was wonderful, but he showed the films we admired in a mix with scandal movies and documentaries of various shocking subjects...Amos's main concern and consideration was to show things that you couldn't see elsewhere, and that was what attracted his audiences" (Stan Brakhage on Amos Vogel).

The film selections in this program all received some of their earliest screenings in West Germany at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, where Vogel served as a member of the international jury and later as an American programming correspondent. The program has been curated by Tobias Hering, who currently directs the "re-selected" project at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, a festival segment as well as an ongoing program series based on the festival's analogue print collection and paper archives. The four view-at-home selections are:

THE HOUSE IS BLACK (KHANEH SIAH AST, Iran, 1963, 22 min., Farsi with English subtitles). Directed by Forogh Farrohkzad. In the only film she ever directed, the celebrated Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad lyrically renders the denizens of a leper colony in Northern Iran. “Another taboo subject enters the cinema with this poetic and bitter glance at lepers living in enforced idleness and imprisonment...The commentary consists of a montage of Old Testament texts, and a detached, medical explanation…. The stream of mutilations of the human body - and our frightened response which may be more self-identification than empathy - makes us repeatedly avert our glance from what we know exists but cannot face” (Amos Vogel). Restoration courtesy Janus Films.

JOSEF KYLIAN (POSTAVA K PODPÍRÁNÍ, Czechoslovakia, 1963, 38 min., Czech with English subtitles). Directed by Pavel Jurácek, Jan Schmidt. In this absurdist comedy that heralded the Czech New Wave, a young man rents a cat from a “cat rental company” but when he goes to return the pet, it seems the business never existed. “Forerunner of the Czech thaw, this astonishing, Kafkaesque allegory of Stalinism was the first intimation of things to come. Mordant, sophisticated, and secret, it was insidiously anti-Establishment in its comments on bureaucracy, alienation, and the possible incomprehensibility of all human endeavour" (Amos Vogel). Restoration courtesy Czech Film Archives.

FEINE SPIELWAREN (SUPERIOR TOYS) - MADE IN USA (East Germany, 1969, 13 min., German with English subtitles). Directed by Günter Rätz. “The film is a slashing, frontal attack, skilfully edited, on American war toys (‘sold in West Germany') showing Nazi soldiers and tanks, and Fokker, von Richthofen, and Stuka planes ('Have the Americans forgotten that these planes bombed England?'). For good measure, the film ends with monster toys, torture chambers, the Bloody Mummy, and an operating guillotine ('we apologize for showing this in an East German film'). The conclusion is that even toys have been put at the service of aggressive American imperialism, which aims at achieving Hitler's unattained goal: the destruction of the socialist bloc” (Amos Vogel). Archival version, featuring newly translated subtitles by Tobias Hering, courtesy DEFA Film Library, UMass Amherst. Special Thanks to Hiltrud Schulz.

KIRSA NICHOLINA (USA, 1969, 16min). Directed by Gunvor Nelson. Kirsa Nicholina captures the birth of a child at home. “An almost classic manifesto of the new sensibility, it constitutes a proud affirmation of man amidst technology, genocide, and ecological destruction. Birth is presented not as an antiseptic, 'medical' experience, but as the living-through of a primitive mystery, a spiritual celebration, a rite of passage. True to the new sensibility, it does not aggressivley proselytize but conveys its ideology by force of example… Quiet guitar music (composed by the father) accompanies the poetic, tactile images, unobtrusively recorded by the detached camera; no avant-garde pyrotechnics interfere with the intentional simplicity of the statement” (Amos Vogel). Archival version courtesy International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

Beginning November 19 and through December 3, the Cinematheque is offering unlimited viewing of these four outstanding short movies. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu and remember to include the word VOGEL in the subject line. No further message is required or necessary. We will reply with instructions on how to view the movies at home.

The presentation of this program is fully supported by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago. Special thanks to Consul General Wolfgang Mössinger​ and Philipp von Dreusche.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, film curator Tobias Hering of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen talks with the Cinematheque’s Jim Healy about Amos Vogel and his legacy as a cinematic taste-maker. Listen below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts.

Click here to donate to the Cinematheque.

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.

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