Damien Chazelle in Person!


On February 23, the Cinematheque is delighted to welcome in person the youngest filmmaker to earn a Best Director Academy Award, Damien Chazelle. Chazelle will present a rare 35mm print of the wonderful musical that earned him this distinction, 2016’s La La Land. Leading up to this event will be a series featuring Chazelle’s two previous feature films, along with two thrillers for which he wrote the screenplays. These diverse movies all demonstrate the many talents of this cinephilically-minded artist, who has also selected a series of personal favorites from throughout film history that will screen on February 24.

  • Fri., Feb. 2 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

A talented, ambitious first year conservatory jazz drumming student (Teller) is taken under the wing of a dictatorial master instructor (Simmons) in this audacious high-wire act of filmmaking. Building off of Chazelle’s short of the same name, Whiplash is an extended drum solo of a movie that employs a virtuosic performance from Simmons and razor sharp editing to grab the viewer’s attention. As the tense story progresses and threatens to go off the rails, Chazelle reins everything back in for the stops-on-a-dime finale, offering up the perfect marriage of form and content. (BR)

  • Fri., Feb. 9 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

During his first concert performance after a five year hiatus, an acclaimed but troubled classical pianist (Wood) is told that if he plays one wrong note, a sniper will shoot him and his wife! Damien Chazelle wrote the script for this Hitchcockian thriller that moves in an unpredictable fashion from the intriguing set-up through the revelation of the shooter’s motives.

  • Fri., Feb. 9 | 8:45 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Regaining consciousness after a car accident, a woman (Winstead) finds herself handcuffed and trapped in a survivalist’s bunker. Her captor (Goodman) explains that he rescued her from the side of the road, and that he is keeping her safe in the midst of an apocalyptic attack. With smart direction, sly performances, and a screenplay (co-written by Damien Chazelle) packed to the brim with tension and twists, 10 Cloverfield Lane entertains by constantly having us consider to what genre it might actually belong. (BR)

  • Fri., Feb. 16 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Before La La Land, Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz laid the groundwork for their Oscar wins with an irresistibly ambitious debut: a microbudget musical shot handheld on gloriously grainy black-and-white 16mm film. A jazz trumpeter and a grad student separate after a few months together, but the memory of each other lingers, expressed through tap-dancing musical numbers and jazz solos. “A magical amalgam of Jean-Luc Godard, Miles Davis, Morris Engel and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (Variety). “No movie I’ve seen this year has given me more joy” (J. Hoberman, Village Voice). Preceded by the original short film version of Whiplash (2018, 18 min.) (MK)

  • Fri., Feb. 23 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Chazelle’s colorful and exuberant modern take on the classic movie musical follows the romantic relationship of two aspiring artists in Los Angeles: actress Mia (Stone) and jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling). From the boisterous opening number to its melancholic epilogue, the director displays a masterful and enthusiastic control of sound and image, aided immeasurably by the memorable Justin Hurwitz score. Chazelle, who won a Best Director Academy Award for La La Land, will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

  • Sat., Feb. 24 | 12:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Anthropologist/filmmaker Rouch and sociologist Morin collaborated on this influential and unforgettable look at ordinary Parisians in the summer of 1960. By asking all of their subjects the basic question, “Are you happy?”, Rouch and Morin uncover the hopes and dreams of individuals from all walks of life. The screening will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Damien Chazelle and UW Madison Professor of Film Kelley Conway. Restored 2K DCP courtesy Cineteca di Bologna.

  • Sat., Feb. 24 | 2:30 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Through 26 short stories, director Friedrich tells of the highly charged relationship between a young girl and her father. Selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, Sink or Swim is a formally challenging and deeply moving film.

  • Sat., Feb. 24 | 3:30 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Selected by jazz lover Damien Chazelle, these three short films provide marvelous cinematic showcases for such music legends as Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, and Jimmy McPartland. Prints courtesy Library of Congress and UCLA Film & Television Archive.

  • Sat., Feb. 24 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Ford’s canonized Western takes a look at the friendship between lawman Wyatt Earp (Fonda) and degenerate gambler/former dentist Doc Holliday (Mature), culminating in their showdown with the vicious Clanton gang at the O.K. Corral. A violent tale rendered through a tender and nostalgic lens and featuring stirring cinematography by Joe McDonald, My Darling Clementine is a movie filled with infinite visual grace notes.