Premiere Showcase is the Cinematheque’s effort to bring the boldest and most exciting new cinema back to the big screen. Crafted with the same curatorial acuity we bring to our repertory series, Premiere Showcase presents exciting new work by contemporary directors that would otherwise have no theatrical venue in the area. Our selections for this calendar begin with Agnès Varda’s whimsical road movie Faces Places. Also included are Aki Kaurismäki’s funny and moving The Other Side of Hope, shown in a rarefied new 35mm print; The Insult, a powerful new movie from Lebanon; Abbas Kiarostami's experimental final feature 24 Frames; and, part of our annual LACIS selections, new movies from South American directors Lucrecia Martel (Zama) and Daniela Thomas (Vazante).
- Fri., Jan. 26 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
- Sat., Jan. 27 | 5:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
French New Wave legend Agnès Varda (Cléo from 5 to 7, The Gleaners and I) teams up with street photographer and artist JR, five decades her junior, for a whimsical road trip through rural France to create large-scale photographic portraits of ordinary people they encounter––farmers, waitresses, dockworkers’ wives, and many more. Faces Places is at once a vibrant, playful new work from one of cinema’s greatest treasures and a poignant reflection on friendship, aging, and loss. Winner, Golden Eye documentary prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. “Faces Places is unforgettable… once you have seen it you want to keep it with you, like a talisman or a souvenir” (The New York Times). (MSJ)
- Sat., Feb. 10 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The newest feature from Finland’s most celebrated auteur follows the unpredictable exploits of a Syrian refugee in Helsinki. Searching for his sister and facing deportation back to Aleppo, Khaled (Haji) escapes a holding center and finds an unlikely group of protectors: the owner and staff of a failing restaurant. Filled with Kaurismäki’s patented deadpan humor, The Other Side of Hope ultimately offers a moving, humane depiction of a city and its big-hearted denizens. Presented with support from UW Madison’s Middle Eastern Studies program.
- Sat., Feb. 17 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A Lebanese Christian car mechanic and a Palestinian Muslim construction worker in Beirut begin a heated personal argument about a broken drain pipe, leading to a highly publicized legal battle that threatens to disrupt both of their lives and their families. With complex relationships and surprising turns, Lebanese filmmaker Doueiri’s gripping, thought-provoking courtroom drama offers an intricate portrait of the divisions that haunt even routine interactions in this highly charged setting. Kamel El Basha won Best Actor at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. Presented with support from UW Madison’s Middle Eastern Studies program. (MSJ)
- Fri., Mar. 16 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
On an isolated estate in the densely overgrown mountains of 19th century Brazil, two young women live under the thumb of a slave trader. Photographed in stunning black-and-white, this atmospheric vision of colonialist rot recalls the work of Joseph Conrad. This consummate mood piece is the first solo feature by Daniela Thomas, a longtime collaborator of Walter Salles (Central Station, The Motorcycle Diaries). “As authentically immersive an experience of a harsh and loveless past as one could hope for, composed of the sensual details that can make the pleasures and horrors of 200 years ago feel like now” (Variety). (MK)
- Fri., Mar. 23 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The long-awaited fourth feature from Martel (La Ciénaga) is a visionary rendering of 18th century colonialism. Trapped by bureaucrats in a provincial South American town, a Spanish officer longs for transfer to a more distinguished post. The longer he is forced to wait, the looser his grip on reality becomes. Adapting a seminal Argentine novel with incomparable cinematic style, Martel conjures a heady atmosphere that is at once cryptic and focused. “Extraordinary… this is going to be considered a classic” (Kristin Thompson). (MK)
- Sat., Apr. 28 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The final feature by iconic filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, Close-Up, Certified Copy) draws on his parallel career as a still photographer. Ever the sly cinematic manipulator, Kiarostami uses digital animation and sound design to bring 23 of his photographs (and one Bruegel painting) to life. Within these once static images, the filmmaker stages weather, corrals animals, and plays music, in search of what existed in these spaces beyond the instant captured by his camera. “These 24 mini-films abound with his visual acuity and dry authorial humor, all of it in accessible and pleasurable form” (Film Comment). (MK)