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 a 3D showing of Blake Williams' hypnotic 3D feature Prototype. Plus, The Wild Pear Tree, the latest from Cannes prize-winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Birds of Passage and Diamantino, two recent fest-circuit favorites showing as part of our annual LACIS series; and Origin Story, a new road-movie documentary which will be presented in person by director Kulap Vilaysack.
- Fri., Jan. 18 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Williams’s mind-altering short feature makes the case for 3-D as the most fertile frontier of avant-garde cinema. Drawing inspiration from a 1900 Texas hurricane that remains the deadliest in US history, Prototype combines archival and new materials to create an overwhelming sensory experience, one that can only exist in the theater. “The most significant 3-D film since Goodbye to Language. At once engaged with the history of cinema and situated way out on the medium’s bleeding edge” (Village Voice). “A prescient work in more ways than one… crosses the line from forward-thinking to downright clairvoyant” (Film Comment). Preceded by 10 minutes of early 3D test footage, 1922-1936. (MK)
- Fri., Jan. 25 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Turkish master Ceylan follows up his Palme d’Or winning Winter Sleep with another epic of eloquence, as visually and thematically rich as ever. Fresh out of university, cocky aspiring writer Sinan returns to his small hometown to reconcile his ambition with the people and landscape that forged him. Absorbing in its novelistic depth and detail, The Wild Pear Tree is “immediately engrossing, like that wonderful experience of starting a hefty book late at night an finding oneself reading until dawn” (Mubi). (MK)
- Fri., Feb. 8 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The filmmaking team behind the Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent returns with a much-anticipated gangster saga set in the 1970s Columbian drug trade. Linked by marriage, rival Wayuu clans battle for control over the booming marijuana industry, tossing aside long-held customs in their avarice. The bloody collision between ancient and modern cultures plays out in an eye-popping color palette on a massive widescreen canvas. “An absolutely extraordinary film. Masterpiece” (Playlist). “Practically erupts with color… the super-saturated visuals give the entire experience a heightened, hallucinatory quality, as if fellow South American director Alejandro Jodorowsky had applied his trippy sensibility to something of genuine ethnographic significance” (Variety). (MK)
- Fri., Mar. 1 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A hunky, idiot savant soccer star with a heart of gold, Diamantino’s gilded life comes to a screeching halt when he flubs a crucial penalty kick. The former star’s self-imposed penance is to solve the refugee crisis, but he instead becomes the target of a network of lesbian spies, evil twins, and mad scientists, all swirling around a nefarious campaign to exit the EU and “Make Portugal Great Again.” Holding a cracked funhouse mirror to contemporary Portuguese politics, Diamantino is a funny, sexy, and psychedelic delight. (MK)
- Thu., Apr. 25 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
At age 14, actor, writer and podcaster Vilaysack discovered that her Dad was not her “real father.” Origin Story is the record of Vilaysack’s international quest - from Los Angeles to Laos - to meet her biological father, leading to many unforeseen revelations along the way. Vilaysack will participate in a discussion following this screening, co-presented with the support of Asian American Studies in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.