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 Fall 2015 selections include When Marnie Was There, the final release from Japan’s legendary animation house, Studio Ghibli; Jason Schwartzman in Bob Byington’s slacker comedy 7 Chinese Brothers; Operation Popcorn, a compelling new documentary that delves into a secretive plot to buy guns for Hmong tribesmen in Laos; Sean Baker’s shot-on-iphone Sundance sensation Tangerine; the Safdie Brothers acclaimed Heaven Knows What; and Guy Maddin’s supremely trippy The Forbidden Room.
- Sat., Sep. 5 | 2:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The last release from Japan’s fabled Studio Ghibli features moonlit seascapes, a glowing orchestral score, and powerful dramatic portrayals that build to a stormy climax. When shy, artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there. The two girls instantly form a unique connection and friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh House again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend. The English language version, which will screen at 2 p.m. only, features the voices of Hailee Steinfeld, John C. Reilly, Kathy Bates, Catherine O’Hara, Ellen Burstyn and Geena Davis.
- Sat., Sep. 5 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The last release from Japan’s fabled Studio Ghibli features moonlit seascapes, a glowing orchestral score, and powerful dramatic portrayals that build to a stormy climax. When shy, artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there. The two girls instantly form a unique connection and friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh House again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend.
- Thu., Sep. 17 | 7:00 PMMarquee
Lazy, lonely yet loveable Larry (Schwartzman) can hold his liquor but can't hold onto a job in this deadpan comic meditation on a bum and his bulldog from writer-director Byington (Harmony and Me, Somebody Up There Likes Me). Fired from his previous restaurant gig for drinking on the clock, Larry ends up at Quick Lube vacuuming cars and actually somewhat enjoying it, mostly due to a new crush on his attractive boss. With the emotional support of his only friend (Adebimpe) and financial help from his cranky grandmother (Olympia Dukakis), unmotivated yet always droll Larry barely tries to get by. Director Byington will particpate, via Skype, in a post-screening conversation. A co-presentation of WUD Film and UW Cinematheque. (CS)
- Sat., Oct. 10 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
During the Vietnam War, the CIA recruited Hmong tribesmen in the hills of Laos to fight the Communists. Forty years later in California, LoCha Thao, a Hmong human rights activist (and former Wisconsin resident), is mysteriously approached about buying weapons to continue the fight. Recounting the rise and fall of General Vang Pao and his Secret Army, this complex and compelling documentary calls to mind the true stories behind both Argo and American Hustle. Director David Grabias will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. Presented in partnership with Madison’s Asian-American Media Spotlight.
- Sat., Oct. 24 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Shot—beautifully and entirely—on iPhones, this mind-blowing, gender-bending knockout is one of the year’s must-see films. It’s Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, as a pair of motor-mouthed transgender women pinball across the city in search of their two-timing pimp. Newcomers Rodriguez and Taylor are screamingly funny as Alexandra and Sin-Dee, two larger (and louder)-than-life personalities that you’ve never encountered onscreen before. Gleefully profane, incandescently heartfelt, and positively bursting off the screen with energetic swagger, Tangerine is like nothing else in cinema. Director Baker (Starlet, Prince of Broadway) will join us in person to talk about the making of his groundbreaking feature after the screening. (MK)
- Fri., Nov. 20 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Based on the unpublished memoirs of star Arielle Holmes, this searing look at Manhattan street kids boldly collapses reality and fiction. Holmes and Jones play a pair of star-crossed junkies whose cracked romance plays out as they scramble between scores. With its primal performances, roving 16mm cinematography, and throbbing electronic score, Heaven Knows What achieves an unparalleled level of intensity. This visceral, uncompromising vision of New York’s homeless youth ranks among the most indelible American indies of the decade. (MK)
- Sat., Dec. 12 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Inspired by the titles of lost films from throughout movie history, this delirious and hilarious “recreation” of vanished relics could only have sprung from the cine-addled mind of master exhumer (and recent Cinematheque guest) Maddin (My Winnipeg). A breakneck, psychedelic feast of cinema that exists in a perpetual state of jaw-dropping reinvention, The Forbidden Room has been favorably compared to taking LSD in a film archive. “Has more ideas in ten minutes than most filmmakers have in their entire oeuvres” (Sight & Sound). (MK)