Crafted with the same curatorial acuity we bring to our repertory series, the Premiere Showcase presents exciting new documentaries and feature films by contemporary directors that would otherwise have no theatrical venue in the area. In early 2020, we will present the final feature film from Agnès Varda, a new 3D documentary celebrating the choreography of Merce Cunningham, and the latest installment in Michael Apted’s celebrated Seven Up series of documentaries, among others.
- Thu., Jan. 30 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
- Fri., Jan. 31 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
An icon of modern dance, Merce Cunningham revolutionized his art form through collaborations with fellow luminaries like John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. Packed with a wealth of archival footage and dazzling performances newly filmed in 3-D, Cunningham’s artistic evolution is brought to life in this captivating documentary. “We watch the dancers from close up and on all sides, our proximity enhanced by the magic of 3-D. The elegance of the cinematography turns these passages into the stanzas of a visual poem. Cunningham succeeds in a way most dance documentaries do not: as an art object in and of itself” (The New Yorker).
- Fri., Feb. 7 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The final film from the late, beloved Agnès Varda is a characteristically playful, profound, and personal summation of the director’s own brilliant career. At once impish and wise, she acts as our spirit guide on a free-associative tour through her six-decade artistic journey, shedding new light on her films, photography, and recent installation works while offering her one-of-a-kind reflections on everything from filmmaking to feminism to aging. Suffused with the people, places, and things she loved— her late husband Jacques Demy, cats, colors, beaches, heart-shaped potatoes—this wonderfully idiosyncratic work of imaginative autobiography is a warmly human, touchingly bittersweet parting gift from one of cinema’s most luminous talents.
- Fri., Feb. 21 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
- Sat., Feb. 22 | 2:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In 1964, a group of British children were interviewed for a program called Seven Up!, based on the Jesuit motto “give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Director Apted has done exactly that, returning every seven years to check in on the participants. This ninth installment visits the gang at 63 as they reflect on careers, families, and politics (Apted makes a special point in asking each of the subjects their opinion on Brexit). As the subjects and filmmaker age together, the project has acquired a profound interest in legacy. The wealth of archival material allows for some truly amazing juxtapositions and ensures that anyone new to the series will have no trouble getting up to speed. (MK)
- Fri., Mar. 6 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Brazil, 2027. In this evangelical conservative nation, a puritanical notary imposes her morality on couples seeking divorce, forcing them to stay together through a Kafkaesque web of bureaucracy. Her own fertility issues lead her towards a new, couples-only church with a decidedly hedonistic liturgy. Filmed in lustrous electric neon hues and set to a synth wash, this sexually explicit vision of the near-future posits a disturbingly sleek dystopia. (MK)
- Fri., Mar. 27 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this searing political riff on The Most Dangerous Game is the most talked-about Brazilian film of the year. An isolated outback community notices their town has vanished from digital maps, followed by the unnerving presence of a drone overhead. When a wealthy band of armed mercenaries (led by Kier) starts picking them off, the underclass bands together to save what little they have. "A modern-day western with some of the raw, hallucinatory power of a Sergio Leone epic. Rich and extremely filling" (Los Angeles Times). (MK)