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
- Fri., Jan. 21 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
It’s the last picture show for a small movie theater in a sleepy seaside town, which commemorates the occasion with an all-night marathon of Japanese war films. When lightning strikes the theater, three young men are transported into the world onscreen where they experience the violent battles of several wars leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima. A breathless cinematic journey through Japan’s past, the awe-inspiring, visually resplendent Labyrinth of Cinema urges us to consider cinema as a means to change history. The culmination of an exceptional career, this was the final film of Obayashi (1938-2020), whose first feature was the celebrated and phantasmagorical House (1977).
- Fri., Jan. 28 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, renowned stage actor and director Yusuke (Nishijima) is assigned a young woman to chauffeur him in his beloved red Saab while he stages a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. As the production’s premiere approaches, tensions mount between Yusuke and a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke’s late wife. Forced to confront painful truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins - with the help of his driver – to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind. Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story, Drive My Car is a haunting road movie traveling a path of love, loss, acceptance, and peace. Best Film of 2022, New York Society of Film Critics.
- Sat., Jan. 29 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
This new documentary affectionately reveals the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007) through interviews filmed over three decades with the celebrated author\humorist himself. Unstuck in Time follows Vonnegut from his childhood in Indiana, through his traumatic wartime experiences in Dresden, his postwar job with General Electric, the explosion of counter-culture fame that came with the publication of Slaughterhouse-Five, his two marriages, and, his late-in-life stint as an essayist railing against the George W. Bush administration. Curb Your Enthusiasm director Weide, who also wrote and produced a 1996 movie adaptation of Vonnegut’s Mother Night, weaves in his own personal story of his friendship with the great writer.
- Sat., Feb. 12 | 4:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In a remote part of India debilitated by drought, Ganapathy, a chain-smoking drunk is determined to fetch his wife and bring her back to their village. Bringing his young son to join him on a long walk on one of the hottest days of the year, Ganapathy is forced to reckon with his past and his future. “With the stark clarity of its story and the audacity of its style, it presents a complex view of social life, material conditions, and the struggles for selfhood” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker). Pebbles is India’s official submission for Best International Feature to the 94th Academy Awards.
- Sat., Feb. 12 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
2022 Academy Award nominee: Best Documentary Feature! Hailed as “the most inspiring journalism movie—maybe ever” by The Washington Post, this rousing documentary spotlights the only Indian newspaper run entirely by women. Founded nearly 20 years ago by a band of fearless Dalit women in rural Uttar Pradesh, the Khabar Lahariya paper has aggressively taken on India’s patriarchy and beaten the odds to have a real-world impact on local politics. But now, its reporters are facing the directive that is dreaded in newsrooms the world over throughout the 21st century: it’s time to “pivot to video.” As members of India’s lowest caste, many of the paper’s staff have never handled a smartphone before, and reconfiguring their reportage for YouTube is no small hurdle. But with an online presence comes a broader reach, and as their webpage’s clicks start climbing, the self-taught team behind Khabar Lahariya finds themselves taking on national issues and gaining global recognition. This real-world David and Goliath story of women standing up to speak truth to power won both an Audience Award and Special Jury Award at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. “A stirring and inspiring documentary about some very courageous women, who deftly articulate and defend the need for accurate, fearless journalism in the pursuit of justice” (Vox). (MK)
- Fri., Mar. 18 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A principled goldfish farmer is besieged by corrupt corporate and government interests in this searing drama from one of Iran’s contemporary masters. As with his similarly powerful omnibus There Is No Evil (winner of the Audience Award at the 2021 Wisconsin Film Festival), Rasoulof directed A Man of Integrity in bold defiance of a ban on filmmaking by the Iranian government. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. (MK)