Goings On: Berlin Critics’ Week and More

Today we’re opening with an item that bumps New York from its usual top spot in these “goings on” roundups, because the first four titles lined up for this year’s Berlin Critics’ Week (February 14 through 22) have been announced:

  • Ana Urushadze’s Scary Mother (image above), winner of the Best First Feature award in Locarno, “depicts the life of a writer whose newly completed novel features a heroine who appears to be taking inordinate pleasure in explicating how much she hates her family. Art comes too close to life the moment the writer’s husband and children learn of the plot.”
  • The Big House is “an unusual documentary about the largest football stadium in the U.S.,” Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. It’s “based on an initiative by film scholars Markus Nornes and Terri Sarris. This observational documentary project arose from their seminar in the Liberal Arts faculty of the University of Michigan. Using elements of direct cinema to probe the stadium’s inner workings, the full breadth of this study of Donald Trump’s America transpires only gradually.”
  • Mihaela Popescu’s debut feature, Yet to Rule, “fuses traditions from the Romanian New Wave . . . with free-flowing, fantastical narration about gender relations, dominance and the rules of communal life.” World premiere.
  • Octavio Guerra’s documentary Searching for Oscar. “For several months, the director accompanied the film critic Óscar Peyrou from one film festival to the next. In the process, through meticulously composed shots, the director created a dual portrait of an aging critic and of an idiosyncratic festival society.”

Like the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes, the Woche der Kritik is an independent program running parallel to the main event, in this case, the Berlinale (February 15 through 25).

So, to New York. Later this week, look for separate entries on To Save and Project: The 15th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation, opening Thursday and running through February 1, and 60s Verité, the series running at Film Forum from Friday through February 6.

As part its series The Way I See It: Directors’ Cuts, the Quad Cinema is presenting Kenneth Lonergan’s preferred 186-minute cut of Margaret (2011). For Filmmaker,Meredith Alloway talks with Lonergan “about how he crafted Margaret, from the scripting phase to what actually occurred in the the tumultuous post production process. The parallels between the core story of the characters and the production journey of the film itself are evident. As Lonergan puts it, Lisa is ‘finding out that it’s hard to get anything done since everyone else wants to get what they want done as well—just as much as you do.’ For many filmmakers, it’s a battle they face with every project.” Jake Nevins talks with Lonergan, too, for the Guardian.

Jean Becker’s One Deadly Summer (1986) with Isabelle Adjani “is a page-turner paperback come to life,” writes Chris Shields at Screen Slate. “Becker’s father, Jacques, was the artist behind the aging gangster tale Touchez pas au grisbi (Jean served as his father’s assistant director), and the world-weariness and double crosses of that film find their way into the younger Becker’s work.” Screens today as part of the French Institute Alliance Française series Best Actress: A César-Winner Showdown.

Los Angeles.ORG (1967–78) screens tonight as a tribute to the late director Fernando Birri at the Downtown Independent, co-presented by Acropolis Cinema. And the Los Angeles Filmforum series Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America rolls on from Friday through Sunday at the Billy Wilder Theater.

Alejandro Jodorowsky and Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky will be on hand for a Q&A moderated by Amanda Yates Garcia, the Oracle of Los Angeles, following tonight’s screening of Endless Poetry (2016) at the Hammer Museum.

Chicago. Tomorrow, the Chicago Film Society presents a 35 mm print of Martin Scorsese’s first feature, Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967).

Cambridge. From Friday through February 18, the Harvard Film Archive will present a retrospective of work by Frederick Wiseman, who will deliver two of this year’s Norton Lectures, the first on January 29, and the second on February 5. These will be followed by lectures from Agnès Varda (February 27 and 27) and Wim Wenders (April 2 and 9).

Austin. On Friday, the Film Society presents a 35 mm print of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978).

UK. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ animated feature Yellow Submarine, Picturehouse will be bringing a new 4K remastered version to UK cinemas in July. Andreas Wiseman has more at Screen.

London. Tony White, author of The Fountain in the Forest, will be at the London Review Bookshop on Friday to discuss David Hare’s Wetherby (1985).

Paris.Sabzian flags a retrospective of work by Johan van der Keuken screening at the Centre Pompidou from tomorrow through March 19.

Back to Berlin. From Friday through Sunday, there’ll be a series of screenings, talks, and lectures at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Saving Bruce Lee – African and Arab Cinema in the Era of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy.

Vienna. The Austrian Film Museum will present a rare screening of Robert Frank’s Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues (1972) tomorrow, noting that “scandal, groupie hype and open drug use aside, what makes the film significant are Frank’s laconic powers of observation in the middle of raw and seedy goings-on: the rock tour as a sequence of never-ending slack periods, full of exhaustion, boredom and irritation.”

Brussels. From Thursday through February 25, Cinematek presents a retrospective of work by Hong Sangsoo. “Since discovering Bresson’s work triggered him to patiently carve out his own singular path through the world of cinema, the South-Korean filmmaker has continued to weave an ever subtly changing canvas of minute variations on the same narrative threads, playfully entwining themes of love, desire, deception and regret,” writes Stoffel Debuysere.

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