IFS Pocketbook No. 1 (Fall 2018)

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The International Film Series is Boulder’s first arthouse cinema. Established in 1941, it now works with the C.U. Film Studies Program from an office in the Roser ATLAS building. Most films are screened in Muenzinger Auditorium.



FALL 2017



THE INTERNATIONAL FILM SERIES The International Film Series is a seasonal calendar program devoted to movies that matter. We screen over 100 movies every year. The I.F.S., having been established in 1941, is older than the Cannes Film Festival (which was founded in 1946). The I.F.S. screens most movies in the 400-seat Muenzinger Auditorium west of the Buffalo Plaza and Folsom Field, although we do also sometimes use other venues on campus as needed. The campus location of Muenzinger Auditorium (or Room E-050, as the folks in central scheduling refer to it) lies in a courtyard circled by the buildings for Muenzinger Psychology, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Porter Biosciences. Our somewhat hidden location has helped to make us one of Boulder’s best-kept secrets. People who are serious about cinema eventually find us. The I.F.S. is powered by hardcore cinephiles, faculty, and students at C.U. Boulder. It has always been a non-commercial haven for those craving a sacred third space - away from home, away from work - a place for a community of people who believe in the big-screen experience where classics films are still shown on 35mm alongside new international and and independent works via DCP projection. Special guests we have brought in the past, for FREE presentations include: William Burroughs, Werner Herzog, Les Blank, Terry Jones, Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker, Charlie Kaufman, John Cameron Mitchell, Godfrey Reggio, Don Hertzfeldt, Alex Cox, Cory McAbee, T.J. Miller, Derek Cianfrance, and even Rob Schneider (okay, that one we did for the money).

Pocketbook contributors Pablo Kjølseth - IFS Director, miscellaneous essays herein. John Adams - Graphic Designer for IFS calendar and IFS Pocketbook. Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz Chair of CU Film Studies Program David Gatten - We excerpt an ode from a longer email. Godfrey Cheshire - Fingers crossed he doesn’t mind our excerpts. Alex Cox - Guardian excerpt, with permission. Geoff Dyer - Two footnotes and one cover pic from his ZONA book.

Jiayang Fan - Fingers crossed she doesn’t mind our excerpts. Michael Casey - Kindly provides his Boulder Weekly review of Wertmüller, with permission. Built To Spill - Is a great band, with great lyrics. Which we reproduce here. Francisco Kjolseth - Is a photographer for the SLC Tribune, and kindly allowed us to reprint his pic here. Cory Taylor - Is the powerful writer behind Dying: A Memoir, which everyone should read. Apologies to David Bordwell, Rolling Stone, and sundry others whose images we have cribbed willy-nilly.


Movies tell stories. They can transport you to different countries. They can put you in the head of another gender, a different identity, another cultural viewpoint. They can take you back in time, show you new truths about the present, reveal all kinds of possible futures and alternate possibilities. They can push past the borders of tribal mindsets. They can be wonderful empathy portals that feed your mind. They are, in sum, the opposite of football, which unites one tribe by setting it against another, and which damages the minds of the young players who gamble their health to fuel mob frenzy. Why not ditch the mob and join us instead? You’ll meet interesting people, and go to fascinating places. After all, we’re all in this fleeting existence together, so why not see and hear each other instead of bashing our brains out?

JOIN THE IFS THIS FALL TO SEE STORIES THAT TAKE PLACE IN THE FOLLOWING COUNTRIES: France Elle School of Babel Slack Bay Fatima Black Girl May Allah Bless France! Le Cercle Rouge Jules et Jim

Italy Behind the White Glasses Love and Anarchy Swept Away Seven Beauties Spettacolo Mexico Time To Die Tales of an Immoral Couple Russia Solaris Stalker China The Road I Am Not Madame Bovary Sweden The Square Martha & Niki Spain All About My Mother The Trip to Spain Chile Endless Poetry Dominican Republic Woodpeckers Taiwan Eat Drink Man Woman TUNISIA As I Open My Eyes




Elle Black Girl May Allah Bless France! Le Cercle Rouge Jules et Jim Slack Bay

Endless Poetry Woodpeckers Time to Die Tales of an Immoral Couple All About My Mother

French, Arabic As I Open My Eyes Fatima (French

Swedish The Square Martha & Niki

Russian Solaris Stalker (Russian)



Behind the White Glasses Love and Anarchy Swept Away Seven Beauties Spettacolo

I Am Not Madame Bovary Eat Drink Man Woman

Japanese The Departure

Chinese The Road

DIRECTORS Catherine Bainbridge (co-director) Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Tora Mårtens Martha & Niki

Layla Bouzid As I Open My Eyes

Julie Bertuccelli School of Babel

Lina Wertmüller Behind the White Glasses Love and Anarchy Swept Away Seven Beauties

WHEN IS IT CINEMA? The following excerpts are from THE DEATH OF FILM / THE DECAY OF CINEMA, by Godfrey Cheshire, published Dec. 30, 1999: Film refers to the traditional technology of motion pictures: the cameras, projectors, celluloid, lights and other gear that have been responsible for every movie you’ve ever seen in a theater. Prognosis: Sudden death. In a very short amount of time, film in theaters will disappear, replaced by digital projection systems and, soon enough, by productions that don’t involve celluloid even at the shooting stage. This transformation will effectively mean that a medium that has been ubiquitous in the 20th century basically won’t exist beyond the first few years of the 21st. Movies here refers to motion pictures as entertainment. You know? movies. Everyone loves movies. Prognosis: Forced mutation. For one thing, movies will no longer be the dominant attractions at movie theaters; they’ll have lots of noisy competition. They’ll also be heavily affected by the technologies that succeed film, namely television and computers. Movies are forever, basically, but movies after the 20th century will have neither the esthetic singularity nor the cultural centrality that they presently enjoy. Cinema refers to movies understood (and practiced) as an art. The cream of the medium’s expressive history has generally equated with the excellence of individual creators, from Chaplin and Keaton to Fassbinder and Kiarostami. Prognosis: Rapid decay. Cinema reached its point of maximal definition a couple of decades back, and has been slowly dissipating as a cultural force since. The end of film will help hasten cinema toward past-tense museum status where it will “thrive” in the way Renaissance painting now does....

So far, celluloid’s only Horatio-at-the-bridge is Roger Ebert, who at this year’s Cannes Film Festival started sounding the alarm. Ebert is concerned that the technological revolution is being rushed into place without the industry having done (or made public) any studies about its likely effects, especially on the psychological level. He mentioned data (cited in Jerry Mander’s famous polemic Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television) indicating that film creates a beta state of alert reverie in the brain, where tv provokes an alpha state of passive suggestibility. Is it possible, Ebert wonders, that the subliminal catnip that people value in movies is being thrown out with the celluloid, and that audiences will soon abandon digital movies because they’re too much like tv?...

But let’s resist that assumption for a moment and consider that this change could have profound implications, ones that the corporations pushing the new technology perhaps prefer you not to scrutinize. The critic Andre Bazin believed that photography and its stepchild film brought people into a fundamentally new relationship with reality and the natural world. That’s because photographs, unlike every previous means of visual representation, are not subjective interpretations of visible reality but objective impressions of it. Directly caused by light leaving the things they record, they have an essential equivalence and connection to the objects they portray. At its deepest levels, Bazin thought this equivalence had religious ramifications; he likened the photographic image to the Shroud of Turin and the veil of Veronica (the title of Fassbinder’s Veronica Voss gives the latter an added dimension, if you read it as invoking cinema as the “true image (and) voice”) ...

Where is CGI leading us? Let’s just say that it’s hardly surprising that recent CGI sci-fi movies like Dark City and The Matrix hinge on the same concept: reality itself is computer-generated. Nor does this represent any sort of utopian fulfillment. The mood of these movies is full of paranoia, dread and disorientation. The story is invariably the same: the hero is trying to escape. But he is like Theseus without a thread, trapped in an imaginary labyrinth. Inevitably, every CGI movie returns us to one basic conundrum: if the world is unreal, where does that leave the viewer? Is he not just as empty and spectral?a mirror held up to a flickering void? ...

At the same time, movies themselves will undergo a technical sea change. Video technology will displace film in the shooting as well as the showing of movies. After an initial phase of trying to maintain the old look of film (as many tv dramas still do), movies will start to look a lot more like tv?very high-quality tv. Digital will greatly facilitate lowbudget production, but that won’t mean you’ll be seeing more lowbudget movies, because the change will also facilitate the means by which super-expensive movies get to be superspectacular. Computer generated imagery (CGI), like that used to create the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and planets and cities in movies like The Phantom Menace and The Matrix, is the key. It will make many things about movies more fantastical and awesome than ever before, but also less real. You may love what you see, but you literally won’t be able to believe your eyes. And with that sudden, decisive break from the old esthetic and ethical moorings of photography, moving-image technology will enter a new era.

WHY? A Note to Colleagues by David Gatten, C.U. Film Studies faculty The sun is sliding lower in the sky and I am thinking: Cinema is always most powerful, most meaningful and significant when experienced in a group - the illuminated frame not simply an autonomous region, separated from the viewers in distance, defined and bounded by the four sides of the screen - but, rather, the cone of light acts to focus the attention of multiple minds, with their multiplicity of experiences - thus the movement of the image is not simply one of representation of the past, but the activation of the present that creates a social space for Ideas born of Experience. I had that experience last night, at the IFS screening of the Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere and impeccable Le Samourai, projected in gorgeous 35mm, with Melville’s characteristic cool colors and shades of shadow armies of shadow, as the filmmaker would have it - that could never be reproduced in any other medium. The room was full and the viewers around us focused an attention that was as palpable as the sense of suspense laced with impending doom that played out on screen. A 2005 Guggenheim Fellow, Gatten’s films premiere regularly at Lincoln Center in the New York Film Festival and his films have been included twice in the Whitney Biennial (2002 and 2006), as well as in the landmark exhibition “The American Century: Art & Culture, 1900-2000″ at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Human Chandelier by pk Every time I get on an airplane and hit turbulence, I think of what it would be like to die as my body is pulverized and mangled by hot metal as it smashes into rocky ground and leaves a smoking crater filled with bloody, scattered body parts. During those moments, I also assure myself that flying is still safer than driving a car and at any given time there are 100,000 people aloft in the air and safely getting from one point to another. Even so, I clearly do a poor job of assuaging my primal survival instincts as, upon landing, my shirts always smell the same: it will be soaked in the smell of fear. I know my fellow travellers are not immune, because the smell of fear is contagious. “In one study in 2002, for example, 60 women were asked to distinguish between sweat pads worn by women who had watched the horror film or a documentary. They rated the sweat from the scary film watchers as stronger, less pleasant and smelling more ‘like aggression’.” (The Guardian, Dec. 3, 2008; “The smell of fear is real, say scientists”.) Our sense of smell is vastly under appreciated in the arts, but it’s there whenever you mingle in a crowd. It’s possible to be physically attracted to someone, yet find their smell off-putting. And vice-versa. Soap, deodorant, shampoo, aftershave, perfume, they all interact with your own singular pheromones. The latter is primal and cannot be masked. It is also exacerbated by your experiences; be it joy, love, dread, or horror. As a projectionist for the poet and filmmaker, Stan Brakhage, I remember him telling the class that a crowd of people watching a movie together are engaged in building a cathedral of smells. On another occassion he also referred to this mix of pheromones as a chandelier. I think of them as both, and I can see that chandelier getting rocked back and forth whenever I’m in a crowd watching a movie that has people in the full thrall of its story. It’s a dance, one that you won’t see when you’re alone or sitting next to only a few buddies in your living room. We grew up hearing nursery rhymes, including one for the fingers: “Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple. Open the door and see all the people. Here’s the parson going upstairs, And here he is saying his prayers.” If I was a poet I’d write one for the eyes. It would allude to how movie theaters are a sacred place of congregation, one where strangers meet to provide the chandelier of emotions as they sway under one dream, one sermon. The projectionist would be the parson. As to the prayer, that would be informed by the mingled pheromones of our swirling and collective chandelier.

Long-lasting Subliminal Catnip by pk Although the IFS now screens mostly digital features using the latest DCP technology, we still show film on 35mm whenever possible. This is to remind people of the flicker, the “beta state of alert reverie” and “subliminal catnip” referred to in Cheshire’s preceding essay. Not everyone is alive to the magic of celluloid projection, and the other day I overheard a film student confess to his friends that he’d seen Dr. Strangelove at the IFS on film, but he would have preferred it on a crisp 4K digital transfer. Perhaps only those of us old enough to have been steeped in the flicker are alive to what is lost when you trade the frame-by-frame fragile emulsion that requires your brain to stitch together the images like a flip-book and you replace that with cold zeros and ones. But it’s not just the flicker, it’s not just the density, it’s not just the more complex color grade that film provides, which would be akin to 6k resolution if one could compare apples to oranges, film also provides something else that’s very important when compared to changing digital platforms: longevity and accessibility. Even a child can unspool a reel of film and see that the pictures tell a story. That’s not the case with a hard-drive or flash-drive, and never mind whether it’s encrypted. A few years ago I saw a nitrate print of a film reel that had been smuggled past various Nazi check-points to reveal 20 minutes of a Hitler speech that, presumably, provided somebody back here in America desired information. Nitrate film sparkles in its own way when it’s not blowing up projection booths. It was eerie how vividly the past came to life as I looked up at the demagogue gathering his power by espousing fear, hatred, and violence. It’s important to remember the past and that one reel of film traveled through 70 years of time to reach my eyes with a message of doom writ large in light and dark, life and death. Speaking of analog longevity: on August 20th and September 5, of 1977, a pair of robots named Voyager were dispatched toward the outer solar system. It took advantage of a once-every-175-year planetary alignment that allowed the robots to use gravity to slingshot from Jupiter to Saturn, then Uranus, Neptune, and beyond. They both carried golden records inscribed with pictures and sounds from earth. These included a greeting from Jimmy Carter, music by Chuck Berry and other carefully curated marvels courtesy of Carl Sagan, including instructions for how to play the record. That was over 40 years ago but it’s comforting to think that Chuck Berry’s song on that Golden record might yet play hundreds (thousands?) of years from now.

Five years ago I had a hard drive full of music, photographs, videos, and memories. It completely crapped out and is now useless other than as a door stopper. Now everyone lives in the so-called “cloud”. It almost sounds heavenly until you realize it’s not a cloud, it’s just a bunch of computers, and you don’t own them. All your data rests on ever-changing platforms that can be strip-mined, altered, sold, or deleted by a quirk of fate or marketplace. Formats matter. (P.S. - On Wednesday, November 1, we will screen a 35mm print of Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll in memory of Chuck Berry, who passed away this year.)

Keith Richards once said, “I couldn’t warm to him even if I was cremated next to him.” But Richards and others couldn’t deny Berry’s importance as the most innovative guitarist and lyricist in rock & roll history. Leonard Cohen once said, “All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry.” Bob Dylan named him “the Shakespeare of rock & roll. -- Rolling Stone, April 2017: Chuck Berry, 1926 - 2017, by Mikal Gilmore.

Totality by pk On Monday, August 21st, Meredith, my partner and I found ourselves in Torrington, Wyoming, population: 6,000. We had driven a Prius deep into Trump country where we, to quote from A Streetcar Named Desire, found ourselves relying on the kindess of strangers. Destination for totality was a property owned by the county head of Homeland Security. A Red Cross tent had been erected nearby, and 3,000 body bags had been procured in case of unexpected carnage, traffic fatalities, drug-fueled craziness, suicides, and other such calamities. Not a single body bag was used. Instead, a group of people who thought they had nothing in common found themselves sharing an intense excitement at the spectacle above us. Our heart rates thrummed as one. Our emotions were reflected in each others faces which, in turn, amplified, magnified, and electrified our feelings. In other words, the eclipse was the opposite of a political rally that pits Democrats against Republicans. It was theopposite of a football game that pits states agasint each other. It was a natural wonder that aligned heavenly bodies above with amazed and emotional human beings below as they gasped and cried in wonder at a beautiful shared experience. Strangers in the dark staring at stars above and sharing emotions. This sounds familiar. As a hardcore cinephile who has traveled both to Seattle and Portland to see the planetary alignments of 2001: A Space Odyssey on 70mm film, I can attest to feeling a pinch of that eclipse magic at those times too. When we screened that same film on 35mm last semester I still choked up. It just goes to prove that sometimes the stars align right here in Boulder inside the Muenzinger Auditorium. Photo by Francisco Kjolseth

Rockets from Russia by Alex Cox

(The following excerpt is from Alex Cox’s Rockets from Russia: great Eastern Bloc sciencefiction films, published June 2011 in The Guardian.) If we can begin with a sweeping generalisation, American science-fiction movies are usually distinguished by a fast pace that gets faster and ends with an enormous bang. Not all: George Lucas’s THX 1138 and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey are different. But these are exceptional even within those directors’ work: Lucas’s other scifi films being fast-moving toy-operas, while Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove and Clockwork Orange are relentless in their irony and forward movement. Partially, I think, this is because US sci-fi films were born of very low budgets in the 1950s, in the hands of independents such as Jack Arnold. They were often parables about the danger of nuclear testing, which caused men to shrink, or ants to grow giant, or prehistoric sea-beasts to carry off swimsuited girls. Films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon and Them! relied on visual effects, but those effects were pretty cheesy, and couldn’t be on screen for long – so, cut to the scientist and his daughter, and on to the explosion. 2001 is, by contrast, famously slow-paced and enigmatic. Its meaning remains unclear four decades on, and it still resembles its own seamless monolith, “its origin and purpose a total mystery”. In its pace, its attention to the mechanical detail of space flight, and its memorable computer, 2001 is, in some ways, the perfect Russian science-fiction film. I say this because many film enthusiasts will have seen the film the Russians actually made, Tarkovsky’s Solaris. It is an extraordinary film: not as fine as Kubrick’s in its special effects, but much more complex in its depiction of human beings captured by aliens and placed in an imaginary world based on an incomplete understanding of their memories. 2001 is about the big picture – the great gas planets turning, the vast space station wheeling around Earth – while Solaris deals with little things, like why a man can’t undo his wife’s dress, or why it’s raining indoors.


(New digital transfer screens at IFS on Saturday, November 18th)

I Am Not Madame Bovary

(screens at IFS on Monday, November 13th) I often times get ideas for movies that I’d like to bring to the IFS when reading articles that are outside of the usual realm, which is to say movie reviews or trade magazines. Case in point: I Am Not Madame Bovary. Jiayang Fan’s article in the New Yorker, titled “China’s MistressDispellers”, was a fascinating read that piqued my curiosity regarding a film that was apparently a huge success in China. A few inquiries later on my part and I was able to find both exhibition rights and a DCP source for the movie in question. Those interested should put Monday, November 13th aside if they’d like to see what the fuss is about. Grace Gui, a Shanghai divorce lawyer at Watson & Band, one of the largest law firms in China, told me that most of the cases she handles revolve around property rights. “In divorces, many Chinese people transfer assets ahead of time,” she said. “There are three ways they go about it: first, hide the assets; second, register them under someone else’s name; third, overstate their liabilities.” She has seen cases in which husbands take on high-interest debt on purpose. “Most housewives have no way of incurring this kind of debt, so it’s mostly men, especially entrepreneurs, who benefit. Occasionally, she discovers that clients have embarked on sham divorces, in order to buy property on preferential terms that are available only to unmarried people. Men have been known to lure their wives into this arrangement and then take up with mistresses as soon as the papers are signed. The phenomenon is common enough that, last year, it constituted the plot of a critically acclaimed film, I Am Not Madame Bovary. (China’s Mistress-Dispellers; How the economic boom and deep gender inequality have created a new industry, by Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, June 2017.)

Confessions of an Arthouse Film Exhibitor by pk The IFS was born in 1941 when passionate cinephiles here at C.U. Boulder gathered together to put on a show. It was sparked by Stuart Cuthbertson (French Department), strengthened by James Sandoe (English and Theatre), then deepened by Forrest Williams (Philosophy), among many others who followed (including Don Yannacito, a teacher of mine when I was a film student here at the C.U. Film Studies Program). The I.F.S. was, and remains, a work-in-progress and a work-of-passion tended to by people who love film, but also love to read, learn, and to broaden their own horizons. My predecessors would read film reviews in The New Yorker, The New York Times, industry trade magazines, various movie books, and they wondered why New York and L.A. should have all the fun... why not bring those films to Boulder? I read the same publications today and also attend film festivals to see what gems I might share with a Boulder audience. Technology changes everything, of course, and one thing that has been drastically altered is how an independent arthouse movie exhibitor sifts through all the new movies being released in any given year. It used to be that you watched said movies in movie theaters at film festivals. Then came VHS tapes. Then came DVD’s. Now we have Vimeo links, and sometimes these have the name of the person watching them watermarked throughout the movie to protect them from piracy. As I watch a lot of unrated movies, there are times when things get a bit saucy and the adjoining screen grabs show why this is something that should not be done while on an elliptical machine at the C.U. Boulder Rec Center. Or even the campus office. There are some pitfalls to watching movies for a living, especially in our day and age when anyone with a smart-phone can put something together, call it a movie, and then send along a Vimeo link via email asking you to watch their masterpiece. (I have, btw, seen some good movies shot using a smart-phone, such as Tangerine, which screened at the IFS.) There are even a few film festivals that make all their titles available via password-protected Vimeo links. The downside? When a distributor sends me a link to a dozen movies they are representing, they feel they are doing me a favor. And they are. But that one email now can represent 24 hours of my time. The distributor can also, on their end, now see whether I watched the whole movie or if I stopped

after 20 minutes or so. Gone are the days of that gentle white lie where I say “Yes, I saw it, but it’s not my cup of tea.” Now a distributor knows if I saw it at all, and for how long. Either way, I know how fortunate I am to be in a position where part of my paid work involves watching movies. It beats working on iPhones at a Foxconn’s Longhua complex in Shenzhen, China. By the way, two of the screen grabs below are from my Vimeo screener links for The Square. The Square won the Palm D’or at Canne and was watched in an appropriate setting (i.e.: not at the Rec Center or in my campus office) and with a handful of local film critics in attendance. We all agreed it was well worth bringing to the big screen here at the IFS where it will screen Dec. 6 - 9 at 7:30 in Muenzinger.


Trigger Warnings by pk I was hired to program the International Film Series in 1997. At that time, there was a long held tradition of *not* including the ratings anywhere in the description of the film, be the film rated “G” (like 2001: A Space Odyssey), or “R” (like most so-called “mature” films), or “unrated” (as is the case with most independent films who don’t have the money or muscle to even deal with the rating process). Back then when I asked my supervisor, Don Yannacito, about this policy he simply said something along the lines of “Yeah, that’s just something a bit different about the way we do things here to encourage our audience to step outside of their comfort zones.” I got it immediately. It’s a way to make going out to the cinema a bit like going out on a blind date. Have an adventure! Challenge yourself! Times have changed. Don, who always left good workers alone and never micromanaged them, is no longer my supervisor. Administrative layers have tripled, along with bureaucratic oversight and an unspoken campus directive that favors a risk-adverse culture. Put another way, we all now live under a Supreme Court whose most recent addition, a man with local connections to Boulder, Mr. Neil Gorsuch, proudly adheres to “the cold neutrality of law. Add to the equation this: Bruce Kawin, a faculty member who had been teaching a horror film class for several decades told me about an incident in his class where, after the syllabus had been passed out to all the students (and, mind you, this was a syllabus that included films such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), a student raised his hand. Bruce called on the student. The student asked: “Will you warn us ahead of time if a film will have disturbing imagery?” This question was asked in a class called: Horror Films. Let that sink in. When Bruce finished telling me that story he then stopped, went completely silent, turned his head, met my gaze, eyeballs-to-eyeballs, and there we were: face to face. His a mask of complete unbelief. It was one of many moments that have surfaced recently where I find myself sharing a moment with sentient minds that seem to ask: “When did we enter this a parallel universe?” Bruce retired shortly thereafter.

Last Spring we had a Kubrick retrospective curated by Ernesto AcevedoMuùoz. He encouraged his students to attend the IFS where they could see Kubrick’s work on film and a big screen. A Clockwork Orange was one of those films. One of his students attended and then filed a complaint because Ernesto had not provided a trigger warning. Ernesto’s defense: reading the book was mandatory before the screenings, so this student had clearly not done their homework. But should Ernesto have provided a trigger warning for required reading? And here we are. The planet is on fire, a demagogue holds the nuclear launch codes, and apparently, we need trigger warnings for literature and movies that are almost a half-century old. At a university. A place of learning. For the record: I caved. IFS movie reviews, which are now only listed on the website since the printed calendar has scant room for anything more than a graphic with title and time, do include the ratings. Let that be trigger warning enough. And if the film is unrated, any concerned viewer now has the internet at their fingertips to answer any question. It is my hope, however, that there are still enough hardy minds out there that might welcome the unexpected so as to grapple with new ideas and grow from said challenge.

SPOILER ALERT: All our films come to an end.

Something to do with life. by Michael J. Casey If you were a moviegoer in the 1970s, chances are pretty good that you watched a fair amount of Lina Wertmüller films. L o v e & Anarchy and Swept Away were mainstays at the arth o u s e , Laraine Newman impersonated her on Saturday Night Live, Pauline Kael and Molly Haskell took her gender politics to task, and Seven Beauties earned her a Best Director nomination at the 1977 Academy Awards, the first for a female director. But cinema trends are fickle things. Though Wertmüller’s career boasts a couple dozen films — a handful of which are bonafide masterpieces — her name has receded behind the Italian boys club of Fellini, Antonioni, and Bertolucci. Thankfully, the good people are Kino Lorber Repertory have restored seven of Wertmüller’s best and three of them, and a documentary about Wertmüller, make their way to the Centennial State for CU’s International Film Series. Behind the White Glasses (d. Valerio Ruiz, 2017) (screens at IFS on Tuesday, October 10th) IFS’s Wertmüller series opens with Behind the White Glasses, director Valerio Ruiz’s loving portrait of Wertmüller’s life in cinema. Combining current day interviews with Wertmüller at home and at the various locations where her movies were shot, Behind the White Glasses loops in the requisiteinterviews with critics, collaborators, and everyone’s favorite cinephiles, Martin Scorsese. As one might expect, the results are somewhat lionizing and, at moments, polemic — divisive New York critic John Simon calls Wertmüller one of the only two great women directors, the other being Leni Riefenstahl. Behind the White Glasses also supplies viewers with context, giving an impression of the social environment Wertmüller’s films were made and released in. As one sociologist points out, her films were not only about the present, they were ironically prophetic.

Love & Anarchy (1973) (screens at IFS on Wednesday, October 11th) “Life is a bitch. If you don’t laugh at it, better to shoot yourself.” Existing somewhere between Federico Fellini and David Lynch, Wertmüller’s Love & Anarchy is a period drama about an innocent, freckle-faced farm boy cum anarchist sent to Rome to assassinate Benito Mussolini. Wertmüller regulars, Giancarlo Gianni and Mariangela Melato, star as the would-be-assassin, Tunin, and Salomè, the prostitute who aids him. Featuring stunning photography, signature close-ups,and a fast-moving camera — at times, just as reckless as Sam Fuller — Wertmüller uses Love & Anarchy’s brothel setting to plunder the eternal struggle between the haves and have-nots; identifying with Tunin, a man who sees living under the boot of Fascism as an indignity so great, he would rather die the violent death of a martyr.

Swept Away (1974) (screens at IFS on Thursday, October 12th) “The sea is vast but it’s nothing compared to the stupidity of people.” Wertmüller has always been one to wear her politics on her sleeve, and in Love & Anarchy, the decision to side with a farmer and a prostitute against Fascism is less than controversial. That is not the case in Swept Away, a tragicomedy about sex, love, and politics that Scorsese identifies as one of the biggest conversation starters in the 1970s. As Behind the White Glasses points out, Wertmüller’s films stem from the Italian tradition of Commedia dell’arte; yet, like all good Italian films, there is a sense of the operatic, of heightened emotions, and of vulgarity. As Wertmüller said in 1974, “Cheerful vulgarity is the wit of the poor, their last and extreme defense.” Swept Away starts as a clear conflict between classes,the proletariat and the bourgeoisie (once again, Gianni andMelato), before devolving into a battle of the sexes, and, finally, dominance and submission. From the vantage point of the 21st century, many scenes in Swept Away look downright Neanderthal, and that is exactly what Wertmüller is striving for. It may not be a progressive look at male/female roles, but it’s one that challenges the viewer and forces them to either accept or reject what they are seeing.

Seven Beauties (1976) (screens at IFS on Friday, October 13th) “A rotten comedy, a lousy farce called living.” At this point in the series it should be no shock that Seven Beauties — a World War II tragedy starring Gianni as Pasqualino, a Chapelinesque fool who starts as a petty thief and ends as Nazi concentration camp prisoner —opens with archival footage of war, death and destruction, and the men responsible for it: Mussolini, Stalin, andHitler. Over these images recites an ironic monologue, one that speaks as much to the 2016 U.S. election as it does to 1930s Europe. Prophetic indeed. Though Seven Beauties — the title is a reference to Pasqualino’s seven sisters — opens with real life death and destruction, the story begins comic and bawdy. However, this quickly devolves as Pasqualino kills to protect his sister’s honor, is sent to an asylum, then the Italian army, and then as a Nazi prisoner. What starts as male machismo ends in sexual humiliation and total debasement with Pasqualino staring directly in the camera and professing: “Yes, I’m alive. Alive? Sure, but at what cost? In Love & Anarchy, Tunin exclaims that a man living under the boot of Fascism is no better than a worm in a whore’s bed. Oh, how Pasqualino would love to be that worm. Though it may be foolish to try and find the connective tissue between three seemingly random films, these three from Lina Wertmüller seem to be of the same piece: the cost of survival. Be it as an anarchist, a prostitute, a shipwrecked couple on a deserted island, or a fool found in the most unfortunate of situations. Each must reconcile who they are and what hand the world has dealt them. Life’s not always a pretty picture, but it’s always worth looking at.



By Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz, Chair of CU Boulder’s Film Studies Program. Pedro Almodóvar was born in the town of Calzada de Calatrava, La Mancha, in 1951 and is the most important figure in Spanish cinema since Luis Buñuel. In his feature-making career of more than thirtyseven years and twenty films Almodóvar has articulated a changing yet coherent vision of Spain and ‘Spanishness’ that has earned him international prestige, shelves full of awards (from Cannes, to the Goyas, to the Oscars), unconditional fans and virulent criticism. In the process he may have alienated a portion of the Spanish public, while consistently gaining ground as an ambassador for Spanish cinema abroad, as the international success of All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), Bad Education (2004), Volver (2006), Broken Embraces (2009), and The Skin I Live In (2011) suggests. Almodóvar’s films are irreverent and self-reflexive: excessive explorations of identity, sexuality, repression and desire, sprinkled with rich allusions to different genres (classic Hollywood melodrama, screwball comedy, musicals, thrillers) and assorted media intersections (television commercials, magazine advertisements, popular songs, kitsch art). The mélange of genre conventions (which peaked in the comedy/melodrama/ musical/thriller High Heels, 1991) and the pastiche quality of Almodóvar’s aesthetics, mise en scène and narratives help to define the director’s sense of narrative structure and visual style. An undisputed masterpiece, an Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, and an international box office hit, All About My Mother is one of the director’s most mature melodramas. It is a summa of the topics of bodies in transition, family reconciliation, and female solidarity that his films have explored since 1980. It is also a celebration of identity and of the bonds that make a “ f a m i l y ” s o m e t i m e s o u t o f t h e m o s t mismatched strangers. With clever, reflexive intersections with Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Jean Negulesco’s How to Marry a Millionaire, Almodóvar delivers a sweet, comic family melodrama about forgiveness, overcoming trauma, and the healing power of art.

In Their Own Words “You want people to feel something when you tell a story, whether they feel happy or whether they feel sad.” - HARRY DEAN STANTON (Alien, Paris, Texas, Repo Man, Lucky. Latter screens at IFS on Sunday, Sep. 24th) “Every film deserves its own unique look.” - JONATHAN DEMME (Stop Making Sense, Something Wild, Swimming to Cambodia, The Silence of the Lambs. Latter screens at IFS on Tuesday, Oct. 24th).

“Harry Dean Stanton, Anjelica Huston - a lot of people have studied with me. It’s paying my dues.” - MARTIN LANDAU. (Space 1999, North by Northwest, Ed Wood, Crimes and Misdemeanors. Latter screens at IFS on Wednesday, Oct. 25th.) “For me, tribalism and religion are basically the big reasons we’re in trouble. Patriotism, tribalism, and religion.”- GEORGE ROMERO (Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, Monkey Shines, and, The Night of the Living Dead which screens at IFS on Monday, Oct. 30th.)

“I’ve written songs on everything. Menus. Napkins. Little pieces of paper.” CHUCK BERRY (Berry’s music can be heard on countless soundtracks, including Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, Men in Black, but he’s the subject of Hail! Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll, which screens at the IFS on Wednesday, Nov. 11th).

“Aging gracefully is supposed to mean trying not to hide time passing and just looking a wreck. Don’t worry girls, look like a wreck, that’s the way it goes.” - JEANNE MOREAU (Diary of a Chambermaid, Bay of Angels, Elevator to the Gallows, Jules and JIm. Latter screens at the IFS on Thursday, Nov. 2nd.)

“The influences in my life were all kind of politically, socially implanted. And then there was Watergate.” - TOBE HOOPER (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Eaten Alive, The Funhouse, Poltergeist. The IFS will screen one of these at a TBA date.




DAVID COPPERFIELD 1935 version, digital projection with special introduction by filmmaker/musician

Cory McAbee monday, OCTOBER 23, 7:30 PM MUENZINGER $5 requested donation


The latest film from the director of SNOWPIERCER was a darling at the Cannes Film Festival and can now be seen on the big screen


Car You get the car, I’ll get the night off You’ll get the chance to take the world apart And figure out how it works Don’t let me know what you find out I need a car, you need a guide, who needs a map? If I don’t die or worse, I’m gonna need a nap At best I’ll be asleep when you get back I wanna see it when you find out what comets, stars, and moons are all about I wanna see their faces turn to backs of heads and slowly get smaller I wanna see it now I wanna see it now I want specifics on the general idea I wanna think what I should know I want you to do me what to show I wanna see the movies of my dreams I wanna see the movies of my dreams I wanna see the movies of my dreams I wanna see the movies of my dreams I wanna see it when you get stoned on a cloudy breezy desert afternoon I wanna see it untame itself and break its owner I wanna see it now I wanna see it now

WHERE? NoRth AppRoAch 17th stREEt

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Bus INFoRMATIoN the Eastbound HoP, late Night Transit, and Buff Bus (to Williams village) stop on colorado Ave., across from the muenzinger psychology building.

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lot 380

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lot 269



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Those seeking free evening parking are advised to try the meters along University Avenue west of Macky Auditorium (the meters are free after 7pm). There are also a few meters along Colorado Avenue east of Folsom Stadium (free after 5pm). The closest and most convenient parking is pay lot 360 next to the Duane Physics tower, across from the buffalo statue ($4 after 5pm). Those seeking covered parking on nights when it’s snowing are advised to go to either the Euclid Auto Park or the Folsom Garage that adjoins the CU Champion Center. Please call us (303-492-4494) if you need any special assistance with wheelchair access or instructions for nearby handicap access. IFS gives free admission to anyone assisting those in wheelchairs or with other special needs. You can pay for parking by calling Parkmobile at 877-727-5951. Lot 360 is zone #6325 (East Duane).






film title

notes and thoughts

If you would like to share your thoughts, email a copy of this page to: pablo.kjolseth@internationalfilmseries.com


Screen grab from Dawson City: Frozen Time, by Bill Morrison, 2017, At the IFS on 9/13/17

special thanks to our printer tedzo Reitsma

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