A P R I L â€” J U N E
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A P R I L – J U N E
(1923–2017) We’ve all been touched by Ann in many and varied ways; whether as a friend, colleague in the arts or as a mentor, she was definitely one of a kind. For decades she shared the same passion & creativity with CFI that she brought to theatre, film, writing and everything else she touched. She was already a legend when I asked her, “What would I have to do to get you involved in the fledgling Mill Valley Film Festival?” Her reply was, “You just did it. ” Ann leaves a lasting and profound legacy that will continue to serve artists of all kinds. She left this world a better place, and will be missed dearly. And I, for one, will never forget her.
Executive Director / Founder California Film Institute
CFI B OARD O F DIRECTO RS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / FOUNDER
Caroline Labe Jennifer Coslett MacCready (Vice President)
CFI BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cathy Nourafshan Jonathan Parker (President)
Susan Schwartz Dr. Joel Sklar
Jim Davis Lynne Hale Richard J. Idell
Rita Cahill Sid Ganis Bruce Katz Gary Meyer Gordon Radley Christopher B. Smith Henry Timnick
Rita Cahill Mark Fishkin Lois Kohl Shore
Jann Stanley Zach Zeisler
The Honorable Barbara Boxer Stewart Boxer Drusie Davis Jeff Fisher Peter Flaxman Robert Greber
Linda Gruber Peggy Haas Jessica Igoe Michael Klein Roxanne Klein KC Lauck Andrew McGuire Mary Poland Eric Schwartz Michael Schwartz Skip Whitney
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Vol. 19 Issue 2
SAN FRANCISCO CABLE CARS Sunday, April 9
DIRECTOR of PROGRAMMING In January we learned the sad news that the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center had lost its Mom. Ann Brebner had already become a Bay Area legend long before the restored Rafael opened in 1999, but I had never heard of her when visiting Marin in late 1998 to interview for the nascent programmer’s position. A portion of my interview with executive director Mark Fishkin included the participation of a striking white-haired woman, dressed in black, whose delicate frame belied an exacting mind and expansive imagination (as well as what Rafael general manager Dan Zastrow would later describe as “her beautiful, piercing blue eyes”). Ann Brebner explained that she was a longtime board member who had resigned in order to take the position managing the design and construction of the restored Rafael. And you could tell that she was in her element while giving tours of the unfinished theater and dispensing historical and restoration lore. Once on the job, I soon learned more of her backstory. A native of New Zealand, Ann Brebner studied directing for the stage at the Old Vic Theatre School in London. She moved to Northern California with husband John Brebner in 1953, and in 1961 they cofounded the Marin Shakespeare Festival, which would later evolve into the Marin Shakespeare Company. That year the Brebners also opened Brebner Agencies Inc., and for years Ann was the person to consult for all film and television productions casting and scouting locations in the Bay Area. Between 1960 and 1981, Ann provided regional casting for many of the most iconic Bay Area films, including (among others) The Birds, Crazy Quilt, Bullitt, Harold and Maude, Dirty Harry, American Graffiti, The Conversation and The Right Stuff, as well as such TV series as Columbo, Mannix and The Streets of San Francisco. On Take the Money and Run, she was charged by Woody Allen to find “an extremely good-looking child” to play him as a young man.
She developed relationships with many film directors, but because she remained involved with live theater, her own director’s eye gravitated to actors, many of whom came to regard her as a mentor. Peter Coyote credits her with launching his entire film career, and she also remained close to other “discoveries,” such as Danny Glover and Kathleen Quinlan. In 1990 she published her book Setting Free the Actor: Overcoming Creative Blocks. Ann joined the board of the California Film Institute (then the Film Institute of Northern California) in the early years of the Mill Valley Film Festival and served two terms as board president. In the 1990s, when the opportunity arose to renovate the Rafael, she embraced this work and attended daily construction meetings, as Mark Fishkin recalls, wearing a pink hardhat.
© Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No portion of the Rafael Quarterly may be duplicated in any form without written consent from the Smith Rafael Film Center and/or the California Film Institute.
CEZANNE ET MOI Opens April 14 TRUMAN Opens April 14 TOMORROW April 16 & April 22 WHITE LIKE ME April 17 DECONSTRUCTING THE BEATLES’ RUBBER SOUL April 19 | April 22 | April 23 MARCEL PAGNOL’S MARSEILLE TRILOGY April 23 | April 30 | May 7 JEREMIAH TOWER: THE LAST MAGNIFICENT Opens April 28 A QUIET PASSION OPENS MAY 5 DOCLANDS May 10-14
Once the theater was up and running, it seemed to become Ann’s second home. She attended all kinds of programs, including some of the most adventurous, and it meant a great deal to me that she was always generous with comments and suggestions. I came to know what so many actors, writers and directors had long loved her for. She became particularly close friends with Rafael general manager Dan Zastrow, and it was always amusing to me (and nevertheless fitting) that she never surrendered her key to the Rafael’s back door.
ONE WEEK AND A DAY Opens May 15
She loved meeting the filmmakers and actors who graced our stages and numerous receptions, and she always seemed to charm them with her insights. She did take the stage herself on a few occasions. And she continued to work, writing and directing, until the end. Considering the range of her interests, I believe that Ann Brebner was one of those special artists who believe that all art is one. The Rafael’s beauty and elegance are to a great extent reflections of her own.
I, DANIEL BLAKE Opens June 2
~ Richard Peterson
On the cover: LIKE CRAZY - Opens May 19 - See page 8
Smith Rafael Film Center is owned and operated by the California Film Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that also produces the annual Mill Valley Film Festival, DocLands Documentary Film Festival and CFI Education programs throughout the year.
Programs subject to change, including opening dates. OTHER PROGRAMS OPEN THAT DO NOT APPEAR HERE. For up-to-date info: rafaelfilm.org Sign up for weekly email at rafaelfilm.org Check daily newspaper Call 415 454 1222
FINDING OSCAR May 15 & May 16 IN SEARCH OF ISRAELI CUISINE May 17 & May 18 LIKE CRAZY Opens May 19 THE OTHER KIDS May 21 WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE Thursday, June 1
INT’L BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL June 9-11 MY COUSIN RACHEL Opens June 9 SACRED June 12–15 MONTEREY POP June 18 MAUDIE Opens June 30 THE HERO Opens in June LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD Opens in June THE LAST DALAI LAMA? Opens July 6
Programs with in-person guests
SAN FRANCISCO CABLE CARS
SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 4:15
IN PERSON: FILMMAKER STREPHON TAYLOR
Bay Area filmmaker Strephon Taylor will present and discuss a screening of his new documentary about one of San Francisco’s most recognizable icons, the cable car. His film explores the fascinating history and technology of this 140-year-old tradition that is at the heart of the city’s romance. It’s a tale that begins with Andrew Smith Hallidie’s idea after witnessing a horse-car accident, continuing with the launch of the first line on Clay Street in 1873, the near-destruction of the lines in the 1906 earthquake, and the fight led by Friedel Klussmann and women’s civic groups in 1947 to save and preserve this San Francisco tradition. It’s a ride worth taking! Producer: Heather Taylor. Writer/ Director: Strephon Taylor. (US 2017) 93 min. plus discussion.
© Magnolia Pictures
CÉZANNE ET MOI
OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 14 Filmmaker Danièle Thompson centers her latest drama on the parallel lives, careers and friendship of two of France’s greatest artists: post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne and novelist Emile Zola, who met as schoolboys in Aix-en-Provence. Emile was fatherless and poor, and Paul from a wealthy family. As young men, they set out to conquer the art scene in mid-19th century Paris, where Zola (Guillaume Canet) embraced his success, while Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) ultimately rejected the Parisian scene to focus on his work. The film provides exquisite visual detail, utilizing several locations where Cézanne and Zola lived and worked. In French with English subtitles. With Alice Pol, Déborah François, Freya Mavor, Sabine Azéma. Writer/Director: Danièle Thompson. (France 2016) 113 min.
One of the most celebrated trilogies in film history sprang from the heart of Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974), the playwright, novelist and filmmaker who became a national treasure in his native France. Unfolding over years about the same unforgettable characters living around the waterfront of Marseille, his epic love story is a bittersweet saga brimming with warmth, generosity and humor. Pagnol wrote the individual plays Marius and Fanny about the people and patois he knew well, and at the dawn of sound movies, he resolved to transpose them to film. He oversaw different directors for the two adaptations, and by the time he wrote César directly for the screen, he set about directing it himself. Rich in dialogue and saturated in piquant Provençal flavor and real locations, the movies are simultaneously the heights of theatricality and of screen realism, brought to life by a dream cast. In 1946 Pagnol became the first filmmaker elected to the Académie français. Postwar Italian filmmakers saw in his work the germs of neorealism, and the young filmmakers of the French New Wave also regarded him as an influence. The films also have a history with our very own Berkeley, where they have long been staples at the Pacific Film Archive and inspired Alice Waters to name her restaurant Chez Panisse after one of the films’ major characters. The Rafael is presenting the versions that have been extensively restored by Janus Films. The films in the Marseille Trilogy were produced and released in different years. While they ultimately tell a single story, each film has an independent dramatic arc.
© Under the Milky Way
SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 4:15 IN PERSON: CYRIL DION & ROBERT REED SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 3:30 IN PERSON: ROBERT REED (Recology) Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world,” and in this film (which won the French César for Best Documentary), co-filmmakers Cyril Dion and actor-director Mélanie Laurent travel ten countries encountering individuals and communities who have taken environmental sustainability into their own hands. From the urban farms of Detroit to an English town that encourages local spending by minting its own David Bowie currency, and from a completely sustainable village in southern India to the progressive schools of Finland, the filmmakers introduce us to people making inspiring differences in the fields of food, energy, finance, democracy and education. In English and in French with English subtitles. Writer: Cyril Dion. Narrators/Directors: Mélanie Laurent, Cyril Dion. (France 2016) 115 min. plus discussion.
© Janus Films
© Janus Films
OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 14 Tomás (Javier Cámara) flies from Montreal to Madrid to see best friend Julián (Ricardo Darín), who has decided to forgo his cancer treatment and spend his final days tying up loose ends, which includes finding a new companion for his dog Truman. To the disappointment of Julián’s sister Paula (Dolores Fonzi), Tomás can’t change his mind. Winner of Goyas (the Spanish “Oscar”) for Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Lead Actor (Darín) and Supporting Actor (Cámara), this captivating road movie is as much comedy as tearjerker, as Tomás indulges charming Julian’s visits to friends, relatives and prospects for his beloved Bullmastiff. Terrific performances grace a tale both touching and supremely funny. In Spanish with English subtitles. Writers: Tomas Aragay, Cesc Gay. Director: Cesc Gay. (Spain 2015) 108 min.
SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 4:15 & 7:00 Picking up moments after the end of Marius, this second film in the Marseille Trilogy follows Fanny’s grief after the departure of her true love. Circumstances force her to accept the proposal of aging widower Honoré Panisse, which puts saloon owner César at odds with his old card-playing associate, because everyone knows that Marius will one day return. In French with English subtitles. With Raimu, Orane Demazis, Fernand Charpin, Pierre Fresney. Writer: Marcel Pagnol. Director: Marc Allégret. (France 1932) 127 min.
© Janus Films
SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 4:15 & 7:00 Everyone assumes that young Marius (Pierre Fresney) and Fanny (Orane Demazis) will marry, but Marius can’t overcome his urge to hop a merchant ship and sail the open sea. His father César (Raimu), who owns a saloon on the Marseille waterfront, is oblivious to his son’s dilemma, but Fanny fears the worst. Meanwhile Honoré Panisse (Fernand Charpin), an older widower and wealthy sail-maker, proceeds to court a reluctant Fanny. In French with English subtitles. Writer: Marcel Pagnol. Director: Alexander Korda. (France 1931) 127 min.
SUNDAY, MAY 7, 4:15 & 7:15 Written directly for the screen, and later adapted for the stage, the final film in the Marseille Trilogy takes us 20 years later. Honoré Panisse is on his deathbed, and Marius lives in the shadow of a misspent life. Fanny’s son Césariot, who had been sent away to a military academy, returns and sets out to discover the secret of his identity. In French with English subtitles. With Raimu, Orane Demazis, Pierre Fresney, Fernand Charpin. Writer/Director: Marcel Pagnol. (France 1936) 142 min.
WHITE LIKE ME
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 7:00
© Media Education Foundation
IN PERSON: TIM WISE
This film explores race and racism through the lens of whiteness that built the American middle class. Anti-racist educator Tim Wise shows how white privilege continues to shape individual attitudes, electoral politics and government policy in ways too many white people never stop to consider. This event is a fundraiser for Marin City Health and Wellness Center, in partnership with Marin Grassroots. The Q&A with Tim Wise will be moderated by JayVon Muhammed. Writers: Jeremy Earp, Scott Morris, Tim Wise. Director: Scott Morris. (US 2013) 70 min. plus discussion. _____ $20 (Rafael passes not accepted) $60 VIP ticket including pre-event reception at 6:00 _____
WATCH. WONDER. GET INVOLVED. MAY 10–14
DECONSTRUCTING THE BEATLES’ RUBBER SOUL
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 6:30 SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 1:00 SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 1:00 In this recently filmed lecture, music expert Scott Freiman takes fans young and old into the studio with The Beatles as they faced an impossible task. In October 1965, they were asked to produce a new album of original music for Christmas release. One month later, they emerged with Rubber Soul, which hit number one on the charts, along with the singles “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper.” Learn the stories behind the creation of these songs, as well as “Norwegian Wood,” “In My Life,” “Nowhere Man” and other classics, in this educational journey into the creative process of The Beatles’ performances and recording sessions. Producer: Richard Abramowitz. Writer/Presenter: Scott Freiman. (US 2016) 95 min. _____ $15 (CFI members $10) _____
Presented by the California Film Institute, the inaugural DocLands Documentary Film Festival brings compelling stories and provocative insights to Marin County. DocLands will feature public screenings, engaged conversations and grassroots networking events while exploring three main programming strands: The Art of Impact, The Great Outdoors and Wonderlands, as well as highlighting films that transcend the traditional definition of the documentary.
OPENING NIGHT EVENT & PARTY
MAY 10 | 7:00pm
JEREMIAH TOWER: THE LAST MAGNIFICENT OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 28 © Zero Point Zero and CNN Films
IN PERSON: JEREMIAH TOWER SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 4:15 Jeremiah Tower, one of the most controversial and influential figures in the history of American gastronomy, began his career at the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1972, becoming a pioneer in the emerging California cuisine movement. He went on to launch his own legendary Stars Restaurant in San Francisco. Several years later, Tower walked away from Stars and then disappeared from the scene for nearly two decades, only to resurface at New York’s fabled but troubled Tavern on the Green. Featuring interviews with Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Ruth Reichl, Martha Stewart and others, this delicious documentary tells the story of America’s first celebrity chef and explores the man’s culinary genius and enigmatic mystery. Director: Lydia Tenaglia. (US 2016) 102 min. _____ $12 (CFI members $8) for April 30, 4:15 show only _____
© Gingger Shankar
SPECIAL GUESTS: DIRECTOR/MUSICIAN GINGGER SHANKAR MUSICIANS CARLO RIBAUX and VIVEK MADDALA
Gingger Shankar’s stunning documentary blends film, archival footage and animation, accompanied by a live, original musical score featuring vocals, Indian percussion and Shankar’s unique double violin. Film and performance will be followed by an onstage conversation with director Shankar and the performers and the DocLands Opening Night Party at the Elks Lodge.
LONG STRANGE TRIP MAY 14 | 2:00pm | Mill Valley
© Music Box Films
A QUIET PASSION
OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 5 Cynthia Nixon delivers a triumphant performance as American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), personifying the wit, intellect and pathos of the woman whose genius came to be recognized only after her death. She wrote 1,800 poems, but fewer than a dozen were published during her lifetime. Acclaimed British filmmaker Terence Davies brings both humor and intensity to his portrait of Emily and her inner turmoil. Co-starring Jennifer Ehle as her sister Lavinia and Keith Carradine as their father, the film evokes Dickinson’s deep attachment to her close-knit family, along with the sometimes-stifling manners, mores and spiritual convictions of the time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry. Rated PG-13. With Jodhi May, Emma Bell, Catherine Bailey. Writer/Director: Terence Davies. (UK 2016) 126 min.
© Herb Greene
INVITED GUESTS: DIRECTOR AMIR BAR-LEV
Featuring never-before-seen concert footage and illuminating interviews with band members, this four-hour epic captures the Grateful Dead’s wild, multi-decade journey from scruffy local hippies to the biggest band in the universe.
EARLY BIRD SPECIALS AVAILABLE 3/24/17 | GENERAL TICKETS ON SALE 4/20/17
CFI MEMBERS RECEIVE DISCOUNTS & FIRST ACCESS TO GENERAL TICKETS ON 4/19! IN S TA G R A M: @ d o c l a n d s | T W IT T E R : @ d o c _ l a n d s | FA CE BO O K: f aceb ook.com/ d ocl and sfesti val
OPENS MONDAY, MAY 15 Eyal (Shai Avivi) finishes Shiva (the traditional Jewish week of mourning) for his late son, and wife Vicky (Evgenia Dodina) urges him to return to their normal routine. However, Eyal is not ready, and he becomes obsessed with a bag of medical marijuana he found in his son’s hospital room. While he’s never smoked the stuff himself, he is bound and determined to give it a try. And he figures that Zooler (Tomer Kapon), the grown son of his next-door neighbors, can show him how. A gentle comedy about grief, Asaph Polonsky’s first feature provides a funny and insightful perspective on the immutable fact that the world stops for no one’s mourning. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Writer/ Director: Asaph Polonsky. (Israel 2016) 98 min.
THE OTHER KIDS
SUNDAY, MAY 21, 4:15
IN PERSON: FILMMAKER CHRIS BROWN
© Chris Brown Productions
© Oscilloscope Laboratories
ONE WEEK AND A DAY
MONDAY, MAY 15 & TUESDAY, MAY 16 | 6:00 & 8:15 A documentary that becomes a searing investigative report and ultimately an emotionally powerful journey, this remarkable film focuses on the search for justice regarding the 1982 Dos Erres massacre in Guatemala. Government forces following a scorchedearth policy wiped out the entire village, except for two little boys, Oscar and Ramiro, who were abducted during the slaughter and raised by some of the very soldiers who had murdered their families. Thirty years later, it will take a dedicated team, from a forensic scientist to a young Guatemalan prosecutor, to uncover the truth and bring justice to those responsible, by finding the boys who offer the only living evidence tying the Guatemalan government to the massacre. Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg. Producer: Frank Marshall. Director: Ryan Suffern. (US 2016) 94 min.
ALICE COOPER: WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE 35MM PRINT!
THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 7:00
IN PERSON: TOM SILBERKLEIT & DAVID TEMPLETON
© Tom Silberkleit
© Oscar Ramírez and FilmRise
OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 2 Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary British director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale starring Dave Johns as Daniel Blake, a good-hearted woodworker who lives according to his own common-sense moral code. After a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. Graced with humor and heart, the film is a moving, much-needed reminder of the power of empathy from one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. Writer: Paul Laverty. Director: Ken Loach. (UK 2016) 100 min.
MY COUSIN RACHEL
© Fox Searchlight
© Lotus production
LIKE CRAZY (LA PAZZA GIOIA)
OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 19 Beatrice (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) is a motor-mouthed fantasist, a self-styled billionaire countess who likes to brag she’s on intimate terms with world leaders. Donatella (Micaela Ramazzotti) is a tattooed introvert, a fragile young woman locked in her own mystery. Both are patients at the Villa Biondi, a progressive but secure psychiatric clinic in Tuscany. Paolo Virzì’s comedy-drama tells the story of the unpredictable friendship that develops between the two women when they take a chance to flee from custody and re-enter the open-air nuthouse that is known as the world of sane people. In Italian with English subtitles. With Anna Galiena. Writers: Francesca Archibugi, Paolo Virzì. Director: Paolo Virzì. (Italy/France 2016) 116 min.
Tom Silberkleit, whose father produced the film, will present a rare 35mm screening of this classic 1975 concert film starring Alice Cooper, the “Godfather of Shock Rock.” Hosted by Vincent Price, this dynamic concert film is filled with a riot of color, song, lighting and outrageous settings. Band members include Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter (guitar), Prakash John (bass), Josef Chirowski (keyboards) and Pentti Glan (drums). Following the screening, Silberkleit will participate in a discussion moderated by journalist David Templeton. Rated PG. Executive Producer: William B. Silberkleit. Choreographer/Director: David Winters. (US 1975) 84 min. plus discussion.
I, DANIEL BLAKE
© Sundance Selects
© Manemsha Films
IN SEARCH OF ISRAELI CUISINE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17 & THURSDAY, MAY 18 | 6:00 & 8:15 This entertaining documentary is a portrait of the Israeli people told through food. Hosted by top chef (and James Beard award-winner) Michael Solomonov, the film profiles chefs, cooks, vintners and cheese-makers from the diverse cultures that make up Israel today, including Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian and Druze. When Solomonov enters people’s lives and their kitchens, he discusses their roots, inspirations and how they’re preserving traditions and updating recipes with global influences. The filmmakers explore remarkable food traditions as diverse as Moroccan, Persian, Lebanese, French, Italian and Russian, in the most cutting-edge restaurants: kosher and non-kosher, religious and secular. Home cooks are preserving their grandmothers’ recipes, and dynamic chefs are updating them, in Israel’s hot, multicultural cuisine scene. Writer/ Producer/Director: Roger Sherman. (US 2016) 93 min.
Bay Area filmmaker Chris Brown will present a screening of his new film, a bold and original hybrid of fiction and nonfiction that takes a raw, intimate look at the struggles of small-town teens on the verge of high school graduation. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at SF IndieFest, the film emerged from workshops Brown conducted with students in Sonora, California, in which the teenagers adapted and performed their own gripping, personal stories. The actors and co-writers include Savannah Bailey, Hunter Gilmore, Kai Kellerman, Sienna Lampi, Natasha Lombardi, Joe McGee, Isaac Sanchez and Abby Stewart. Sex, depression, family strife and economic and racial divisions are issues our not-quite-adult protagonists must confront. Director: Chris Brown. (US 2016) 92 min. plus discussion.
OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 9 Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin star in this new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic romance novel. In the mid-19th century, on the Cornish coast of England, Philip Ashley (Claflin) learns that the beloved cousin who raised him has died overseas, and he prepares to take revenge on the mysterious woman who had married the man (and perhaps murdered him) in Italy. However, when he finally meets Rachel, he surprises himself by falling for her charms. From the director of Notting Hill and Venus comes a visually sumptuous period mystery. Rated PG-13. With Iain Glen, Holliday Grainger, Poppy Lee Friar. Writer/Director: Roger Michell. (UK 2016) 103 min.
TRIBUTE TO LEONARD COHEN
Tickets per program: $12 general, $10 seniors, $8 CFI members. Please note that Rafael passes and matinee prices are not applicable for these programs.
LEONARD COHEN: I’M YOUR MAN plus recent shorts
© Lions Gate Films, Inc.
The Buddhist Film Foundation celebrates its 18th festival and partners with the Smith Rafael Film Center to present seven new programs of great cinema with a Buddhist touch. Additional filmmakers and guests have been invited; new confirmations will be posted online.
SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 7:30 IN PERSON: TBA Celebrated writer/musician/performer Leonard Cohen spent several years as a Zen Buddhist monk with Japanese teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi in Los Angeles. As tribute to Cohen and his music, this program offers a reprise of the excellent 2005 film by Australian Lian Lunson, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (featuring live performances of his songs by Bono, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Antony, Martha Wainwright and others), along with two new short films with Cohen, produced for the memorial events for Joshu Sasaki Roshi and Cohen himself. Program approximately 115 min.
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MY BUDDHA IS PUNK Preceded by A THOUSAND MOTHERS
FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 7:30 IN PERSON: FILMMAKER MICKEY LEMLE Screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival, this new documentary by Mickey Lemle (Compassion in Exile, Ram Dass Fierce Grace) takes an intimate look at the enduring good humor and gentle wisdom of His Holiness at the age of 81. Addressing his own mortality, the Dalai Lama considers the challenges of the prospect of his reincarnation, with Tibet still in Chinese control. His urgency and dedication come through powerfully. Filmed on location in India, and featuring vivid archival footage, with an original score by Philip Glass and Tenzin Choegyal. (USA 2016) 81 min. plus discussion.
SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 1:30 IN PERSON: ELLEN BRUNO & FILMMAKER KIM SHELTON The new Myanmar is one of the last places one would expect to find a vibrant punk rock scene, but filmmaker Andreas Hartmann reveals the beginnings of a youth culture newly released from martial law. Twenty-five year old Kyaw Kyaw performs with vigor, and offers his audiences a synthesis of Buddhism and punk that rejects religious dictates and political doctrine. (Myanmar/Germany, 2015) Filmed on location at a rural Buddhist nunnery in Myanmar by noted cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, director Kim Shelton’s A Thousand Mothers is an intimate look at the refuge and opportunity that a monastic life offers girls and women there, even as the nation begins to change. (Myanmar/USA, 2017) In English and Burmese with English subtitles. Program 107 min. plus discussion.
© Andreas Hartmann
THE LAST DALAI LAMA?
FUKUSHIMA MON AMOUR
SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 1:30 Directed by former Thai Buddhist monk Boonsong Nakphoo, Wandering follows a man as he slowly engages with a forest monk, and begins to rebuild a life after a tragedy. Beautifully filmed in rural locations in Thailand with a non-professional cast, the film is infused with a deep regard for Buddhist teachings, and never loses sight of the humanity and individuality of the search for peace. In Thai with English subtitles. (Thailand, 2016) 120 min. North American Premiere
SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 4:30 The compelling new film from German director Doris Dörrie (Enlightenment Guaranteed, Cherry Blossoms) intentionally evokes the French classic Hiroshima, Mon Amour, but gracefully reveals her own unique vision. Two women—one an older geisha, the other an aimless young German—try to build lives in “The Zone,” a wasteland beset by abandoned buildings and lingering radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. There is sly humor amidst the confusion and the memories. Co-starring Clowns Without Borders founder Moshe Cohen. (Germany/ Japan 2016) German and Japanese with English subtitles.108 min.
© Hanno Lentz- Majestic
TZU CHI: DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD
HEMA HEMA: SING ME A SONG WHILE I WAIT
SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 4:30 IN PERSON: FILMMAKER BABETH VANLOO Tzu Chi is a remarkable nonprofit in Taiwan that runs hospitals, schools, recycling services and emergency humanitarian aid efforts. The blue-jacketed Tzu Chi volunteers may be seen at disaster sites like earthquakes, tsunamis and floods all over the world. Master Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun, leads this organization that she began single-handedly. Director Babeth VanLoo takes us behind the scenes to explore a unique approach to living a compassionate, engaged life. In English and in Taiwanese with English subtitles. (Netherlands/Taiwan 2017) 88 min. plus discussion. Bay Area Premiere
SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 7:30 INTRODUCED BY WES “SCOOP” NISKER The new feature by Tibetan Buddhist lama Khyentse Norbu (The Cup, Travellers and Magicians) unfolds mysteriously and surprisingly to reveal a world of masks and secrets in a rural Bhutan rarely seen. It’s strange, unpredictable, dreamlike, beautiful… a film about sex, death, identity, gender and delusion. “Dazzling... self-discovery lies at the heart of this mesmerizing new film...a colorful plunge into a world where ancient rites can summon our noblest and our basest instincts” (Toronto International Film Festival). In Dzongkha with English subtitles. (Bhutan, 2016) 95 min. Bay Area Premiere
© Pawo Choyning Dorji
© Babeth M. VanLoo
© Plapen Film Studio
© Lemle Pictures, Inc.
P r e s e n t e d b y B U D D H I S T F I L M F O U N D AT I O N & C A L I F O R N I A F I L M I N S T I T U T E
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MONTEREY POP 50TH ANNIVERSARY RESTORATION! SUNDAY, JUNE 18 | 4:15 & 6:30 Fifty years ago this weekend, June 16-18, 1967, the first (and only) Monterey International Pop Festival took place, ushering a new era of rock ‘n’ roll and launching the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding. And they were just a few of the wildly diverse roster of performers, who also included Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, The Who, The Byrds, Hugh Masekela and Ravi Shankar. Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker has supervised a beautiful digital restoration of his cinéma-vérité masterpiece (originally shot on 16mm!), and legendary music producer Eddie Kramer has engineered a 5.1 surround sound mix, so this film about the greatest pre-Woodstock rock music festival now sounds better than ever. (US 1968) 80 min.
© Sony Pictures Classics
OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 30 Sally Hawkins delivers a career-best performance in this drama based on the true story of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis (1903-1970). Growing up in Nova Scotia, and plagued with rheumatoid arthritis, she was regarded as a helpless cripple until, in her mid-30s, she answered a notice for a housekeeper. She went to work for Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), a laconic fish peddler who lived alone in a 10x12 foot house, and while this gruff man offered her no encouragement, she started decorating their home with charming naïve designs and quaint paintings. Irish director Aisling Walsh celebrates the simple victories in Maud’s unenviable life, and Hawkins creates a portrayal that is intensely moving and often quite funny. Rated PG-13. Writer: Sherry White. Director: Aisling Walsh. (Canada/Ireland 2017) 117 min.
© The Orchard
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OPENS IN JUNE Sam Elliott stars as an aging actor confronting mortality in the moving and funny new film from filmmaker Brett Haley (I’ll See You in My Dreams). Lee Hayden is a western movie icon with a golden voice, but most of the jobs he gets these days are radio commercials. Spending too much time smoking weed with his friend Jeremy (Nick Offerman), Lee suddenly receives a medical diagnosis that forces him to bring his priorities into focus. He attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter) and strikes up an exciting relationship with standup comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), all the while searching for that one final role that could cement his legacy. With Katharine Ross. Writers: Brett Haley, Marc Basch. Director: Brett Haley. (US 2017) 96 min.
LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD
© Vitagraph Films
MONDAY, JUNE 12 – THURSDAY, JUNE 15 | 6:00 & 8:00 At a time when religious hatred dominates the world’s headlines, this film, sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, explores faith as a primary human experience. Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Thomas Lennon engaged more than 40 filmmaking teams worldwide to capture a broad range of religious traditions from more than 25 countries. He has assembled these scenes without narration to immerse us in the different religious practices and to demonstrate how people turn to prayer and ritual to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. Often wordless, with scenes in English, as well as in several languages with English subtitles, Sacred traces the arc from birth to death, with rituals both solemn and celebratory. Producer/Director: Thomas Lennon. (US 2016) 86 min.
© Lemle Pictures, Inc.
© Janus Films
© Argot Pictures
OPENS IN JUNE This exceptional documentary tells the true story of Gertrude Bell, who in her time was called the “female Lawrence of Arabia,” but who has literally disappeared from history books. Bell was a British explorer, archaeologist and spy, who had traveled widely across Arabia before being recruited by military intelligence during World War I to help draw the borders of Iraq and, as a result, shape the modern Middle East. Using archival footage and images, this look at both a remarkable independent woman and the tangled history of Iraq takes us on a journey into a past that is eerily current. Tilda Swinton gives voice to Bell’s letters and correspondence (as well as serving as an executive producer with Thelma Schoonmaker and others). Directors: Zeva Oelbaum, Sabine Krayenbühl. (UK/US 2016) 95 min.
THE LAST DALAI LAMA? THEATRICAL PREMIERE! OPENS THURSDAY, JULY 6 In his 1992 documentary Compassion in Exile, filmmaker Mickey Lemle created a groundbreaking portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama. His new film takes a fresh look at what is important for His Holiness, who is now in his 80s: the historic confrontation between Tibet and China; his influence in political, spiritual and educational spheres; his work with neuroscientists; and his personal feelings on aging, dying and whether he will be the last Dalai Lama. His impact on the West has grown over the 25 years since the earlier film, and we see some of his influence at work in classes and scientific studies. Artfully weaving interviews and accounts from family, friends and people he inspired, this film vibrantly conveys the Dalai Lama’s humor, wisdom and compassion. Music: Philip Glass, Tenzin Choegyal. Writer/Producer/Director: Mickey Lemle. (US 2016) 81 min. Following screenings of The Last Dalai Lama? at the Mill Valley Film Festival and International Buddhist Film Festival, the Rafael presents the film’s premier theatrical engagement. As tribute to His Holiness, we open the film on July 6, the day of his 82nd birthday.
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DOCLANDS EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
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