Films

Adriana's Pact
Dir. Lissette Orozco; 2017; 96 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:30PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Friday, Mar 2 / 2:15PM / The Picturehouse
Sunday, Mar 4 / 4:15PM / The Globe

Growing up, Lissette Orozco worshipped her glamorous aunt Adriana. A political aide during Augusto Pinochet’s reign, Adriana lived a high-flying life in 1970s Chile before emigrating to sunny, exotic Australia. When Adriana is accused of crimes related to the kidnapping, torture and murder of leftists, Lissette sets out, on her own, to exonerate her idol. She teases out the story through a series of Skypes with the charismatic Adriana, tracks down her colleagues and begins to assemble a defense. But not everything her aunt tells her adds up. Soon, Lissette is wrestling with divided loyalties — between her family and her conscience. Filled with astonishing twists, Adriana’s Pact follows one woman’s deeply personal journey toward the truth. (PS) PRESENTED BY THE KINDER INSTITUTE ON CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY

América
Dir. Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside; 2018; 75 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 5:30PM / Big Ragtag
Friday, Mar 2 / 10:15PM / The Picturehouse
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Sunday, Mar 4 / 9:30AM / Missouri Theatre

This sparkling, irreverent and deeply emotional piece of creative nonfiction announces the arrival of a standout filmmaking partnership. When their father is hauled away, a colorful trio of brothers — a sibling team to rival Moe, Larry and Curly — step up to take care of América, their grandmother, in Colima, Mexico. Rodrigo, Diego and Bruno are stilt-walkers and acrobats and Elvis impersonators and unicycle riders — when not running the family’s agriculture warehouse. With a loose, off-handed charm, Stoll and Whiteside capture the family’s natural performative streak in a way that makes even the most explosive, dramatic moments feel organic. The endearing, genuine scenes between Diego and his grandmother celebrate the possibility of multigenerational connection. (PS)

American Animals
Dir. Bart Layton; 2018; 116 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 10:00PM / Missouri Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 7:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
Sunday, Mar 4 / 8:15PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note

In 2004, an unlikely band of college students attempted an outrageous heist of rare books (including original copies of Audubon’s “Birds of America”) from a university library. Inspired by the larcenies they’d witnessed on screen, they planned for months. What happened — and, arguably, didn’t happen — is the focus of this white-knuckle fictional caper film, directed with colorful verve by Bart Layton (The Imposter, T/F 2012). The acting is impeccable, but what truly sets the movie apart is that we also meet the actual young men (now older, of course) and hear the story through their not-always-reliable recollections — a strategy that only amplifies the tension. In what’s sure to be one of the most talked-about movies of the year, Layton manages both a satisfying narrative conclusion and insights into the true gulf between the movies and real life.

 
António e Catarina
Dir. Cristina Haneș; 2017; 40 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 7:45PM / Forrest Theater
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:15PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:00PM / Forrest Theater

An apartment in Lisbon, under cover of the night. Outside, predatory men of all ages loiter by a strip club. Inside, young director Cristina Haneș films her much older subject, Augusto, who calls her “Catarina.” In return, Haneș refers to him as “Antonio.” Over the course of three years, Haneș returns repeatedly to film. Who is taking advantage of whom? With chiaroscuro photography, this deftly edited play of desire, power and friendship pushes beyond the surface, brilliantly questioning if even reprobates can have genuine relationships with women that aren’t based on sexual domination or voyeurism. Plays with “Pumpkin Movie” (10 min.), in which director Sophy Romvari and her best friend carve jack-o’-lanterns while trading creepy stories, and “Mon Amour, Mon Ami” (dir. Adriano Valerio, 16 min.), which stars Fouad and Daniela, a couple in Italy who stick together despite — or perhaps because of — obvious challenges. (AS)

Artemio
Dir. Sandra Luz López Barroso; 2017; 48 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 5:30PM / Forrest Theater
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / The Globe
Sunday, Mar 4 / 7:00PM / The Globe

Artemio, a sweet and feisty 10-year-old boy, and Coco, his resilient and loving mother, relocate from California to small-town Mexico. Director Sandra Luz López Barroso captures the growing pains as Artemio adjusts to the new rhythms, friends, customs and language of this place, his mother’s hometown. Her camera remains carefully attuned to Artemio’s frequently shifting mood. As the days pass, Coco’s telephone plays a crucial role in this enchanting, bittersweet narrative. Plays with “The Trader” (dir. Tamta Gabrichidze, 22 min.), a charmer set in the Republic of Georgia where a hulking man arrives with a van full of clothes, toys and household items: Money is meaningless — all that matters is potatoes. (CB)

Bisbee '17
Dir. Robert Greene; 2018; 118 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 2:15PM / Missouri Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:45PM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 5:30PM / The Picturehouse
Sunday, Mar 4 / 9:30AM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note

In this most unconventional accounting of history, five-time True/False filmmaker Robert Greene continues to reveal (and revel in) his obsession with the many ways of exposing a truth. Bisbee '17, Greene’s most classically narrative work to date, pulls from a bag of cinematic strategies (too subtle and well-considered to merely be “tricks”) to tell the story of the fateful events surrounding an infamous miners’ strike in a small southern Arizona town. Greene uses actors, monologues, dramatic re-creations and even songs, but these mechanics quickly fade as the storytelling takes hold. A century after this confrontation between owners and workers, Bisbee continues to grapple with competing histories and communities still struggling to find true healing. If it all seems like a microcosm of America in 2018, well, that’s no accident. (DW)

Black Mother
Dir. Khalik Allah; 2018; 77 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 8:00PM / Big Ragtag
Friday, Mar 2 / 9:30PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 7:45PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Sunday, Mar 4 / 5:15PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

Khalik Allah (Field Niggas, T/F 2015) freely alternates between photography and cinema, traveling the streets, creating portraits that tremble with life. In Black Mother, Allah explores his mother’s home country, Jamaica, and invokes its beautiful, resilient and rebellious spirit. Constructed out of a series of fleeting yet indelible interactions with the country’s residents, Black Mother is a dazzling audio-visual symphony that speaks to the island’s current state: its relationship with pain, outsiders, child rearing, colorism, sex work, nature, God. As he builds relationships with strangers, Allah reconnects with his grandfather William Case, whose wisdom and blessings are woven into the film’s intricate soundscape. Black Mother is rooted in deep-seated, ground-level observation, and yet it also reaches for the sky, offering prayers that rattle the soul with their compassion and conviction. (CB)

Caniba
Dir. Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor; 2017; 97 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 10:00PM / Forrest Theater
Friday, Mar 2 / 2:45PM / Forrest Theater

In 1981, while a graduate student in Paris, Issei Sagawa murdered and cannibalized a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt. First institutionalized then released without charges on grounds of insanity, Issei now lives outside of Tokyo under the care of his brother, Jun, who harbors shocking secrets of his own. 2013 True Vision honorees Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Leviathan, T/F 2013) return with this distressing chamber piece that grants us entrance to Issei's apartment, but questions whether we can truly understand the man inside. We are immersed in the habitat of an admitted cannibal, frail of body, and the one person left in the world who may truly love him. (AS)

Combat Obscura
Dir. Miles Lagoze; 2018; 67 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 10:45PM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:00PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 8:15PM / Big Ragtag
Sunday, Mar 4 / 9:30AM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

For years, Miles Lagoze served in Afghanistan as a Combat Camera, shooting footage and editing videos for Marine Corps recruiting purposes. In this devastating film, Lagoze assembles his own footage and that of his fellow combat cameramen into a never-before-seen look at the daily life of Marines from the ultimate insider’s point of view. More than a mere compilation of violence, the edit ingeniously repurposes the original footage to reveal the intensity and paradoxes of war in an age of ubiquitous cameras, when all soldiers can record themselves with helmet-cams and cellphones. Combat Obscura revels in the chasm separating civilian from military life and questions the psychological toll war exacts on all that it touches. Plays with “Concussion Protocol” (dir. Josh Begley, 6 min.) which transforms footage of NFL head injuries into an unsettling ballet. (AS)

Crime + Punishment
Dir. Stephen Maing; 2018; 112 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 7:15PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Saturday, Mar 3 / 3:30PM / Missouri Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:30PM / Jesse Auditorium

A courageous group of New York City cops takes on the NYPD in this crackling, here-and-now portrait of corruption and racial profiling. The source of the conflict is the informal quotas of summonses, fines and arrests that invariably hit lower-income communities of color the hardest. Director Stephen Maing stays with the reform-minded cops, the "NYPD 12,” through a dramatic series of twists and turns, including following Pedro Hernandez, a victim of the draconian policies, as he lands on Rikers Island. Even as the department’s leadership denies allegations of quotas, they target the officers who speak up for the communities: The dreadlocked Edwin Raymond is denied a promotion, and retribution is doled out after the officers make a high-profile appearance on NBC. With unflappable resolve — the cops wear wires to help capture dangerous moments — this is a film that’s always in the right place at the right time. (PS)

The Family
Dir. Rok Biček; 2017; 106 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 12:30PM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:15PM / Rhynsburger Theatre

Shot over a decade, Rok Biček’s gritty vérité studies a young Slovenian named Matej as he fumbles his way through fatherhood. When Biček first begins filming, Matej is a teenager living with his parents and brother, who are all intellectually disabled. Over the next decade, Matej embarks on a foolhardy search for stability, feeling out his place in a variety of households. Matej is a character for the ages: savvy, dogged, reckless, unpredictable. As he explores and begins to nihilistically question his function in contemporary society, his journeys are documented by Biček with extraordinary patience and precision. The film’s ingenious, time-scrambling structure prizes moods, emotions and ideas over chronological legibility. (CB)

Flight of a Bullet
Dir. Beata Bubenec; 2017; 81 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 3:00PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:30PM / Big Ragtag
Sunday, Mar 4 / 5:15PM / Forrest Theater

"Life lasted only while the camera was on, so I kept it rolling." This sui generis single-take documentary opens on a blown-out bridge in Ukraine’s heavily contested Donbass region. A dazed crowd has gathered to gawk at the destruction. As disorienting as the situation is, the source of tension quickly shifts from the mysterious culprit to the camera operator: Who is she, what is she doing here and whose side is she on? The startling answer is gradually revealed and unpacked in this shrewdly designed film, which quickly sheds its suspense thrills to become a provocative consideration of, among other subjects, what it means to be a woman camera operator in a war zone. Without a single cut, Flight of a Bullet captures both the harrowing and the disturbingly mundane nature of war. (CB)

La Flor de la Vida
Dir. Adriana Loeff & Claudia Abend; 2017; 86 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 4:00PM / The Globe
Saturday, Mar 3 / 8:30PM / The Picturehouse
Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:15PM / Missouri Theatre

Aldo, an exuberant 80-year-old man, and Gabriella, his introverted wife for the better part of five decades, candidly reflect on the deterioration of their marriage, much of which Aldo has captured on video. Watching these evocative home movies, looking through photos and hearing the couple’s stories, we are transported through the glorious and dreamy moments of a young, beautiful couple in love. But as the façade of those picture-perfect moments fades away, Aldo and Gabriella are forced to ruminate on the mistakes they’ve made and the people they no longer are. Adriana Loeff and Claudia Abend have crafted a heartfelt film about the power of love, the universality of heartbreak and an inescapable truth: We all will grow old with less-than-perfect grace. (JA) All screenings preceded by a provocation from Danny Giles.

Gabriel and the Mountain
Dir. Fellipe Barbosa; 2017; 131 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 4:30PM / Forrest Theater
Friday, Mar 2 / 7:00PM / The Picturehouse

After Gabriel Buchmann, a Brazilian student, died during a yearlong backpacking trip, his friend Fellipe Barbosa retraced his journey, finding and connecting with people the young man encountered along the way. Forgoing straightforward documentary, Barbosa presents a lovely work of fact-based imagination. Gabriel and the Mountain, though framed by Gabriel’s death, is entirely about the joy of being alive, unfolding in an open-hearted Africa, following our spirited young Brazilian (played by actor João Pedro Zappa) as he meanders. Gabriel’s series of minor, picaresque misadventures, including those of the heart, build into a portrait of the backpacker as a young man: Gabriel is open-hearted and often naïve, loving yet sometimes selfish, curious but tainted by Western arrogance. In a stroke of true-false genius, Gabriel’s African acquaintances play themselves, adding a warm, poignant layer to his loving celebration of youth, innocence and friendship. (JS)

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Dir. Sophie Fiennes; 2017; 115 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:15PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Friday, Mar 2 / 4:00PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 5:45PM / Forrest Theater

This impressionistic, prismatic portrait simultaneously illuminates and preserves the enigmatic power of the multi-hyphenate performer Grace Jones. Operating predominantly as a one-woman crew, director Sophie Fiennes captures warm, down-to-earth footage of the iconic Jones reminiscing at her Jamaican family’s Spanish Town dinner table, chatting with her son in the back of a Parisian taxi cab and calling bullshit on a recording studio manager. As we watch Jones navigate these distinct spaces and relationships, we come to understand how they all inform one another as well as her astonishing stage persona, which Fiennes gloriously documents in a Dublin concert hall (the film is generous with its exhilarating performance material). (CB)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Dir. RaMell Ross; 2018; 76 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 6:15PM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / The Picturehouse
Sunday, Mar 4 / 6:00PM / Big Ragtag

Crafted with startling beauty and reflecting an uncanny ability to observe, this film is spun together with a tenderness and intelligence that can't help but move us. This work of drifting portraiture loosely traces the lives of two young men in Hale County, Alabama, flowing in and out of their homes and basketball practices in a fearless reimagining of how stories are told about black lives in the American South. First-time director RaMell Ross carefully presents important moments from almost a decade of Quincy and Daniel's lives. Everything is recorded with intimacy while preserving the universal mystery of another human being’s life, allowing the subjects the same humanity that we, as viewers, afford ourselves. This poetic film asks us to be open-minded about what documentaries are “supposed" to be so we can also be open enough to immerse ourselves in the lives of others. (AS)

Kinshasa Makambo
Dir. Dieudo Hamadi; 2018; 75 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 1:45PM / The Globe
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:00PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Sunday, Mar 4 / 10:00AM / Big Ragtag

This tense, perceptive documentary from True Vision recipient Dieudo Hamadi unfolds in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where courageous young revolutionaries rally to rescue their beloved country from the autocratic grip of President Joseph Kabila. Hamadi trains his camera on three young men — Jean-Marie, Christian and Ben — as they put their bodies and psyches on the line to bring free elections. The activists, thrust into spirited meetings and intense street protests, navigate questions familiar to resistance movements worldwide: whether or not to lock arms with the leading opposition party, to what degree violence has a place in their protest and who to trust. Hamadi, a sharp-eyed cinematographer, breaks free of narrative convention, crafting a knotty, dynamic chronicle keenly attuned to the textures of their struggle. (CB) PRESENTED BY RESTORATION EYECARE

Love Means Zero
Dir. Jason Kohn; 89 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 11:30AM / The Picturehouse
Saturday, Mar 3 / 2:45PM / The Picturehouse
Sunday, Mar 4 / 4:00PM / Jesse Auditorium

In this provocative confrontation with one of the most famous names in tennis, director Jason Kohn (Manda Bala, T/F 2007) grapples with the legacy of Nick Bollettieri — a fantastically successful self-promoter, a driven and abusive coach and the architect behind the careers of many tennis greats. Over a series of extended interviews, Kohn does battle with Bollettieri, pushing the aging coach to a level of introspection and reflection that’s clearly uncomfortable — and maybe impossible. But throughout the verbal sparring, the stories keep coming — tales of hustle and grit and the destructive legacy of winning at all costs. (DW) All screenings preceded by a provocation from Paul Bloom.

Lovers of the Night
Dir. Anna Frances Ewert; 2017; 57 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:45PM / Forrest Theater
Friday, Mar 2 / 11:30AM / The Globe
Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:00AM / Missouri Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:00PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

This heartwarming, invigorating debut from Anna Frances Ewert transports us to a Cistercian monastery in the Irish countryside, where seven aging monks struggle to keep their devout community running. We watch as they pray, exercise, tend to cattle, tend to one another and pray again. But more than anything, we listen as these wise, humble men reflect on their lives and their philosophies. Ewert’s extraordinary presence in the movie — as a compassionate interlocutor and as a hyper attuned camera operator — elevates her project to the sublime. Plays with “Baby Brother” (dir. Kamau Bilal, 14 min.), a dynamic look at a brother experiencing a summer impasse, directed by longtime Columbia resident Bilal. (CB)

Makala
Dir. Emmanuel Gras; 2017; 96 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 12:00PM / Forrest Theater
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:30PM / Missouri Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 6:15PM / The Picturehouse

Kabwita is headed to the market with two items on his shopping list: medicine and metal roofing. The market is 50 kilometers away, and Kabwita’s only means of getting there is on foot. Moreover, he needs something to trade, so in a series of breathtakingly beautiful process scenes, we watch him single-handedly fell a tree and convert its wood into charcoal. With payload packed, he begins his epic journey. Makala offers a flood of stunning sensorial detail as it captures this high-stakes journey through the Congo. Will Kabwita make it past the tollkeepers, whizzing vehicles and exhaustion? As much as Emmanuel Gras’ mesmerizing film takes on a mythological dimension, it refuses to turn Kabwita into a symbol. The film pays close attention to his idiosyncrasies, his family life and the peculiarities of the economy. (CB)

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.
Dir. Steve Loveridge; 2018; 96 min.
Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:15PM / Jesse Auditorium
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:15PM / Rhynsburger Theatre

Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., is a global superstar. But this is not the big-budget, glossy pop doc that you might expect. Instead, director Steve Loveridge launches this profile with the deeply personal, diary-esque videos Maya made of herself, first solo as a teen and then with Steve while the two were in art school together. Gathering footage over a period of six years, Loveridge painstakingly constructed this personal epic, revealing her family’s radical history — her dad founded the militant rebel group the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka — and her political and musical provocations. If you feel you know the real M.I.A., this riotous, contentious collaboration between director and subject — lifelong friends — will open your eyes. And for those meeting her for the first time, hang on for a wild ride. (DW)

National Diploma
Dir. Dieudo Hamadi; 2014; 92 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 9:45PM / The Globe
Saturday, Mar 3 / 2:30PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

Across the Democratic Republic of Congo, a half-million teenagers aspire to pass the national exam, a necessary step for anyone who aspires to postsecondary education and high-level jobs. True Vision honoree Dieudo Hamadi — who took the exam himself as a young adult — follows a group of students who are expelled from high school after failing to pay tuition. Undaunted, the ambitious scholars band together, rent a dilapidated building and convert it into a makeshift school, where they teach themselves math, philosophy and all of the other subjects key to the exam. With the test looming, anxious students desperately find themselves resorting to unorthodox techniques. Hamadi’s film is an engrossing look at a broken system and a young generation struggling to correct it. (CB)

The Next Guardian
Dir. Dorottya Zurbó & Arun Bhattarai; 2017; 74 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:00PM / The Picturehouse
Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:00AM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 4:00PM / Jesse Auditorium

In a remote village in Bhutan, teenage siblings Gyembo and Tashi want freedom and adventure. As they kick a soccer ball through tall prayer flags, their father meticulously cares for the Buddhist monastery their family has stewarded for generations. “Kids these days,” he grieves, “do not want to preserve their culture.” Gyembo is more interested in girls, football and “Grand Theft Auto” than becoming a monk. His sister, Tashi, is equally interested in girls and football and has always had the soul, as her parents say, of a boy. Directors Dorottya Zurbó and Arun Bhattarai, who is Bhutanese, explore the beauty of a faraway landscape and the familiar, intimate unease of generational tension — of parents desperate to maintain tradition and children desperate for freedom, with a gulf of modernity and changing gender norms separating them. Plays with “Durango” (dir. Matt Sukkar, 14 min.), starring two brothers who spar and play in a bubble of their own until one threatens to break out. (LK) All screenings preceded by a provocation from Aja Romano.

N/N: Handsworth Songs
Dir. John Akomfrah; 1986; 61 min.
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:00PM / The Globe

"A journalist is pestering a middle-aged black woman. He wants her opinion. ... She looks at him and calmly says 'There are no stories in the riots. Only the ghosts of other stories.'" As reporters clamber to pinpoint a simple cause for the civil disorder in 1980s Birmingham and London, the Black Audio Film Collective invoke the past in their brilliant, inventively assembled debut Handsworth Songs. The Collective vigorously blends jolting footage of police interference with on-the-street interviews, as well as archival photography and newsreel clips of post-war black and Asian immigrants. The film aired on Channel 4 in 1986, sparking a debate in The Guardian between Salman Rushdie and Stuart Hall, the latter praising the film for its original techniques and for "making us look in new ways." (CB) Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

N/N: Testament
Dir. John Akomfrah; 1988; 79 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 10:15PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:30PM / Forrest Theater

Black Audio Film Collective’s first work to contain narrative fiction elements, Testament is an understated yet palpably heartfelt exploration of the myriad, often excruciatingly painful intersections between personal, national and cultural memory. Abena (a watchful Tania Rogers) is an English-raised Ghanaian broadcast journalist who returns to her home country two decades after the 1966 deposition of Ghana’s first socialist revolutionary president, Kwame Nkrumah. Abena seeks out old friends, some of whom are less than pleased to see her, and revisits long-buried memories stemming from the event’s devastating fallout. Testament is not a long film, yet its fragmented narrative, somehow simultaneously dense and economical, contains entire worlds, locating beauty and emotional resonance in its sensitive exploration of what it means to be “home.” (AC) Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

N/N: Twilight City
Dir. Reece Auguiste; 1989; 53 min.
Saturday, Mar 3 / 3:45PM / Big Ragtag

The graceful and moving essay film Twilight City is one of Black Audio Film Collective’s sharpest and most sensual evocations of contemporary Afro-Caribbean life. The film blends a dreamlike personal reflectiveness with a hard-edged critical reading of London life under Margaret Thatcher. The (fictional) central figure is a young black British researcher, Octavia (Amanda Symonds), who one day receives a letter from her mother, Eugenia, who is based in Dominica. After ten years back in her home country, the disaffected Eugenia yearns to return to London so she may once again live with her daughter. While Octavia composes her response, the old resentments, pain and anger that she has repressed begin to resurface. (AC) Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

N/N: Who Needs a Heart
Dir. John Akomfrah; 1991; 78 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 8:15PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

Perhaps the Black Audio Film Collective’s bleakest and most challenging effort, Who Needs a Heart is ostensibly based on the real-life figure of Michael X (aka Michael DeFreitas), the Trinidad and Tobago-born, London-based, self-styled revolutionary and civil-rights activist of the 1960s and 70s who, in 1975, four years after fleeing back to Trinidad from London, was hanged after being found guilty in a murder trial. Yet this elusive and controversial character effectively functions as the film’s structuring absence, visible only in sparingly deployed archive footage and photography. Instead, the film offers a chronologically oblique, fictional portrait of a multiracial, London-based group of his acolytes who serially fight, party and drink in lieu of expressing or acting on coherent political opinions. (AC) Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Of Fathers and Sons
Dir. Talal Derki; 2017; 98 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 3:30PM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 6:30PM / Missouri Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 7:45PM / Forrest Theater

Though Abu Osama, a seasoned Al Qaeda fighter in northern Syria, has eight sons, he prays for each of his two wives to have twin boys: four more soldiers for his cause. Talal Derki’s shocking, harrowing documentary follows Abu — a sniper and expert in defusing mines — and his son Osama, a charismatic 12-year-old being trained as a jihadi. Director Derki, posing as an Al Qaeda-affiliated filmmaker, spent two years getting to know the family; his camera provides a nonjudgmental but unflinching immersion into the world of radical Islam, intensified by the unfolding tragedies of a heartless civil war. Osama, a sensitive boy prone to fits of rage, is initially terrified when sent to a brutal military camp. But soon, Abu hopes, his son will be ready to fight. (JS)

Our New President
Dir. Maxim Pozdorovkin; 2018; 78 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 4:30PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Friday, Mar 2 / 10:00PM / Missouri Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:30PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note

Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because of a curse from her visit with the mummy of an ancient Siberian princess — or perhaps by a man who stuck a doll with pins. Or at least that’s what things looked like from Russia. Director Maxim Pozdorovkin (Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, T/F 2013) splices footage from a complex cross-section of Russian media, including state-run outlets and more ad-hoc efforts. A pop star features a certain ex-reality TV star in his blingy, twitchy music video. A building in St. Petersburg hides hundreds of Internet trolls doing anti-Hillary shift work. Ordinary Russians compose and perform post-election tribute songs. This exhilarating and terrifying deep dive into the world of Russian (fake) news offers critical lessons about the power and form of 21st-century propaganda. Whose President is this? Plays with “Graven Image” (dir. Sierra Pettengill, 11 min.), on the making and promoting of Stone Mountain, Georgia, the KKK-built monument to the Confederate States. (AV)

Playing Men
Dir. Matjaž Ivanišin; 2017; 61 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 5:00PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 2:30PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:30PM / Big Ragtag

Men wrestling with each other in a grassy field, giant wheels of cheese rolling down stone-cobbled streets and boys yelling until they are hoarse in a rapid-fire finger game are just the tip of the iceberg in this rollicking tour of regional sports throughout the Mediterranean. Matjaž Ivanišin’s gorgeously photographed film lays out all the rules of the game before immersing us in the middle of the action. Just when the film has established its rhythm, however, the director finds himself in the middle of an existential crisis. Its resolution involves a marvelous and riotous celebration on the beach in Split, Croatia, where all of the testosterone and hero worship come to a head. Plays with “They Just Come and Go” (dir. Boris Poljak, 20 min.), a richly atmospheric short about the beach in Split, which goes from the libidinous to the elegiac. (AS)

The Price of Everything
Dir. Nathaniel Kahn; 2018; 98 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 1:30PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / Jesse Auditorium
Sunday, Mar 4 / 7:00PM / Missouri Theatre

Art and commerce alternately collide and cozy up in the latest from Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect), which examines the enigmatic mechanics of an art market where the swirling vagaries of popularity elude nonprofessionals. We meet Stefan Edlis, a highly quotable, Vienna-born art collector and Holocaust survivor; the rising superstar, Nigerian-American artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby; and the whip-smart art maven Amy Cappellazzo, who we see prepping a major collection for auction. The absurdly successful Jeff Koons employs a buzzing factory of assistants who convert his notions into art products, while op art pioneer Larry Poons tasted the other side of the boom, falling out of favor when, after astronomical success in the early ’70s, he pursued less commercial directions. The whole thing crackles with kinetic energy, and Kahn perfectly balances his characters, leaving the audience hungry for the next bon mot and thrilled to be allowed behind the curtain of this rarified marketplace. (PS)

 
Primas
Dir. Laura Bari; 2017; 100 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 11:00AM / Missouri Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:30PM / Jesse Auditorium
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:15PM / Missouri Theatre

With help from their aunt, two cousins embark upon a program of theater and dance to process a complex outpouring of emotions, some typical to teenagers, others arising from extraordinarily traumatic experiences. Rocío and Aldana’s open, indomitable spirit animates this film by Laura Bari (Antoine, T/F 2010); the two demonstrate their unusual knack for sharing stories in a grounded, approachable way. Primas explores the genealogy of wrath, the stubborn half-lives of harrowing events and the challenges of forward progression. The result is a humanistic, soulful gem in which even the deepest sadness and sexual violence can be addressed through familial love, creativity and, most of all, courage.
Representatives from True North, who counsel survivors of domestic and sexual violence, will be at all screenings to support audience members as needed. (PS) 2018 TRUE LIFE FUND FILM PRESENTED BY THE CROSSING

The Rider
Dir. Chloé Zhao; 2017; 105 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:00PM / Missouri Theatre
Friday, Mar 2 / 7:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
Saturday, Mar 3 / 2:45PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note

Though The Rider has enjoyed an unprecedented festival journey that saw stops in Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, & Sundance, we’d argue that True/False represents a spiritual home for its unique storytelling. After suffering a terrible head injury, young rodeo cowboy and horse trainer Brady Blackburn faces an uncertain future. It’s a great setup for a fiction film, but it also hews close to the real life of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, resident Brady Jandreau. In this inspiring and spectacularly lush film, visionary director Chloé Zhao worked with her real-life cast to produce a script that exists like a veil between the worlds of reality and make-believe. Brady is joined by his actual sister (the effervescent Lilly) and father, along with his best friends, on a journey that illustrates just what’s at stake for a young rider who could be killed doing what he loves. (DW) PRESENTED BY RUSK REHABILITATION CENTER

Secret Screening Gale
97 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 9:30PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Friday, Mar 2 / 4:30PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Saturday, Mar 3 / 11:45AM / The Globe
Sunday, Mar 4 / 6:00PM / Rhynsburger Theatre

Working within a framework that feels designed to make them fail, a team of rebel heroines work to change the system, one step at a time. Featuring intimate camerawork that lingers on details and makes a place palpable, this rousing film celebrates acts of steadfast defiance, even as it reveals the hurdles these women must face. (DW)

Secret Screening Mistral
2017; 81 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 8:45PM / Big Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 5:45PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note

A lone protagonist, shrouded in darkness, declares an intention to rise again. Meanwhile, we, the audience, are hurtled off a hillside, details blurring like watercolors. This is expressive filmmaking of the highest order — epic poetry that takes us on a hero’s quest and dunks us into a milieu we’ve only witnessed from afar. Boldly shot, with a score to match, this one will set your pulse to racing. (DW)

Secret Screening Zephyr
2018; 79 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 5:45PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 7:30PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:45PM / The Picturehouse

A convincing rallying call, a merging of the intellectual and the sensual and a gorgeous communion between the visual and aural, Secret Screening Zephyr will resonate deeply with audiences seeking transcendence and for those spiritually adrift, by encouraging us to experience the unassailable mysteries of the universe. This mesmeric essay helps make sense of a scattered, materialistic era. (PS) All screenings preceded by a provocation from Nicole He.

Self-Portrait: Birth in 47KM
Dir. ZHANG Mengqi; 2016; 101 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 12:00PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30AM / Forrest Theater
Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:15PM / Big Ragtag

Between 1959 and 1961, more than 35 million people starved to death because of Mao’s Great Leap Forward policies. To avoid censorship in China, this painful period is now euphemistically referred to as the "Three Years of Natural Disasters." This courageous oral history, the sixth directed by ZHANG Mengqi, tells the story from the point of view of her grandfather's village, to which she returns every winter to interview survivors. Central are moving voice-overs from a grandmother who details harrowing pregnancies and lonely births during the Great Famine and her granddaughter, a migrant worker. In this agricultural village, the landscape is stark yet beautiful with plenty of room for contemplation. When a hand appears in front of the camera, Zhang transitions into delightfully playful territory, incorporating a uniquely participatory experience that extends to not-to-be-missed post-screening Q&As. (AS)

SHAKEDOWN
Dir. Leilah Weinraub; 2018; 69 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 10:15PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Saturday, Mar 3 / 8:45PM / Forrest Theater
Sunday, Mar 4 / 8:30PM / Big Ragtag

The very beginning of SHAKEDOWN, the film, tells us everything we need to know about Shakedown, a black lesbian strip club in Los Angeles. “Listen up,” says the MC, Ronnie Ron, “if you straight, you don’t need to be in the front. Period.” Filmed by director Leilah Weinraub in the lo-fi vibe of the early 2000s every weekend the club was open, this film buoyantly and joyfully shares its scintillating, pulsating world. Along with Ronnie Ron, Mahogany, the protective mentor of new dancers, and Egypt and Jazmine, two of Shakedown’s Angels, rapturously guide the film through the club’s many ups and downs. Those who are easily offended should steer clear and leave the dance floor to others. (AS)

Shirkers
Dir. Sandi Tan; 2018; 96 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 10:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
Saturday, Mar 3 / 5:45PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:00PM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note

Singapore, summer of 1992: Sandi Tan; two close friends; and her middle-aged mentor, Georges, scramble to shoot their first feature, Shirkers, an off-kilter, color-soaked slasher flick. The production is an intense, heady experience, and all signs point to indie greatness: This will be a film before its time, especially for the nascent Singapore film scene. But then Georges disappears . . . with the cans of film. Fast forward 20 years: With the lost Shirkers continuing to haunt those who participated, the film is recovered. Tan, now an L.A.-based novelist, hits the road in search of answers. And so we take a thrilling trip, from Singapore to California to New Orleans, and from the present to the past and back, in a brilliant testimonial to the power of the stories we tell about ourselves. (AV)

Shorts: Coffee 70
70 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 2:00PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:00PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

Older men reckon with their place in society in these three shorts. The black-and-white, urgent "Community Patrol" (dir. Andrew James, 13 min.) follows a vigilante "community court" in Detroit, let by the charismatic Reverend Malik Shabazz. "The Atomic Soldiers" (dir. Morgan Knibbe, 23 min.) features still-shellshocked American veterans, long sworn to secrecy, offering rotating testimonies. With a rapt, close-up focus, T/F alum Morgan Knibbe unflinchingly bears witness to the men, haunted by atomic testing in which they were cast as lab rats. The slow-burn "John 746" (dir. Ana Vijdea, 34 min.) brings us to a junk shop, deep in de-industrialized America—Syracuse, New York to be exact—where a tall, gaunt, man, accompanied by his ineffective guard dog Bakoonin, prefers a method of exchange that’s not cash, check or credit card. (PS)

Shorts: Kombucha 71
71 min.
Saturday, Mar 3 / 5:00PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 9:00PM / The Picturehouse

These five shorts exhume lost histories and lives. Inspired by Pizzagate, “Personal Truth” (dir. Charlie Lyne, 18 min.) re-examines a conspiracy from the director’s youth and uncorks a sometimes funny, sometimes serious meditation on skepticism. Next up, in “Disintegration 93-96” (dir. Miko Revereza, 6 min.), another filmmaker takes us on a furious yet vulnerable tour of his childhood as an undocumented immigrant in California. “The Water Slide” (dir. Nate Truesdell, 10 min.) brings us closer to home. In Kansas City, Kansas, Libertarian-leaning legislators fast-track the world’s largest water slide in this skewering of local news cadences. Local politicians are also dealing with historically significant changes in Secret Screening Breeze (dir. David de Rozas), which features an honorable figure trying to find a way to connect. “Las Nubes” (dir. Juan Pablo González, 21 min.) completes our trip through lost stories, featuring a weathered man who is partially visible in a rear-view mirror as he relates getting mixed up with the wrong kind. (AS)

Shorts: Lager 72
72 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 7:30PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 6:00PM / Big Ragtag

Tour alternate theories and geographies in these four boundary-defying shorts. “Pure Difference” (dir. Byron Peters, 21 min.) presents a pop-Marxist history of mathematics that spoofs graphic-heavy, educational videos and tech-conference talks. This visual bombardment continues with “Dessert-Disaster” (dir. Alison Nguyen, 2 min.), a split-screen smorgasbord of found footage dessert advertisements versus natural disasters. Lava flows and geologic formations introduce “The Making and Unmaking of the Earth” (dir. Jessica Bardsley, 17 min.), a film that showcases women’s testimonies of dreams, fears and trauma. The final short, “Liminals” (dir. Jeremy Shaw, 31 min.), leaves Earth as we know it with a band of experimental dancers seeking transcendence. (AS)

 
Shorts: Red Wine 73
73 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 6:30PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:30PM / Forrest Theater

The subjects of these four shorts are living defiantly, starting with “Mini Miss” (dir. Rachel Daisy Ellis, 16 min.), a charming/disturbing immersion into the Brazilian child pageant scene. Journey into a lush Cuban forest with “Duelo” (dir. Alejandro Alonso, 12 min.), featuring a shamanistic widow who prays for her son. “La Bouche” (dir. Camille Restrepo, 19 min.) showcases the music of a drummer who finds a way to express his pain years after the murder of his daughter. Opening inside of a drum, “Palenque” (dir. Sebastián Pinzón Silva, 25 min.) is a documentary musical that floats around a Colombian village with landmark status in the New World. (AS)

Taming the Horse
Dir. GU Tao; 2017; 129 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 10:00PM / Forrest Theater
Saturday, Mar 3 / 2:30PM / Forrest Theater
Sunday, Mar 4 / 11:45AM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag

Tong has just turned 30, and everything in his life is falling apart. He just left his job at a photography studio, his girlfriend is seeing another man, his mom is ill and his brother thinks he just isn’t applying himself. Director GU Tao reunites with his longtime friend in this portrait of a young man in the rapidly changing, moral-less society that dominates the Chinese condition today. The evocative camerawork floats down the streets of Kunming as Tong ruminates on his love life and tries to find his place in the world. Over a year of Tong’s life, each scintillatingly immersive observational scene entertains without judgment. (AS)

The Task
Dir. Leigh Ledare; 2017; 120 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 6:45PM / The Globe
Saturday, Mar 3 / 2:30PM / The Globe
Sunday, Mar 4 / 9:30AM / Forrest Theater

In artist provocateur Leigh Ledare’s latest project, strangers gather together to decode their own group dynamics in the “here and now.” These participants question one another’s prejudices, stereotypes and backstories, feeding a purgatorial atmosphere in a search for greater understanding. Not all is as it seems: Some members of the group turn out to be more like managers, and others recalcitrantly find themselves in the roles of workers. Less this all sound suspiciously like work, this superlatively suspenseful edit is devilishly fun. Even the most minute gestures — a tilt of the head, the act of leaving the room to go to the restroom, where one chooses to sit — become the focus of attention, including Ledare’s own culpability as the instigator of this project. We may never look at documentary subjects and directors in the same way again: and don’t worry, the walkouts are part of the performance. (AS)

Three Identical Strangers
Dir. Tim Wardle; 2018; 96 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 7:15PM / Missouri Theatre
Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:00PM / Rhynsburger Theatre
Sunday, Mar 4 / 9:30AM / Jesse Auditorium

The first 30 minutes of this stranger-than-fiction tale deliver a jaw-dropping, feel-good human interest story that managed to go viral, even in the pre-internet era. Oblivious of each other’s existence, three young men — Robert Shafran, Edward Galland and David Kellman — grew up in three very different conditions. An uncanny coincidence helped reunite these three identical triplets, separated at birth. Soon, the trio are media stars, and we embark upon a romp-filled tour of the early 1980s (Studio 54, Phil Donahue, Kim Wilde etc.). But the story switches gears, revealing darker themes and insidious forces. Robert, Edward and David, always captivating on screen, become the center of a knotty conspiracy, one that will ramp up our ongoing debate about nature versus nurture, along with questions of scientific ethics. It’s a disquieting look at how hidden forces can shape our lives. (PS)

Voices of the Sea
Dir. Kim Hopkins; 2018; 99 min.
Thursday, Mar 1 / 9:45PM / The Picturehouse
Saturday, Mar 3 / 6:00PM / The Globe
Sunday, Mar 4 / 1:00PM / The Picturehouse

In Cajio Beach, Cuba, there is the reality — hunger, no drinking water, little hope for tomorrow — and there is the dream. The American Dream. Mariela looks 90 miles north, to the Florida shore, imagining a brighter future; but her husband, Pita, a struggling fisherman, feels anchored to their home. Director Kim Hopkins offers a portrait of a family caught in a Cuba often hidden from view, a Cuba hampered by the broken promises of revolution. Many in Caijo Beach hold on to the desperate hopes that America, no matter the brutal realities, is the solution. Pita and Mariela’s story, told with empathy and without judgment, reveals how nations so often fail their citizens. And the sea, filled with danger and promise, relentlessly rolls upon the shore. (LK)

Westwood
Dir. Lorna Tucker; 2018; 83 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 11:00AM / Showtime Theater at The Blue Note
Saturday, Mar 3 / 5:30PM / Willy Wilson @ Ragtag
Saturday, Mar 3 / 9:30PM / Missouri Theatre

Charging headlong into the fashion world with zippers, scrawled epithets and rips and tears, the iconoclastic designer Vivienne Westwood forever changed youth culture. Now, with her Climate Revolution initiatives, she seeks to untangle “two snakes”: the capitalist, corporatized economy and its threat to our global ecology. Director Lorna Tucker’s appropriately idiosyncratic portrait follows one of our great impresarios — still soulful and ornery after all these years — as she manages a sprawling empire. Also in the frame is her partner, the singular Andreas Kronthaler (the inspiration for Sacha Baron Cohen's outlandish "Bruno" character). Tucker reveals the behind-the-scenes tumult at Westwood’s nonstop atelier and accompanies her on a Greenpeace expedition to Antarctica. Along the way, the designer questions the purpose of a marketing department, scrubs plans to expand into China and plays cat-and-mouse games with Tucker, who, gamely sidestepping her subject’s resistance, crafts an inspirational portrait. (PS)

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Dir. Morgan Neville; 2018; 94 min.
Friday, Mar 2 / 3:30PM / Jesse Auditorium
Saturday, Mar 3 / 12:00PM / The Picturehouse
Sunday, Mar 4 / 1:30PM / The Globe
Sunday, Mar 4 / 7:15PM / Jesse Auditorium

A true master of synthesizing pop culture into great filmmaking, Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, T/F 2013) reframes that most beloved (and much parodied) cultural institution: Mister Rogers. But fear not — instead of sinister revelations, this artfully crafted portrait offers hard-won uplift. From Fred Rogers’ beginnings as a pastor who saw television as his pulpit to his rise to fame as an outspoken defender of public television to his visionary insights into child development, formed during the best-seen-not-heard era, this public history will feel deeply personal to many viewers. Though Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood may feel like an American relic, Neville asks us to consider what of value we have lost since the more open-hearted days Rogers’ show represents — and wonders how we can find it again. (DW) All screenings preceded by a provocation from Miko Revereza. PRESENTED BY VETERANS UNITED HOME LOANS