In Cinetopia 2017 selection “Menashe,” a widower deep in the heart of Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community battles for custody of his son. Tradition prohibits Menashe—a kind, hapless grocery store clerk—from raising his son alone after the death of his wife. He gets a chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood when his rabbi grants him one week with his son before the memorial. Performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood. “Menashe” opens Friday.
“Lady Macbeth” takes place in rural England in 1865, where Katherine (Florence Pugh) is trapped in a loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Based on the novel “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” by Nikolai Leskov (who also wrote the screenplay), “Lady Macbeth” opens Friday.
In “The Fencer,” fleeing from the Russian secret police because of his controversial past, a young Estonian fencer named Endel is forced to return to his homeland, where he begins to train a group of young children in the art of fencing. But his past catches up with him and Endel has to choose between letting his students down or putting his life in danger. The movie is partially based on the real life story of Estonian fencer Endel Nelis (1925-1993). “The Fencer” plays September 14-16.
Cinetopia 2017 selection “Whose Streets?” is an unflinching look at the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri that followed the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown by a police officer, told by the activists and leaders who lived it. The incident marked a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri, as grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger brought residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. “Whose Streets?” plays September 15-17.
Two of French cinema’s biggest stars shine in “The Midwife,” a bittersweet drama about the unlikely friendship that develops between Claire (Catherine Frot), a talented but tightly wound midwife, and Béatrice (Catherine Deneuve), the estranged, free-spirited mistress of Claire’s late father. Though polar opposites in almost every way, the two come to rely on each other as they cope with the unusual circumstance that brought them together in this sharp character study from the César-award winning director Martin Provost (Séraphine). “The Midwife” plays September 17 and September 19-20.
Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman made his debut with “Titicut Follies” in 1967, a controversial 84-minute survey of conditions that existed during the mid-1960s at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The film banned worldwide until 1992 because of a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that it constituted an invasion of inmate privacy. The film goes behind the walls to show stark and graphic images exposing the treatment of inmates by guards, social workers, and psychiatrists. In honor of the film’s 50th anniversary, “Titicut Follies” will screen on September 20-21.
Special Screenings Downtown
In “Growing Up Hmong at the Crossroads,” four children of former Hmong refugees embark from their home in Minnesota on a milestone journey to trace their family history in Laos, Thailand and France. The film gives a glimpse of the unique struggles that the children of this generation work through to relate to their parents’ cultural heritage and make sense of their historical memory, against the backdrop of politically troubled times, increasing social anxieties and the global spread of xenophobic sentiments. Presented by the U-M Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, “Growing Up Hmong at the Crossroads” plays Tuesday, September 19 at 4:15 PM. Admission is free.
Opening at the Multiplex
In Darren Aronofsky’s latest, “mother!”, a couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer star in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice. “mother!” opens Friday.
“American Assassin” follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East. “American Assassin” opens Friday.
In “All I See Is You,” Gina (Blake Lively) is a beautiful young woman who’s still haunted by the accident that took her sight years earlier. Living in Bangkok with her husband, James, she undergoes a cutting-edge operation that restores the vision to her right eye. Now that Gina can see again, she slowly starts to realize that her newfound independence makes James feel jealous, threatened and insecure. “All I See Is You” opens Friday.
See you at the movies!
From Russell B. Collins
Director, State & Michigan Theaters – Ann Arbor
Founder/Director, Art House Convergence – Utah
Artistic Dir./Founder, Cinetopia Festival Detroit/A2
Strengthening communities with persistent creativity