The Artistry and Humanity of Djibril Diop Mambéty

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

This essay on Djibril Diop Mambéty's Le franc and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun was written by John Bennett, PhD candidate in the Department of Communication Arts at UW Madison. Le franc and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun will be screened in a program on Friday, October 29 at 7 p.m., at our regular venue, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave. Admission is Free!

By John Bennett

In the history of Senegalese cinema, two filmmakers stand out as the nation’s most prominent. The first, Ousmane Sembene, is known for his inventive yet direct moral parables (in films such as Mandabi, Xala, or Faat Kiné) that detail quandaries experienced by individuals in postcolonial Senegal. The second, Djibril Diop Mambéty, may be harder to neatly label. Unlike Sembene, Mambéty avoids overt didacticism (even if individual moments in his films do indeed appear to comment on the postcolonial moment during which he worked). And while Sembene’s films relay narratives with clear characterizations and causal narration, Mambéty’s films experiment extensively with both cinematic storytelling and style. Such experimentation is most boldly showcased in his 1973 masterpiece, Touki Bouki. But even if Mambéty toned down some of his more extreme experimental tendencies by the late 1990s, his virtues as a filmmaker are nevertheless on full display in his final two films: Le franc (1994) and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999).

Le franc and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun are part of a planned trilogy titled “histoires de petites gens” or “stories of little people”--a trilogy that Mambéty did not manage to complete before his untimely death in 1998. In both films, Mambéty presents slice-of-life narratives of ordinary Senegalese individuals navigating life in Dakar and its environs. In Le franc, a poor musician named Marigo discovers he has won the national lottery and treks across Dakar to claim his winnings. In The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun, a young disabled girl named Sili becomes determined to sell copies of the newspaper called The Sun in Dakar to support both herself and her blind grandmother. But in both films, the stories are less straightforward than simple summaries might suggest. Of the two works, Le franc experiments the most with narrative design. After Marigo embarks on his quest to cash in his lottery ticket, the film largely abandons dialogue as a means of advancing the story. Instead, Marigo is presented in a series of locations whose spatial relationships to each other remain unclear. The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun may be Mambéty’s most classically constructed film; Sili has a goal to sell newspapers and encounters obstacles in the achievement of that goal. But narrative experimentation is nevertheless present in this work as well: Sili announces her goal to her unseen grandmother in voice-over as the image track shows a close up Sili’s stoic face (her lips unmoving despite her voice’s presence on the soundtrack) superimposed over a rapidly-moving printing press. Both films conclude ambiguously: Le franc ends with Marigo’s wild laughter at having recovered the ticket that he briefly thought lost. The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun concludes with Sili being carried into the distance by an older student without having recovered her crutch stolen by a gang of rival newspaper vendors. Though both films depict intelligible stories about believable characters, Mambety’s light narrative experimentation infuses both works with a dreamy atmosphere

Aiding in the creation of this atmosphere are other stylistic devices with which Mambéty experiments. In both shorts, like Touki Bouki before them, Mambéty saturates his Dakar cityscapes with deep, warm colors. Marigo traverses Dakar in a deep red/orange garment that complements the rich yellows and blues painted on the side of the bus that serves as his transportation. After she has made a considerable sum on the sale of her newspapers, Sili dances down a street in a deep yellow dress. Subtler still are the rich soundscaes that abound in both works. Though dialogue disappears for much of the middle of Le franc, it is replaced on the soundtrack by dense waves of sounds that include calls to prayer; saxophone, guitar, and percussion solos; and the general hum and whir of the city. Sonorous, too, is the booming voice of Aminata Fall, the actress who plays Marigo’s landlady (Fall was also featured prominently in Touki Bouki). One of the more memorable elements of The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun is Sili’s calm, repeated mantra-like intonation of “Le soleil!” as she promotes her wares. (For more on sound in Mambéty’s films, see UW professor Vlad Dima’s book, Sonic Space in Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Films). The confluence of narrative experimentation, saturated palettes, and dense and varied soundscapes make Le franc and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun pleasantly hypnotic and sensorial cinematic experiences.

Ambiguity is Mambéty’s modus operandi, but that doesn’t prevent his films from delivering moments of pointed political critique. As Yasmina Price points out in her recent essay on the restorations for New York’s Metrograph theater, Mambéty was strongly critical of the global economic forces that he felt worked against such “petites gens” as Marigo and Sili (such a criticism is particularly evident in his 1992 feature, Hyenas). In a Kafkaesque moment from Le franc that recalls several scenes from Sembene’s Mandabi, Marigo encounters difficulty in claiming his winnings when speaking to a government functionary. Le franc, like Mandabi before it, criticizes the inaccessibility of governmental institutions for those who are poor and uneducated. While speaking with the functionary, Marigo briefly recounts the story of Yaadikoone Ndiaye, a poster of whom adorns the door he has lugged from his small apartment across town. Ndiaye, explains Marigo, is the Senegalese Robin Hood--a man who protected the young and the weak. The same poster can be seen briefly on a wall in the police station to which Sili is taken on the suspicion of theft in The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun. Despite Maméty’s disorienting stylistic concoctions, his criticism of Senegal’s place within a neocolonial global economy can nevertheless be clearly discerned.

Beyond the unique political commentary of Le franc and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun, the films are also notable social documents for their portrayal of disability. In both works, the audience witnesses disabled characters navigate crowded and occasionally inhospitable spaces. But in neither work is the representation of disability exploited for easy pathos. Yes, we are invited to sympathize with Sili when we see her harassment at the hands of the gang of rival newspaper peddlers. But more often, we are simply invited to witness the placid calm with which she interfaces with her quotidian world. As a viewer with a physical disability, I personally have found Sili’s ordinary management of her life (and Mambéty’s unfussy depiction thereof) to be one of world cinema’s finest depictions of what it means and what it is like to be disabled. This, along with his creative political rhetoric and novel exploitation of cinematic conventions, are sufficient grounds to rank Mambéty as a first-rate humanist and artist.


Monday, October 25th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

These notes on Tobe Hooper's original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) were written by Lance St. Laurent, PhD candidate in the Department of Communication Arts at UW Madison. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will screen in a restored 4K DCP on Saturday, October 30 at 7 p.m. in the Cinematheque's regular screening venue, 4070 Vilas Hall. Admission is free!

By Lance St. Laurent

It really all starts with the title. Rarely have a filmmaker and his film so boldly proclaimed their own identity with such ferocity as with Tobe Hooper and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It starts with Texas, a state that exists in the public imagination as the setting of countless Westerns, the rough and tumble wilderness where hard men lead lives of violence. On top of that, to audiences in 1974, Texas was also the state where only a decade prior a young president was shot dead in broad daylight.  Then there is “Chain Saw Massacre”, a ruthless and gruesome joining of terms that nonetheless approaches a sort of macabre poetry, or at least an aesthetic aural beauty. Even the misspelling of “Chain Saw”—a misspelling now enshrined in the Library of Congress—speaks to a work that has somehow slipped through the cracks, through the normal structures that are intended to keep something so raw, so unvarnished, away from the general viewing public. It’s a title that makes promises few films could actually keep, something outrageously horrific and grotesque, the stuff that only really exists in imagination or nightmares, not on American movie screens.

And yet, from the opening text crawl—narrated by a pre-Night Court John Larroquette—The Texas Chain Saw Massacre announces itself as not just a new vision of American horror cinema, but a horrifying vision of America itself. The fact that the true story claims were bogus—the film is *loosely* inspired by Wisconsin’s own Ed Gein, but almost entirely fictionalized—is beside the point. For a nation gripped with terror and fascination by the likes of the Manson family and the Zodiac killer, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre showed audiences something that may not have been real per se, but reminded them of something that was true, that there were still darkened corners of this nation where evil may lurk and the unspeakable may occur.

That said, such high-minded cultural resonance would be moot if the film itself couldn’t rise to its moment. But rise to its moment, it did. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, even 46 year later, remains a remarkably powerful, upsetting, and thrilling piece of genre cinema. Even after numerous sequels and remakes—including one from Tobe Hooper himself in 1986—and countless slasher films that have pilfered its best ideas and images for cheap scares, it remains singular and unmatched in its ability to create a palpable, relentless sense of dread and horror. In time, its rough edges, indicative of its low-budget independent production, have only enhanced its ability to disquiet, giving the film a grimy texture akin to a snuff film, subtly suggesting that what we are seeing was not meant to see the light of day.

And yet there’s a real beauty to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s mayhem, a spirit of Grand Guignol filtered through an almost documentary-like verisimilitude. This is perhaps best exemplified by the film’s now iconic ending. Without getting too specific, the horrors that have befallen Sally (Marilyn Burns, in a performance that helped define the “final girl” trope) end only with a reprieve, not triumph and certainly not justice. Her pained, horrified expression remains unchanged; her wails are what we are left with, a lingering reminder that she will never truly escape the horrors she has witnessed. As for Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), he seems unfazed, undulating wildly against the blistering sun, an almost joyous dance of death. He lives to hunt another day.

Leatherface’s moment in the sun remains one of the most indelible images in horror cinema, and speaks to the ways that Texas Chain Saw Massacre works against the conventions that would come to define the burgeoning slasher genre. The sun rising on an escape would, in lesser films, represent the promise of freedom, a piercing light through the darkness of human degradation that Leatherface and his family represent, a triumph of the human spirit against soulless ghouls. In Chain Saw, though, it is merely a momentary reprieve. The horrors of Leatherface do not end when the sun comes up, nor does the light reveal him to be a creature that can only thrive in the shadows. Instead, in the light of day, the horrors that befall the victims of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre remain as horrific as in the night, and the monsters behind them continue to hide in broad daylight, waiting for their moment to strike.

The Syzygies of A DIM VALLEY

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

This essay on Brandon Colvin's A Dim Valley was written by Zachary Zahos, PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication Arts at UW Madison. Brandon Colvin will appear in person at the October 23 screening of A Dim Valley at the Cinematheque's regular venue, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue. Admission is free!

By Zachary Zahos

For his third feature, Brandon Colvin has created, with his close-knit team of collaborators, a magnetic, moving, and above all, remarkably sui generis work. The major beats of the plot are clear and unchallenging to repeat: a professor and two graduate students encounter a trio of dryads, or wood nymphs, in the Kentucky wilderness, to lifechanging effect. But the road between cause and effect affords a multitude of bypaths, points of entry, and spots of stunning view. Promoted as “part hilarious stoner comedy and part transcendental meditation on mysticism and love,” A Dim Valley fulfills both of these functions and more, committed it is to genre play and tonal polyvalence, aimed most precisely to the body and, in it, the heart. A film of lingering, bespoke import, whose connotations become less easily identifiable the more you dwell on them, A Dim Valley is also, most immediately, a very funny and sensual viewing experience. Its on-screen action and off-screen meanings revolve around human connection — to one another, through our eyes, voices, and bodies; to the natural world, filled with lichens, singing cicadas, and lapping water; and to some higher power, whose presence in these characters’ lives is most synonymous with the aesthetic.

Filmed in and around Morehead, Kentucky, Colvin’s hometown, A Dim Valley achieves its dreamy effects in part through a novel synthesis of setting, cast, and scenario. Robert Longstreet stars as Clarence, a biology professor devoted to liquor as much as his beloved Appalachian mosses and butterflies at the film’s start. With him in a rural cabin, grad students Ian (Zach Weintraub) and Albert (Whitmer Thomas) collect samples while maintaining a willful distance — though it is clear that Ian has a crush on Albert when he eyes him changing, occasion for the first of several Whitmer Thomas butt shots. Three backpackers, Iris (Rosalie Lowe), Rose (Rachel McKeon), and Reed (Feathers Wise), appear before Albert one morning, and it is quickly, memorably established that they possess some supernatural power. The reason for their appearance is not even initially clear to the dryads, but as the film progresses, the connections, both temperamental and spiritual, between the three nymphs and the three men become more finely etched and gently consequential.

Unlike most other American independent films of its budget or moment, A Dim Valley focuses intently on the ambivalence, beauty, and singularity of the human face. Over 90 minutes, Colvin and cinematographer Cody Duncum toss off countless immaculately lit, iconic close-ups, all of arresting impact. Three suspended, frontal close-ups announce the nocturnal advent of the dryads, each a perfect distillation of Lowe, McKeon, and Wise’s performances. Soon after, a beautiful, tight profile view of Clarence at a bar captures a complicated moment of disbelief and regret. Longstreet should prove a familiar face at this point in his career: he has supporting roles in so many films, from Sorry to Bother You (2018) to Aquaman (2018) to Halloween Kills (2021), and he is a favorite of Mike Flanagan, most recently in Doctor Sleep (2019) and Midnight Mass (2021). Longstreet led Colvin’s previous feature Sabbatical (2014), which explored his sculptural and even grotesque dimensions. A Dim Valley is in large part the story of Clarence’s transformation, and Longstreet channels a spectrum of human feeling to get us there. His mid-film monologue, in which he relates a painful childhood dream involving fairies, taps briefly and powerfully into a well of raw sensitivity, though if pressed to pick a favorite scene, I would choose his acoustic performance of “Bison,” a Neil Young-esque number Longstreet himself wrote. Clarence’s scenes with Ian are also subtle and poignant: both characters are gay and seemingly celibate, and through body language and glances, they skirt around some sort of mutual, mirrored understanding.

In a sweet, key scene involving Scrabble, Ian plays one of the supreme words, “syzygy,” flummoxing Iris. Syzygy refers to those fleeting celestial occurrences, whereby the sun, Earth, and moon align to create an eclipse — more generally, it can denote a meeting of corresponding or contrasting phenomena. The certifiably smart Colvin (UW-Madison, PhD, 2018) invokes the word with intention, for it summarizes the film’s plot, and irreducibility, in miniature. Stepping back, the word could also apply to A Dim Valley’s brief and meaningful production, with its necessary impermanence, clashing signifiers, and monumental results. In this instance, a cast and crew of 25 convened in the summer of 2018 in splendid eastern Kentucky, a region ignored by Hollywood cameras. Virtually everyone in the crew was a filmmaker in their own right, from producer and art director Nora Stone, to producers and editors Pisie Hochheim and Tony Oswald, who — as it happens — directed a fantastic short film, Great Light (2018, produced by Colvin), which was literally shot during a total solar eclipse. I’m tempted to look at all these correspondences and call A Dim Valley “the syzygy to end all syzygies,” but that wouldn’t sell any more copies, and thankfully, the planets keep on turning.

Cinematalk Podcast: A DIM VALLEY with Brandon Colvin

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Mike King is in conversation with Brandon Colvin, writer, director, and producer of A Dim Valley. Brandon Colvin will appear in person at the Cinematheque's screening of A Dim Valley on Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m. at our regular venue, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue. 

Currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, Brandon Colvin earned his PhD at UW Madison's Department of Communication Arts. His previous two features Frames (2012) and Sabbatical (2014) both screened at the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Listen to Cinematalk below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Meet the New Boss: Joan Micklin Silver's BETWEEN THE LINES

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

These notes on Joan Micklin Silver's Between the Lines, were written by Zachary Zahos, PhD candidate in UW Madison's Department of Communication Arts. A recently restored DCP of Between the Lines kicks off our series of Silver movies on Friday, September 24 at 7 p.m., in our regular screening venue, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.

By Zachary Zahos

The Cinematheque’s sole directorial retrospective this semester celebrates Joan Micklin Silver, one of the most cherished American auteurs of her generation. She died on December 31, 2020, though news of her passing at 85 years old only reached the film community on New Year’s Day. Either way, it was met as a real blow: the cap to a terrible year, and a heartless start to the new one. Silver was a quiet hero to many, from women in the film industry, to Jewish American cinephiles, to lovers of the Lower East Side and other pockets of alternative urban culture. Born and raised in Omaha, Silver met her husband Raphael (Ray) D. Silver in New York while attending Sarah Lawrence College. She honed her craft making educational films, and only found entry to the world of features through Midwest Films, the independent production and distribution company she and Ray founded. Midwest raised finances for her 1975 debut Hester Street, which screens October 8, and Ray’s 1978 directorial effort On the Yard, screening October 1. Before Silver’s most renowned studio films, Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979, United Artists) and Crossing Delancey (1988, Warner Bros., screening October 15), Midwest produced one more film, the 1977 workplace comedy Between the Lines.

Joan Micklin Silver’s second feature reminds us of the renewed, fond attention her career received in the immediate years before her death. Between the Lines premiered on April 27, 1977, twenty-nine days before Star Wars. Based on anecdotal polling I have done of family and colleagues who attended movies then, it was a fondly remembered success — it sold a respectable 38,000 tickets in its first two weeks in Wisconsin alone. Unlike Star Wars, however, Between the Lines had been next-to-impossible to watch, in theaters or on legal home video, in the decades since. That thankfully changed in 2019, when Cohen Media Group restored the film and re-released it to considerable appreciation, including an appearance at the 2019 Wisconsin Film Festival. As much as any film under her name, Between the Lines exemplifies Silver’s full-hearted spirit and keen insights on human behavior, slyly weaving several digressive narrative strands into a prescient, end-of-an-era tale of corporate takeover.

Breezy and voluminous, Between the Lines follows the hijinks and intersecting personal lives of those working at the Back Bay Mainline, a floundering alt weekly in Boston. Promoted today for the high wattage of its cast, the film was then filled with relative unknowns, like John Heard, Jeff Goldblum, Lindsay Crouse, Bruno Kirby, Jill Eikenberry, Gwen Welles, and Joe Morton in a too-small role. As penniless rock critic Max Arloft, Goldblum chortles, swaggers, and smirks in a hot red jacket — an enduring star persona fully formed before he turned 25. A good chunk of the film is devoted to humorous character moments, like Max showing the meek classifieds salesman David (Kirby) the secret to his weed budget, by going to a record store and trading in all his mint, promotional LPs. In his quest to become a serious reporter, David gradually moves closer to the center of the film’s plot, yet Silver still finds ways to trace his arc toward legitimacy with bizarre, alienating tangents: At a party, David lurks around a source, quacking to catch his attention. Silver brilliantly stages the awkward pause that ensues, when the source (who is on a date) briefly gives David the time of day, and David somehow stammers himself into a follow-up meeting.

Screenwriter Fred Barron drew from his experience writing for alt weeklies Boston Phoenix and The Real Paper, while Silver’s time at The Village Voice and on planet Earth motivates the anthropological acuity with which the newspapermen’s arrogance and complexes are rendered. In a famous scene, photographer Abbie (Crouse) hits it off with an exotic dancer (Marilu Henner, in her first screen role), irritating journalist Harry Lucas (Heard), who came to the interview with canned, sexist questions. Naturally, Harry and Abbie soon become an item, and Silver charts their relationship with enough peaks and valleys to present it in unidealized terms. The same goes for the relationship between the self-effacing Laura (Welles) and Michael (Stephen Collins), a lapsed reporter with a book contract. Michael’s off-the-charts narcissism drives Laura, briefly, to Harry, yet Michael’s reaction to this turn is surprisingly subdued. As bad as the men are, Silver never overplays her hand by turning one into The Godfather’s Carlo, to pick an infamous 1970s example. It’s just that the women in the newsroom lead when the men fold; office manager Lynn (Eikenberry) embodies this ethic in a crucial, late-act confrontation with the new management.

If Between the Lines epitomizes the J.M.S. sensibility, it balances a behavioral realism, as captured through subtly modulated performance, with a knowing, aesthetic theatricality. Silver loved filming quiet character moments against a sequence of impassioned musical performance, as seen in the extended Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes party scene here, or the beautiful “Some Enchanted Evening” number, set in a Papaya King, from Crossing Delancey. But other scenes in the film, such as the first and last, also find ways to foreground the artificiality of performance without diegetic music. Michael J. Pollard, the baby-faced actor from Bonnie & Clyde, opens Between the Lines hawking the Mainline to commuters, and in one shot he looks directly into the camera lens, an inviting intermediary between audience and story world. The film closes with a satisfying punchline, where Max convinces a bar regular (played by National Lampoon’s now-mythic co-founder Douglas Kenney) to pay for his drink after grokking him a Mainline reader. The credits roll as they hit it off, and a zoom out reveals their shadows cast starkly against a back wall by an off-screen key light. In part the consequences of a low budget, these imperfections peel back the curtain just enough, loving moments uncontained.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN Sneak Preview Screening Added to Fall 2020 Lineup

Monday, September 13th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque has added a free screening of the new Broadway adaptation Dear Evan Hansen to our Fall 2020 lineup. The special sneak preview showing will take place on Sunday, September 19, 7 p.m., at our regular venue: 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue. The pre-release screening comes courtesy of Universal Pictures, who will be releasing Dear Evan Hansen in theaters on September 24.

Admission is free, masks are required.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN (USA | 2021 | DCP | 137 min.,  Director: Stephen Chbosky Cast: Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams)

In this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, Tony winner Ben Platt reprises his role as Evan Hansen, an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age. Featuring music and lyrics by the songwriting team of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (La La LandThe Greatest Showman), Dear Evan Hansen is one of this year's most-anticipated movies. Join us at the Cinematheque for this free, pre-release screening courtesy of Universal Pictures. Dear Evan Hansen opens in theaters on September 24.

Sunday, September 19, 7 p.m., UW Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706

Cinematalk Podcast: FROM NOON TILL THREE with Dan Gilroy

Monday, July 26th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

Coinciding with the Cinematheque's Charles Bronson series and our 35mm presentation of From Noon Till Three on July 30, this episode of Cinematalk features the Cinematheque's Jim Healy in conversation with the Academy Award nominated screenwriter and director Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler, Roman J. Israel, Esq.), son of From Noon Till Three's writer and director, Frank D. Gilroy. Dan was present for the making of From Noon Till Three and he discusses the film's production, its peculiar and unpredictable screenplay, and his father's work on other Western movies and television shows. 

From Noon Till Three spoilers abound in our discussion, so we recommend viewing the movie first before listening.

Listen to Cinematalk below, or subscribe through Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Cinematalk Presents 70 Movies We Saw in the 70s: WHERE'S POPPA?

Friday, July 2nd, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with the Cinematheque's 35mm presentation of Where's Poppa? on July 2, we have repackaged an episode of 70 Movies We Saw in the '70s podcast on our own Cinematalk podcast.

On this episode, originally released about a year ago, the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser and the late, great Mike McPadden discuss Carl Reiner's very dark comedy with writer and film historian Kat Ellinger. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk wherever you get your podcasts.

UW Cinematheque Returns! Summer Screening Series Begins June 30 at 4070 Vilas

Friday, June 11th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

After a nearly 16-month hiatus, big screen movies are making their comeback at the UW Cinematheque’s regular venue, 4070 Vilas Hall! Beginning Wednesday June 30, the Cinematheque will commence six weeks of free screenings beginning with Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow, a classic tearjerker that was originally scheduled for April 2020. The summer lineup includes canonized comedies, action blockbusters, international thrillers, contemporary gems from Asia, the complete American works of French superstar Jean Gabin, a three-film salute to Charles Bronson in honor of his centennial, and more! 

Summer programming will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings and all feature films will be screened from original or archival 35mm prints. Admission, as always, is free and open to the public. Seating will be limited and socially distanced according to current UW-Madison policies. When possible, additional showtimes have been added to accommodate more viewers. 

You can view the entire summer calendar here.

See you at the Cinematheque!

Cinematalk Podcast #36: Emir Cakaroz

Thursday, April 29th, 2021
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with the Cinematheque's presentation of Emir Cakaroz' "Paths to Home" trilogy, this episode of our Cinematalk podcast features Cakaroz in a talk with the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser about the trilogy and exploring one’s roots through the art of cinema.

Born and raised in Istanbul, Emir Cakaroz received his MFA in film from the UWM Peck School of the Arts, where is currently an Associate Lecturer in Film, Video, and Animation. In the "Paths to Home" trilogy, Cakaroz casts his gaze on his family, and in particular, his mother and father, approaching their stories – emigrating from Bulgaria to Turkey, being treated as outsiders, suffering with illness and loneliness, surviving and passing along traditions both sacred and domestic – from unique and intimate angles. Cakaroz wields a sly, deadpan sense of humor, and his trilogy paints a complicated, nuanced, and sometimes contradictory portrait of the family unit and his place within it. Though each of the three pieces vary wildly in form and tone, seen together they form a cohesive whole, an unforgettable deep dive into what makes Cakaroz the man and filmmaker that he is.

Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.