“Critics Pick! With aerial shots of Lagos’s bustling marketplaces and a sound design attuned to the city’s chatter, the directors, Arie and Chuko Esiri, evocatively capture a milieu where everyone — rich or poor — is always hustling and bargaining.” – NY Times
“A stunning feature debut” – BFI, Sight & Sound
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria. Shot on richly textured 16 mm film and infused with the spirit of neorealism, Eyimofe traces the journeys of two distantly connected strangers—Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), an electrician dealing with the fallout of a family tragedy, and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser supporting her pregnant teenage sister—as they each pursue their dream of starting a new life in Europe while bumping up against the harsh economic realities of a world in which every interaction is a transaction. From these intimate stories emerges a vivid snapshot of life in contemporary Lagos, whose social fabric is captured in all its vibrancy and complexity.
Directed by Arie & Chuko Esiri. Written by Chuko Esiri. With Jude Akuwudike, Temi Ami-Williams, Tomiwa Edun, Cynthia Ebijie, Jacob Alexander & Chioma “Chigul” Omeruah. Nigeria. In Nigerian English with English subtitles. 2020. 116 mins.
When considering American crime cinema, there’s two periods: Before Michael Mann, and After Michael Mann. In THIEF, his searing theatrical debut, Frank (James Caan) adheres to a strict code of ethics to maintain his lifestyle as a crack diamond thief, and to avoid a return trip to the pen. Hoping to retire with one last score before settling with his partner Jessie (Tuesday Weld), Frank entangles himself with the Chicago mafia (led by a ferocious Robert Prosky) in one last gasp at independence. Pulled from meticulous research on the New York and Chicago crime world, as well as ex-con Eddie Bunker’s first-hand accounts, THIEF is as much a stylish escapade as it is a rumination on the labor politics of the late ‘70s. All that, set to a score by German synth heroes Tangerine Dream. (Jake Isgar) Directed by Michael Mann. United States. 1981. 123 minutes. 35mm print courtesy of Park Circus.
Humans go through changes in life. This is a close up on a human changing their gender from a female (Rosemary Webster) to a male (Peter Webster) and the differences between genders from his experience living both gender and in society expressed in his songs.
Directed by Turki Al-Rwaita. USA. 2020. 92 min.
NOTE FILMS START RIGHT AT THE LISTED SHOWTIME. THERE WILL BE A TEN-MINUTE INTERMISSION BETWEEN THE FILMS.
A touching portrait of fandom done right… Proof that bands can still change your life” – NME
IDLES are a British rock band formed in Bristol in 2009. The band consists of vocalist Joe Talbot, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan, bassist Adam Devonshire, and drummer Jon Beavis. DON’T GO GENTLE captures the ten-year journey of IDLES’ struggle, grief, and moving determination. Exploring their vulnerabilities through their experience, lyrics, and sound, we learn the reasons why these five individuals have connected with legions of people across the world. We see just how that relationship unfolds in the most courageous and positive of human ways.
In a time when the ground is shifting beneath our feet, where open communication and truthful reflection are more vital than ever, we journey with lead singer Joe Talbot and the band as they tear across stages, knocking down stereotypes, empowering fans to talk about mental health and the realities we may not feel comfortable to speak about.
Directed by Mark Archer. Produced by Andy Stewart. U.K. 2020. 75 mins.
“…a tender, heartbreaking look at Mexico, its history, and culture….a unique film that finds hope after grief while still remembering the sins of its past.” – Film Threat
To reflect on the 500-year anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 2021, director Reyes offers a bold hybrid cinema experience exploring the brutal legacy of colonialism in contemporary Mexico. Through the eyes of a ghostly conquistador, the film recreates Hernán Cortez’s epic journey from the coasts of Veracruz to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the site of contemporary Mexico City. As the anachronistic fictional character interacts with real-life victims of Mexico’s failed drug wars and indigenous communities in resistance, the filmmaker portrays the country’s current humanitarian crisis as part of a vicious and unfinished colonial project, still in motion, nearly five hundred years later.
Provocative, unique, and strikingly cinematic, 499 mixes non-fictional and performative elements with elements of the road movie to show how past traumas continue to affect contemporary reality. While linking these seemingly disparate histories of violence, the film confirms Reyes as one of the most potent voices in American independent cinema.
This inaugural edition of Canyon at the Roxieis dedicated to Canyon Cinema’s founding filmmaker, Bruce Baillie (1931-2020), who brought to life exceptional works of film art and a thriving cinema counterculture. Beginning in the late 1950s, Baillie created a vagabond, romantic, first-person filmmaking style that continues to enchant and influence new generations drawn to the artistic possibilities of the 16mm film medium. Beginning with a visit to the filmmaker’s editing bench and a few words from Dr. Bish himself, this memorial screening focuses attention on some of Baillie’s lesser-known lyrical films (Little Girl, Still Life) and Canyon newsreels (Termination), culminating with two of his distinctly different masterpieces: the expansive, densely-layered Quixote, and the compact, elegant All My Life.
A wandering poet, Baillie was also an inveterate community builder. From the 1961 backyard screenings of films by Baillie and friends emerged two essential institutions of American independent filmmaking: San Francisco Cinematheque and the Canyon Cinema Co-op. In addition to marking the 60th anniversary of these sister organizations, this program coincides with the release of Canyon’s newest publication. Dear Folks: Notes and Letters from Bruce Baillie collects some of Baillie’s many dispatches to and about Canyon Cinema, ranging from a 1962 announcement co-signed with Chick Strand to voicemail messages left on Canyon’s office answering machine in the last years of his life. The bulk of this material derives from the CanyonCinemanews, which began in 1962 as a newsletter to solicit and circulate “fugitive information” related to a fledgling independent film movement. Years before Canyon was formally organized as a distribution cooperative, the lively pages of the Cinemanews demonstrated that there was such a community of filmmakers to be incorporated.
Copies of Dear Folks: Notes and Letters from Bruce Baillie will be available for purchase at a special price.
Introduction to the Holy Scrolls (1998, 10 minutes, color, sound, digital file): Bruce Baillie edits film and talks to the audience. This video work was often used by the filmmaker to introduce, in his absence, film programs scheduled in distant venues. Created also as an formal introduction to an 11-hour archival collection of unfinished films.
Show Leader (1966, 1 minute, b&w, sound, 16mm): A repeated shot of me in a stream talking to the audience, used as an introduction to Baillie film programs. (BB)
Little Girl (1966, 9 minutes, color and b&w, sound, 16mm): This film by Bruce Baillie, completed in 1966 but unreleased until 2014, is contemporaneous with Castro Street, but is much more formally connected to All My Life or Still Life, also from the same year. In three sections with three different formal strategies, Baillie shares distilled moments of found natural beauty as he encountered them in the North Bay outside San Francisco. The first section features a study of plum blossoms, rendered in rich, multiple superimpositions that allow the white flowers to explode into a blizzard of visual complexity, framed by a panning shot of purple mountains. In the second section, Baillie allows us a furtive glimpse of the titular little girl, waving to cars with her dog on the side of the road, lost in her world and thoughts. Bruce’s framing remains unadorned, feeling no need to add to or take away from a beautiful piece of simple portraiture. The third section, of waterbugs on the surface of a pond, remind us how remarkable and sensitive Baillie’s camerawork can be, as he observes their graceful dances, and the subtle light and water effects they produce by their movements. (Mark Toscano)
Termination (1966, 5 minutes, b&w, sound, 16mm): [Paul] Tulley and I made this film for some people up at the Laytonville Rancheria. They were being “terminated” under a new Bureau of Indian Affairs program. (BB)
Still Life (1966, 2 minutes, color, sound, 16mm): From the commune life at Morning Star, where I made Castro Street. (BB)
Quixote (1965, 45 minutes, color and b&w, sound, 16mm): One-year journey through the land of incessant progress, researching those sources which have given rise twenty years later to the essential question of survival. (BB)
All My Life (1966, 3 minutes, color, sound, 16mm): “Singing fence,” Caspar, California. One continuous moving shot. Ella Fitzgerald singing “All My Life” on the soundtrack. (BB)
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
“A magical film. A tour-de-force…of brilliant cinematography.” – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Also Playing in the RVC. Tickets Soon!
On a gray, foggy morning outside a large Polish city, a masseur from the East named Zhenia (Alec Utgoff, Stranger Things) enters the lives of the wealthy residents of a gated community. With his hypnotic presence and quasi-magical abilities, he is able to get a residence permit and starts plying his trade. The well-to-do residents in their cookie-cutter suburban homes seemingly have it all, but they all suffer from an inner sadness, some unexplained longing. The attractive and mysterious newcomer’s hands heal, and Zhenia’s eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a memory of simpler times. The latest from writer/director Malgorzata Szumowska (Elles, In the Name of) and her longtime collaborator Michal Englert is an unclassifiable meditation on class, immigration, and global warming shot through with Lynchian touches of the otherworldly and moments of sober beauty and unexpected humor. Poland’s Official Submission to the 93rd Academy Awards®.
Directed by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert. 2020. 113 min. Poland. In Polish with English Subtitles
Teenage burnout Samson (Daniel Roebuck) has murdered his girlfriend and left her naked body lying on the bank of a river just outside their small California town. He not only doesn’t run away, he brings his friends to gawk at her dead body. Speed freak Layne (Crispin Glover) tries to force the teens‘ silence to protect their friend, but conscience is gnawing at the others — particularly Matt (Keanu Reeves) and Clarissa (Ione Skye Leitch), who want to go to the police.
Directed by Tim Hunter. Featuring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye, Daniel Roebuck, and Dennis Hopper. 99 min. United States. 1986.
“An outstanding probe into not just how people think about a conflict in the Middle East, but the limits of nonfiction films regarding their ability to persuade and explore reality as it is — and whether such a thing is even possible.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
Skype Q&A with director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz & Maia Levy after the show!
THE VIEWING BOOTH explores a space ostensibly off-limits to cinema – the internal
experience of the viewer. In a lab-like space, Maia Levy, a young American woman,
watches videos portraying life in the West Bank city of Hebron, while verbalizing her
thoughts and feelings in real time. An enthusiastic supporter of Israel, the images in the
videos, disseminated for the most part by the Human Rights organization B’Tselem,
contradict some of Maia’s deep-seated beliefs. Empathy; anger; embarrassment; innate
biases and healthy curiosity – all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the
images created by the Occupation. As Maia navigates and negotiates the images,
which threaten her worldview, she also reflects on the way she sees them. Her candid
and immediate reactions form a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of
the viewer in the digital era.