Oct 18, 2019
Check out what’s playing at Cinematheque in the Now Playing section and purchase advance tickets. Download a PDF copy of the November / December program guide.
With the usual wealth of exceptional international films playing at the Winnipeg Cinematheque these next couple months, I am proud to say that I am most looking forward to seeing local heroes Fabian Velasco and Milos Mitrovic’s debut feature Tapeworm. Shot in gloriously grainy 16mm, this hilariously mundane look at a group of social outcasts is destined to join an already prestigious list of great independent works filmed in our city.
As for the aforementioned exceptional international films, there are indeed many to look forward to, such as: Lulu Wang’s Sundance hit, and A24-distributed The Farewell, which chronicles a young Chinese-American woman’s struggle to retain her culture’s traditional customs in the face of a painful family secret; Atlantics, the 2019 Cannes Grand Prix-winning debut film by French-Senegalese actor Mati Diop, (niece of the late Touki-Bouki director Djibril Diop Mambety) – a love story centred around a futuristic construction site in a Dakar suburb; and of course Martin Scorsese’s latest three and a half-hour gangster epic The Irishman. – Tavis Putnam, Cinematheque Box Office
November and December at the WFG Cinematheque is an embarrassment of riches. Lulu Wang’s The Farewell is an absolute must-see. This deeply moving family drama stars the brilliant Awkwafina and focuses on her loving relationship with an aging matriarch. Try not to read much about it before you see it. I first saw it that way and its riches were extra-bountiful because of that. Local Heroes are on view with Tapeworm by Fabian Velasco and Milos Mitrovic and Living on the Edge – a special retrospective screening of 2019 Hothouse Award Winner Aaron Zeghers. In “Wayward Heroes: Modern Icelandic Cinema”, you can’t afford to miss Baldvin Zophoniasson’s Life in a Fishbowl, a disturbing and emotionally complex multi-character drama against the harrowing backdrop of the Icelandic Financial Crisis. McDonald at the Movies presents one of my favourite films of all time, Being There, from director Hal Ashby, writer Jerzy Kosinski and star Peter Sellers. The film is laced with melancholy and even touches of sentiment – a pretty amazing feat considering that the 1979 film is brimming with satire. Savagely exposing heartbreaking and pointedly prescient truths about America, the movie not only makes you laugh, but in several moments, it’s impossible not to shed a tear or two. If you haven’t seen it, you must. If you have seen it, see it again. It gets better every time. Oh yeah, we’re presenting The Irishman. You might have heard of its director, Martin Scorsese. He makes movies, eh? – Greg Klymkiw, Winnipeg Film Group Executive Director
Senior TIFF programmer Steve Gravestock, one of the sharpest programmers of Nordic and Canadian cinema in the country will be here in late November to launch a new book (A History of Icelandic Film) and introduce some very rare Icelandic cinema – and three on 35mm! The new independent Winnipeg feature Tapeworm is leading the pack of a remarkable resurgence in underground Winnipeg cinema with an all-star, great cast including: Adam Brooks, Alex Ateah, Milos Mitrovic, Sam Singer, and Steph Berrington. David Knipe has pulled out all the stops for the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival with a fabulous line up – ranging from Honeyland, a mesmerizing documentary of Macedonian beekeepers which won the Sundance Award to Rodney Ascher’s apocalyptic portrait of El Duce, lead singer of The Mentors. Curator Jenny Western has mined the riches of great Indigenous music and will present Stories of Indigenous Music and Tradition – a fantastic program including everything from Ghostkeeper to Muscogee Creek Hymns with beautiful harmony singing. And Bevan Klassen and Frank Zappia’s 3D feature Running Water is back for more screenings after its sellout run. Canadian documentary director John Walker tackles the timely subject of Assholes with an intelligent, deeply fascinating portrait of why asshole behavior is dominating society. And don’t miss the expanded cinema performances and films of the highly respected experimental artist Aaron Zeghers, this year’s winner of the Manitoba Hothouse Award. Finally you must add to yr cinema list Chained for Life – the weirdest film I have seen in ages – a strange hybrid of David Lynch and Todd “Freaks” Browning. – Dave Barber, Senior Cinematheque Programmer
It seems we just keep adding more and more to our programming each month, and I couldn’t be happier! The inner 13 year-old skater boy in me is jumping (a 3-set) for joy over our screenings of The Tony Alva Story, a new doc on the skate legend. It’s paired with a couple shorts, one of which – Skate Break – is a seemingly breezy, yet pointed piece of decolonization that will stoke Winnipeg’s skate and Indigenous communities. This program feels like a natural extension of my home habits, where I spend a good chunk of time watching skate videos on YouTube.
I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a secret screening of Tapeworm at this year’s Gimli Film Festival and I am certain that this uniquely Winnipeg piece of melancholic ennui will cement itself as one of the definitive Winnipeg films. It’s so emboldening to see such a collaborative effort featuring so many bright lights in the Winnipeg arts community, even if we have lost a couple of them to ritzier locales. And I’m not just laying on all this praise because I have 3(!) cameo appearances in the film.
Aaron Schimberg’s Chained For Life is a beautiful and strange film that manages a fine balancing act of tones, with its Lynchian abstraction and empathetic realism. I didn’t think it would be possible either but he has done it here, and with only his second feature film, no less! It’s an oddity that you’ll want to be able to share with your friends.
I’m eagerly anticipating the new Pedro Almodovar film Pain & Glory. The early word on it from trusted sources is that it’s one of his best and a shoe-in for a spot on all of the Top-10 year end lists. I wasn’t crazy about his last film Julieta, so I’m hoping this will be a strong return-to-form.
My favorite thing to do at Christmas time is watch movies, of course, so you know you’ll be seeing me at a screening of The Irishman. I feel ambivalent at best about Netflix, but I do recognize that the necessary evil empire is doing some good – like allowing us to run some of their films in our humble theatre! If you’re like me, you know that seeing the latest Scorsese film in a theatre with other human beings is a rite of passage.
This program’s slate of Restoration Tuesdays offerings may be our strongest yet! We’ve got two delectable pairings that I think work nicely in conversation with one another. The punk classic Suburbia mingles with the reggae milestone The Harder They Come, as they both jam out to the thumping soundtrack of the disenfranchised. The Cremator and My 20th Century take a black-and-white look at the spectre of Facism – a fitting theme for our times.
Through my involvement with the Gimli Film Festival over the years, I’ve developed a real strong taste for Icelandic cinema, and so I’m thrilled that we are presenting Wayward Heroes, a survey of modern Icelandic film, courtesy of Steve Gravestock at TIFF. The series coincides with Steve’s new book A History of Icelandic Film, which promises to be an exhaustive look at the country’s film legacy. Steve will be here at the start of the series to introduce some films and launch the book too, which is a super bonus! We’re making a concerted effort to screen more films on 35mm and this program includes 3!
Lastly, I want to draw your attention to our 11th annual Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival, which I programmed. This year is our biggest program yet, and there are too many hidden gems in the lineup to give each its due here, so I will simply mention a handful of my favorites: Searching Eva – a playful and stylistic look at what it means to construct an identity in the social media age; Honeyland – one of the most cinematic docs I’ve seen in years that also is a fitting parable for our times; Dear Brother – a deeply touching and smart look at familial love and altruism; Black Mother – a beautiful tone poem to the people of Jamaica, featuring filmmaker Khalik Allah in attendance (don’t miss out on his masterclass right before the film!); The El Duce Tapes – a provocative and thought-provoking piece of art criticism that is sure to ruffle lots of feathers and leave everyone arguing after. Everything in the lineup is worth seeing and we’ve got some exciting new shorts from local filmmakers paired with some of the features. Check it out! – David Knipe, Cinematheque Manager of Operations and Special Programming
As you’ll likely note, there is a lot happening at Cinematheque this November / December. So much so that we didn’t have room to include our usual staff picks! So, I told everyone they could write as much as they’d like – and as you can see, we’re all pretty darn excited about the slate of upcoming films! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Fabián Velasco & Miloš Mitrovič’s bleak as heck first feature, Tapeworm, several times now. This grainy 16mm austere comedy reveals a dreary and desolate underbelly of our city full of loners and losers that harkens back Greg Hanec’s pre-mumblecore features Downtime and Tunes a Plenty (two of my all time favourite local features).
Also have to say, I am extremely pumped to revisit Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia in a theatre with other people. I suppose the blatant disregard for authority and time capsule of the 80s punk scene was the reason this film had such a massive influence on me as a teenager, but the film is so much more than that. There is a sweet tenderness in the relationships between the punk kids who have fled their abusive households to create their own loving family in a derelict house, and have even taken in some of the discarded, wild dogs that the local rednecks gleefully shoot for kicks. They may go about it the wrong way at times, but their challenge of all levels of authority is usually because the adults are wrong and deserve to have their moral compasses questioned.
I’m also quite enthralled by what I’ve seen of Icelandic cinema, especially their frequent use of the supernatural as an everyday part of life, so I’ll be spending a good chunk of time being whisked away to these magical-realist worlds in TIFF programmer Steve Gravestock’s curated series Wayward Heroes: Modern Icelandic Cinema.– Jaimz Asmundson, Cinematheque Programming Director
I am ecstatic that we are bringing Paris is Burning and The Queen to Cinematheque, and in a double feature no less. Drag Me to the Movies will be an amazing night for a glimpse into where drag has come from and with performances from local drag performers we will see where it is now. Both these films have impacted drag and queer culture all over the world and are full of references that many people don’t realize originated from them. I cannot wait! We also have The Farewell in late December, and I am so excited to watch this film again. It’s an amazing glimpse into family dynamics in another culture, and uses dry humour to tell a story full of heart. It is not a film you want to miss. – Thomas Hannan, Cinematheque Box Office