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Coming Attractions / Cinema Highlights in WNY

Activist cinema and more

TABU plays April 11 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center

Courtesy of Cultivate Cinema Circle


April sees the return of the popular dinner-and-a-movie at Amherst’s Screening Room, a fascinating Cultivate Cinema Circle choice, and the continuation of a unique series at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.


Reel Talk Film Series at the Albright-Knox

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery dove back into the screening world in a big way starting in February with Reel Talk, a film series examining themes explored in the exhibition “We the People: New Art from the Collection.” Here, Adult Programs Coordinator Stephanie Keating discusses the series, and April’s film—Pipe Dreams. This documentary from director Leslie Iwerks studies the battle over the Keystone XL Pipeline. Also noteworthy is the May 23 selection, 13th. Director Ava DuVernay’s hugely acclaimed documentary analyzes the criminalization of African Americans and the nation’s prison boom. As Keating puts it, films like Pipe Dreams and 13th were chosen because they “highlight different contemporary issues addressed in the works on view.”


The exhibition covers so much ground. How did you go about selecting films that connect with it?
The works in the exhibition deal with many issues, including systemic racism, environmental change, immigration/migration, and accessibility, among others. In choosing the films for Reel Talk, Education staff explored documentaries that investigate different perspectives and engage with the artworks in “We the People.” From the outset, it was important to select recent films to offer a twenty-first-century view, as the exhibition explores what it’s like to be a twenty-first-century citizen.


As a part of the series, we sought to connect the Reel Talk films to specific works on view. For example, March’s film Defiant Lives, from 2017, traced the origins of the disability rights movement. In “We the People,” Park McArthur’s Softly, effectively, 2017, explores how the artist’s movement as a wheelchair user is shaped by the built environment, highlighting contemporary discussions around accessibility. Both Hank Willis Thomas’s “We The People,” 2015, and Ava DuVernay’s 2016 film 13th explore the intersections of mass incarceration, systemic racism, and the justice system.


A behind-the-scenes shot from 13th, with Newt Gingrich and director Ava DuVernay

Photo courtesy of Netflix


How does April’s selection, Pipe Dreams, connect specifically with these goals?
Many of the artists in “We the People” are exploring the ways in which humanity is shaping the environment around them. Both 2011’s Pipe Dreams and 2012’s A River Changes Course explore how growing globalization is affecting landscapes and the people who inhabit them. Artists in the exhibition, like Sopheap Pich and Pascale Marthine Tayou, examine how globalization creates both opportunities and conflicts for the people whose ways of life are changing with Western influences. Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s “Homeland,” 2017, seeks to highlight the stories of Native Americans and decenter our histories. Films like Pipe Dreams explore one of many contemporary issues facing many Native communities.


Can we expect any more film series at the AKAG?
We are always open to exploring different ways to highlight the work on view at the museum. Given the growing overlap between different media in the arts, it’s certainly something we hope to continue.


Reel Talk: Pipe Dreams: 6:30-9 p.m. on Apr. 25 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

(1285 Elmwood Ave.)



‘Original, funny, inventive’: Cultivate Cinema Circle presents Tabu

In 2016, a prestigious critics poll named Miguel Gomes’s Tabu as one of the 100 greatest films since the year 2000. This stunning, two-part Portuguese drama more than deserves such praise. It is an ideal selection for Cultivate Cinema Circle’s year-long “Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence” series. Here’s CCC director Jordan Smith on the power of Tabu.


“Every once in awhile a film comes along and makes you reconsider what cinema can be, and Tabu was one of those films for me. Actually, several of the films in our Post-Colonialisms series spoke to me in this way.


“It's a supreme, multilayered experience that calls back to Murnau's 1931 silent classic while taking a modernized look at Portugal's own history of colonialism. Despite this, it remains wholly original itself—immensely funny, deeply socially aware, and cinematically inventive—as each of Miguel Gomes's domestically released features have been, from Our Beloved Month of August through to his epic three part Arabian Nights. I can't wait to share.”


7 p.m. on Apr. 11 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center

(341 Delaware Ave.)



More noteworthy screenings:


April 2


Buffalo Film Seminars screens Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 London-set mood piece — one of the most influential films of the decade.

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)



April 2, 4

We Are Columbine

This documentary is directed by a Columbine High School alum.

7:30 p.m. at the Screening Room

(880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)



April 7, 8, 10

Howl’s Moving Castle

Director Hayao Miyazaki’s animated fantasy classic screens in celebration of its fifteenth anniversary.

Dubbed version: 12:55 p.m. on April 7 and 7 p.m. on April 10; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on April 8, at the Regal Elmwood Center (2001 Elmwood Ave.) and Regal Transit Center (6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville)



April 9

The Deer Hunter

Long, controversial, and unsettling, Michael Cimino’s Oscar-winning Vietnam drama stars Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. It should make for an interesting Buffalo Film Seminars conversation.

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)



April 10

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Terry Gilliam’s story of a man who believes himself to be Don Quixote suffered through a long, hard road to the big screen. But it’s finally complete, and screening for one night only on April 10. Adam Driver stars.

7 p.m. at the Regal Elmwood Center (2001 Elmwood Ave.), Regal Quaker Crossing (3450 Amelia Dr., Orchard Park), and Regal Transit Center (6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville)



April 12

My Darling Clementine

More Henry Fonda from the Old Chestnut Film Series, this time in a 1943 western directed by the venerable William Wellman.

7:30 p.m. at the Museum of disABILITY History

(3826 Main St.)



April 12

U Htein Lin—Mr. Bright and Shiny

The AKAG screens the documentary exploring the artist’s practice and work as an activist. The screening is followed by a discussion with filmmaker Vanessa Smith.
7:15 p.m. at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

(1285 Elmwood Ave.)



April 13

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

WNED hosts a free screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary about the life and work of Mister Rogers.

2:30 p.m. at WNED/WBFO

(140 Lower Terrace)



April 13, 16, 18

Legend of the Demon Cat

Chen Kaige directs this 2017 fantasy mystery; in Mandarin/Japanese, with English subtitles.

7 p.m. at the Screening Room

(880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)



April 14

Of Gods and Men

The Roycroft Film Society presents a somber, moving French drama about monks facing a terrorist threat.

4 p.m. at Parkdale Elementary School

(141 Girard Ave., East Aurora)



April 14, 17

Ben Hur

Turner Classic Movies commemorates the sixtieth anniversary of the Charlton Heston-starrer.

6 p.m. on Apr. 14 at the at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)


1 p.m. on Apr. 14, 1 and 6 p.m. on Apr. 17, at the Regal Elmwood Center (2001 Elmwood Ave.) and Regal Transit Center (6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville)



April 16

The Meaning of Life

The Buffalo Film Seminars screens the 1983 Monty Python classic. Don’t forget to bring a mint.

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)



April 17

The Breaking Point
The second entry in the Noir Essentials: Departures season is Michael Curtiz’s 1950 Hemingway adaptation. John Garfield and Patricia Neal start in this version of To Have and Have Not.
7:30 p.m. at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema

(4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville)



April 19, 23, 27

Singin’ in the Rain

Stanley Donen directs the quintessential Hollywood musical.

7:30 p.m. at the Screening Room

(880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)



April 23

Eyes Wide Shut

While Stanley Kubrick’s final feature receive wildly mixed reviews upon it release in 1999, Eyes is now justifiably regarded as a masterpiece. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Sydney Pollack star in this Buffalo Film Seminars selection.

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)



April 25

Burial Ground

Italian zombies, baby! Yep, sounds like Thursday Night Terrors. Andrea Bianchi directs this 1981 cult classic.

7:30 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)



April 30

Monrovia, Indiana

Buffalo Film Seminars presents Frederick Wiseman’s documentary studying small-town America following the last presidential election.

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)



Find links to film critic Christopher Schobert’s latest reviews at rottentomatoes.com/critic/christopher-schobert.



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