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Coming Attractions

A long-running festival leads film offerings in March

Still from ACROSS THE WATERS, a film at BIJFF

Photos courtesy of Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival


It’s summer movie season! Well, not quite. But March is a time in which Hollywood blockbusters start popping up with regularity. However, the world of film screenings is even more enticing. Here are some of the month’s unique offerings.


Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival: Now in its thirty-third year, the BIJFF is the third longest-running festival of its kind in North America. That’s an impressive feat, and just as impressive is the strength of the fest’s offerings. The twelve films presented in 2018 come not just from the U.S. and Israel, but also Australia, India, Sweden, and beyond. This year’s two most notable selections are A Tale of Love and Darkness and Menashe. Actress Natalie Portman directed the former, which is based on a book by author Amos Oz. It screens on March 11 and 13. The hugely acclaimed Menashe, a nominee for the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place in Brooklyn and is performed entirely in Yiddish. Visit bijff.com for the full schedule and film details. A festival fundraising dinner on March 3 will be held at Taste of India in Amherst and will feature a buffet dinner and screening of the film Shalom Bollywood. All other screenings will be held at the Dipson Amherst Theatre. (Kick-off party at 7 p.m. on March 3 at Taste of India, 3192 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; festival March 9-15 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; bijff.com)


Still from Raise the Roof,  a film at BIJFF


Noir Essentials—Gilda: Our first look at the title character in 1946’s Gilda is one of the most memorable in cinema history, as star Rita Hayworth flips her hair and, quite simply, dazzles. The film itself is a gem, and another fine Noir Essentials selection. (7:30 p.m. on March 14 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville; dipsontheatres.com)


Buffalo Film Seminars: In March, the Buffalo Film Seminars start with a film you’ve probably seen—iconic Gene Kelly-starrer Singin’ in the Rain (March 6)—and then present two you may not have had the chance to view. Satiyajit Ray’s 1963 feature The Big City is considered, alongside the Apu Trilogy, one of his finest. The Calcutta-set portrait of a housewife turned saleswoman screens on March 13. And on March 27. BFS screens Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. The Swedish master’s 1966 film starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann is one of his most psychologically profound. (7 p.m. on February 6, 13, and 27 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)


TCM Big Screen Classics—Vertigo: There is an argument to be made that Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is the finest film ever made. That opinion is not without merit, so mysterious, unsettling, and memorable is Hitch’s thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. It is the film’s sixtieth anniversary, and it has lost none of its power. This month’s Turner Classic Movies Big Screen Classics series pick will feature insight from TCM host Eddie Muller. (2 and 7 p.m. on March 18 and 21 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)


Thursday Night Terrors—Day of the Dead: The third film in George Romero’s Living Dead series, 1985’s Day of the Dead, is less-heralded and less-seen than its predecessors, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. This makes it a great pick for the Thursday Night Terrors series. And as with many Terrors’ selections, Day has earned major cult status following a ho-hum initial reception. (7:30 p.m. on March 22 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)


Old Chestnut Film Series—Too Hot to Handle: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy. and Walter Pidgeon star this 1938 story of rival newsreel photographers. (7:30 p.m. on March 9 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)


Roycroft Film Society—Denial: A 2016 Toronto International Film Festival premiere, Denial is the gripping account of the legal battle between Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall). (4 p.m. on March 11 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)


Free Angela and All Political Prisoners at the Burchfield Penney: BPAC’s Dare to be Diverse/Beyond Boundaries Film Series presents a 2012 documentary portrait of activist Angela Davis. The fascinating Free Angela and All Political Prisoners was directed by Shola Lynch, who profiled the late Shirley Chisholm in 2004’s Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed. (7 p.m. on March 15 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave.; burchfieldpenney.org)


TIFF Kids International Film Festival: TIFF’s festival for film lovers from three to thirteen celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year. It returns in 2018 for ten days of programming. Check tiff.net for schedule and details. (March 9 to 18 at TIFF Bell Lightbox is located in Reitman Square, 350 King St. West, Toronto, Ontario; tiff.net)


National Theatre Live—Hamlet: Did you miss the National Theatre Live presentation of Hamlet, starring Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch, in 2015? The acclaimed production returns to screens once more, on March 8. (7 p.m. on March 8 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

The Royal Opera House presents Tosca and the Royal Ballet presents Winter’s Tale: The Dipson Amherst presents two simulcasts this month. In the first, the Royal Opera presents Puccini’s three-act opera, while the second sees the Royal Ballet stage Christopher Wheeldon’s version of Shakespeare's Winter's Tale. (Tosca: 11 a.m. on March 18; Winter’s Tale: 11 a.m. on March 25 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)


Cezanne: Portraits of a Life at the Fredonia Opera House: The Opera House screens a production exploring an exhibition dedicated to the portraits of Paul Cezanne on March 22. In addition, artist Robert Holland will exhibit his work in the Village Hall lobby before and during the show. See fredopera.org for more March Fredonia Opera House screenings, including Metropolitan Opera and Bolshoi Ballet simulcasts. (7:30 p.m. on March 22 at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org)


Environmental Film Festival: The University at Buffalo’s Humanities Institute has a three-day film festival planned this month focused on environmental activism. Franny Armstrong’s film The Age of Stupid, which takes place in 2055, opens the festival at 3 p.m. on March 10. And Barbara Ettinger’s drama A Sea Change, about a retired teacher’s quest to discover what is happening to Earth’s oceans, follows at 5:30 p.m. Visit humanitiesinstitute.buffalo.edu/humanities-to-the-rescue for the full schedule. (Festival runs from March 10-12 at the UB Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst; humanitiesinstitute.buffalo.edu/humanities-to-the-rescue)


FluidØ at Hallwalls: This cyberpunk sci-fi feature  set in the 2060s is directed by Paris-based filmmaker and media artist Shu Lea Cheang. (8 p.m. on March 10 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; hallwalls.org)


March at the Screening Room: Another busy month at Amherst’s Screening Room begins on March 1 and 2 with The Lodgers, a horror film about a brother and sister haunted by a secret curse. Also screening on March 2 is Tommy Wiseau’s legendarily awful cult hit, The Room. An Oscar viewing party on March 4 features the Academy Awards on the big screen, and admission is free. March 9 features a double bill of Agatha Christie, with Kenneth Branagh’s entertaining adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express followed by And Then There Were None. Orient Express screens again on March 10, 11, 14, 16, and 17. And Bruce Dern and Walther Matthau star in 1973’s The Laughing Policeman, which screens on March 23, 27, and 30. Remember to check screeningroom.net for times and a full schedule of films and events. (The Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)


Fathom Events presents Ponyo: Hayao Miyazaki’s wonderful adventure about a young boy and a stranded goldfish named Ponyo returns to theaters for its tenth anniversary. The dubbed version features the likes of Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon, but I would recommend the subtitled version, which screens on March 26. (Dubbed version: 12:55 p.m. on March 25 and 7 p.m. on March 28; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on March 26; at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)


Free films courtesy of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library: The Town of Collins Public Library has scheduled a screening of Christopher Nolan’s Oscar-nominated World War II drama, Dunkirk, on March 2. In addition, the Elma Public Library will show Pixar’s latest, Coco, on March 23. (Dunkirk: 1 p.m. on March 2 at the Town of Collins Public Library, 2341 Main St., Collins; Coco: 6:30 p.m. on March 23 at the Elma Public Library, 1860 Bowen Rd., Elma; buffalolib.org)


Christopher Schobert is a film critic whose worked has appeared in the Buffalo News and numerous other outlets.


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