This March, revisit four classic films via our celebratory 25 Years: 25 Films series honoring HIFF’s Silver Anniversary.
Director: Peter Jackson
Sunday, March 26 | 6:00pm
Bay Street Theater
One of Peter Jackson‘s earliest films (before he was better known for turning THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy into a cinematic epic), HEAVENLY CREATURES recounts the bizarre, true-life tale of Pauline Rieper and Juliet Hulme, two teens who were convicted of brutally murdering Rieper’s mother in a scandalous 1954 court case. It’s a startling, original work, blending fantasy, dark humor and history in its disturbing view of dysfunctional family life and overheated schoolgirl passion. A tabloid headline-grabber during the mid-fifties, the case recently gained renewed notoriety upon the release from prison of one of its protagonists, who was subsequently revealed to be the author of several well-known books written under a pseudonym.
Opening with the panicked aftermath of the killing itself, the film soon segues into the fast-blossoming friendship between morose schoolgirl Pauline and an imperious English newcomer to the school, Juliet. While on the surface the girls are from different social strata, they share a zeal for Arthurian legend and a disdain for all who surround them. As their friendship quickly spirals into a kind of pathological attachment, the fantasy realm they have constructed begins to inform their everyday reality, binding them closer and closer together in the process. When their concerned parents step in, threatening to permanently separate the girls, the stage is set for a lethal denouement.
Director: Raoul Peck
Friday, March 3 (PASSED)
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.
Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
Director: Alan Rickman
Thursday, March 9 | 6:00pm
Bay Street Theater
Special Guest: Producer Ken Lipper
Elspeth (Phyllida Law) stubbornly picks her way across the icy streets of a coastal Scottish town to pay a visit to her daughter Frances (Emma Thompson). Frances, still paralyzed with grief following the death of her husband, does what many a daughter would do: she hides in the bathroom. Eventually, she emerges, and the two women engage in the particular pas-de-deux of mothers and daughters. There is sarcasm, honesty, affectionate gestures and exasperated concern.
Juxtaposed against this interplay at the doings of three other pairs of local residents: Frances’s adolescent son Alex and his sexually adventurous new friend Nita; old friends Lily and Chloe, who wait endlessly in the frigid cold for a bus to take them to a wake; and schoolboys Sam and Tom, who skip school to hang out on the windswept beach.
Each of the four pairs will come together, draw back, and reunite in a different place in their relationship in (the now late) Alan Rickman’s auspicious directorial debut, their rhythms echoing the eternal retreat and advance of the ocean tide.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Sunday, March 19 | 6:00pm
Bay Street Theater
Special guest: Executive Producer Kathleen Russo
Director Steven Soderbergh (TRAFFIC, SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE, ERIN BROCKOVICH) and master monologuist Spalding Gray joined forces and created an original, charming and witty cinematic collaborations.
Speaking to the camera from behind a desk, beautifully lit with his trusty microphone before him, Gray begins to tell his tale. It starts when Gray is diagnosed with a rare ocular condition called a “pucker.” Several doctors assure him that surgery is the only cure. Terrified of anyone—regardless of how qualified—inserting a sharp object into his eye, Gray begins a quest for an alternative cure. Tracking his experiences from a diet regimine fanatic in New Jersey to a hands-on healer in Asia, Gray is the consummate raconteur.
Soderbergh cleverly underscores Gray’s own experience by including interviews, shot in black and white, with people from all walks of life who’ve each had their own bizarre eye accident. Gray’s slightly morbid, highly neurotic testimonial combined with Soderbergh’s irreverent, delicate touch, makes GRAY’S ANATOMY both funny and riveting.