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2015 Fall Cinema Series

Wednesday nights in the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium
SRJC Petaluma Campus, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway
Pre-film lecture at 6pm
Film screening at 7pm
Post-screening discussion until 10pm

September 2: EX MACHINA

ex-machina-3Alex Garland, 2015, UK

One of the surprise hits of the summer, Ex Machina tells the story of Caleb, a programmer who wins a contest to work with the head of his tech company on his latest groundbreaking technology: an android with consciousness. Beautifully designed and oozing with dramatic tension, the film explores themes of sentience, love, social hierarchy, and gender relations. The film is the directorial debut of screenwriter Alex Garland and stars Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson. 108 minutes.

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September 9: WILD

FOX_8524.psd

Jean-Marc Vallée, 2014, USA

Reese Witherspoon produces and stars in this biopic based on Cheryl Strayed’s decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, all 2,600 miles of it, in order to cope with the trauma of her mother’s death. A tribute to the ways we find strength and resilience through memory, the film earned Oscar nominations for Witherspoon and Laura Dern who plays her mother. 115 minutes.

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September 16: SAFETY LAST

Safety Last, 1923 (3)Fred Newmeyer & Sam Taylor, 1923, USA 

Harold Lloyd stars as the every man in pursuit of the American Dream in what has become one of the great silent comedies in the history of cinema. Lloyd, known as the King of Daredevil Comedy, delivers an astounding array of physical stunts culminating in his iconic climb up a clock tower over the streets of downtown LA. The film will be presented with live musical accompaniment by Rick Friend. It will be preceded by other comedy shorts at 6pm. 73 minutes.

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September 23: WHITE GOD

white_godKornél Mundruczó, 2014, Hungary

White God is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary live action achievements of recent years. With a cast of over 250 real dogs, it tells the story of Hagen, an abandoned mutt struggling to reunite with his owner. Winner of the Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó has crafted a timely and thought-provoking parable with implications that reach far beyond the streets of Budapest. 121 minutes.

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September 30: FORCE MAJEURE

Force_MajeureRuben Östlund, 2014, Sweden

When Ebba, Tomas, and their two children take a ski trip in the Alps, a controlled avalanche goes awry and wreaks havoc on the family dynamic. Featuring outstanding performances and gorgeous visual design, Force Majeure challenges our basic assumptions about gender and familial responsibilities. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. 119 minutes.
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October 7: FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

FarfromThomas Vinterberg, 2015, UK

Based on Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From the Madding Crowd tracks the story of Bathsheba, a playful but proud farm owner, who must deal with three persistent and quite different suitors. With beautiful cinematography and stand-out performances, Danish director Thomas Vinterberg brings a fresh and modern approach to this one-hundred-and-forty year old love story. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts. 119 minutes.

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 October 14: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

WhatweJemaine Clement & Taika Waititi, 2014, New Zealand

When four vampires share an apartment in the capital of New Zealand they are forced to come to terms with a new, young vampire, an upcoming undead party, and the complexities of the modern world. Designed in a mockumentary style from the creators of Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows is undoubtedly one of the funniest films of the year. Its lovable characters and snappy dialogue keep this movie from being anything but dead. 85 minutes.

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October 21: WHIPLASH

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Damien Chazelle, 2014, USA

Aspiring jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) has just arrived at the distinguished Shaffer Conservatory and is placed into the school’s studio band, a rare occurrence for a freshman. The only problem is that his band leader, played by the frighteningly talented J.K. Simmons, submits his musicians to physical and verbal abuse with the hope of making one of them a jazz great. Their relationship evolves into a nail-biting cat-and-mouse game beautifully accentuated by the film’s rhythmic cutting and pulsating score. Nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, the film picked up awards for editing, sound mixing, and Simmons’ extraordinary performance. 106 minutes.

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October 28:  THE BABADOOK

babaJennifer Kent, 2014, Australia

Jennifer Kent’s first feature film tells the haunting tale of Amelia, a widow, raising her troubled son Sam. When a storybook shows up seemingly out of nowhere, entitled “Mister Babadook”, Sam tries to convince his mother the real Babadook is stalking the two of them. Reminiscent of horror classics such as The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby, The Babadook is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the scariest movies in recent years. 94 minutes.

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November 4:  IMITATION OF LIFE

1934 IMITATION OF LIFE: Claudette Colbert is scolding Marilyn Knowlden for a racial slur. (Courtesy of Universal Studios)

John Stahl, 1934, USA

Claudette Colbert stars as Bea, an aspiring entrepreneur struggling to raise her little girl alone. When Bea hires Delilah (Louise Beavers), also a single mom, as her live-in housekeeper, their lives are irreparably changed. This classic melodrama is one of the Golden Age’s most interesting explorations of race and gender, a veritable mash-up of age-old stereotypes and progressive ideals. Nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 111 minutes.

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November 11: THE DEER HUNTER

DeerHunterMichael Cimino, 1978, USA

Perhaps one of the most epic and powerful war films ever made, The Deer Hunter follows three soldiers (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, & John Savage) from their working class roots in Pittsburgh to the horrors of combat in Vietnam. The atrocities they experience stay with them as they return home and, ultimately, lead to some of the most memorable images in cinema. Nominated for nine Academy Awards, the film picked up five Oscars including Best Picture, Director, Editing, Sound Design, and Supporting Actor for Walken. Screening begins at 6:30pm. 183 minutes.

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November 18: BEING JOHN MALKOVICH

still-of-john-cusack-and-catherine-keener-in-being-john-malkovich-1999-large-pictureSpike Jonze, 1999, USA

John Cusack is Craig Schwartz, a never-satisfied puppeteer trapped in a loveless marriage with his animal-obsessed wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz). When Schwartz acquires a new job, he discovers a hidden door leading to a dark abyss, which when followed, allows him to be in the head of the titular actor John Malkovich. Spike Jonze, who directed 2013’s tech parable Her, offers a surreal and bewitching look into identity, sexuality, control, and the New Jersey turnpike. Nominated for three Oscars including Best Director, Screenplay, and Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener). 112 minutes.

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December 2: TIMBUKTU

timrealAbderrahmane Sissako, 2014, Mauritania

Director Abderramane Sissako, one of the world’s premiere filmmakers emerging from Africa, offers a hauntingly beautiful account of the occupation of Timbuktu by the militant Islamist group Ansar Dine. The film chronicles the citizens of the city after the militants begin committing brutal acts in the name of Sharia Law. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. 96 minutes.

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 December 9:  FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH

fasttimeAmy Heckerling, 1982, USA

Written by Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Almost Famous), Fast Times follows the lives of six high schoolers and their adventures in the worlds of school, work, parties, and love. Stacy, Linda, Mark, and Mike try to not crack under the pressures of young love; stoner Jeff Spicoli goes to war with an especially strict history teacher; and Brad Hamilton tries to keep a job to pay off his car. Known for launching the careers of many young actors, including Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, and Nicolas Cage, Fast Times at Ridgemont High has gained iconic status as an hilariously honest representation of high school life in the 1980s. 90 minutes.

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