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2019 Fall Cinema Series

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

September 4: STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE


George Lucas, 1977, USA

George Lucas’ iconic space western follows the adventures of a young farm boy whose mission to rescue a princess from the clutches of the Empire transforms into an epic battle between good and evil. Capturing the imagination of children and adults the world over, the film not only launched the greatest movie franchise of all time, it changed the course of motion picture history. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. 121 minutes.

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September 11: BEAUTIFUL BOY


Felix Van Groeningen, 2018, USA

New York Times writer and concerned father David Sheff struggles to help his son Nic overcome his addiction to drugs in this award-winning and locally shot drama. Featuring extraordinary performances from Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, who earned a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination for the film, Beautiful Boy offers a exquisitely told and heart-wrenching account of one Marin County family’s attempt to save their son from what has become a national epidemic. 121 minutes.

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September 18: CAPERNAUM


Nadine Labaki, 2018, Lebanon 

Capernaum follows Zain, a gutsy streetwise Lebanese boy who flees his negligent parents and ultimately sues them for the ‘crime’ of bringing him into the world. With a riveting storyline and incredible performances from a cast of nonprofessional actors, including Syrian refugee Zain Al Rafeea, the film has become the highest grossing Middle Eastern film of all time. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards. 126 minutes.

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September 25: SUNRISE


F.W. Murnau, 1927, USA 

When a peasant farmer is seduced by the temptations of the modern world, it puts his marriage and future in jeopardy. Legendary filmmaker F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, The Last Laugh) brings German Expressionism to Fox Studios in this highly stylized and technically dazzling allegory. Winner of three Academy Awards in 1929, including Best Cinematography, Best Actress for Janet Gaynor, and Best Unique and Artistic Production. Featuring live piano accompaniment by Rick Friend. 94 minutes.

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October 2: BORDER

Ali Abbasi, 2018, Sweden/Denmark

When Tina, a customs officer with an extraordinary sense of smell, experiences a strange attraction to a suspicious looking man, she embarks on a journey of self discovery that will change her life forever. One of the most original films in recent years, Border is an eerie, thrilling, and unpredictable fairy tale that defies conventional genre classification. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. 110 minutes.

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October 9: THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?


Sydney Pollack, 1969, USA

This dark and fascinating comedy-drama, based on real Depression-era events, vividly recreates the hardships endured by contestants hoping to win a $1500 cash prize in a 1200-hour dance marathon. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is still a resonant testament to the desperation of the downtrodden in America. The film earned 9 Academy Award nominations, including one for director Sydney Pollack and one for Jane Fonda in the leading role. 129 minutes.

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October 16:  FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL

Paul McGuigan, 2017, UK/USA

Annette Bening plays eccentric Academy Award winning actress Gloria Grahame who becomes involved in a playful and passionate relationship with a younger man in 1970s Liverpool. Bening and actor Jamie Bell (her younger lover) have an undeniable screen chemistry in this innovative and heart wrenching story of a fading Hollywood legend. Nominated for Best Actor, Actress, and Screenplay at the British Academy Awards. 105 minutes.

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October 23:  WE THE ANIMALS

Jeremiah Zagar, 2018, USA

Jeremiah Zagar’s gorgeous and dreamlike coming of age story chronicles the lives of three young Puerto Rican brothers as they struggle to find their way in the world in spite of their parents’ abusive and dysfunctional marriage. Haunting, frank, and intensely empathetic, Zagar’s artful amalgamation of visual and aural techniques earned him the Innovator Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. 94 minutes.

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October 30:  SUSPIRIA


Luca Guadagnino, 2018, Italy/USA

Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) remakes Dario Argento’s landmark Italian horror film, elevating it to a high art feminist fairy tale set in postwar Germany. Audacious, confrontational, and filled with grandiose spectacle, Guadagnino fuses shock, style, and big ideas into a new horror cult classic. Featuring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, the film was honored with the Robert Altman Award (among other prizes) for its fierce and uncompromising vision at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards. Begins at 6:30pm. 152 minutes.

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November 6: THE FAVOURITE


Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018, Ireland/UK/USA 

When a new servant (Emma Stone) arrives at the 18th century estate of a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), she immediately butts heads with the Queen’s controlling lady in waiting (Rachel Weisz) as they compete to be ‘the favourite’. Visionary auteur Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster) brings his uncompromising and subversive style to the period genre and delivers a razor-sharp social satire with humor and insight to spare. The film earned Oscar nominations for all three women (including a win for Colman) as well as nominations in seven other categories, including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay. 119 minutes.

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November 13: IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT


Norman Jewison, 1967, USA

While traveling in the Deep South, detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) becomes embroiled in a murder investigation as both a suspect and an investigator. Still resonant and timely today, In the Heat of the Night was an important and illuminating statement on race and social justice in 1960s America, a time when Sidney Poitier was at the top of his career. Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Rod Steiger, Poitier’s co-star. Sociologist John Stover will co-present the film. 110 minutes.

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November 20: FANTASTIC MR. FOX


Wes Anderson, 2009, USA

Visionary filmmaker Wes Anderson adapts Ronald Dahl’s classic tale of the Fantastic Mr. Fox, who tries to outwit the neighboring farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean to pull off the greatest chicken heist the world has ever seen. Exquisitely designed and photographed in stop motion animation, this film for all ages features the vocal stylings of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Bill Murray. 87 minutes.

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 December 4:  SUNSET BOULEVARD


Billy Wilder, 1950, USA

One of the great classics of film noir, Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard tells the story of a screenwriter on the lam (William Holden) who is hired to develop a script for aging movie actress Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) who dreams of a role that will re-ignite her career. Erich von Stroheim also turns in a phenomenal performance as Norma’s faithful butler Max. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 110 minutes.

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December 11: BOOKSMART


Olivia Wilde, 2019, USA

High school graduates Dever and Feldstein decide it’s time to shed their nerdy academic personas and cut loose before their high school days are over in this hilarious and fast-paced coming of age story. Director Olivia Wilde brings an original spin to the high school comedy genre with a smart, fresh, feminist take on the classic buddy picture. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival. 102 minutes.

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