September 7:  DISTRICT 9

Neill Blomkamp, 2009, South Africa

The Cinema Series opens with the South African sci-fi adventure thriller District 9.  With biting social satire, raucous action sequences, and stunning visual effects, this apartheid-inspired drama chronicles the relocation of alien refugees all while remaining a thought-provoking political allegory.  Nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

September 14:  BLACK SWAN

Darren Aronofsky, 2010, USA

A New York ballerina is compelled to confront her dark side in order to earn the coveted leading role in Swan Lake. Unnerving, yet oddly compelling, Aronofsky’s superbly constructed thriller received five Oscar nominations this year including Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, and Editing. Natalie Portman’s tour-de-force performance in the leading role earned her Best Actress honors.


John Huston, 1948, USA

When an American drifter (Humphrey Bogart) is down and out in Mexico, he convinces an old prospector (Walter Huston) to help him hunt for gold. An expertly crafted morality tale on greed, crime, and ambition, the film earned John Huston Oscars for both writing and directing as well as one for his father as Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

September 28:  THE BELIEVER

Henry Bean, 2001, USA

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, The Believer features Ryan Gosling in an astounding performance as a Jewish Neo-Nazi haunted by his past.  Intellectually provocative and infused with a raw intensity, the film is inspired by the true story of a Nazi who committed suicide when the New York Times revealed him as a Jew.

October 5:  AMÉLIE

Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001, France

Audrey Tautou stars in this whimsical, crowd-pleasing film about a young woman who overcomes her lonely and troubled childhood by finding ways to bring joy to herself and others.  This exquisitely designed and utterly charming romantic comedy earned five Oscar nominations including Best Art Direction and Cinematography as well as Best Foreign Language Film.


Jamie Travis, 2003-2011, Canada

Toronto-based filmmaker Jamie Travis joins the Cinema Series for a complete retrospective of his award-winning short films.  With a keen eye for production design and a dark, sardonic wit, Travis has been a darling of the international festival circuit as he explores issues of childhood frailty and alienation within highly stylized milieus.  Jamie Travis will be in conversation at the screening.

October 19:  TOUCH OF EVIL

Orson Welles, 1958, USA

Master auteur Orson Welles writes, directs, and stars in this classic film noir about a crooked police chief who frames a Mexican youth as part of an intricate crime plot.  Filled with bravura performances and technical showmanship, this baroque, highly stylized thriller features Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, and Marlene Dietrich in a cameo role, as well as an eerie score by Henry Mancini.


Tomas Alfredson, 2008, Sweden

This exquisitely realized tale of a bullied 12-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child in the suburbs of Stockholm redefines the horror genre.  The icy landscape is the perfect milieu for this haunting exploration of the confusion, pain, and tenderness associated with adolescence.  The film has picked up top honors at festivals around the world, including Tribeca in New York.

November 2:  CITY OF GOD

Fernando Meirelles, 2002, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is at once golden and gorgeous as well as brutal and cruel in this multi-generational tale of drugs, power, and survival.  Based on actual events within the Rio slums and cast almost entirely with local non-actors, this powerful, fast-paced film earned four Academy Award nominations for writing, directing, editing, and art direction.

November 9:  DEPARTURES

Yôjirô Takita, 2008, Japan

When a cellist loses his job in Tokyo, he decides to return to his hometown where he finds work preparing the dead for burial under the tutelage of a master Nokanashi (encoffiner).  With understated humor and a lyrical and poetic tone, this moving celebration of life, death, and the importance of ritual earned the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

November 16:  SAFETY LAST

Fred Newmeyer, 1923, USA

This classic silent comedy starring Harold Lloyd chronicles a country boy’s attempt to get rich in the big city.  Known for his outrageous and daring physical comedy, the film’s climax features the iconic image of Lloyd dangling from a clock tower after climbing a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles.  The program will feature live musical accompaniment!

November 30: THE PASSENGER

Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975, Italy

Jack Nicholson stars as a television reporter on assignment in North Africa in Antonioni’s meandering and ethereal tale of political intrigue and personal identity.  Masterfully constructed with sparse production design and breathtaking cinematography, Antonioni delivers a mesmerizing film that oozes with existential angst. Nicholson, who made One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the same year, is in top form.  Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

December 7: BARAKA

Ron Fricke, 1992, USA

A transcendent global tour exploring the sights and sounds of the human condition in 24 countries around the world, this non-narrative film without words is an example of pure cinema.  With an eclectic and powerful score and stunning 70mm photography, Baraka is an engrossing meditation on the symmetry and savagery of man and nature that packs extraordinary emotional punch.  Derived from a Sufi word that translates into “the thread that weaves life together.”

December 14: THE WIZARD OF OZ

Victor Fleming, 1939, USA

The season closes with the beloved classic story of a dreamy Kansas farm girl swept away in tornado to the magical land of Oz.  Once there, she must gather her allies to battle the Wicked Witch of the West in her quest to return home.  This Technicolor musical masterpiece filled with lavish sets and iconic characters continues to bemuse audiences more than 70 years since its original release.  Nominated for six Oscars.