Three exceptional films inaugurate the newly refurbished Walker Cinema (formerly the Walker Auditorium) in the series
Mirrors/Palindromes: Looking Forward, Looking Back
, April 27-30. These films offer views of life and desire either through the imperfect mirror of history or through the contrived reversal of a palindrome.
The series opens on Wednesday, April 27, at 7:30 pm, as writer-director Todd Solondz will be on hand to introduce the area premiere of his latest film, Palindromes. Solondz, best known for his films Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness, presents a new film that uses a wide range of actors to portray a single character in this darkly comic tale of middle-class America. On Friday, April 29, at 7:30 pm, the series continues with a newly restored version of Harry Smith’s classic Mahagonny. This four-screen epic work has been remastered to 35mm and synchs the four-tiled images, divided into portraits, animation, symbols, and nature, to the operatic work of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht., The series concludes on Saturday, April 30, at 12 noon and 7:30 pm, with director Theo Angelopoulos’ Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (Trilogia: To livadi pou dakrizi). This film uses long takes and beautiful imagery to present a story of exile in contemporary Greek history that mirrors that of classical Greek tragedy.
All films are $8 ($6 Walker members) and tickets are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
MIRRORS/PALINDROMES: LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK
Wednesday, April 27, 7:30 pm
Palindromes (Area premiere)
Introduced by director Todd Solondz
Writer-director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness) mines the fertile landscape of American suburban dysfunctional families in his latest inventive and audacious work, Palindromes. He one-ups Luis Buñuel and Jean-Luc Godard’s conceit of switching actors mid-film by using eight wildly disparate actors for the part of Aviva: two adults, four teenage girls, a pre-teen boy, and a six-year-old girl. From black to white, male to female, old to young, fat to thin—this constant transformation forces the audience to examine how its reactions to the story of underage love, need for acceptance, and burgeoning desire are shaped by shifting context. As in a palindrome that mirrors itself on both left and right, this darkly comic tale of middle-class America explores human beings’ capacity for changes. 2004, U.S., color, 35mm, 100 min.
Friday, April 29, 7:30 pm
Directed by Harry Smith
As a tribute to the its ongoing commitment to experimental film, the Walker screens a newly restored version of Harry Smith’s final work and magnum opus: Mahagonny. The epic four-screen translation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny has been remastered to 35mm. Ten years in the making, the film transforms the opera into a numerological and symbolic system in which images are divided into categories of portraits, animation, symbols, and nature to form the palindrome P.A.S.A.N.A.S.A.P. The original film was four 16mm images tiled together onscreen to form a composite synched to the opera. Kaleidoscopic in its effect, the piece allows the viewer to get lost in pictures and movement as portraits of key avant-garde figures, including Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, and Jonas Mekas, are intercut with installation pieces from Robert Mapplethorpe’s studio, New York City landmarks of the era, and Smith’s visionary animation. An allegory of contemporary life, Mahagonny explores human needs and desires amid the rituals of daily living. 1980, U.S., color, 35mm, 141 min.
Saturday, April 30, 12 noon and 7:30 pm
Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (Trilogia: To livadi pou dakrizi)
Directed by Theo Angelopoulos
Painting the past with the most beautiful of imagery, master filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos’ Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow is a story of exile in which 20th-century Greek history mirrors that of classical Greek tragedy. The film begins in 1919, after the Red Army’s invasion of Odessa, and follows the main character, Eleni, as she faces life and war, her saga echoing that of her country’s mythological heroes. An elegiac study of the human condition, Trilogy is a love story, yet as in Homer’s Odyssey, which is the primordial journey, the voyage of an exile does not always lead one home. Angelopoulos’ first feature since Eternity and a Day, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannies in 1998, Trilogy, a new masterpiece, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. 2004, Greece, color, 35mm, in Greek with English subtitles, 170 minutes.