In October, the Walker Art Center presents
Premieres: First Look,
an ongoing series of area film premieres that gives audiences an early look at tomorrow’s critically acclaimed classics. The October premieres feature the tense controversial drama Paradise Now (Al-Jenna-An) _on Sunday, October 2, at 3 pm, introduced by director Hany Abu-Assad; _Good Night. And, Good Luck., directed by George Clooney, screening on Friday, October 7, at 7:30 pm, introduced by actor David Strathairn, tells of the conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Darwin’s Nightmare, directed by Hubert Sauper, screening on Sunday, October 16, 3 pm, Tuesday–Saturday, October 18–22, 7:30 pm, and Sunday, October 23, 3 pm. Darwin’s Nightmare is a documentary about the destructive effects of globalization in the country of Tanzania.
Additionally, each film is followed by a moderated discussion that will allow viewers to more deeply explore the social issues present in the films. These post-screening discussions are a part of the Walker’s Civic Engagement initiative, which encourages dialogue around topics of importance to the Twin Cities community.
Film aficionados have long turned to the Walker to get sneak previews of new films well before their broad release. And many of them, from recently screened works by Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know) and Sally Potter (Yes) to Niki Caro’s Whale Rider and Lars von Trier’s Dogville, later went on to earn critical or popular acclaim. Launching this ongoing (and renamed) series of premieres, are three films that are shaping the artform.
All films are $8 ($6 Walker members) and are presented in the Walker Cinema. Tickets are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
Sunday, October 2, 3 pm
Paradise Now (Al-Jenna-An)
Introduced by director Hany Abu-Assad
This taut controversial drama tracks the last day of two childhood friends recruited for suicide bombings in Tel Aviv. While offering personal insight into the motivations behind such a heinous crime, the film’s producers claim a neutral position on behalf of Israel or the Palestinians. “We tried simply to make a story which deflates the myth of both extremes and brings it down to a human factor,” says co-producer Bero Beyer. Developed at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, Paradise Now won the 2005 Berlin Film Festival Blue Angel Award for best European film. Three separate topic-based discussions led by community members will follow the screening in addition to an online forum. Audience members will be invited to join one of the conversations according to their interests and to continue the discussion online after the event. 2005, France/Germany/Netherlands/Israel, color, 35mm, in Arabic with English subtitles,
Friday, October 7, 7:30 pm
Good Night. And, Good Luck.
Directed by George Clooney
Introduced by actor David Strathairn
This beautifully shot black-and-white film chronicles the conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s role in the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s. Tenaciously, Murrow (Strathairn) defies corporate pressures to broadcast McCarthy’s lies and scaremongering tactics. Strikingly salient in light of current media issues, this film is a powerful examination of the encroachment of government on civil liberties. Strathairn is best known for roles in L.A.Confidential and The Firm, and award-winning roles in independent films such as Passion Fish and City of Hope. This film is playing in competition at the Venice Film Festival and is the opening night film of the New York Film Festival. A post-screening discussion will focus on connections between the film and contemporary issues of ethical journalism and civil liberties. Invited guests from the ACLU and the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism will offer reflections on the film and then lead a discussion. 2005, U.S., BW, 35mm, 90 minutes.
Sunday, October 16, 3 pm; Tuesday–Saturday, October 18–22,
7:30 pm; Sunday, October 23, 3 pm
Directed by Hubert Sauper
Feeling more like science fiction or horror than documentary, Darwin’s Nightmare marks a monumental achievement in socio-political filmmaking. The social and economic effects of market globalization is illustrated by the introduction of the Nile Perch in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria. As the non-native fish devour the local species, multinational food concerns upset the existing economy by introducing factories, weapons and policies that leave the area decimated where only the strong survive. This moving film is a call for action that took the Best Documentary honors at European Film Awards and Silverdocs. “An extraordinary work of visual journalism, a richly illustrated report on a distant catastrophe that is also one of the central stories of our time . . . Indispensable.” —A.O. Scott, The New York Times. To address the multiple social, economic and political issues that surface within the film, each screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with invited guests from a variety of fields engaged in questions of globalization, fair trade, and documentary filmmaking. 2004, Austria/Belgium, color, 35mm, 107 minutes.