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Cutie and the Boxer

(2013, 82 mins, DCP)
In English & Japanese with English subtitles
Director:
FEATURING Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Ethan Cohen
Classification:

Showtimes

"Art is a demon that drags you along," says 80-year-old visionary painter Ushio Shinohara in first-time director Zachary Heinzerling’s delicate portrait Cutie and the Boxer, but neither Shinohara nor his supportive wife and fellow artist Noriko are looking for a cure. Heinzerling’s beautifully shot, painfully intimate look at the aging couple’s struggle to survive amid personal and financial strain is both heartbreaking and intricately profound. This is a story about creative desire so strong it hurts.

Heinzerling has chosen the right subject to make that point. Shinohara, a resident of New York’s fine art scene since the late sixties, primarily indulges in a practice known as "box painting," an aggressive technique that finds him hurtling paint-covered gloves across a massive canvas, churning out loud, stream-of-conscious abstractions in under three minutes. Heinzerling first shows us this phenomenal practice in an early long take that establishes the movie’s engrossing style. The filmmaker brings this world to life with a mixture of realism and vivid imagery. Set to Yasuaki Shimizu’s smooth jazz compositions, animations based off Noriko’s drawings and subtle camerawork that explores the crevices of Shinohara and Noriko’s lives, Cutie and the Boxer uses each frame in expressive ways on par with its subjects’ work." Criticwire grade: A

Eric Kohn, indiewire

"Cutie and the Boxer is more than a great documentary. It’s a great film." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"A movie that makes you feel less like a spectator than a guest, a friend welcomed into the home of an odd and fascinating couple." AO Scott, New York Times

A Touch of Sin

(2013, 133 mins, DCP)
In Cantonese with English subtitles
Director:
CAST Zhao Tao, Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Zhang Jiayi, Luo Lanshan, Li Meng
Classification:

Showtimes

Chinese master Jia Zhangke makes a bold play for greater accessibility and up-to-the-minute social relevance with his brilliant new film, a Cannes Film Festival prizewinner (for best screenplay) this year.

The film is made up of four interconnected stories. Gruff, powerful Jiang Wu plays Dahai, a coalminer in Shanxi who discovers his corrupt village chief is in cahoots with a rich mining mogul to swindle the villagers’ money. A snarling tiger banner and an antique shotgun play important roles as Dahai’s simmering anger turns to bloody revenge. Chinese comedy star Wang Baoqiang (ruthlessly competent, rather than comical, here) visits his home village near Chongqing to care for his family. Jia’s regular muse (and wife) Zhao Tao plays a martial-arts heroine, a switchblade-wielding receptionist whom local goons unfortunately mistake for a prostitute. Finally, Luo Lanshan and Li Meng are a worker and prostitute in the industrialized south; seeking romance, Luo feels the despair of expendable unskilled workers.

Jia (The World; Still Life; Unknown Pleasures) has never made anything quite like this, with its references to classic and modern Hong Kong action cinema and its dark vision of a violent society pushed over the edge into frightening bloodshed. Jia sacrifices none of his formal control or his artfulness, though, in this thrillingly shot drama of China today, ripped fresh from the headlines.

"A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, "A Touch of Sin" is at once monumental and human scale." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"A bold, invigorating statement from a director who keeps reinventing himself." Scott Tobias, The Dissolve

"Intensely, consistently gripping." AA Dowd, AV Club

Live in Concert: Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze

(120 mins)
Classification:
Saturday all tickets $35
Sunday matinee show: tickets $35, under-19s $25

Showtimes

Weitblick Media, Motema and VFRPR present:

ABLAYE CISSOKO & VOLKER GOETZE

The music that German-born and New York City-based trumpeter Volker Goetze and Senegalese vocalist and kora player Ablaye Cissoko create transcends both geographic and musical boundaries. When the duo first came together for their 2008 debut, Sira, their collaboration resulted in a unique musical synthesis that fused the timeless tradition of the storyteller/griot with a modern perspective. On their Motema Music label debut, Amanke Dionti, Goetze and Cissoko again set out on a spiritual sonic journey, one that ranges from the desert and coast of West Africa to the urban landscapes of New York and Paris and which addresses themes of our ancient spiritual roots, and our hurried, dehumanized modern strife. In the tradition of the griot, Cissoko attempts to mend our souls with music, and with Goetze as his partner and champion, he succeeds, as their music is truly soul soothing.

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