Tag Archives: Riviera Theatre

SBIFF’s Year in Review – Roger Durling

Posted  by Larry Gleeson

From SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling

As we head into a New Year and pave our way forward in 2017, I’d like to take pause to recognize our successes of 2016, including our decision to acquire the Riviera Theatre – a major turning point for SBIFF.  Our new home will allow us to expand and to further engage, enrich, and inspire people through the power of film on a year-round basis.

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The first quarter of 2016 marked one of the most unforgettable Festivals. SBIFF continues to be an incredible education platform where Oscar-winning and nominated industry leaders, independent filmmakers, fans, and students gather to celebrate and learn.  All of us at SBIFF are honored to provide a world-class festival where thousands of visitors and local residents of all ages participate, right here in our hometown.

We expanded our film series The Showcase, and launched two new education programs: (1) Film Camp – a partnership with the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County that teaches filmmaking and film appreciation to middle and high school students; and (2) Programs for Seniors – a partnership with Easy Lift Transportation that provides a fun movie-going experience for transit dependent seniors.

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We also had another tremendous year of Cinema Society and treated our community to the latest Hollywood films, and welcomed some of the world’s most talented filmmakers working today: Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals; Damien Chazelle – La La Land; Jeff Nichols – Loving; Kevin Costner – Hidden Figures; Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water; Pablo Larraín – Jackie, Neruda; and Denis Villeneuve – Arrival.

The 11th Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film was the most successful in our history.  We honored legend Warren Beatty and celebrated Kirk Douglas’ 100th Birthday – raising more money than ever to benefit our education programs.

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2016’s highlight is undoubtedly SBIFF’s acquisition of the Riviera Theatre in the form of a 30-year lease, to build a 24/7 cultural hub for all things film.  SBIFF’s capital campaign – The Riviera Project – was launched in September to raise the necessary funds to support theatre renovations and expansion of our programs.  Thanks to our generous supporters – in just a few months – we’ve raised $3.7 million of our $5 million goal to be raised by March 2017.

In the coming year, we’re further expanding our many education programs that currently serve 20,000 individuals, families and children – many from vulnerable and underserved populations. The renovation of the Riviera Theatre will enable SBIFF to increase participation in nearly all of our education programs so that they are offered on a year-round basis.

  • Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies will operate year-found and increasing participation by 87% to reach 7,500 Title 1 schools.
  • The Rosebud Program will increase participation by 150%.
  • The AppleBox Family Films will also operate year-round, increasing participation by 43% to 11,500 children and families.
  • The new Programs for Seniors will serve 1,200.
  • To ensure that we fulfill our important educational mission, a full time Education Director will come on board.  Amanda Graves is starting the first week of 2017.

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There are many ways to support SBIFF and the Riviera Project – all donations are 100% tax deductible:

– Contact Cindy Chyr, Director of Advancement, at cindy@sbfilmfestival.org or 805-963-0023 x809.
– View our brochure and opportunities for giving, click here.
– To name a seat, click here.
– Make a general donation to SBIFF programs, click here.

We are so grateful for our community’s support during this transformational time in SBIFF history. Thank you for being a part of our community. We can’t wait to do more together in 2017!

See you at the movies,

 

 

Roger Durling
Executive Director

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SBIFF Showcase – The Handmaiden

From Chan-wook Park, the celebrated director of OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE and STOKER, comes a ravishing new crime drama. PARK presents a gripping and sensual tale of two women – a young Japanese Lady living on a secluded estate, and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but is secretly plotting with a conman to defraud her of a large inheritance. Inspired by the novel Fingersmith by British author Sarah Waters, THE HANDMAIDEN borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with PARK Chan-wook’s singular vision to create an unforgettable viewing experience.

“One of the year’s sliest, sexiest thrillers. The first section is only part of the story. The rest is so suspenseful, sexy and surprising that it would be a shame to say any more.” – Entertainment Weekly

“A feast for all the senses.” – Rolling Stone

“A hugely entertaining thriller. Simmering with genuine sexual tension.” – The Guardian

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Screening:
Sunday, November 27 @ 2:00pm
Monday, November 28 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday, November 29 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday, November 30 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, December 4 @ 2:00pm
Monday, December 5 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday, December 6 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday, December 7 @ 7:30pm
at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra

THE HANDMAIDEN
Directed by Chan-wook Park
Written by Seo-Kyung Chung, Chan-wook Park
Inspired by the novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters
Starring Min-hee Kim, Kim Tae-ri, Jung-woo Ha,
Jin-woong Cho, Hae-suk Kim, So-ri Moon
Country of Origin: South Korea
Running Time: 144 min
Subtitled

To purchase tickets click here.

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(Source:sbiff.org)

Note from Roger – Notes on Blindness

11162014-Roger-Durling_t479Dear Cinephiles,

Notes on Blindness is like no other film you’re likely to see this year.   It traces one man’s difficult journey and emerges with a reflection on the human condition that’s as uplifting and edifying as it is simply moving.

Below find the New York Times Review which named it Critic’s Pick. It plays throughout the week; tonight at 5:00pm, tomorrow at 7:30pm, and Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 11:00am at the Riviera Theatre.

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

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‘Notes on Blindness’ Is John Hull’s Trip From Darkness to Light
By Stephen Holden – The New York Times

In 1983, John M. Hull, a professor of religion at the University of Birmingham in England, lost his eyesight and began the agonizing personal journey to hell and back that he describes in the magnificent documentary “Notes on Blindness.”

Adapted from Professor Hull’s memoir, “On Sight and Insight: A Journey Into the World of Blindness,” the film, using mostly his words, describes with extraordinary eloquence, precision and poetic sensitivity his physical and psychological metamorphosis as he felt the world retreat until it seemed mostly out of reach.

Not only his vision faded, but his visual memory to the extent that he felt his past disappearing as well as his future. At his lowest point, he was overwhelmed by a profound loneliness and isolation, a sense of being forever cut off and trapped in darkness.

The spine of the film — the first feature directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney — is an audiocassette diary that Professor Hull kept for three years and published in 1990 as “Touching the Rock.” A decade earlier, while awaiting the birth of his first son, Professor Hull became alarmed by black discs interfering with his vision and underwent a series of unsuccessful operations to correct the condition. In 1983, he went completely blind and by September of that year, he began forgetting what his wife and children looked like, except their images in still photos. “I knew that if I didn’t understand blindness, it would destroy me,” he says.

One of his first responses was to amass a collection of recorded books related mostly to his academic career. But behind his determination lurked fearful dreams and fantasies. In the most vivid nightmare, restaged in the film, he is in a supermarket aisle as a torrential wave rounds a corner and rushes toward him. A low point came at Christmastime 1983 when he suffered panic attacks and decided he could never accept blindness. He describes a desperate sense of being enclosed and “entirely alone.”

But he was not alone. By his side until his death in 2015, at the age of 80, was his wife, Marilyn. The couple are portrayed by Dan Skinner and Simone Kirby, who lip-sync his words with such impeccable precision and delicacy you quickly forget they’re actors. The intensity of their bond is evoked in a scene of the pair slow dancing to the Mamas and the Papas’ recording of “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

Shortly after this nadir, Professor Hull was roused from his despair by the sound of rainfall, which gave a shape and texture to his environment, and he began using the tape recorder to document his interactions with his wife and children, as well as his inner thoughts.

Because he was born in Australia, he decided that reconnecting with his roots might provide solace. But the trip was a disaster when he discovered that his homeland had changed so much that the comforting sense of familiarity he expected was not to be had. He struggled to communicate with his aging parents, and to rediscover a landscape that he thought he remembered but didn’t.

Returning to England, he felt re-engaged with the world and determined to live not in nostalgia but in reality, and to accept his blindness. After a profound spiritual revelation and sense of renewal, his despair miraculously lifted and he was filled with joy and appreciation of the fullness of life.

“Notes on Blindness” avoids the sentimental pitfalls of a documentary this personal. Its overt religiosity is minimal. The tone of the narration is so wrenchingly honest that the film never lapses into self-pity or relies on mystical platitudes.

(Source: http://www.sbiff.org)

Note from Roger – Tower

Dear Cinephiles,

TOWER is flat out brilliant.  One of the best documentaries of the year.    And it’s also the most visually immersive unique visual experience.

I cannot recommend this spellbinding film more.  I’m attaching the NY Times review below which was a Critic’s Pick.

It plays tonight at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre.

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

Click here for tickets

tower

‘Tower,’ About 1966, Before Mass Shootings Became Routine
By Manohla Dargis – The New York Times

The haunting documentary Tower revisits a 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin that shocked the country. It may be difficult to comprehend the reaction to the horror of Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old student who shot more than a dozen dead, wounding more than twice as many. A cover story in Life magazine suggested just how alien the carnage seemed at the time, noting that during the rampage Whitman’s actions were “so outrageous, so hard to grasp, that people could not believe it.” Many more mass shootings later, it’s now tragically easy to believe.

You get a sense of just how brutal and absolutely foreign that violence must once have seemed in Tower. Directed by Keith Maitland, the movie is partly based on “96 Minutes,” an article by Pamela Colloff that ran in Texas Monthly in 2006, the 40th anniversary of the shooting. Most of the article was an oral history based on interviews that she skillfully pieced together for a mosaiclike remembrance. Mr. Maitland borrows this approach, drawing on first-person accounts, as well as archival and original sources. He’s also turned much of this material into walking, talking animations with the help of actors, an ingenious stroke that — at least at first — helps create some needed critical distance.

Whitman was one of the year’s big news stories alongside Vietnam. Time magazine put him on its cover, running a banner (“The Psychotic & Society”) across a photo of him — just another smiling guy in glasses — reading a newspaper, with a small dog at his side. In time, he was transformed into a popular culture touchstone in Peter Bogdanovich’s Targets, a 1968 thriller that drew on the incident; “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” Kinky Friedman’s 1973 satirical song that frames the blood bath as an all-American story; and “The Deadly Tower,” a 1975 made-for-TV drama. By important contrast, Tower isn’t about Whitman; he isn’t its subject, star or selling point.

Tower also isn’t about why Whitman committed his atrocities or even how. There’s little information on him — his background, beliefs, history or health — in the documentary. His name is barely mentioned. He’s there throughout, though, represented as the unknown shooter in the frightened recordings of people phoning in reports; in police dispatch calls; in intermittent gunfire; and in the eerie puffs of gun smoke emanating from the university tower where he took position. He is a question mark, a lethal void whose immateriality makes an agonizing contrast to the men and women he shot, those who died as well as those who suffered and survived.

This shift in focus — from the perpetrator to the victims — doesn’t read as especially American or cinematic. (One of Hollywood’s most durable genres is the gangster movie, after all, not the victim picture.) And while there may be all sorts of sociopolitical and psychological explanations for why movies are so violent, it’s also just an easy way to keep people nervously waiting and watching. Mr. Maitland put in time as an assistant director on the TV series “Law & Order” and he understands how to narratively string out violence. The movie begins with Neal Spelce (Monty Muir), a journalist gutsily reporting from the scene while driving closer to it, an opener that creates instant tension.

The scene then shifts to Claire Wilson James (Violett Beane), a heavily pregnant freshman who is just finishing a coffee break with her boyfriend, Tom Eckman (Cole Bee Wilson). As they’re walking across campus, they are both hit. Claire goes down first, followed by Tom. They remain where they fall for an unbearably long time, creating a ghastly spectacle that becomes an emblematic tableau that Mr. Maitland returns to again and again, at times using news footage. He soon adds other victims and voices, including that of Aleck Hernandez Jr. (Aldo Ordoñez), a teenager on his paper route riding past the campus, his cousin perched on his bike.

The expressive animation was done via rotoscoping, a technique that involves tracing moving images by hand (as in Disney’s Snow White) or through software (as in Richard Linklater’s Waking Life). The results in Tower are extremely liquid, with each line incessantly ebbing and flowing, creating a vivid sense of life. The animation gives Mr. Maitland a lot of creative freedom, allowing him to take Expressionistic leaps. When Ms. James and Mr. Eckman are shot, their bodies briefly transform into wrenching, twisting white silhouettes while the backdrop becomes a blast of bright red. You are spared the blood, even as the horror creeps in and then floods you.

In her article, Ms. Colloff noted that, surprisingly, perhaps, outside of some bullet holes, there were no physical reminders of the shooting at the University of Texas until 1999, when the school created a memorial garden. “No plaques had ever been displayed, no list of names read, no memorial services held,” she wrote. In 2007, the school finally installed a plaque observing the shooting, and this Aug. 1, the 50th anniversary, it dedicated a new memorial. Using a limited frame, Mr. Maitland does his own commemorating, inherently raising questions about terror, the nature of heroism and what it means to really survive. He also does something even more necessary: He turns names on a plaque into people.

SBIFF Showcase Film Series Presents Command and Control

A chilling nightmare plays out at a Titan II missile complex in Arkansas in September, 1980. A worker accidentally drops a socket, puncturing the fuel tank of an intercontinental ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead in our arsenal, an incident which ignites a series of feverish efforts to avoid a deadly disaster. Directed by RobertCommand and Control.jpg Kenner (FOOD, INC.) and based on the critically acclaimed book by Eric Schlosser (FAST FOOD NATION), COMMAND AND CONTROL is a minute-by-minute account of this long-hidden story. Putting a camera where there was no camera that night, Kenner brings this nonfiction thriller to life with stunning original footage shot in a decommissioned Titan II missile silo. Eyewitness accounts — from the man who dropped the socket, to the man who designed the warhead, to the Secretary of Defense— chronicle nine hours of terror that prevented an explosion 600 times more powerful than Hiroshima.

Here’s what critics are saying:

“Despite the high stakes, Command and Control is fun to watch, in the manner of good suspense thrillers and disaster films.”
– Chris Packham, Village Voice

“What gives Command and Control its urgency are both its wealth of information and the implications of its story.”
– Mark Jenkins, NPR

“The pace of the drama is riveting, as it jumps back through the decades to place the accident in the context of the nuclear arms race.”
– Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly

 

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Entry way of the Santa Barbara Riviera Theater. (Photo credit: sbmerge.com)

Screening at the Riviera Theatre

Sunday October 9 @ 2:00pm
Monday October 10 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday October 11 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday October 12 @ 7:30pm
The Riviera Theatre is located at
2044 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara, CA

Click here for tickets.

See you at the cinema!

COMMAND AND CONTROL
Directed by Robert Kenner
Written by Robert Kenner, Eric Schlosser
Country of Origin: USA
Running Time: 92 min

 

(Source:www.sbiff.org)

Note from Roger Durling

Dear Cinephiles,

L’Shana Tova!  This week we’re featuring SAND STORM – Israel’s official submission to this past year’s Academy Award.  The film takes place in a Bedouin village in Southern Israel – and it’s rich in cultural specifics.  But it’s themes are so universal.  It gives a powerful – clear–eyed look at the inequalities facing women in that part of the world.
Below is a review from Variety.  It plays tonight at 5:00pm and tomorrow at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre.

Get tickets here!

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

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A sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the inequalities that entrap women (and the men they love and resent) in a Bedouin village.
By Ella Taylor – Variety

On the face of it, “Sand Storm” presents a familiar feminist tale of a teenaged girl trapped between her desire to control her destiny and the constraints of her traditional family. Yet this emotionally intelligent first feature offers a sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the tangled skein of inequalities that entrap women (and the men they love and resent) in a Bedouin village stranded between modernization and anachronistic patriarchy. Written and directed by a Jewish Israeli woman, Elite Zexer, and made with a Jewish-Arab crew, the film boasts alluring desert visuals, muscular acting and intricate psychology that should attract audiences for women’s movies, foreign art films and those who believe that melodrama still has a place in cinema.

Men are not permitted at a Bedouin celebration in Southern Israel to welcome (with variable enthusiasm) the arrival of a second wife. Instead the older women wear fake mustaches, one of many striking images in “Sand Storm” that address the crucible of anger and pain that simmers beneath the revelry. Jalila (Ruba Blal-Asfour), the man’s first wife, glowers magnificently, and not just because she’s going to have to share power with the younger newcomer. Discovering that her daughter, Layla (Lamis Ammar), has a secret lover at school, Jalila freaks out at first, then defends Layla to her father, Suliman (Haitham Omari), who has given his eldest child many modern advantages — a cell phone, driving lessons, an education — and yet, for his own murky reasons, shows willing to sacrifice her future to an arranged marriage to a village man she barely knows.

At once autocratic and weak, Suliman props up an archaic social structure in which men call the shots but women clean up the messes. Ammar makes a charmingly frisky Layla, but the energy of “Sand Storm” surely belongs to Blal-Asfour as her mother, a caged tiger who smolders and paces and deliver tongue-lashings to her hapless conformist of a husband as needed. Rail as they might, Jalila and Layla remain caught between loyalty to their disintegrating family and an emerging hunger for autonomy and experience that are prohibited by their medieval fate. Those fake mustaches signal both strength and vulnerability, and the movie captures the stark beauty of the Negev desert where this traditionally nomadic tribe has put down roots, marred by a pervasive sense of entrapment for the young woman who’s both deeply attached to her mother and sisters, and desperate to fly the coop.

The handheld camerawork can be rough at times, and here and there Zexer steps a little heavily on the pedal of metaphor: A long tunnel works a touch too hard to flag Layla’s struggle between freedom and family duty. But the director juggles different points of view with aplomb, and her strong script addresses with impressive subtlety the gap between what people say and what they do under extreme pressure.

The strands of her narrative come together to show how everyone is left the loser in polygamous marriage, a divide-and-rule institution that pits not only husband and wife against one another, but also women who would otherwise be inclined to mutual support. Mercifully there’s no Hollywood ending here, only a bracing touch of mordant humor about interior decor that has the discreet hum of groundwork being laid, and rebellions yet to come.

 

SBIFF Riviera Project Capital Campaign

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) launched its Riviera Project Capital Campaign in Santa Barbara, California on September 22, 2016. The goal is to raise $5,000,000 by March 31, 2017.

The Riviera Capital Campaign comes on the heels of SBIFF’s recent announcement of its acquisition of Santa Barbara’s Riviera Theater with a new 30-year lease.

With unique timing and its dedication to bringing the finest selection of independent and international cinema to its audiences, SBIFF has positioned itself as one of the leading film festivals in the United States over the last 30 years. During this time SBIFF has expanded its operation to include a wide range of educational programming to fulfill its mission “to engage, enrich and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.”

The Riviera Project is SBIFF’s capital campaign with the mission to create a cultural hub of all things film in Santa Barbara, for Santa Barbara.

Donations to The Riviera Project will help transform the Riviera Theatre into a state-of-the-art multi-purpose venue offering year-round programming. Renovations include:

  • Comfortable Seating
  • World-Class Sound System
  • World-Class Projection System
  • Loop System for Hearing Impaired
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Improvements for Panels, Workshops, Q&As
  • Balcony Lounge with New Elevator

For more information on being a part of the SBIFF’s continuing commitment to the transformative power of quality films, click here.

SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization. Your donation to support The Riviera Project is 100% tax deductible.

Check out The Riviera Brochure HERE .

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Note from Roger Durling – Fatima

Post by Larry Gleeson

Dear Cinephiles,

FATIMA was the “small miracle of a film” that won the Best Picture at this year’s Cesars – France’s equivalent of the Oscars.  It’s such a profoundly enriching experience watching this tale about mothers and daughters and immigrants in France.

It plays tonight at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre.

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

 

Review: In ‘Fatima,’ a Muslim Mother Working in France Hits Her Limit

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By Stephen Holden –  The New York Times

“If my daughter is a success, my happiness is complete,” declares the title character of “Fatima,” a small miracle of a film from the French director Philippe Faucon.

Divorced from her husband, whom she followed to France and with whom she is still friendly, Fatima (Soria Zeroual) is a 44-year-old North African woman raising two teenage girls in Lyon. The oldest, Nesrine (Zita Hanrot), 18, is a first-year medical student, and the younger, Souad (Kenza-Noah Aïche), is a sullen, sexy 15-year-old rebel ashamed of her mother for working as a housecleaner.

Souad sneers that Fatima is “a useless she-donkey” and “a living rag.” But her mother, however stung, endures the abuse and chooses her words carefully when firing back. Fatima loves her daughter despite her insolence. Steeped in North African Muslim culture, Fatima has traditional notions of what she calls “respectable” female behavior that don’t apply in France, and she is upset when Souad insists on baring her shoulders.

If the movie, loosely based on two books by Fatima Elayoubi, tells a familiar story of immigrants struggling to make something of themselves in an alien culture (Fatima speaks some French but reads only Arabic), it does so in a tone that is kindhearted but clearheaded, and the performances are low-key and believable. (Mr. Faucon picked Ms. Zeroual, a nonprofessional actress, to play Fatima.) It makes you feel the intense pressures facing Fatima and her family from all sides. When a young man flirts with Nesrine on a train, she politely but with a tinge of regret explains that she has to study.

Some of those pressures come from gossipy female neighbors who are envious, and judgmental. One Moroccan woman fumes that Nesrine didn’t greet her at a bus stop, an incident that Nesrine, lost in her thoughts of school, doesn’t recall. While on the job 12 or more hours a day, Fatima is treated with barely disguised contempt by female employers who brusquely order her around and who, she rightly senses, suspect her of petty theft.

Nesrine nearly cracks under the strain of her studies, which require her to absorb complex medical terminology. She worries most about not disappointing Fatima, who is sacrificing everything to pay for her schooling. Nesrine simply can’t afford to fail.

Eventually Fatima, exhausted, falls down stairs with her cleaning equipment and takes a paid five-month medical leave. But when the time is used up, she complains of continuing shoulder pains, although tests indicate she has recovered. She has simply reached her limit.

To bolster her morale, Fatima has been keeping a bedside journal, written in Arabic. As she reads aloud from it to a sympathetic doctor, her reflections on hardship, sacrifice and life’s unfairness have the tone of a humble manifesto.

“Be proud of all the Fatimas who clean working women’s houses,” she reads, and her words resound with the determination and quiet nobility of a woman who, however downtrodden, knows her own worth.

Fatima” is not rated. It is in French and Arabic, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 19 minutes.

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(Source: http://www.sbiff.org)

Note from Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Roger Durling #SBIFF

Dear Cinephiles,

Werner Herzog’s one of the most distinctive voices in Cinema – excelling both in fiction and documentaries. His latest, “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” explores the internet – an incredibly timely topic – and the movie’s thought provoking as well as absorbing. It plays tonight at 5pm and tomorrow at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre. Below find a Washington Post review.

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

Click here for information on tickets

 

In ‘Lo and Behold,’ Werner Herzog examines good, evil and the Internet
By Ann Hornaday – The Washington Post

Werner Herzog has explored the known world from the Amazon and Antarctica to the prehistoric cave of Chauvet. It seems only fitting that he would set his restless, perpetually questioning sights on the Internet, the ether where we spend increasingly more of our lives, at their most public and most intensely secret.

Herzog’s documentary “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” is just what its title promises: A series of ruminations, each its own 10-to-15-minute chapter, on the origins, implications, moral ambiguities and latent possibilities of a medium we’ve absorbed readily, almost reflexively, without much consideration of the consequences.

Beginning at UCLA, where the first message was sent on what would become the Internet, and traveling the globe to interview engineers and astronomers, philosophers and hackers, robotics experts and refuseniks, Herzog creates an intriguing bookend to Alex Gibney’s “Zero Days,” which examined the looming dangers of cyberwarfare. Although Herzog touches briefly on the subject of security, he’s far more interested in how our online life has changed us and whether it’s allowed us to access the best parts of ourselves — such as when a huge community of gamers comes together to help find a cure for disease — or the worst, represented by a family who were sent horrific emails and graphic pictures following the death of their daughter in a car accident.

Is the technological ideal to be found in absolute transparency or absolute privacy? As one early pioneer observes, the founding irony of the Internet is that it was created by scientists with such idealism and mutual trust that they couldn’t comprehend the potential for anonymous cruelty and abuse that they were unleashing.

Formally, “Lo and Behold” breaks no new ground: It’s a collection of talking heads, archival footage and illustrations, punctuated by Herzog’s own queries and asides, delivered in the German accent that always conveys a tone of barely contained existential panic. Of course, that’s what makes the movie special, as when Herzog insists on bringing the conversation back to the mysteries of love and attraction, or when, during a speculative digression about video games, he intones the phrase “malevolent Druid dwarf.”

Thoughtful, searching and wonderfully moving in its wistful final moments, “Lo and Behold” may not be Herzog’s most artistically ambitious film, but it’s an intriguing, even important one nonetheless. Come for the engaging, reflective tutorial on technological progress, human nature and transformation; stay for the malevolent Druid dwarves.

 

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Miss Sharon Jones! Tonight at the #SBIFF Showcase Series

Two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA) shines a powerful, inspiring and entertaining spotlight on the legendary R&B queen Sharon Jones, whose wonder is a force to behold both on and off stage. Always told she was never good enough (“you’re too black, too short, too old”); Sharon finally broke-through as a renowned soul singer being hailed as a modern-day female James Brown. Now as she prepares for her most important tour, Sharon comes face-to-face with the most difficult adversity of her life: a diagnosis with cancer. Follow this tour de force over the course of an eventful year as she struggles to hold her band The Dap Kings together while battling her diagnosis with an unstoppable determination to come out triumphantly as a true soul survivor.

Miss Sharon Jones!

Directed by Barbara Kopple
Starring Sharon Jones, the Dap-Kings
Country of Origin: USA
Running Time: 94 min

Tonight, Tuesday August 9 @ 5:00pm
and Wednesday, August 10 @ 7:30pm
at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra

(Source: http://www.sbiff.org)