Harpur Cinema showcases “Magic, Miracles & Other Extraordinary Events”


BINGHAMTON, NY – Harpur Cinema’s Fall 2011 season will feature recent films such as Julie Taymour’s The Tempest, Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, and Werner Herzog’s Cave of Dreams.

The series “Magic, Miracles & Other Extraordinary Events” will include 8 popular releases representing international cinema from the most classic to the most surreal.

The schedule is:

9/16 & 18: The Tempest—Julie Taymor (USA, 2010) 110 min.
Before Spiderman flew across the Broadway stage, Julie Taymor (The Lion King, Titus Andronicus, Frida), directed this gorgeous, gender-bending version of Shakespeare’s magic play.  Never one to hold back, Taymor casts the radiant Helen Mirren and the rowdy Russell Brand in this adaptation that uses every form of cinematic magic to spin “Prospera’s spells.”   Venice Film Festival, 2010

9/23 & 25: L’Illusioniste/The Illusionist—Sylvain Chomet (UK-France, 2010) 80 min.

Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) conjures up this animated tale about man whose increasingly shabby magic act is transformed in the starry eyes of a young girl from an unproduced script by filmmaker Jacques Tati, famous for his (largely silent) commentaries on the foibles and absurdities of modern life.  Tati himself is reincarnated in the figure of the melancholy magician in this poetic reinterpretation.  Oscar nomination (directing); Winner: Cesar Award, New York Film Critics and National Board of Review, 2010

Introduced by Professor Dora Polachek on Sunday.

10/14 & 16: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives—Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand/Germany/UK/France/Spain, 2010)  114 min.
Though Apichatpong’s (Mysterious Object at Noon; Syndromes & a Century) ostensible subject is a dying man who tells the abbot of a Buddhist temple he has access to his past lives, this provocative film is also a meditation on all the “past lives” of the cinema itself, including such categories as old cinema, documentary, costume drama, and my kind of film...  First Thai film to win the Palme d’or at Cannes Festival, 2010; Best Film, 5th Annual Asian Film Awards.

Introduced by Professor Tomonari Nishikawa on Friday.

10/21 & 23: Cave of Forgotten Dreams—Werner Herzog/Dominique Baffier, (France-USA-Germany-Canada, 2010) 90 min.
In 1994, potentially the oldest cave paintings were discovered at Chauvet-Pont-D’Arc in southern France. In 2010, Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Aguirre: Wrath of God) poet-documenter of the extreme, the secret, the margin, the edge, conducted personal tour of this 32,000 year old art gallery.  The New York Times Manohla Dargis describes the experience as “communing with the dead, summoning up the eternally lost,” but of course, cinema also presents this remarkable past directly now before our wondering eyes. Opened Toronto Film Festival, 2010

10/28 & 30: Halloween Feature:  The Magician—Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1958) 100 min.

Are you a believer or a non-believer?  Can you trust what you see?  Celebrate Halloween at Vogler’s Magic Health Theater where the master of mixing (cinematic) magic and mysticism marshals the forces of “animal magnetism” to create an “out of body experience” for the suspicious municipal authorities.  Spooky and comic by turns, this Bergman classic is presented in its sparkling new Criterion restoration.  Venice Film Festival (Special Jury Prize, 1959), BAFTA (Best film nomination, 1960).

Introduced by Professor Brian Wall on Friday.

11/4 & 6: Gabbeh—Mosen Makhmalbaf (Iran, 1996) 75 min.
“Gabbeh,” a style of nomadic weaving, is also the name of the weaver herself who magically emerges from an old couple’s prized carpet in Makhmalbaf’s (Kandahar) dazzling film.  Very much in the tradition of Scheherazade, the beautiful girl spins tale of magic and love interwoven with the old peoples’ commentaries and reactions.  Filmed in breath-taking color and with sweeping romanticism, Gabbeh’s images hover between the beauties of the earth and the land of dreams.  Un Certain Regard (Cannes Film Festival, 1996); Best Director and Prize, Screenwriter's Critic and Writer's Catalan Association, Catalonian International Film Festival (Spain), and Best Artistic Contribution Award, Tokyo International Film Festival.

Introduced by Professor Joyce Jesionowski on Friday.

11/11 & 13: Shadow Magic—Ann Hu (China, 2000) 116 min.

In 1905, Liu Jinglun, made the first Chinese narrative film at the Feng Tai Photo Shop in Peking—reminding us that cinema was global from the start.  Evocative of Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, Ann Hu’s first film avoids the easy comparisons between East and West by locating the arrival of modern “gizmos” squarely in terms of Chinese tradition and innovation.  Winner Golden Horse, Taipei Festival, 2000; Sundance Festival, 2000. 

11/18 & 20: Le Quattro Volte—Michelangelo Frammartino (2010) 88 min.
Finally: reincarnation Italian style.  The Circle of Life has never been quite so mystical and so grounded at the same time.  At once, a document and a poem, Frammartino’s (The Gift) film follows the passage of the soul as described by Pythagoras from human to animal to vegetable to mineral by concentrating on the details of village life in Calabria.  In J. Hoberman’s words (Village Voice) “Pretty darned sublime.”  Winner, Cannes Festival, Bratislava International Festival, Annency Italian Film Festival, 2010; official selection: Toronto, Telluride Film Festivals

For more information about the film series and Harpur Cinema, contact Nancy Wlostowski at nwlostow@binghamton.edu.  Subscriptions may be purchased by mail or in person at Binghamton University’s Cinema Department Office, located in Student Wing room 203B, or at the admission door.


Last Updated: 9/17/13