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April 3 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Leilah Weinraub’s Shakedown (2018) chronicles the “high-femme performances” in the Los Angeles-based underground black-lesbian strip club Shakedown. The New Yorker claims that “Shakedown is neither an experimental art film nor an anthropology of gay, black femme performance in L.A. Rather, Weinraub sought to capture a moment and turn it into cinema.”The film chronicles the explicit performances and personal relationships of the party’s dancers and organizers in the early 2000s, revealing that Shakedown was more than a strip club; as one…

The Dragon and the Wolf

Script to Screen: Game of Thrones

April 6 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s epic Game of Thrones is notable for its high production values, expansive cast and engaging backstory.  The story of a succession war between powerful families is set against a genre-subverting backdrop of gritty realism. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones has become a widespread cultural phenomenon. In anticipation of the start of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones (which begins on Sunday, April…

Short Films from the Viet Film Fest: Diaspora, Family, Memory

Short Films from the Viet Film Fest: Diaspora, Family, Memory

April 11 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Presented in conjunction with UCSB Reads 2019, this program of six shorts by filmmakers from the Vietnamese diaspora includes documentary, narrative, and experimental films. Like this year’s UCSB Reads text The Best We Could Do, these short films take up questions of Vietnamese heritage, family, and memory. This selection of films was curated in cooperation with the Viet Film Fest. Filmmakers Kady Le, Lan Nguyen, and Quyên Nguyen-Le will join moderator erin Khuê Ninh (Asian American Studies, UCSB) for a…

Rome, Open City

New Waves: Rome, Open City

April 18 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

The production of Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (Roma città aperta, 1945) began only months after the end of the Nazi occupation of Rome and the arrival of Allied forces during the Italian campaign of World War II. The film triangulates the tension of the German occupation through a rich cast of characters: children, landlords, clergy, military men, unwed mothers, cabaret girls, collaborators, resistance fighters, and subversives of all kinds, and of course the city itself. Filmed with both professional and non-professional…

Hiroshima Mon Amour

New Waves: Hiroshima Mon Amour

April 25 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Past and present, trauma and eros, the personal and the collective all intermingle in this groundbreaking film from French New Wave director Alain Resnais and visionary novelist Marguerite Duras. Centering on a short, intense affair between a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) unfolds in a rebuilt and modernized Hiroshima. As the central couple explore their powerful attraction, their trysts are interrupted by memories of the war and the surrounding traces of atomic mass…

Ghana’s Electric Dreams

Ghana’s Electric Dreams

April 30 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Ghana’s Electric Dreams presents the planning and wide-ranging impact of the Akosombo Dam, Ghana’s most ambitious development project. The film visits sites affected by the hydroelectric dam and by the broader vision of modernization that it represents. Historical footage and interviews with Ghanaians reveal the complexity and contradictions, unintended consequences, social inequities, rural/urban divides, and gender differences that underlie this confluence of energy, power, and creativity in the West African country. Rudo Sanyanga (International Rivers Network, Africa Program Director), R. Lane Clark (director/producer),…

Gulabi Gang

Gulabi Gang

May 7 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Gulabi Gang (2012) is set in the badlands of Bundelkhand in central India, a place of dust, oppression, and resistance. This film follows the Gulabi Gang, an unusual group of rural women led by the energetic and charismatic Sampat Pal. They travel long distances to fight for the rights of women and Dalits. Often they encounter apathy, corruption, and even ridicule. Sometimes whole villages connive against them to protect the perpetrators of violence. While we see Gulabi Gang members struggling against gender violence and state corruption,…

New Waves: Red Sorghum

New Waves: Red Sorghum

May 18 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Directed by celebrated Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and based on Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan’s novel, Red Sorghum is a landmark in contemporary Chinese cinema and culture. The film blends the stories of three generations of a family with their region’s journey through feudalism, war, and revolution. After several years as a cinematographer, Zhang Yimou chose Mo Yan’s novel for his directorial debut. In the film, he crafts an evocative rural landscape, and lead actors…

New Waves: Memories of Underdevelopment

New Waves: Memories of Underdevelopment

May 21 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Based on Edmundo Desnoes’ novel and presented here in a new 4k restoration, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment (1968) is a fictional meditation on disillusionment in post-revolutionary Cuba. Left behind by his wife and family, the protagonist Sergio elects to remain in Havana following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, an historical moment that the film chooses to reflect on through Sergio’s unmoored, flâneur-like lifestyle and anomie. The Cuban capital engulfs Sergio and simmers beneath the social and political…

New Waves: This is Not a Film

New Waves: This is Not a Film

May 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

In 2010, after Jafar Panahi was arrested and charged with making propaganda against the Iranian government, he was banned from making films or operating a camera for twenty years. In 2011 he made This is Not a Film, which was shot entirely in Panahi’s home, using the help of his friends, a camcorder, an iPhone, and the legal loopholes in his ban. The film debuted at Cannes after being smuggled there in a cake. With a playful charm, This is…