When I was a freshman, I saw two Jacques Demy musicals at the IU Cinema. They were The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort. I saw them on Saturdays that were a week apart. My friends and I sat near the front both times, the better to absorb the spellbinding mixture of bright colors and catchy music. Those experiences formed the bedrock for my adult love of musicals. The visual and aural delights that Demy and composer Michel Legrand brought to the screen showed me that this genre could be as entertaining and thought-provoking as any other. (more…)
Six years ago today Indiana University Cinema launched its first season with an unforgettable screening of Lawrence of Arabia—officially transforming the University Theatre from its origins as a live performance space to an amazing place for film. I was finally seeing the film as it was meant to be experienced—beautifully projected on the big screen. (more…)
Guest contributor Noni Ford reflects on the complexities of grief and the staying power of One More Time with Feeling.
The greatest element of art is its capacity to transform pain into an experience that can be shared and understood in some measure by all people. While Nick Cave was in the midst of making his sixteenth studio album with the Bad Seeds, his son Arthur died tragically young, and it rocked his family member’s lives as well as his own. Instead of choosing to stop the project he soldiered on and created a uniquely beautiful album about his grief. In lieu of conducting a press tour he decided to release a film called One More Time with Feeling with music from the album Skeleton Tree in order to give his music coverage while also staying with his family. This event was shown across the country for only one night and I was lucky enough to see a screening of it at the IU Cinema. Even though there was a torrential rainstorm that night, I didn’t let it stop me from getting to the theatre since I knew this would be my only chance to see the film. The film was a journey and an experience that I couldn’t forget. I has stuck in my memory since September. (more…)
Guest contributor Landon Palmer shares insights into the enduring appeal of Elvis Presley’s film career in anticipation of IU Cinema’s Elvis in Hollywood: Shaking Up the Silver Screen film series, which starts on Sunday.
Throughout the 1960s, following his stint in the army, Elvis Presley’s career was devoted principally to performing in films and recording their soundtracks. While his output during the ‘60s was undoubtedly prolific — starring in 23 feature films and recording 21 LP and EP soundtrack records — it’s hardly remembered as Presley’s creative peak. With the ‘50s rebel classics of Jailhouse Rock and King Creole behind him, Presley’s career revolved around candy-colored works of stakes-free cinematic tourism, romps that blend an interchangeable formula of songs, romance, and exotic locations modeled after his 1961 breakthrough hit Blue Hawaii. Sandwiched between his phoenix-like rise into cultural notoriety in the 1950s and his triumphant return to the concert stage at the dawn of the 1970s, critics have lamented Presley’s 1960s screen career as a vacuum of creativity — a characterization perhaps best distilled by music critic Greil Marcus in his 1975 book Mystery Train, in which he described Presley’s cinematic run as a “zombie saga.”
However, zombie saga or not, Presley’s filmography during this period is quite remarkable, offering a treasure trove of overlooked pleasures and a convincing display of Presley’s distinctive persona. (more…)
Guest contributor Nzingha Kendall reflects on Barry Jenkins’s Medicine for Melancholy in anticipation of IU Cinema’s screenings of Jenkins’s acclaimed new feature film Moonlight later this week.
Barry Jenkins’s first feature Medicine for Melancholy: two gorgeous black people embarking on a love story, one that’s doomed from the start. Perhaps these kinds of love stories are the most interesting, precisely because they don’t last. There’s the attraction, fleeting, but fiercely palpable. Medicine for Melancholy is a snapshot, a slow burn of 24 hours condensed into an hour-and-a-half movie.
At once a commentary on gentrification and the ever-decreasing population of African Americans in the city of San Francisco, as well as a study of two 20-somethings getting to know each other following an unexpected one-night stand, Medicine for Melancholy is also about connections. It asks how black folks connect. What do we reveal about ourselves in order to get to know each other? Does talking limit our ability to really know someone? How are connections forged through touch, through series of exchanged glances? (more…)
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to introduce Kelly Reichardt to the IU Cinema stage for her Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture. It was a wonderful experience; but getting the chance to hear Kelly speak about filmmaking made the whole thing even more rewarding. In fact, it changed the way I viewed her newest film, Certain Women, later that weekend. Here are a few things I learned from her interview, and how it has impacted the way I watch her films. (more…)