By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
“Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities” – until February 25, 2021, Various directors, USA, 95 minutes “Not only will I stare, I want my look to change reality” – bell hooks
In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, “Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities” features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary.
“The Black Banshee” looks at police profiling aimed at two couples who just happen to be coming from a park when a call has gone out about a crime having taken place. The Black woman in the group is blessed with a special sense that saves the foursome from any harm that would have been directed at them through the hands of police officers.
Take a look at the trailer: https://tinyurl.com/1bgbz13g.
“The Pandemic Chronicles” is a poignant look at COVID-19 and how it affects people. One short called “Shelter In Place” details one man’s frustration with getting his friend a COVID-19 test, even though he has all the symptoms that present with the virus. Another short called “PPE Love” is a whimsical, but serious, spin on what relationships and love look like in the age of the Coronavirus.
Take a look at the trailer: https://tinyurl.com/16x7f1vk.
“Auntie Zariyah” is a cute look at the world of social influencers. Auntie Zariyah is nowhere near a common “auntie age,” she’s all of 12. She opens up her Seattle home for a few days to her older nephew, and she teaches him that “it’s all about dat gram.”
Take a look at the trailer: https://vimeo.com/377919214.
“Minari” – Available until February 25, 2021, Lee Isaac Chung, USA, 115 mins; in English and Korean.
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
This screening is a bit different from the others in the virtual cinema. Tickets, which cost $20, will be available in limited quantities for each day of the two-week run. At the time of purchase, patrons must choose from a list of showtimes, four-hour windows during which you must view the film and its bonus features. A comprehensive FAQ is available on the website.
A portion of sales made from tickets purchased will benefit the Gene Siskel Film Center.
Take a look at the trailer: https://tinyurl.com/5foty2zq.
“Days of the Bagnold Summer” – February 26 through March 25
“Funny, acerbic, yet surprisingly tender.” – Mark Kermode, The Guardian
After plans to visit his estranged father in Florida are dashed, lanky, sulking and greasy-haired teenager Daniel (don’t call him Danny) Bagnold is stuck for the whole summer with his awkward but well-intentioned librarian mother, Sue. Seemingly polar opposites – Sue remains doggedly chipper even as Daniel retreats further into his Metallica t-shirts and dour attitude – mother and son are both lonely, quiet dreamers, searching for possibilities that the summer might hold.
In his feature debut, director Simon Bird tenderly adapts Joff Winterhart’s graphic novel of the same name, offering a dual coming-of-age story that deftly weaves humor with pathos, in a film that is less about revelatory moments than it is about the intimate tick tock of a relationship that is impossible not to root for. Set to the music of Belle and Sebastian (with some doses of heavy metal, of course), “Days of the Bagnold Summer”is a confident debut that is sweet but never treacly. (Rebecca Fons).
This film illustrates teenage angst to the utmost. Daniel is upset because he thought he would spend the summer in the United States in Florida, with his father. But when plans fall through, he is bent on NOT having a good summer; no matter how much his mother tries to appease him. They go through a few situations—she thinks she has found a love interest, while he is so off-put by those prospects. He feels betrayed by his best buddy when they both venture out together on a music endeavor.
But, lo and behold, a sad instance brings mom and son together in ways that are so touching and that show that even the toughest teenage boy can learn to love his mother again.
Take a look at the trailer: https://tinyurl.com/4y8xu9za.
For more information on the series, visit https://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/filmcenterfromyoursofa.