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Wednesday, March 20,2013

April in the C

Film series wraps up at Studio C! before taking the summer off

by ALLAN I. ROSS
Courtesy photo
Next week, the lights go down for the East Lansing Film Society Film Series’ final month of programming before taking the summer off. So long, Werner Herzog; hey there, Iron Man — gotta give those blockbusters room to breathe.

The April series includes five documentaries (including one made by a local musician) and three independent foreign films. East Lansing Film Festival founder Susan Woods picked the titles based on the buzz they’ve received on the festival circuit and the requests from local film buffs — but not on her experience with them. 

“I like being surprised, so I don’t like seeing them before they’re on the big screen,” Woods said. “I’m very intuitive. And these movies are really special — I think audiences are really going to like them.” Last December, Woods was picked by the Grand Rapids-based Loeks Theatres Inc., which owns the local Celebration Cinema! and Studio C! theaters, to select the programming for one of Studio C!’s screens.   

“For the most part, Susan’s suggestions have been solid,” said Ron Van Timmeren, vice president in charge of programming for Loeks Theaters. “This is allowing a lot more art, foreign and alternative films to make it to the Greater Lansing market that wouldn’t normally make it. And the financial success we’ve achieved means we’ll probably be doing it again this fall.” 

All films will play at Studio C!, 1999 Central Park Dive in Okemos. Here’s the line-up, followed by dates and times of showings: 

“Boogie Stomp! (NR, 85 min.) Lansing boogie-woogie virtuoso Bob Baldori (aka “Boogie Bob”) directed this documentary on the lively piano styling popularized in the Prohibition Era. The film focuses on Bob Seeley, who honed his chops playing with jazz greats in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Baldori and Seeley often perform locally, so there’s a good chance of getting to see them live somewhere after one of the showings.  

March 30 (6:15 p.m.); April 3 (9:15 p.m.), 5 (9:30 p.m.), 10 (3:15 p.m.), 11 (6:15 p.m.), 12 (12:15 p.m.), 14 (3:15 p.m.), 16 (9:15 p.m.), 17 (6:15 p.m.), 20 (9:30 p.m.), 22 (6:15 p.m.) and 25 (3:15 p.m.).

“Happy People: A Year in the Taiga” (NR, 98 min.) Werner Herzog (“Cave of Forgotten Dreams”) co-directed this documentary examining a remote Siberian village that hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. 

March 29 (6:15 p.m.) and 30 (12:15 p.m.); April 3 (3:15 p.m.), 6 (6:15 p.m.), 7 (3:15 p.m.), 8 (9:15 p.m.), 12 (3:15 p.m.), 13 (9:30 p.m.), 16 (6:15 p.m.), 19 (6:15 p.m.), 21 (3:15 p.m.), 23 (3:15 p.m.) and 25 (9:30 p.m.).

“Lore” (NR, 109 min.) In a WWII thriller set near the end of the war, five German youths flee north through Germany, evading Allied forces. 

March 30 (3:15 p.m.) and 31 (6:15 p.m.); April 4 (9:15 p.m.), 7 (6:15 p.m.), 9 (6:15 p.m.), 13 (12:15 p.m.), 16 (3:15 p.m.), 18 (9:15 p.m.), 19 (12:15 p.m.), 22 (9:15 p.m.) and 24 (6:15 p.m.).

“Oslo: August 31st” (NR, 95 min.) Calling to mind the French New Wave film movement, “Oslo” is a melancholic exploration of the human condition, following a recovering drug addict who spends a day wandering the streets of his hometown. 

March 30 (9:15 p.m.) and 31 (12:15 p.m.); April 1 (3:15 p.m.), 3 (6:15 p.m.), 5 (12:15 p.m.), 8 (3:15 p.m.), 11 (9:15 p.m.), 13 (3:15 p.m.), 14 (6:15 p.m.), 17 (3:15 p.m.), 20 (3:15 p.m.) and 23 (9:15 p.m.).

“Patang” (NR, 100 min.) If you liked “The Kite Runner” (the book, not the movie), you might enjoy this family drama about a man who takes his daughter to his hometown in India during the city’s annual kite festival. 

March 29 (3:15 p.m.); April 1 (6:15 p.m.), 4 (6:15 p.m.), 6 (3:15 p.m.), 9 (9:15 p.m.), 11 (3:15 p.m.), 14 (12:15 p.m.), 15 (6:15 p.m.), 21 (6:15 p.m.), and 24 (3:15 p.m.).

“Samsara” (PG-13, 102 min.) A non-narrative documentary detailing some of the most beautiful places in the world and captured on rich, 70mm film. Shot over the course of four years in more than 25 countries, “Samsura,” the word for the circular life concept prevalent in many Eastern religions, is the third film from the movie-making team behind the groundbreaking 1985 film “Chronos.” 

March 31 (3:15 p.m.); April 1 (9:15 p.m.), 2 (3:15 p.m.), 5 (3:15 p.m.), 6 (12:15 p.m.), 10 (6:15 p.m.), 12 (9:15 p.m.), 18 (6:15 p.m.), 20 (12:15 p.m.) and 24 (9:15 p.m.).

“This is Not a Film” (NR, 78 min.) In 2010, filmmaker Jafar Panahi was placed under house arrest by the Iranian government because of the subversive nature of his films and slapped with a 20-year proscription from making any more movies. Despite the ban, Panahi began documenting his confinement, which was surreptitiously woven into this intriguing documentary on the vital spirit of an artist. Fun fact: the film was smuggled out of Iran on a jump drive that was hidden inside a birthday cake. 

March 29 (12:15 p.m.); April 2 (9:30 p.m.), 6 (9:15 p.m.), 8 (6:15 p.m.), 10 (9:15 p.m.), 12 (6:15 p.m.), 15 (9:15 p.m.), 18 (3:15 p.m.), 19 (3:15 p.m.), 21 (12:15 p.m.) and 23 (6:15 p.m.).

“West of Memphis” (R, 147 min.) In 1993, three teenagers, dubbed the West Memphis Three, were convicted of the grisly murders of three 8-year-old boys, despite overwhelming evidence that they didn’t do it. The case has been examined in HBO’s “Paradise Lost” series, which eventually led to the exoneration of the men, who spent 18 years behind bars. This documentary, from a different filmmaker, focuses on the stepfather of one of the victims who may now be a suspect in the case. 

March 29, (9:15 p.m.); April 2 (6:15 p.m.), 4 (3 p.m.), 5 (6:15 p.m.), 7 (noon), 9 (3 p.m.), 13 (6:15 p.m.), 15 (3 p.m.), 17 (9:15 p.m.), 19 (9:15 p.m.), 20 (6:15 p.m.), 22 (3 p.m.) and 25 (6:15 p.m.).

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