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Harvard puts focus on cinematographer Godard

Grégoire Colin and Mati Diop in “35 Shots of Rum,’’ which will be featured in the Harvard Film Archive’s two-film series of cinematographer Agnes Godard’s work. Grégoire Colin and Mati Diop in “35 Shots of Rum,’’ which will be featured in the Harvard Film Archive’s two-film series of cinematographer Agnes Godard’s work.
By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / October 9, 2011

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Agnes Godard’s Inexhaustible Landscapes, a two-film series at the Harvard Film Archive tomorrow and Friday, showcases the work of one of the world’s most important cinematographers. Godard has collaborated with filmmakers Wim Wenders, Agnès Varda, and, most significantly, her fellow graduate of the famed Paris film school IDHEC, Claire Denis. Godard has shot nearly all of Denis’s films since 1990, including her 2008 film “35 Shots of Rum.’’ Godard will attend the HFA screening of this film on Friday at 7 p.m. But the Godard series kicks off tomorrow at 7 p.m. with a screening of 1998’s “The Dreamlife of Angels,’’ a collaboration between Godard and Erick Zonca that marks his first feature. It follows the friendship between two young women struggling to find their way in contemporary Paris.

“35 Shots of Rum,’’ according to the HFA, is considered one of Denis’s “most moving and accessible works . . . a melancholy homage to the great Yasujiro Ozu and in particular his “Late Spring’’ (1949), echoing the Japanese master’s delicate exploration of the deep devotion between a father and his daughter who is on the verge of leaving home.’’

For more information, go to hcl.harvard.edu/hfa

Documentary sneak peek Five notable, politically progressive Boston-based filmmakers led by John Gianvito are wrapping work on the documentary “Far From Afghanistan,’’ which will be finished at the end of this year. But this week, to mark the 10-year anniversary of the war, “Far From Afghanistan: The October Edition’’ will premiere online through Thursday. This is a shorter version containing elements that will not be a part of the final film. “This weeklong streaming event is designed to engage audiences and raise awareness with the general public all in a concerted effort to help accelerate political resistance to the war. This will be available for only one week, on Farfromafghanistan.org as well as our exclusive presentation partner Fandor.com,’’ says Mike Bowes, the film’s Boston-based producer. Gianvito’s effort was inspired by Chris Marker’s collective film, “Far From Vietnam.’’ Besides Gianvito, the Boston filmmakers contributing segments to the project include Jon Jost, Travis Wilkerson, Soon-Mi Yoo, and Minda Martin. To view the film, go to www.farfromafghanistan.org or www.fandor.com.

Never too late Thirty years ago, Andrew Mungo founded the Screening Room in Newburyport, which he still operates. He’s booked a personal favorite into the small art house this week: at 62, Mungo has made his first film, “Thanks for Listening: A Memoir.’’ It will have its world premiere engagement today through Thursday. Shot by North Shore cinematographer Amie Spiridigliozzi-Keefe in and around Newburyport and featuring many local actors, artists, storytellers, and musicians, the film, says Mungo “tells of a man, that’s me, who is famous but only in one tiny place, Blueberryport. If I go to Strawberryport I gotta pay cash. . . . I tell of being a working-stiff folk artist - I work at the post office, all the time, have for decades, then I come in and run my movie theater - who slogs on in spite of life’s travails.’’ The Screening Room is at 82 State St., Newburyport. For more info, go to www.newburyportmovies.com or www.thanksforlisteningmovie.com.

Arlington wrap The first Arlington International Film Festival wraps up today, the fourth day of films and discussions with directors. The highlight of today’s lineup is “Family Affair’’ at 2 p.m. Director Chico Colvard, a graduate of Boston College Law School who currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, will be on hand to discuss his film, about the legacy of abuse and the nature of forgiveness. Oprah Winfrey has purchased “Family Affair’’ and is expected to air it on her cable channel, OWN, later this year. Colvard is a former filmmaker-in-residence at WGBH. He also moderates the DocYard series at the Brattle Theatre. For information, go to www.aiffest.org.

Movie with a message Among other accolades, “Norman,’’ a film about a troubled high-school student starring Dan Byrd, Emily VanCamp, Richard Jenkins, and Adam Goldberg, won two awards at this year’s Rhode Island International Film Festival: grand prize best feature and best actor (Byrd). Local audiences can get a look at the film on Wednesday at a special screening at the MFA, before the film’s release on Oct. 21 at the AMC Loews Boston Common. The film’s distributors are partnering with social organizations such as To Write Love On Her Arms , using the film as a tool to raise awareness about teen depression and suicide. For more information, go to www.normanthemovie.com.

Master works In advance of legendary documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s Dec. 2 appearance, the HFA continues with its comprehensive series Frederick Wiseman, Institution U.S.A, a look at Wiseman’s many films that comprise a dramatic social chronicle by focusing on such institutions as a hospital or a school or a military base. On Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., the HFA will show “Essene’’ from 1972, Wiseman’s study of the communal life of a Benedictine monastery. “Meat,’’ Wiseman’s 1976 look at the meat industry from slaughterhouse to final sale, follows at 9 p.m. The series continues Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. with “Welfare’’ (1975), which documents the workings of New York’s Waverly Welfare Center. “Law and Order’’ (1969), Wiseman’s chronicle of the day-to-day work of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, screens Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. For more information, go to hcl.harvard.edu/hfa.

Global visions The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents the Israeli film “Valley of Strength’’ (“Gei Oni’’) today and next Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, part of the Celebrating World Cinema series. The romantic drama, based on the novel by Shulamit Lapid, follows the journey of a young woman, her baby daughter, her brother, and their elderly uncle from Russia to Israel after the rest of their family is killed in a pogrom. Tickets are $11 general admission, $9 for students, seniors, BJFF and MFA members. For more information, contact the Boston Jewish Film Festival at 617-244-9899 or www.bjff.org.

Sustainable film “Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie,’’ a Canadian film set to be released in the US later this fall, will get an advance screening Oct. 20 at 7 p.m., presented by the Norwood-based nonprofit organization Together Yes, which promotes sustainability. The film documents Suzuki , a leading environmentalist, scientist, and broadcaster in Canada (his broadcasts have been shown in the US on PBS), as he delivers a public lecture cut with scenes from his life that led him to pursue the path of environmental responsibility. The screening is at Morrill Memorial Library, Norwood. For more information, go to www.tgryes.org.

Loren King may be contacted at loren.king@comcast.net.

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