The 4th season of the Petaluma Cinema Series is underway. Bay Area award-winning filmmaker Frederick Marx’s 2010 documentary, Journey from Zanskar, screens Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium on Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma campus. Frederick Marx will be in conversation with Mike Traina, series organizer and SRJC Film Instructor, at 6 p.m. and the community is encouraged to attend.
The Petaluma Cinema Series offers 15 films in 15 weeks every fall and spring in conjunction with the SJRC’s fall and spring semesters. The series mixes community and guests with film students in a cinemateque environment and is sponsored by the Petaluma Film Alliance, a strategic partnership between the SRJC, community businesses, and private individuals dedicated to film awareness within the community. The Ellis Auditorium is a spectacular film facility, offering HD, full surround sound and new seating.
Mike Traina has organized both the series and the alliance and is excited about its potential. “The overriding objective is to showcase a balanced blend of foreign, classic, and independent films and to create a progression that showcases film techniques for the students who are taking it as a class. The first third of the films are about the filmmaker’s journey and a broad introduction to film appreciation at a more advanced level. In the middle block, each film is selected to showcase a particular aspect of film aesthetics–production design, cinematography, sound, or acting. The last third is special topics– animation, film noir, surrealism. And because the college emphasizes special calendar events—black history month, so forth–I try to create some overlap within the cinema series. In March, all of the introductions will have some focus on women in the industry. I’ve got two directors–Jacqueline Zünd will be in conversation about Goodnight Nobody and I’ll screen Mira Nair’s film Monsoon Wedding which I’m also using to highlight its cinematography. I’ve got two icons too— Elizabeth Taylor and Marlena Dietrich. “
Fredrick Marx’s Journey from Zanskar, screening Wednesday with Marx in the pre-film discussion, was very popular with audiences at the Mill Valley Film Festival last October. The 90 minute documentary tells a moving and important story about the heroism of monks and children who are trying to preserve Tibetan culture. Like many documentaries in this genre, the film is also controversial and has been criticized (Zanskar Resource) for its role in creating a situation that will popularize Zanskar and thereby accelerate the destruction of its untainted culture and traditions.
For Mike Traina, including the film in the series was an easy choice “Marx is a long time Bay Area filmmaker and I like to showcase work that is produced in Bay Area and filmmakers who try to work outside the industry and he has done this quite successfully. His Hoop Dreams, about boys and basketball, was nominated for an Oscar in 1995. He’s also trying to raise awareness about Zanskar and has a nonprofit related to roads and schools in the region. Anytime we can bring a filmmaker of this caliber in and provide the community with direct access, we try to do it.”
Petaluma Cinema Series line-up:
February 9: Journey from Zanskar (Frederick Marx, 2010, USA)
February 16: Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembene, 2004, Senegal) Moolaadé tells the extraordinary tale of a brave West African woman who decides to shelter four little girls from the torturous (and sometimes fatal) procedure of female circumcision, a traditional rite of passage in her village. This sumptuously shot and thought-provoking film, directed by the African continent’s most internationally acclaimed filmmaker, elegantly addresses one of the most controversial issues of our age.
February 23: Y Tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuaron, 2001, Mexico) Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna star in this sexy coming-of-age road movie. Acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron explores the sensual and chaotic relationships between the three central characters as well as the socio-political changes taking place in Mexico itself, ultimately offering the viewer powerful lessons concerning life, love, and growing up.
March 2: The Blue Angel (Joseph von Sternberg, 1930, Germany) Joseph Von Sternberg’s 1930 expressionist classic uses memorable performances and extraordinary visual design to tell the story of a pretentious professor (Emil Jannings) and the seductive cabaret singer (Marlene Dietrich) who manipulates him into despair and shame. A relentless, twisted tragedy of repression and moral degradation, The Blue Angel is a milestone in the expressionist canon and a portrait of crumbling Weimar Germany.
March 9: Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001, India) Cultures and families collide in Mira Nair’s exuberant Bollywood tale of five interweaving love stories set against the background of an arranged Indian marriage. Cathartic and colorful, this entertaining crowd pleaser has warmed the hearts of audiences around the world and become one of India’s biggest global box office sensations.
March 16: Goodnight Nobody (Jacqueline Zünd, 2010, Switzerland)
March 30: A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951, USA)
April 6: Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980, USA)
April 13: The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974, USA)
April 20: The Big Animal (Jerzy Stuhr, 2000, Poland)
April 27: Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944, USA)
May 4: Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009, USA)
May 11: You, the Living (Roy Anderson, 2007, Sweden)
May 18: Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977, USA)
Details: Wednesday evenings from February 9 through May 18, 2011. Pre-film lectures at 6 p.m. Films at 7 p.m. Theatre seats 257 persons with handicap accessibility. General Admission $5, Seniors and PFA members $4, Individual Series Pass $40, Students with ASP card free. Box office is open from 5:30-7:15 p.m. on Wednesday nights.
Parking: On campus parking is $4 and visitors to the campus will need $4 in change or crisp bills to purchase a dashboard parking pass from the yellow machines in the parking lots. The machines do not give change. The pass is good until midnight.
Special Cinema Series Parking Passes: Those attending the series can purchase a $20 series parking pass at the box office at Carole L. Ellis Auditorium to display on their dashboards which will cover parking from 5 p.m. onward on evenings that films are screening thus avoiding SRJC’s yellow parking machine experience altogether.
For additional information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.petalumafilmfest.org/home/Petaluma_Film_Alliance.html