You will never really get movies unless you do them the old-fashioned way: No matter how pervasive digital media becomes, movies thrive in the dark, up on the big screen, in front of engaged viewers. CU-Boulder’s International Film Series knows this, and is celebrating its 75th year of operation with a spring schedule of more than four dozen film programs over the course of the next ten weeks.
Program Director Pablo Kjolseth is at the helm, where he's been for nineteen years. A University of Colorado Boulder grad, Kjolseth has clocked more than thirty years as a film exhibitor, and continues to provide a balanced, challenging, world-ranging spectrum of IFS films that serves as one of the great unsung cultural resources of the region. IFS is one of the last great repertory cinemas in the country.
The 2016 schedule is exemplary. Among the most popular screenings of the season are the IFS surveys of all the Oscar-nominated live-action, animated and documentary shorts over three successive weekends in February – a must for those who like to see everything before the big awards ceremony.
“We’ve been doing it for ten or twelve years now,” says Kjolseth from his office near Muenzinger Auditorium, the lecture hall that’s housed the festival for decades. (A basement auditorium in CU’s new Visual Arts Complex will show vintage 35-millimmeter films on Thursdays.) “We kept adding screenings – these shows sell out fast.”
The IFS mission prompts Kjolseth to take chances and book films nobody else would have the guts to try. Case in point: Miguel Gomes’s Arabian Nights, a controversial epic that takes 381 minutes and three separate nights to view, playing March 18 through March 20. Other highlights include Murnau’s silent horror masterpiece Nosferatu on March 5, with live musical accompaniment by The Invincible Czars; and a Wim Wenders nine-film restored retrospective, which means that the full-length director’s cut of the cult classic Until the End of the World can finally be seen.
We asked Pablo to come up with ten picks. Here’s his take:
10. "Car Wash (February 4), because I've never seen it. And it's on 35mm. And it has cameos by George Carlin and Richard Pryor. And music by The Pointer Sisters."
9. “Taxi (February 10), because it's a wonderful and humanist film by Iranian master Jafar Panahi, who somehow is still making incredibly important movies despite being under house arrest in Iran and under specific orders not to make more movies."
8. “Citizenfour (5 p.m. February 16). A special screening that is extra-early so as to allow students with tickets to the 7 p.m. live videostream by Snowden happening just a few feet away at Macky Auditorium on the CU campus."
7. “Highway Patrolman (February 25) .It still blows me away that Alex Cox, the director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, taught here at CU-Boulder for almost five years — whilst here in Boulder he was almost invisible. I had weekly beers with him at the Southern Sun without any interruption. In a way, that's how I feel about his film Highway Patrolman — a gem that nobody know anything about. That's why I'm showcasing it the week after Repo Man. Everyone knows about Repo Man, but eight of ten of those same people don't know about Highway Patrolman, and that's a crime."
6.“The Mirror (March 2). Tarkovsky. On 35mm... and probably for the last time on 35mm (super-rare print). With an introduction by Guggenheim Fellow David Gatten. True cinephiles know better than to miss this."
5. “Creature from the Black Lagoon (March 10). This 35mm print is in mint condition. Absolutely gorgeous. We'll be passing out the old-fashioned red/blue glasses for the 3-D for this, and it's a chance for people to go back in time.
4. “Psycho (March 16). Another 35mm print, this one with a special introduction by Paul Gordon, who wrote a book about Hitchcock. Psycho is a masterpiece on voyeurism, and is not something that can be seen often on 35mm film."
3.“The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (April 8). We're screening nine films by Wim Wenders that were recently restored by the director himself."
2. “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (April 12). A life so wild it simply has to be seen to be believed. Peggy Guggenheim was a force of nature whose curatorial choices informed generations to come."
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1. “Chimes at Midnight (April 20). Everyone knows Orson Welles for Citizen Kane. How many people know him for his own favorite film? Well . . . here it is, in a beautiful digital restoration.”
The International Film Series's Spring schedule runs from February 2 through April 24. For tickets and information, visit internationalfilmseries.com.