Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cinetopia - the fourth annual - is here

Yes, folks, Detroit’s own film festival - well, actually Ann Arbor and Detroit’s, Cinetopia, is almost upon us. In its fourth year the festival originally started in Ann Arbor but quickly moved into Detroit and, for this edition, certainly has more Detroit venues. In past years I've never seen a whole lot in this fest that has whetted my cinephile appetite, so haven't gone. But I'm making a point to explore at least a part of it this year. Altogether Cinetopia will show more than 70 films (150 screenings) for well over a week. It bills itself as a festival that culls movies from “the world’s best film festivals” including Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and SXSW. Eight main venues are located in Detroit, including the classic Senate Theatre on Michigan Ave., which I’d never heard of before. And three are in Ann Arbor. There are also free outdoor screenings. Cinetopia runs June 5 - 14. Check out the website at've already bought my ticket to see Jean-Luc Godard’s highly regarded Goodbye to Language (2014). That’s at the Maple Sunday night. There is a retrospective of the films of Orson Welles. There’s one Quebec film Love in the Time of Civil War (Rodrigue Jean, 2014). There are several Middle Eastern films screened at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn including six shorts on one program by Arab women directors. Shorts from the Sundance film festival will be shown in Detroit Saturday and in Ann Arbor the following weekend. This year’s acclaimed doc Best of Enemies about the public rivalry and friendship between conservative William F. Buckley and liberal Gore Vidal by Twenty Feet from Stardom directors Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon screens this Saturday in Detroit and the following Saturday in Ann Arbor. Detroit Voices, a collection of shorts by local filmmakers with distinctive Detroit topics, should also prove interesting. A few of my other picks are Christmas Again (Charles Poekel, 2014) about wistful urban alienation at Christmastime based on the director’s own experiences, Beside Still Waters (Chris Lowell, 2013), a kind of updated The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, 1983), and Miss and the Doctors (Axelle Ropert, 2013), viewing the interpersonal and extrapersonal worlds through a ménage à trois.

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