For lovers of alternative/non-mainstream cinema, the best part of the year is just beginning. Perhaps we’ve journeyed to Traverse City to visit that city’s ever-growing film festival, or are awaiting a trip to Canada to one of the continent’s biggest cinematic events, the Toronto International Film Festival, which has become kind of the unofficial launch of awards season. The Toronto festival turns 40 this fall; I was first there when it was less than half that age, and Roger & Me was the talk of the town.
Closer to home, it’s time for the movie season to begin at the Flint Institute of Arts. This month offers three selections to launch the museum’s annual Friends of Modern Art film series, the annual September-to-June parade of independent, international, and classic titles.
We launch September 11-13 with a comedy-drama, My Old Lady (107 min., rated PG-13). Kevin Kline portrays an American who inherits a Paris apartment that comes with an unexpected resident; you might know her as Maggie Smith. FOMA favorite Kristin Scott Thomas also is on hand in what RogerEbert.com lauds as “compelling viewing.”
Coming September 18-20 is Infinitely Polar Bear (90 min., rated R). Mark Ruffalo stars in a seriocomic film about a manic-depressive father who tries to win back his wife (Zoe Saldana) by trying to raise their two young daughters – who, in a sense, become his caretakers. “Ruffalo … finds his signature role here,” says Time Out New York.
A documentary, Merchants of Doubt (96 min., PG-13), is on tap for September 25-27. Based on a best-selling book, this documentary looks at the pundits-for-hire who are touted as authorities on such important issues as toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and climate change. “As fascinating as it is horrifying,” writes the Los Angeles Times.
The first weekend of October – the 2nd through 4th – brings About Elly, an Iranian-French co-production from Asghar Farhadi, director of the Oscar-nominated, A Separation. The drama (119 min., subtitled, not rated) about the mysterious disappearance of a young woman in Iran has been praised by Total Film as a “shrewdly gauged study of our capacity for deception.”
FOMA films are screened at 7:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2pm on Sundays at the Flint Institute of Arts, 1120 E. Kearsley St. Admission is $6 for nonmembers, $5 for FIA members, $4 for FOMA members. For details, visit flintarts.org.