Real Good for FREE: NYS Writers Institute Film Series

In addition to a series of readings by acclaimed authors, poets and journalists, the New York State Writers Institute also presents a film series. The films will be screened at UAlbany’s Page Hall in Albany on Friday evenings. Admission is free.

The series starts on Friday (February 8) with the classic “Russian Ark.”

Here’s the full line-up of movies in the spring 2013 film series:

“Russian Ark”
Friday (February 8), 7:30pm
Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov (Russia, 2002, 99 minutes, color)
Widely acclaimed as both a technical masterpiece and a captivating spectacle, this tour of three hundred years of Russian history represents, in its entirety, the single longest continuous shot in the annals of cinema. Featuring two thousand actors and three live orchestras, the film follows an invisible narrator and a group of dead souls as they cavort through thirty-three rooms of the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg.

“Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action”
Friday, February 15, 7:30pm
Directed by Roberta Grossman (United States, 2006, 88 minutes, color)
An artful and moving example of documentary film making, “Homeland” follows the stories of Native American activists fighting to protect their lands against corporate exploitation and environmental destruction.

“Flight of the Red Balloon”
Friday, February 22, 7:30pm
Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou (France/Taiwan, 2007, 115 minutes, color)
This inter-cultural homage by a Taiwanese director to the beloved 1956 film, “The Red Balloon,” made numerous Top 10 lists of the year.

“The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”
Friday, March 1, 7:30pm
Directed by Cristi Puiu (Romania, 2005, 150 minutes, color)
An elderly man is compelled by illness to embark on an all-night tour of the Romanian medical system in this brilliant and peculiar film by leading “Romanian New Wave” director Cristi Puiu. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, the film was named the best feature of 2006 by J. Hoberman in The Village Voice.

Friday, March 8, 7:30pm
Directed by Steve McQueen (Ireland, 2008, 96 minutes, color)
Video artist Steve McQueen adapts his art form for the big screen in this harrowing tale of Irish Republican political prisoners who commit to a 1981 hunger strike to protest inhumane prison conditions.

“Central Park Five”
Friday, April 5, 7pm
Directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon (United States, 2012, 119 minutes, b/w and color)
Ken Burns’ newest documentary, based on the book by his daughter Sarah Burns is a probing inquiry into the 1989 “Central Park Jogger” rape case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of five Harlem teenagers. The five spent more than a decade in prison until their sentence was vacated in 2002. The film was named Best Nonfiction Film at the 2012 New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Followed by Q&A with with a member of the film’s directorial team.

Friday, April 12, 7:30pm (Friday)
Directed by Fritz Lang (Germany, 1921, 105 minutes, b/w)
Silent film with live accompaniment by Mike Schiffer
A dark fairy tale, “Destiny” tells the story of a young woman’s bargain with the Angel of Death after he slays her lover. Death agrees to revive him if she can save at least one of three lives in peril in three different settings: medieval Persia, Renaissance Venice and imperial China.

“Once Were Warriors”
Friday, April 26, 7:30pm
Directed by Lee Tamahori (New Zealand, 1995, 102 minutes, color)
Set in a public housing project in Auckland, New Zealand, “Once Were Warriors” tells the story of a modern-day Maori family plagued by domestic violence, crime, poverty and alcohol abuse. Based on the best-selling novel by Maori author Alan Duff.

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