DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: Jonas Mekas in Conversation
Jonas Mekas bought his first Bolex 16-mm camera soon after fleeing wartime Lithuania. He soon became a lynchpin of New York's avant-garde film scene, collaborating with other visionaries such as Andy Warhol, Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage. His prolific documentaries, from Guns of the Trees (1962) to Sleepless Nights Stories (2011), are both poetic experiments and invaluable cultural snapshots. An in-depth conversation with Mekas on 6 December at the BFI Southbank in London kicks off a major two-month retrospective of his work.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: I Used to be Darker
Director Matt Porterfield’s low-budget, unsentimental Putty Hill enlisted a cast of Baltimore non-professionals in depicting the funeral of a working-class teenager who'd died of a drug overdose. Though denied a wide release, it won rave reviews as a rare, fresh triumph of US indie filmmaking. His much-anticipated next feature I Used to Be Darker is set for completion in 2013. A retrospective of indies from NYC-based Steady Orbits production house, including Putty Hill, takes place at Husets Biograf in Copenhagen from 30 November.
NEW FILM OF THE WEEK: Laurence Anyways
Running close to three hours and spanning a decade, the ambitious latest from 23-year-old wunderkind director Xavier Dolan is a melancholic tragi-romance about the relationship between writer Laurence and his movie-AD girlfriend. When Laurence finally pursues his desire to become a woman, the strain nears breaking point, and he finds solace in a bunch of sexually ambiguous new companions called The Five Roses. Out on 30 November.
OLD FILM OF THE WEEK: Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa Y Chocolate)
If I am Cuba, Mikhail Kalatozov's poetic documentary on the socialist revolution, isn't saucy or retro-camp enough for you, try director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's cult classic Strawberry and Chocolate. Set in '70s Havana, it sees a complicated friendship develop between a gay artist unhappy with the regime and a naive, idealistic student with a penchant for pink dessert. It won the 1993 Havana Film Festival - this year's edition of which is set to kick off in the Cuban capital on 4 December.
EVENT OF THE WEEK: Film Loves Food - The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover
Peter Greenaway’s sumptiously colour-coded, brutal fable of sadism, in which a gangster takes over a high-class French restaurant with his retinue of thugs, caused controversy on its 1989 release and has been read by many as an attack on Thatcherism. It's screening on 4 December at Trangallan restaurant in East London - where the chefs will prepare food with the film’s visual palatte in mind as part of their FILM LOVES FOOD series.