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Cinema Chat: Ann Arbor Film Festival, 'The Mermaid,' 'The Club,' '10 Cloverfield Lane,' And More

Michigan Theater
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Spring is in the air and so is the 2016 Ann Arbor Film Festival!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair, Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins, and Ann Arbor Film Festival Executive Director Leslie Raymond preview this year's festival and all the movies coming to the big screen this weekend.

The 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America.  It opens Tuesday, March 15, at the Michigan Theater.  This 54th Festival will feature more than 200 films, videos (many of the films/videos in short format), and live performances.  There will be over 30 world, North American and U.S. premieres.  Filmmakers and special guests in attendance including: JemCohen, DavidO’Reilly, Rebecca Baron, and many more.  The Ann Arbor Film Festival is March 15-20. 

Opening Downtown

"The Mermaid"

It recently became the highest-grossing film of all time in China.  Xuan's real estate project involving reclamation of the sea threatens the livelihood of the mermaids who rely on the sea to survive.  Mermaid Shan is dispatched to assassinate Xuan, but as they spend more time together, Xuan and Shan begin to fall in love.  Out of his love for Shan, Xuan plans to stop the real estate project.  Meanwhile, Shan and the other mermaids are hunted by a nefarious organization and Xuan has to save Shan before it's too late.  “The Mermaid” opens Friday at the State.

Special Screenings Downtown

"The Club"

This film is a blackly comic commentary on individual responsibility, organized religion and the combustible combination of the two.  In a secluded house in a small seaside town live four former priests, who have been sent to this quiet exile to purge the sins of their pasts.  Their fragile stability is disrupted by the arrival of an emissary from the Vatican who seeks to understand the effects of their isolation, along with a newly-disgraced housemate.  “The Club” plays Sunday and Monday at the Michigan.

"Psycho-Pass: The Movie"

Inspector Tsunemori is sent to a neighboring war-torn nation, where the Sibyl System is being introduced as an experiment to find ShinyaKogami, her former enforcer who went rogue three years ago.  “Psycho-Pass: The Movie” plays Tuesday and Wednesday at the State.  

Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival

Opening night of the 5th annual Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival is Thursday, March 10 at the Michigan with a screening of “The Idol,” a biopic exploring the life of Mohammad Assaf, the Gazan wedding singer who became a worldwide sensation after winning the Arab Idol competition in 2013.  

On Friday, March 11, the festival continues at the State with “Oriented,” a documentary following the lives of three gay Palestinian best friends confronting their national and sexual identity in Tel Aviv.

“Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”

After humanity has narrowly survived a devastating war, warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä embarks in a desperate struggle to prevent two warring nations from further destroying themselves and their dying planet.  “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” plays Saturday, March 12 at 1:30 PM at the State, as part of both the Toyota Family Friendly Film Series and the CineMangaFilm Series.  We’ll be showing the film in two formats:  dubbed in English, and in Japanese with English subtitles.  Kids 12 and under get in free!

"Thread of Lies"

After her sister’s unexpected suicide, Man-ji and her mother are driven out of their home and move to another apartment.  By chance, Man-ji hears a story that might relate to the suicide after meeting her dead sister’s friends.  “Thread of Lies” plays Saturday, March 12 at 2 PM at the Michigan as part of theKorean Cinema Now Film Series.


Orson Welles is both director and lead actor in “Macbeth.”  A Scottish general is told by three witches he will rise to be king.  After learning the prophecy, he’s pressured by his ambitious wife (Jeanette Nolan) to murder the king and seize the throne.  Macbeth succeeds, but his new power ultimately leads to his tragic demise.  “Macbeth” plays Monday, March 14 at 7 PM at the Michigan as part of The Bard Film Series.


This film is based on the 1949 Japanese manga, itself inspired by the 1927 silent German film.  A Japanese detective and his young nephew go on the trail of a dangerous scientist, who they discover has created the beautiful Tima, destined to control humanity's future.  “Metropolis” plays Wednesday, March 16 at 7 PM at the State as part of the CineManga Film Series.

Opening at the Multiplex

"10 Cloverfield Lane"

A young woman wakes up after a terrible accident to find that she's locked in a survivalist cellar with a doomsday believer, who insists that he saved her life and that the world outside is uninhabitable following an apocalyptic catastrophe.  Uncertain what to believe, the woman soon determines that she must escape at any cost.  Starring Mary ElizabethWinstead and John Goodman, “10 Cloverfield Lane” opens Friday.

"The Brothers Grimsby"

Nobby (SachaBaron Cohen), a sweet but dimwitted English football hooligan, reunites with his long-lost brother Sebastian (Mark Strong), a deadly MI6 agent, to prevent a massive global terror attack and prove that behind every great spy is an embarrassing sibling.  “The Brothers Grimsby” opens Friday. 

"The Perfect Match"

Charlie, a renowned playboy, takes a bet to stick to one woman for one month because he believes that he's immune to love... until he crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious Eva.  “The Perfect Match” opens Friday.

"The Young Messiah"

Inspired by Scripture and rooted in history, “The Young Messiah” imagines a year in the boyhood of Jesus.  When the mystery of Jesus’ divinity begins to unfold in his early years, he turns to his parents for answers. But Mary and Joseph are afraid to reveal all they know.  “The Young Messiah” opens Friday.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.
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