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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Kickoff, 'Cezanne Et Moi,' 'Wonder Woman,' And More

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The 2017 Cinetopia Film Festival officially starts today!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks with Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about what to expect from Cinetopia this year.  Plus, learn about the new movies coming to your local theater this weekend.

Cinetopia Starts TODAY in Ann Arbor!

The 6th Cinetopia Film Festival runs June 1-11 in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Detroit, and will feature over 60 fantastic films direct from the world’s best film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, Venice, Tribeca, and Cannes.  

The festival kicks off on June 1 in Ann Arbor, with the Michigan premiere of “The Hero”at 7:30 PM.  Western star of yesteryear Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) likes to reminisce with his drug dealer buddy Jeremy (Nick Offerman) about the good times gone by. But when Lee runs into a roadblock, he gets a fresh chance to reclaim the spotlight with the help of his new lover Charlotte (Laura Prepon) and an industry award for his work.  

Later, the festival continues with the Michigan premiere of “Quest”at 9:30 PM.  Meet the Raineys – dad Christopher (a.k.a. Quest), mom Christine’a (a.k.a. Ma Quest), son William, and daughter Patricia (a.k.a. P.J.). The film follows this working-class family through eight years of their lives in inner-city Philadelphia, capturing every challenge and triumph in true cinema vérité style.  The Raineys are a unique American household, with Quest juggling two jobs to support his recording studio-slash-home for wayward artists and Ma working at a domestic violence shelter while caring for her daughter, son, and grandson, but they could also be anyone.  What’s shared onscreen is stunning in its simplicity, addressing broader cultural conversations (drugs, violence, illness, and politics) through the lens of one loving, determined family and the community they influence.  

Cinetopia continues with 10 more days of great films, parties, and special events - review the schedule and get your tickets now!

June 1

The Hero – Sam Elliot, opening night – Michigan Theater

June 2

McLaren – Grand Prix, supercar designer – June 2, Henry Ford

Columbus, Michigan

Band Aid, Michigan

June 3

Fanny’s Journey

Tribal Justice

12th and Clairmount

Destined – LaLa Anthony, Hill Haper, Huron High grad, Qasim Basir, Shot in Detroit

June 4

The Legacies Project – Skyline High School documentary film project

44 Pages, Highlights Magazine


Rat Film

June 5 & 6

U of M Makers and Mavericks Symposium– Ira Deutchman

June 7

Look and See: Portrait of Wendell Berry – Cornman Farms

Menashe – Maple Theater, West Bloomfield

FREE SCREENING – Lion, New Center Park

June 8

Secretopia in Ann Arbor

Opening Night in Detroit – Il Cinema Ritrovato: I Knew Her Well

June 9

Hedi, Arab American National Museum

The Vietnam War, with co-director Lynn Novick, DIA

Opera Modo’s Don Giovanni & Rocky Horror Picture Show

June 10

I’m Not Your Negro– Charles Wright Museum

Patti Cake$ – College for Creative Studies

Symphony in D – DIA

June 11

Fanny’s Journey

Sami Blood


Detroit Voices

Special Screenings Downtown

"Cezanne et Moi”

The historical drama traces the lifelong friendship between two renowned 19th century French artists -- painter Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) and writer Emile Zola (Guillaume Canet) -- from their first meeting as schoolmates to their creative rivalry as fame and success continue to elude Cézanne.  “Cezanne et Moi” plays Monday-Wednesday.

"The Wedding Plan"

At 32, Michal (Noa Kooler), an Orthodox Jewish woman, is finally looking forward to the comfort and security of marriage, when she is blindsided by her fiancé's decision to call off the wedding with only a month's notice.  Unwilling to return to lonely single life, Michal decides to put her trust in fate and continue with her wedding plans, believing Mr. Right will appear by her chosen date.  Confident she will find a match made in heaven, she books a venue, sends out invitations and buys a wedding dress, as her skeptical mother and sister look on with trepidation.  During Michal's month-long search for a spouse, she enlists the help of two different matchmakers, goes on a series of disastrous blind dates and finds an unexpected connection with a charming but utterly unsuitable pop star (Oz Zehavi) - all while dismissing pleas by concerned friends and family members that she reconsider her risky plan.  As the day of the ceremony grows closer and no suitor appears, Michal puts everything on the line to find happiness.  “The Wedding Plan” plays Wednesday and Thursday.


Tensions mount for the beleaguered British Prime Minister (played by Brian Cox) in the days leading up to infamous Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, France in June, 1944.  Fearful of repeating his deadly mistakes from World War I in the Battle of Gallipoli, exhausted by years of war, plagued by depression and obsessed with his historical destiny, Churchill is reluctant to embark on the large-scale campaign, one that the entire war effort hinges upon.  Clashing with his Allied political opponent U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (John Slattery), the troubled Churchill receives support and devotion from his wife, the brilliant and unflappable Clementine Churchill (Miranda Richardson).  “Churchill” plays Wednesday and Thursday.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Wonder Woman"

An Amazon princess (Gal Gadot) finds her idyllic life on an island occupied only by female warriors interrupted when a pilot (Chris Pine) crash-lands nearby.  After rescuing him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace.  “Wonder Woman” opens Friday.

"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"

Based on the worldwide sensation and bestselling book series, this film tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he's a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.  Featuring the voices of Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” 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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