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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Wrap-Up, 'Paris Can Wait,' Summer Classics, 'Cars 3,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

This year's Cinetopia Festival is in the books, but there's still plenty going on in the world of film.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's Patrick Campion talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all of the films heading to the silver screen this weekend.

Cinetopia Festival

Festival audiences and organizers were thrilled with Cinetopia Festival 2017.  By the time all events are tallied, it is expected that nearly 30,000 individual admissions will be counted - a record!  Festival organizers received much positive feedback on programming; many kind words from filmmakers. Festival Founder Russ Collins remarked, “This year’s festival was a solid success!  The Ann Arbor part of the festival rocked!"  The U of M’s Ira Deutchman Cinema Distribution and Marketing Symposium was a special opportunity (the Symposium exhibit can be visited daily at the Hatcher Graduate Library on the U of M Campus through July 30); The closing weekend in Detroit built good energy and showed growing community support (and a successful marriage proposal by Qasim to Samantha after "Destined").  In other words - good progress on all fronts as this festival grows towards becoming a much-anticipated Detroit-area annual cinema extravaganza. Festival programmer and community organizer Sultan Sharrief observed that this year was a tipping point. There is clearly broad community energy coalescing around the festival. As we approach the 2018 festival next June it will be increasing possible for an avalanche of community energy and very positive grow seems more and more inevitable.

Cinetopia Awards

Audience Award – Documentary:  "Step"

This film documents the senior year of a girls' high-school step dance team against the background of inner-city Baltimore.  As each one tries to become the first in their families to attend college, the girls strive to make their dancing a success against the backdrop of social unrest in the troubled city.  Directed by Amanda Lipitz.

Audience Award – Narrative:  "Fanny's Journey"

Based on an autobiographical novel by Fanny Ben-Ami, this film is a coming-of-age drama about a 13-year-old Jewish girl who fights for her family’s survival while the Nazis overtake France and Italy. After the arrest of their father in Paris, Fanny and her younger sisters are sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children, led by a tough but kindhearted woman, Madame Forman (César-winning actress Cecile De France). Presented in French with English subtitles. 

Directors Award – Documentary:  "Tribal Justice"

This is a documentary feature about a little known, underreported but effective, criminal justice reform movement in America: the efforts of tribal courts to create alternative systems of justice. "Tribal Justice" challenges the entrenched cultural narrative of Native Americans as hopeless dependents unable to better their own circumstances. Our stories show our featured judges asserting tribal sovereignty and invoking their own traditions to heal their people and raise them out of poverty and inequality.

Directors Award – Narrative: "In Between"

Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern culture.   Arab-Israeli writer-director MaysalounHamoud refreshes the young women living in the big city genre’s tropes with this energetic feature debut.  What makes this spiky dramedy so compelling are the Palestinian-Israeli protagonists, whose split lives have rarely been depicted on screen.  These strong, modern, sexually active women, living independently in the center of Tel Aviv, away from their families and the weight of tradition, struggle to be true to themselves when confronting the expectations of others.

Opening Downtown

"Paris Can Wait"

When her director husband is occupied with work in Paris, an American woman takes a jaunt with his business associate, a charming Gallic rogue who is happy to squire her on a tour of some of the finest meals in Provence. The first feature directed by EleanorCoppola, wife of Francis and director of the "Apocalypse Now" documentary "Hearts of Darkness."  Starring Diane Lane andAlec Baldwin.

Rex Reed, New York Observer -- "Sometimes beauty and charm are enough to turn a middling movie into pure ambrosia. Diane Lane has plenty of both ..."

Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times -- "Coppola deftly shifts the focus to the woman behind the great man and asks who she is, how she understands the world, what she cares about."

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly -- "A sun-dappled road-trip ramble rich in the buttery wonders of French cuisine and whisper-light on storyline."

Continuing Downtown

"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.  As the day of the ceremony grows closer and no suitor appears, Michal puts everything on the line to find happiness. 


Tensions mount for the beleaguered British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) in the days leading up to infamous Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, France in June, 1944. Clashing with his Allied political opponents U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (John Slattery) and British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (Julian Wadham), the troubled Churchill receives support and devotion from his wife, the brilliant and unflappable Clementine Churchill (Miranda Richardson). With her strength and shrewdness, "Clemmie" halts Winston's physical, mental, and spiritual collapse and inspires him on to greatness.

"My Cousin Rachel"

A dark romance, this film tells the story of a young Englishman (SamClafin) who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin (RachelWeisz), believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feeling become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms. 

Special Screenings Downtown

Michigan Theater Summer Classic Film Series

The Summer Classic Film Series returns with more selections than ever celebrating generations of filmmakers and their nostalgic treasures.  Beginning this Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, the Michigan Theater will begin screenings every Sunday at 1:30 PM, Tuesday at 7:00 PM, and Thursdays in July and August at 9:30 PM.  We’ll continue traditions with a Sing-Along of "The Little Mermaid," screen a silent film with live organ accompaniment in Buster Keaton’s "Steamboat Bill, Jr.," but we’ve also added three sub-series featuring the works of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, and Stanley Kubrick.

HITCHCOCK GOES HOLLYWOOD:  This year we have 11 selections of Hitchcock’s most popular films from his career working with Hollywood’s biggest stars like James Stewart, Cary Grant, Tippi Hedren, Grace Kelly, Doris Day and Sean Connery. We will begin with his 1951 thriller/noir Strangers On A Train and work our way through his filmography, celebrating his most iconic images, and concluding the series with Psycho, which students will be able to attend for free!  This series begins Sunday, July 9, and continues with a new film every Sunday and Tuesday at our normal time.

KUBRICK AFTER DARK:  Kubrick’s Lolita was the first film Stanley Kubrick wrote, directed, and produced, which is why we launch this sub-series in July with the film that broke ground and allowed him the creative freedom to become one of the primary auteurs of American Cinema. Though many today consider his work as modern masterpieces of art, his films are encapsulated genre pieces that make these selections enjoyable summer flicks for everyone. We will continue the series with 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining. This series begins Thursday, July 6, and continues every Thursday in July at 9:30 PM.

LYNCH AFTER DARK: Celebrating the return of Twin Peaks, we’ll take a look at career of David Lynch, featuring selections which find focus in science fiction, mystery, love, and the outright weird. Beginning August 3rd with Eraserhead, this After Dark Series will also continue every Thursday in August at 9:30 PM with Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, and Lost Highway.

Check out the complete list of films below and we’ll see you at the Michigan!


18-Jun             Three Stooges Shorts  TITLES: A PLUMBING WE WILL GO/DISORDER IN THE COURT/

20-Jun             Three Stooges Shorts  GRIPS, GRUNTS & GROANS/MEN IN BLACK/YOU NATZY SPY

25-Jun             Duck Soup

27-Jun             Duck Soup

2-Jul                The Great Dictator

4-Jul                The Great Dictator


9-Jul                Strangers On A Train

11-Jul              Rear Window

16-Jul              To Catch A Thief

18-Jul              The Trouble With Harry

23-Jul              The Man Who Knew Too Much

25-Jul              The Wrong Man

30-Jul             Vertigo

1-Aug             North By Northwest

6-Aug              The Birds

8-Aug             Marnie


13-Aug                        Steamboat Bill Jr.

15-Aug                        Steamboat Bill Jr.

20-Aug                       Wizard of Oz

22-Aug                        Wizard of Oz

27-Aug                        Sing-A-Long Little Mermaid

29-Aug                        Sing-A-Long Little Mermaid

3-Sep                         Children of Men

4-Sep                         Psycho

5-Sep                         Children of Men


6-Jul    Lolita

13-Jul  2001: A Space Odyssey        

20-Jul A Clockwork Orange

27-Jul  The Shining

LYNCH AFTER DARK                  

3-Aug              Eraserhead

10-Aug            Dune

17-Aug            Blue Velvet  

24-Aug            Wild At Heart

31-Aug           Lost Highway

Opening at the Multiplex

"Cars 3"

Critics Consensus: Cars 3 has an unexpectedly poignant story to go with its dazzling animation, suggesting Pixar's most middle-of-the-road franchise may have a surprising amount of tread left.

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn't through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing's biggest stage!

"All Eyez On Me"

This film tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet, and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world's most recognized and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25.  Against all odds, Shakur's raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing. "All Eyez On Me" starsKat Graham, LaurenCohan, Hill Harper, JamalWoolard, DanaiGurira, and DemetriusShippJr. as Tupac Shakur.

"Rough Night"

In this comedy, five friends from college (played by Scarlett Johansson, KateMcKinnon, Jillian Bell,IlanaGlazer, andZoëKravitz) reunite when they rent a beach house in Miami for a wild bachelorette weekend that goes completely off the rails. Just when all hope is lost, they realize there's more to the story than they could've ever imagined.

"There are some wild moments... and some of them are fun. I just wish they weren't in service of a throwaway gimmick that is too dark to stomach." -- Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press

"The best thing about 'Rough Night is the feisty, claws-out spontaneity of its competitive banter between "sisters" who love and hate each other." -- Owen Gleiberman, Variety

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— Patrick Campion is the WEMU Program Director.  You can contact Patrick at734.487.3363, on twitter @WEMUPC, or email him at pcampion@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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