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Cinema Chat: Women's Voices Film Series, 'Six Minutes To Midnight,' 'Sound Of Metal,' And More

State Theatre
Jeffrey Smith

David Fair is away this week, but, as they say, the show must go on.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's Michael Jewett chats with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and all of the new flicks you can check out at Ann Arbor's downtown theaters this weekend.


Safety Odds Better Than Non-Vaccinated Family & Friends at your Home or Grocery Shopping!!!

The Michigan and State Theater’s management is confident that safety protocols implemented when the theaters were briefly reopened in October makes customers as safe as possible when they are in these lovely historic theaters.



Established in 1963, it is the fourth-oldest film festival in North America (after the Yorkton Film Festival, 1947; Columbus International Film & Video Festival, 1953; and the San Francisco International Film Festival, 1957); and the oldest experimental film festival.  It is one of the premier film festivals in the world for independent, especially experimental filmmakers, to showcase their work.  It attracts over 3,000 entries from filmmakers in more than 60 countries, and distributes over $20,000 in cash awards.  As a pioneer of the traveling festival concept in 1964, each year the Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour continues to present a collection of short films at more than 30 art house theaters, universities, galleries and cinematheques throughout the world.

Created as an alternative to commercial cinema, the annual six-day festival remains true to its original mission of promoting film as an art form.  The Ann Arbor Film Festival also fosters the growth of emerging and established film and video makers.  The festival is open to film and video of all lengths and genres, including experimental, narrative, animation, documentary, and genre hybrids.  The mission of the Ann Arbor Film Festival is to promote bold, visionary filmmakers through the advancement of film and new media art, and to engage communities with remarkable cinematic experiences.

This Year’s 59th Festival

The 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival will take place online from March 23-28, 2021.  Each program is different.  Films are not rated.  All programs are intended for mature audiences unless otherwise noted. Some films have imagery of a stroboscopic nature.

All short Films in Competition screenings will take place as an online live event during our scheduled programming.  After the initial live event, the programs will be available for on-demand viewing until 12am midnight EDT on 3/31.

Features in Competition and Special Programs will be available for on-demand viewing 3/23–3/31, unless otherwise noted. All programs are presented in Eastern Standard Time (EDT).  While the majority of films will stream online, there are several in-person In The Screen! Installations around Ann Arbor that are viewable from the street.  Go to: www.aafilmfest.org.  We'll look forward to the 60th Ann Arbor Film Festival being back at the Michigan Theater in 2022!!!


"Six Minutes to Midnight" -- PLAYING AT THE STATE MARCH 26-28

In the summer of 1939, influential families in Nazi Germany have sent their daughters to a finishing school in an English seaside town to learn the language and be ambassadors for a future looking National Socialist Party.  A British school-teacher (Eddie Izzard) there sees what is coming and is trying to raise the alarm.  But the authorities believe he is the problem.  Director: Andy Goddard; Writer: Andy Goddard, Eddie Izzard, Celyn Jones.  STARRING:Judi Dench, James D'Arcy, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Izzard.

"Sound of Metal" -- PLAYING AT THE MICHIGAN MARCH 27-28 

Directed and co-written by Darius Marder, it stars Riz AhmedOlivia CookePaul RaciLauren Ridloff, and Mathieu Amalric.  During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss.  When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over.  His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation.  But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew.  Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world.

The film received critical acclaim, with particular praise for the performances of Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci, as well as the sound design.  Among its many accolades, the film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for Ahmed, Best Supporting Actor for Raci, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound.

"The Courier" -- PLAYS AT THE STATE MARCH 26-28

This is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.  At the behest of the UK's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.


A biographical drama film about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his development of the screenplay for "Citizen Kane" (1941).  Directed by David Fincher, based on a screenplay by his late father Jack Fincher.  The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its direction, acting (particularly Oldman and Seyfried), cinematography, and production values.  The film earned a leading ten nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Oldman, and Best Supporting Actress for Seyfried.

"The Father"-- PLAYS MARCH 26 & 27 AT THE STATE

The film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hopkins), and Best Supporting Actress (Colman).

Anthony (Academy Award Winner Anthony Hopkins) is 80, mischievous, living defiantly alone and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne (Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner Olivia Colman), encouragingly introduces.  Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can't make daily visits anymore, and Anthony's grip on reality is unraveling.  As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to?  How does Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her?  This filim warmly embraces real life, through loving reflection upon the vibrant human condition; a heart-breaking and uncompromisingly poignant movie that nestles in the truth of our own lives.

"Nomadland" -- PLAYING AT THE STATE MARCH 27 & 28

Winner Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 2021 Golden Globes!  Oscar frontrunner!!

For those curious about how Nomadland director Chloé Zhao got her start, we check out her feature debut "Songs My Brothers Taught Me," now streaming in our Virtual Movie Palace.

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.  The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, this film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.


Winner Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language at the 2021 Golden Globes!

If you liked the indie hit “The Farewell” (starring Awkwafina), you will like this film.  A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, the film follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream.  The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother.  Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really builds a home and family.  Starring Steven Yeun ("Burning") and Yeri Han ("Champion").


Free Short Film Featuring Washtenaw County's Favorite Pets

If you've not yet watched our special “Ann Arbor Creature Feature,” you can now watch this adorable and silly collection of animal antics for FREE in our Virtual Movie Palace!  Assembled and edited by Nick Alderink, our film programmer.

Women's Voices Film Series

This March, we’re excited to share four films centered on the stories of women and the vital role female voices have and continue to play in empowering art, workers’ rights, political activism, and workforce gender equity.  Part of a new Diversity Film Series in partnership with Toyota Motor North America Research and Development.

2021 Korean Cinema NOW Film Series - A FREE Film Series Online

In partnership with the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies, this semester’s Korean Cinema NOW will be presented virtually!  Five weekends, five films available FREE to stream!


Over 30 films now playing virtually at michtheater.org.

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—Michael Jewett is the WEMU weekday jazz host.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Michael Jewett is the long-time host of 89.1 Jazz every weekday afternoon. Besides his on-air work; Michael is WEMU’s Operations Manager. Mr. Jewett started working for WEMU in 1983. He’s been on the air longer than any other current WEMU music host.
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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