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Cinema Chat: 'Everything Everywhere All At Once,' The 1st African Film Fest, and more

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OPENING THIS WEEK

"Everything Everywhere All At Once" — OPENS TONIGHT AT THE MICHIGAN

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert ("Swiss Army Man"), collectively known as Daniels, the film is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can't seem to finish her taxes.

"All the Old Knives" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 8 AT THE STATE

When the CIA discovers one of its agents leaked information that cost more than 100 people their lives, veteran operative Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) is assigned to root out the mole from among his former officemates at the agency's Vienna station. His investigation takes him from Austria to England to California, where he is reunited with his one-time colleague and ex-lover Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton). The pair are forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this riveting tale of global espionage, moral ambiguity, and deadly betrayal.

"Sonic the Hedgehog 2" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 8 AT YOUR LOCAL MULTIPLEX

The world's favorite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure. After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

U-M Ross School African Business Club's 1st Annual African Film Festival — PLAYS SATURDAY, APRIL 9 AT THE STATE

In one day, watch 3 highly acclaimed films across the African diaspora that spotlight Black love. There are several ticketing options. We recommend a festival pass to watch all three films. For more flexibility, you have the option of buying an individual ticket for the film of your choice.

  • "Rafiki" (1:00 PM): Bursting with the colorful street style & music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, Rafiki is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives” – but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety. Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, this film won a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation.
  • "Isoken" (4 PM): Everyone in the Osayande family worries about Isoken. She's beautiful, successful – but single. Isoken’s mother thrusts her into an orchestrated matchmaking with the ultimate Edo man: Osaze. But in an unexpected turn of events, Isoken meets Kevin and falls in love with him, and he just might be what she truly wants in a partner. The only problem: not only is he not an Edo man--he is Oyinbo (White). This film is a romantic dramedy that explores cultural expectation, racial stereotypes, and the bonds that unite families in a touching, dramatic, and comedic way.
  • "Atlantics" (8:00 PM): A futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleimane, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleimane and his co-workers disappear at sea. Soon after, they come back to haunt their old neighborhood by taking possession of the girlfriends they left behind. But Souleiman has come back for Ada, so they can be together one last time. This film is a heart wrenching, unpredictable supernatural drama rooted in real-world social commentary.

The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival — PLAYS SATURDAY, APRIL 9 AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Ignite your passion for adventure! The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate you with amazing big-screen stories when it comes to the Michigan Theater. Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters and climb the highest peaks. Hosted by Adventure Leadership!

"The Wedding Day (Wesele)" — PLAYS SUNDAY AT 2 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

By acclaimed director Wojciech Smarzowski, this film tackles the 1941 Jedwabne pogrom, during which Polish villagers tortured and murdered hundreds of Jewish neighbors. The story is set at a wedding celebration in a small town in North-Eastern Poland, and moves between past and present, with repressed memories of past violent events resurfacing in the present. In the film, Smarzowski offers a stringent critique of current-day nationalism and the politics of denial in Poland. Free and open to the public!

"Birthright" — PLAYS TUESDAY, APRIL 12 AT 4:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

A 1939 film directed, coproduced and cowritten by Oscar Micheaux. Talkie remake of his 1924 silent film "Birthright," adapted from Thomas S. Stribling's 1922 novel of the same title. Micheaux's 1924 film was met with criticism for its graphic depiction of racism. Carman Newsome stars in the 1939 film as a black Harvard graduate facing racism.

About Oscar Devereaux Micheaux (January 2, 1884 – March 25, 1951)

He was an author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. Micheaux is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, a prominent producer of race films, and has been described as "the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the 20th century." He produced both silent films and sound films.

Micheaux decided to concentrate on writing and, eventually, filmmaking, a new industry. He wrote seven novels.

In 1918, his novel The Homesteader, dedicated to Booker T. Washington, attracted the attention of George Johnson, the manager of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company in Los Angeles. After Johnson offered to make The Homesteader into a new feature film, but Micheaux wanted to be directly involved in the adaptation of his book as a movie. Johnson resisted and never produced the film. Instead, Micheaux founded the Micheaux Film & Book Company in Chicago; its first project was the production of The Homesteader as a feature film. Micheaux had a major career as a film producer and director: He produced over 40 films, which drew audiences throughout the U.S. as well as internationally. Micheaux contacted wealthy academic connections from his earlier career as a porter, and sold stock for his company at $75 to $100 a share. Micheaux hired actors and actresses and decided to have the premiere in Chicago. The film and Micheaux received high praise from film critics. One article credited Micheaux with "a historic breakthrough, a creditable, dignified achievement".[3] Some members of the Chicago clergy criticized the film as libelous. The Homesteader became known as Micheaux's breakout film; it helped him become widely known as a writer and a filmmaker.

In addition to writing and directing his own films, Micheaux also adapted the works of different writers for his silent pictures. Many of his films were open, blunt and thought-provoking regarding certain racial issues of that time. He once commented: "It is only by presenting those portions of the race portrayed in my pictures, in the light and background of their true state, that we can raise our people to greater heights." Financial hardships during the Great Depression eventually made it impossible for Micheaux to keep producing films, and he returned to writing.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"CODA"

2022 Oscars Winner of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay & Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur!

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is the sole hearing member of a deaf family -- a CODA, child of deaf adults. Her life revolves around acting as interpreter for her parents and working on the family's struggling fishing boat every day before school with her father and older brother. But when Ruby joins her high school's choir club, she discovers a gift for singing and soon finds herself drawn to her duet partner Miles. Encouraged by her enthusiastic, tough-love choirmaster to apply to a prestigious music school, Ruby finds herself torn between the obligations she feels to her family and the pursuit of her own dreams.

"The Automat" 

Before fast food, we had something better. Our grandparents told us stories of gathering around communal tables, sharing their lives, their struggles, and their dreams with strangers at The Automat. In the long-awaited Horn & Hardart documentary, relive the phenomena of America's original and most beloved restaurant chain. The one-hundred-year Automat saga serves up never before-seen archival footage and photographs and a cast including celebrity customers, company executives, historians, and members of the Horn & Hardart families. Featuring Mel Brooks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Colin Powell, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould, and more!

"You Won't Be Alone" 

Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, this film follows a young girl who is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit. Curious about life as a human, the young witch accidentally kills a peasant in the nearby village and then takes her victim's shape to live life in her skin. Her curiosity ignited, she continues to wield this horrific power in order to understand what it means to be human.

"Jujustu Kaisen 0: The Movie" 

When they were children, Rika Orimoto was killed in a traffic accident right before the eyes of her close friend, Yuta Okkotsu. Rika became an apparition, and Yuta longed for his own death after suffering under her curse, but the greatest Jujutsu sorcerer, Satoru Gojo, welcomed him into Jujutsu High. There Yuta meets his classmates, Maki Zen'in, Toge Inumaki, and Panda, and finally finds his own determination. "I want the confidence to say it's okay that I'm alive!" "While I'm at Jujutsu High, I'll break Rika-chan's curse." Meanwhile, the vile curse user, Suguru Geto, who was expelled from the school for massacring ordinary people, appears before Yuta and the others. While Geto advocates for creating a paradise for only jujutsu sorcerers, he unleashes a thousand curses upon Shinjuku and Kyoto to exterminate all non-sorcerers.

"The Batman"

Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.

"The Worst Person in the World" 

This film concludes Joachim Trier's Oslo Trilogy with a romantic comedy that delightfully subverts the genre's well-worn tropes. It is a modern dramedy about the quest for love and meaning in contemporary Oslo. It chronicles four years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is.

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