Cinema Chat: Honoring Ginny Moss, 'Three Thousand Years of Longing,' 'Samaritan,' and more
VIRGINIA "GINNY" MOSS, LONG-TIME ANN ARBOR RESIDENT AND LAST LIVING ADULT ACTOR IN THE CHRISTMAS CLASSIC "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE," DIES AT 97
Virginia Patton Moss, a member of the cast of the film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” was longtime Ann Arbor resident, where she a community volunteer and leader and occasionally introduced the now-beloved Christmas movie at the Michigan Theater. Better known in Ann Arbor as Ginny Moss, she was the final surviving adult member of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She died Thursday, August 18 at 97. Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Portland, Oregon. Her film acting career began when she was a teenager. She was featured in several films in the mid-1940s and was best known for playing Ruth Dakin Bailey, the sister-in-law of protagonist George Bailey, played by James Stewart. She retired from a seven-year acting career at age 24 and settled in Ann Arbor with husband Cruse Moss. “It was a choice she appeared to have embraced with full affection, energy, brains and talent,” said Russ Collins. “She was willing to pitch in and make things happen in the community.” For over 25 years, Ginny Moss was a supporter and docent at the U-M Museum of Art. She also served on the boards of theArchaeological Institute of America, Cleary University’s board of trustees, as well as the boards of the University of Michigan Kelsey Museumand the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.
OPENING THIS WEEK
"Samaritan" — OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 AT THE MULTIPLEX
A young boy learns that a superhero who was thought to have gone missing after an epic battle twenty years ago may in fact still be around.
"Three Thousand Years of Longing" — OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 AT THE MICHIGAN
Dr. Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is an academic -- content with life and a creature of reason. While in Istanbul attending a conference, she happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. The Djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both. From acclaimed writer/director George Miller ("Mad Max").
"Bodies Bodies Bodies"— OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 AT THE STATE
This is a 2022 American black comedy horror film directed by Halina Reijn in her English-language debut. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha'la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, and Pete Davidson. It premiered at South by Southwest on March 14, 2022 and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the humor, satire, and cast performances, Sennott’s in particular.
When a group of 20-somethings gets stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane, a party game gone very, very wrong ends with a dead body on the ground and fake friends at every turn as they try to find the killer among them.
"The Territory" — OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 AT THE MICHIGAN
This is a 2022 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Alex Pritz. It follows a young Indigenous fighting back against farmers and settlers who encroach on a protected area of the Amazon Rainforest. Filmed on location in Brazil from 2018 to 2020, the film utilizes almost exclusively on-the-ground, primary source material, including footage produced directly by the local indigenous tribe. Acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky serves as a producer. The film had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2022. Critics have praised its cinematography as well the authentic portrayal of tension between Indigenous peoples and settlers in contemporary Brazil.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN
Sundays at 1:30 PM and Tuesdays at 7:30 PM at the Michigan.
- "Remember the Titans"— 8/28 & 8/30
NT Live: "No Man's Land" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
One summer evening, two aging writers, Hirst and Spooner, meet in a Hampstead pub and continue their drinking into the night at Hirst’s stately house nearby. As the pair becomes increasingly inebriated, and their stories increasingly unbelievable, the lively conversation soon turns into a revealing power game, further complicated by the return home of two sinister younger men.
Following a hit run on Broadway, the performance was captured from the West End in London in 2016.
"Casablanca" — PLAYS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 THROUGH MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 AT THE STATE
"The First Degree" - PLAYS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
Celebrate the rediscovery of the film long thought lost from the silent era. This special screening will feature a live performance of a newly commissioned score by Chicago Experimental
Cinetopia Presents! Series: "Coming Up for Air" — PLAYS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
Stan (Chase Yi) is an A-grade student and diving champion. Anna (Deborah Staples), his mom, is raising him on her own. This breathtaking family drama takes audiences on a journey highlighting the importance of mental health care, sensible gun safety laws.
Live on Stage: Regina Spektor — TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11 AT 8 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
Grammy award nominated singer, songwriter and pianist has released her first album in six years, titled “Home, Before and After.” Although she began as a classically trained pianist, Spektor achieved recognition in New York City’s anti-folk scene at venues like Sidewalk Café in the East Village.
Cinetopia Presents! Series: "For the Left Hand" — PLAYS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
At age 10, aspiring pianist Norman Malone is paralyzed on his right side after being attacked by his father. Over the next several decades, he masters the left-hand repertoire in secret before a chance discovery of his talent leads him towards making his concert debut.
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show"— PLAYS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27 AT THE MICHIGAN
In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad and Janet are stuck with a flat tire during a storm and discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. As their innocence is lost, they meet a houseful of wild characters. Presented with a live stage “shadow cast” by The Leather Medusas. Costumes are encouraged!
"Nosferatu" — PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30 AT THE MICHIGAN
In this classic silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok summons Thomas Hutter to his remote Transylvanian castle. After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that his wife Ellen is in grave danger. Silent film with live organ accompaniment.
NT Live: "Frankenstein"— PLAYS MONDAY, OCTOBER 31 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
Directed by Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle, this production of "Frankenstein" sees Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and his creation andJonny Lee Miller also as Victor Frankenstein and his creation.
NT Live: "Much Ado About Nothing"— PLAYS THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN
Director Simon Godwin returns following the award-winning success of Romeo & Juliet in this rendition of Shakespeare’s witty Italian comedy, relocated to 1931.
A 2022 American drama film written, directed, produced, and co-edited by Max Walker-Silverman in his feature directorial debut. It stars Dale Dickey ("Winters Bone," "Breaking Bad") and Wes Studi ("Dances with Wolves," "Avatar") as two childhood friends who spend a night together by a lake in the mountains. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2022. Faye (Dale Dickey) is a lone traveler biding her time fishing, birding and stargazing at a rural Colorado campground as she awaits the arrival of Lito (Wes Studi), a figure from her past who is navigating his own tentative and nomadic journey across the rugged West. Like the country music that has traditionally channeled the heartbreak and resilience of Americans in search of themselves and others, A Love Song weaves a lyrical and ultimately joyful refrain out of the transformative act of being alone -- and reminds us that love can nourish and mystify at any age.
A 2021 Japanese animated film directed by Masaaki Yuasa and based upon the novel "Tales of the Heike: INU-OH" by Hideo Furukawa, the film is set in 14th century Japan and centers on the friendship between Inu-Oh, a dancer born with unique physical characteristics, and Tomona, a blind musician. The film premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 9, 2021.
In 14th century Japan, political instability reigned. Three hundred years earlier, a terrible civil war between two powerful clans led to devastation and the annihilation of the Heike clan. In the centuries since, Japan was rocked by aftershocks of conflict, and legends began to grow of the ghosts of the Heike, who would curse anyone who inadvertently dishonored their memory. Despite the ever-looming threat of conflict and the lurking danger of ancient ghosts, artistic culture flourished and unique forms of Japanese art, including noh dance and drama, were born. In this cultural context, while ostracized by society due to their physical differences, Inu-Oh and Tomona nonetheless utilize their artistic abilities to propel themselves to stardom.
A 2022 American crime drama film written and directed byJohn Patton Ford. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2022. Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is saddled with student debt and locked out of the job market due to a minor criminal record. Desperate for income, she takes a shady gig as a "dummy shopper," buying goods with stolen credit cards supplied by a handsome and charismatic middleman named Youcef (Theo Rossi). Faced with a series of dead-end job interviews, Emily soon finds herself seduced by the quick cash and illicit thrills of black-market capitalism, and increasingly interested in her mentor Youcef. Together, they hatch a plan to bring their business to the next level in Los Angeles.
This is a 2022 American action-comedy film starring Brad Pitt as an assassin who has to deal with enemies while riding a Japanese bullet train. The film is directed by David Leitch based on a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz that adapts the Japanese novel "Maria Beetle" by Kōtarō Isaka. In addition to Pitt, the film also starsJoey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, and Sandra Bullock.
A 2022 American science fiction horror film written, directed, and co-produced by Jordan Peele under his Monkeypaw Productions banner. It stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steven Yeun. The plot follows residents of an isolated town who witness a mysterious and abnormal event.
After random objects falling from the sky with the mysterious ability to affect human and animal behavior, ultimately results in the death of their father. Ranch-owning siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood attempt to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object with the help of tech salesman Angel Torres and documentarian Antlers Holst.
CONTINUING WITH SELECT AND SPECIAL SCREENINGS (CHECK MICHTHEATER.ORGFOR SHOWTIMES)
This documentary explores the struggle and artistry of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen through his internationally renowned hymn “Hallelujah.” its journey from record label reject to chart-topping performance. Created by documentary filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine and based on Alan Light's 2012 book "The Holy or the Broken."
Besides Cohen himself, various people affiliated with Cohen or associated with the song appear in the film, including Rufus Wainwright, Brandi Carlile, Regina Spektor,Amanda Palmer, Eric Church, and other artists who recorded their own versions. The film draws from numerous unpublished conversations with Cohen collaborators Judy Collins, Dominique Issermann and others.
A 2021 American mockumentary film directed byDean Fleischer-Camp, who co-wrote the screenplay withJenny Slateand Nick Paley. It is based on the 2010 short film of the same name written by Slate and Fleischer-Camp. Slate reprises her voice role as Marcel, an anthropomorphic shell living with his grandmother Connie. Rosa Salazar,Thomas Mann, and Isabella Rossellini also star. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. Marcel is an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope at finding his long-lost family. A beloved character gets his big-screen debut in this hilarious and heartwarming story about finding connection in the smallest corners.
This film explores an experiment in public education—Community High School. The film follows its humanistic, anti-establishment origins in the early 70s through its survival into the 90s, when enrollment demands for this alternative, small school led to a wild craze of lines, camp outs and convoluted lottery systems. Today, Community High stands as one of the last public schools from America’s “free school” movement. Filmed over the 2016 – 2017 school year, we see how the “Commie High” model has evolved to reflect the world around it and shows us what’s possible within public education when “no” is not the standard answer.
Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support. Make your donation to WEMU todayto keep your community NPR station thriving.