Michèle Stephenson/Rada Film Group
As the subjects get older, American Promise's questions of race, class and privilege grow more complex.
The Spotlight Cinema series returns to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art this fall with five films that have never been shown at area theaters. The program, co-curated Tom Yoshikami and Mike King, includes films from four different countries and genres ranging from documentary to noir. All films are screened on Thursdays at 7 p.m.
The series begins on Oct. 10 with American Promise, a Sundance Film Fest selection in which two African American parents follow their son and his best friend through 13 years of education, including graduation from Manhattan's prestigious Dalton School. As the subjects get older, the film's questions of race, class and privilege grow more complex.
Émilie Dequenne (Rosetta) won the Best Actress award at the 2013 Cannes Film Fest for her riveting performance in Our Children, which comes to MMoCA on Oct. 17. Here she plays Murielle, a woman forced into a desperate situation when she and her husband, Mounier, move into the home of Mounir's wealthy, controlling benefactor and start to build a family.
The central relationship in Jem Cohen's Museum Hours, the Oct. 24 selection, is a cross-cultural friendship that emerges between a Canadian woman and an Austrian man in the art galleries of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. The Washington Post says it is "as masterfully conceived and executed as the art works that serve as the film's lively cast of supporting characters."
Found footage helps tell the story of the Nov. 7 selection, Let the Fire Burn, a suspenseful documentary about a conflict between a radical black liberation group and city officials in Philadelphia in 1985. TV crews captured the moment the fight turned deadly: when police dropped explosives on a group of homes, causing a fire they refused to extinguish.
The series concludes on Dec. 5 with Bastards, a French film noir that chronicles a family torn about by the dark side of capitalism. In a nod to both William Faulkner and Akira Kurosawa, director Claire Denis infuses this tale of sex, money and power with a moodiness Variety calls "hypnotic."
More details about each film is provided in Spotlight Cinema's full fall 2013 schedule.