A Cornucopia of Fantastic Films

By: Cornell Cinema, 
Fri, 10/16/2020

Opening today, and screening for just three days (Oct 16–18), is the beautiful, moving animated feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale. The film follows an optimistic stray dog named Marona as she looks back on the human companions she has loved throughout her life. Delivered alongside dazzlingly colorful, sweeping designs, Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a life-affirming tale told with the patient, boundless love of a dog. It's especially resonant in these times, reminding us that happiness is a small thing. Today through Sunday only, though, so don’t sleep on this!

Also opening today is The Observer, a new documentary about Chinese dissident artist Hu Jie, maker of films, woodcuts and paintings who courageously documents the years of the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution. We have an excellent introduction to the film by Paola Iovene, PhD ’07, Associate Professor in Chinese Literature in the Dept of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Those with a Cornell NetID can view the film via the Library; those without can RSVP with us!

We also have Papicha (pictured), a new Algerian film about a free-spirited student who stages her resistance to growing conservative religious forces by organizing an underground fashion show during Algeria’s Civil War. "[Lyna] Khoudri offers an incendiary performance as the film’s heroine [Nedjma], a baby-faced good-time girl who gradually turns into a feminist warrior.… the film’s most rewarding strand is the inventive, pointed way in which clothes and textiles are used as metaphors both for female constraints and female defiance. The sight of Nedjma with pins sticking out of her mouth, transforming a ‘haik’ (the traditional Maghrebi women’s robe) into a seductive ball dress, is perhaps this feisty, unapologetic film’s single most telling image.” (Screen Daily)

Opening for reservations today are a number of highly recommended films: Carmilla (how can you say no to a gothic lesbian vampire drama?), a restoration of King Hu’s Buddhist-inflected wuxia (martial arts) film Raining in the Mountain, and The New Bauhaus: The Life & Legacy of Moholy-Nagy, a new documentary about László Moholy-Nagy, the innovative Hungarian artist and educator who brought the ideas of the Bauhaus to Chicago (seriously, his art is incredible and The New Bauhaus school was wild!)

Also opening today at Cinemapolis, in association with Cornell Cinema: a sneak preview of Echoes of the Empire: Beyond Genghis Khan (available Oct 16–22). There will be a virtual Q&A with director Robert H. Lieberman & producer Deborah C. Hoard on Wed, Oct 21st at 6pm. It's a pay-per-view event, $12 for a 2-day rental. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Cinemapolis.

The film offers a stunning cinematic view of Mongolia’s past and present, while New York Times best-selling author Jack Weatherford (Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World) delves into the extraordinary life and times of Genghis Khan. His Mongol empire, which encompassed all of Asia, much of the Middle East and Europe, continues to affect us even today. The film’s rich soundtrack weaves from ancient throat singing to Russian-influenced opera to contemporary Mongolian rock. Intimate stories told by Mongolians, from nomads to city dwellers, provide a rare insight into their psyches and the challenges they face in their post-Soviet world.​
View a trailer of the film here.

image from the film PAPICHA