Film at Lincoln Center announces Danny Glover and Louverture Films, an exceptional program curated in partnership with Louverture co-founders Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes, December 1–7.
Few have left as indelible a mark on cinema as actor, producer, political activist, and UN Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover. Whether teaming up with key Hollywood directors (Steven Spielberg, Jonathan Demme, Robert Benton, Lawrence Kasdan, and others) or starring in one of the great American independent films of the 1990s (Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger, centered on his unforgettable performance), Glover has captivated and enthralled audiences with his endlessly evocative screen acting. But he has also established himself as an important champion of world cinema’s leading auteurs through the production company, Louverture Films, that he founded with Joslyn Barnes in 2005. Among Louverture’s wide-ranging credits are lauded and beloved works by such contemporary masters as Abderrahmane Sissako, Lucrecia Martel, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Glover, one of cinema’s most tireless and courageous activists, will be recognized with the Motion Picture Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in January 2022.
Highlights of Louverture Films are: Bamako, a vibrant legal drama that examines the law as a means of effecting political change; Göran Olsson’s documentary The Black Power Mixtape, a collection of rarely seen interviews conducted by a group of Swedish filmmakers to chronicle the growth of the Black Power movement; Gunda (NYFF58), Victor Kossakowsky’s silent documentary examining an unprecedented portrait of animal life; Hale County This Morning, This Evening (ND/NF 2018), RaMell Ross’s study of a community of African Americans in the Deep South over 5 years; Johan Grimonprez’s unflinchingly powerful documentary Shadow World, which unearths the role the arms industry has played in determining international political and economic policy, Strong Island (ND/NF 2017), Yance Ford’s gripping, stylized investigation into the murder of a young Black man in 1992; Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2010 Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (NYFF48), an otherworldly fable tabout a dying man that’s filled with mysterious signs of life; White Sun, Nepali filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar’s second feature exploring damage done to the fabric of his nation’s society by the decade-long civil war between the Maoists and Nepal’s monarchical government; and Zama (NYFF55), Lucreia Martel’s intoxicating adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 classic of Argentine literature.
Highlights of films featuring Danny Glover include: Beloved, Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel; Boesman and Lena, starring Angela Bassett alongside Glover as a struggling couple trying to get by after being booted from their shantytown in apartheid-era South Africa; The Color Purple, Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated eighth feature, adapted from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1982 novel; Grand Canyon, Lawrence Kasdan’s spiritual sequel to “The Big Chill,” an absorbing cross-section of LA society in the early 1990s that sophisticatedly contemplates the bonds and gaps between everyday people; Places in the Heart, starring Sally Field alongside Glover, Robert Benton’s fifth feature set in small-town Texas during the Great Depression; and To Sleep with Anger, considered one of the finest films to capture the Black experience in modern America.
Organized by Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan.
Tickets go on sale Friday, November 19 and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for Film at Lincoln Center members. Save with the purchase of three tickets or more.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All screenings take place at the Francesca Beale Theater (144 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted
Abderrahmane Sissako, Mali/France/USA, 2006, 115m
French and Bambara with English subtitles
Abderrahmane Sissako’s fourth feature is an idiosyncratic legal drama that examines the law as a means of effecting political change. Set in the titular capital of Mali, the film follows some of the city’s residents as they bring an unprecedented lawsuit against a network of international financial powers—namely the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—for exacerbating Africa’s debt crisis through their actions and inaction alike. While witnesses deliver evocative, stirring testimony against the global financial elite in the trial’s courtyard, life goes on outside it, as we spend time with an ensemble of Bamako’s inhabitants getting by amid the conditions wrought by these capitalist juggernauts. This first production by Glover and Barnes’s Louverture company is masterfully filmed by Sissako with warmth, vibrancy, and a deft sense of the relationship between the quotidian and the world-historical.
Wednesday, December 1, 6:00pm, followed by a Q&A with Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes, Walter Reade Theater
Monday, December 6, 3:00pm
The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975
Göran Olsson, Sweden/USA, 2011, 100m
English and Swedish with English subtitles
Göran Olsson’s documentary utilizes never-before-seen interviews (with Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis among others), conducted by a group of Swedish filmmakers between the late ’60s and the mid-’70s, to chronicle the growth of the Black Power movement. Thirty years after it was shot, this lush collection of 16mm footage was found in a basement and combined with additional commentary by artists and activists who were influenced by the struggle, from Harry Belafonte to Erykah Badu. The resulting film stands as a powerful record of advocacy at a key moment in time.
Thursday, December 2, 4:00pm, Walter Reade Theater
Friday, December 3, 6:30pm
Victor Kossakovsky, Norway/USA, 2020, 93m
Gunda is a sow who lives on a farm in Norway. When documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky first visits her, she has just given birth to a litter of piglets, and his patient camera watches as they grasp for her milk and take their tentative, teetering steps into a new world. This remarkable intimacy extends and evolves, building into an unprecedented portrait of animal life—encompassing herds of cows and curious, uncooped chickens—that brings us uncommonly close to these creatures, and manages to express their consciousness without overtly anthropomorphizing them. Entirely wordless, Gunda boasts immersive natural sound design and crisp, pastoral black-and-white cinematography to tell its compassionate tale; like all of Kossakovsky’s work (¡Vivan las Antípodas!, Aquarela), it’s visionary in its simplicity, wonder, and urgency.
Monday, December 6, 6:15pm
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
RaMell Ross, USA, 2018, 76m
“The American stranger knows Blackness as a fact—even though it is fiction,” says writer-director RaMell Ross. For his visionary and political debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at Sundance in 2018, Ross spent five years intimately observing African-American families living in Hale County, Alabama. It’s a region made unforgettable by Walker Evans and James Agee’s landmark 1941 photographic essay Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which documented the impoverished lives of white sharecropper families in Alabama’s Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Ross’s poetic return to this place shows changed demographics, and depicts people resilient in the face of adversity and invisibility. An Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature, Hale County This Morning, This Evening introduces a distinct and powerful new voice in American filmmaking. A 2018 New Directors/New Films selection.
Wednesday, December 1, 9:00pm, Walter Reade Theater
Johan Grimonprez, Belgium/Denmark, 2016, 94m
English, Spanish, and Arabic with English subtitles
Directed by the Belgian artist/filmmaker Johan Grimonprez, this partial adaptation of Corruption Watch UK founder Andrew Feinstein’s book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade unflinchingly examines the role that the arms industry has played in determining international political and economic policy, and at what price. Grimonprez is particularly attuned to the affinity between weapons trade and governmental corruption, and he uses a wealth of archival news footage and interviews to investigate the cozy, covert relationships between arms executives and dealers, politicians, and military and intelligence officials that comprise a vast web of influence, deception, and profiteering. A powerful polemic against the notion that a better-armed society is a safer one, Shadow World forwards a dark yet galvanizing image of a network of bad actors operating with impunity in the name of public safety and defense.
Sunday, December 5, 7:00pm
Yance Ford, USA/Denmark, 2017, 107m
A haunting investigation into the murder of a young Black man in 1992, Yance Ford’s Strong Island is achingly personal—the victim, 24-year-old William Ford Jr., was the filmmaker’s brother. Ford powerfully renders the specter of his brother’s death and its devastating effect on his family, and uses the tools of cinema to carefully examine the injustice perpetrated when Ford’s killer, a 19-year-old white man, was not indicted by an all-white jury. As a work of memoir and true crime, the Oscar-nominated Strong Island tells one of the most remarkable stories in recent documentary cinema; as a political artwork, its resonance is profound.
Saturday, December 4, 9:15pm, with a special introduction from Yance Ford
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/UK/France/Spain/Germany/Netherlands, 2010, 35mm, 114m
French, Thai, and Lao with English subtitles
Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for this gently comic and wholly transporting tale of death and rebirth, set in Thailand’s rural northeast. Uncle Boonmee, a farmer suffering from kidney failure, is tended to by loved ones and visited by the ghosts of his wife and son. As for his remembered past lives, they might—-or might not—-include a water buffalo, a disfigured princess, a talking catfish, and the insects whose chirps engulf the nighttime jungle scenes. A sensory immersion, Uncle Boonmee is an otherworldly fable that lingers on earthly sensations, a film about a dying man that’s filled with mysterious signs of life. Apichatpong’s vision is above all a generous one: in the threat of extinction he sees the possibility of regeneration.
Friday, December 3, 1:00pm
Saturday, December 4, 6:30pm
Deepak Rauniyar, Nepal/USA/Qatar/Netherlands, 2016, 89m
Nepali with English subtitles
The second feature by Nepali filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar sensitively explores the damage done to the fabric of his nation’s society by the decade-long civil war between the Maoists and Nepal’s monarchical government. On the occasion of his father’s funeral, Chandra (Dayahang Rai) returns to the village he left years earlier to join the Maoists, and finds himself united with the daughter he never met and revisiting uneasy relations with family members and neighbors. Past traumas ultimately return and cause tensions to boil over. Finding the political within the everyday, White Sun uses one village’s complex tribulations to speak to an entire national history.
Tuesday, December 7, 6:30pm
Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Brazil/Spain, 2017, 115m
Guarani, Spanish, and Portuguese with English subtitles
The great Lucrecia Martel ventures into the realm of historical fiction and makes the genre entirely her own in this adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 classic of Argentine literature. In the late 18th century, in a far-flung corner of what seems to be Paraguay, the title character, an officer of the Spanish crown (Daniel Giménez Cacho) born in the Americas, waits in vain for a transfer to a more prestigious location. Martel renders Zama’s world—his daily regimen of small humiliations and petty politicking—as both absurd and mysterious, and, as he increasingly succumbs to lust and paranoia, subject to a creeping disorientation. Precise yet dreamlike, and thick with atmosphere, Zama is a singular and intoxicating experience, a welcome return from one of contemporary cinema’s truly brilliant minds. An NYFF55 Main Slate selection.
Thursday, December 2, 1:30pm, Walter Reade Theater
Friday, December 3, 9:00pm
FILMS STARRING DANNY GLOVER
Jonathan Demme, USA, 1998, 35mm, 172m
Jonathan Demme’s expressionist adaptation of Toni Morrison’s supernatural novel of the same title stars Oprah Winfrey as Sethe, a former slave who lives alone with her daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise) in Ohio shortly after the end of the Civil War. Sethe is visited by an enigmatic girl named Beloved (Thandie Newton), who bears a strong resemblance to the daughter whom Sethe had tragically lost years earlier, and Sethe comes to believe that Beloved is in fact the product of reincarnation. Glover plays Paul D., another former slave who stays with the family after performing a rite to cleanse Sethe’s house of an apparent poltergeist, ignorant of Sethe’s role in the origins of this haunting… A powerful, suspenseful film about guilt, memory, and the horrors wrought by slavery, Beloved endures as a mesmerizingly ahead-of-its-time take on the ghost story. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.
Sunday, December 5, 3:15pm
Boesman and Lena
John Berry, South Africa/France, 2000, 35mm, 90m
English and Afrikaans with English subtitles
Adapted from Athol Fugard’s 1969 play, John Berry’s final feature stars Glover and Angela Bassett as the titular couple, forced into a nomadic existence after being booted from their shantytown in apartheid-era South Africa. Boesman and Lena get by on the negligible income they receive from recycling bottles, and bicker endlessly as to whose fault it is that they find themselves in this bleak position. But the arrival of an aging Xhosa tribesman introduces a new dynamic and a new tension into their way of life. Bassett is excellent as a proud woman struggling to keep her pain at bay, and Glover shines as a man who, having lost it all, wrestles with his bitterness and brutishness in hopes of recovering his own humanity.
Thursday, December 2, 9:00pm, Walter Reade Theater
Monday, December 6, 8:30pm
The Color Purple
Steven Spielberg, USA, 1985, 35mm, 154m
Steven Spielberg’s eighth feature was this adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1982 novel, a forceful epic that spans four decades in recounting the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a Black woman living in early 20th century Georgia. Celie’s life is one of hardship and anguish: saddled with an abusive, possessive husband, Mister (Glover), she finds herself beholden to his mistress (Margaret Avery) and intimidated by his son’s wife (Oprah Winfrey). But Celie holds out hope of being reunited with her sister Nettie (Akosua Busia), despite the brutality of her marriage and living within a society fundamentally hostile to her. A commanding cinematic exploration of myriad forms of social and physical violence against Black women, The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and endures as a seminal film about racism and sexism, in no small part due to Glover’s harrowing portrayal of Mister.
Wednesday, December 1, 2:30pm, Walter Reade Theater
Sunday, December 5, 12:00pm
Places in the Heart
Robert Benton, USA, 1984, 111m
Robert Benton’s fifth feature (for which he won the Best Director Silver Bear at the 1985 Berlinale) is set in his small hometown of Waxahachie, Texas during the Great Depression. Lensed by Néstor Almendros, the film follows the recently widowed Edna (Sally Field) as she and her two children try to get by, running their 40-acre farm amid financial hardship and the menace of the Ku Klux Klan’s strong local presence. But when drifting handyman Moze (Glover) appears on her doorstep asking for work, Edna and her family’s prospects start to look up, though the myriad tensions of the period’s economic climate and racial politics persist. Field won the Best Actress Oscar for her turn as Edna, and Glover, in only his fifth theatrical film, is captivating as her unexpected lifeline.
Friday, December 3, 3:45pm
Sunday, December 5, 9:15pm
To Sleep with Anger
Charles Burnett, USA, 1990, 102m
Charles Burnett burst onto the world stage when his 1978 UCLA thesis film, Killer of Sheep, won the Critics’ Prize at the 1981 Berlin Film Festival. His legendary reputation among cinephiles never quite segued into mainstream recognition, even though his 1990 drama To Sleep with Anger—novelistic in its narrative density and rich characterization—is one of the finest films about the Black experience in modern America. Danny Glover (also the film’s executive producer) stars as Harry Mention, a mysterious drifter from the South who visits an old acquaintance (Paul Butler), now leading a middle-class life with his family in South Central Los Angeles. Though imbued with charm and traditional manners, Harry has a knack for mischief that creates powerful rifts throughout the family. Burnett’s overlooked masterpiece connects the past to the present in emotionally resonant ways, making this film as imaginative and insightful as his debut feature.
Thursday, December 2, 6:15pm followed by a Q&A with Danny Glover, moderated by writer/scholar Racquel Gates, Walter Reade Theater
Tuesday, December 7, 8:45pm