What I’m Watching This Week: Maidan, Lingering Limbs, and Liv Ullmann

The coming weeks can be a drag of early Oscar hopefuls (Steve Jobs) and near misses (Black Mass) but I’m taking a break after seeing The Martian at the Presidio Theatre in 3D (headache looming) to get some diverse programming in my system until the weekend.

Starting at The Roxie Theatre I’ll be engrossed in the fight for a right to our bodies! No, not an abortion flick, but a fight for one man’s leg! It’s nice to change things up every once in a while, no?

Finders Keepers, a flick I missed out on at this year’s Sundance Film Festival due to accidental sleeping in, is set to be an endearing trip into the strange as we are introduced to one man’s bizarre keepsake and the man who refuses to return it. Trailer…Now!

Synopsis: When his amputated leg is discovered in a grill sold at a North Carolina auction, John Wood finds himself at the center of a worldwide media frenzy. Believing the new-found attention to be his chance at doing some great things in an otherwise disappointing, wayward life, he’s quickly swept up in the hysteria as the leg’s enterprising buyer, Shannon Whisnant, then sues to regain its custody

I’m looking forward to this film for a variety of reasons. Namely, the subjects seem oddly compelling. Who would keep an amputated leg and why? Who would sue to keep said leg after finding it in a grill? Their motivations, their histories, their psyches. Everything seems rich for some funky storytelling and awkward laughs.

The film played extremely well at Sundance and has been making it’s way around thanks to Orchard Films, a distribution company that’s been making a play for a large stake in digital distribution with a slew of titles like the hard-hitting Cartel Land and star-studded indie flicks like Digging for Fire (which I personally consider a mumblecore dud unworthy of a link).

Anyway, check Finders Keepers out with me tomorrow night before it leaves The Roxie! Tickets available HERE

Back at home I have my eye to the app world in search of another documentary. One with girth and oozing political strife. Aha!

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

I got the pleasure of seeing this film at a screening earlier this week and I must say it’s a wonderful addition to the repertoire of films concerning Ukraine’s precarious situation.

What I loved about the film was how it is constructed to help a foreign audience understand the situation and stakes of the Maidan protests. Not only geographically but temporally, Winter on Fire leads you through the events so as not to give space to think of comparisons (although couldn’t help but think of 1/2 Revolution afterward.

We are in the moment and on the streets with the protestors. Like tourists learning the map of a city we begin to understand the experience of the Ukrainian people in a way broadcast media is unable to. We are faced with the human side of this watershed event and witnesses to the injustice they face. The film is truly seamless and an honest testament, or more a primary document, to the Maidan protests.

This masterful film hits Netflix on October 9th (w/upcoming theatrical bows) where it’s likely to bring millions to cathartic tears. Add it to your queue. You won’t regret it!

However tonight I’m in a very different mood, a romantic mood. Yet not a loud, dramatic, fairly tale mood. You guessed it. I’m in the corset, angsty mood of Liv Ullmann’s Miss Julie.

Liv Ullmann, better known as the muse of master Ingmar Bergman, takes the helm to adapt a Swedish play of the same name by August Strindberg. No stranger to the director’s chair, this is Ullmann’s fifth film. What’s odd here is the switch to the Ireland from Sweden. I wonder if this is so that she’d have the freedom to bring English-speaking actors to the fray. Colin Farrell seems to be on a redemption tour lately, with many attempts to distance himself from the action roles of the early 2000’s. (Later this year he’ll also be seen in The Lobster, an intriguing film about a dystopian future with Rachel Weisz. I can’t wait for this one to hit theaters!) Jessica Chastain is seen here a fresh distance away from space, playing a troubled and deceitful-seeming child of aristocracy. However, the person I’m most excited to see here is Samantha Morton. In Telluride I shared a very awkward gondola ride with Charlie Kaufman where I spent the entire time thinking of Synecdoche, New York and the amber hue of Morton’s hair throughout. Her performance was magnetic in that film as it is in every film she’s in. She has a general regality to her that permeates every character she creates. Thusly, I have a feeling she’ll be the scene stealer here.

With mixed reviews, Miss Julie made the usual specialty cinema rounds in the US but is now on Netflix where it’s hoping to get new legs. The algorithm seems to pair this film with Madame Bovary and other corset-heavy films so you may need to do a search to find if it those are not on your regular queue. However I dig films on plays with their struggle to break the comfortable space of the stage and thusly really look forward to Miss Julie.

Add to your queue HERE.