The history of movies is a history of two parallel impulses: to record reality as faithfully as possible with a minimum of artifice, and to conjure illusions that look for something true beneath the real.
Alex Dakoulas, owner of Strange Ways in Westville, had been enjoying the weekly underground movies being shown at Lyric Hall on Whalley Avenue, down the street from his own shop every Tuesday. Coincidentally, Dakoulas had begun holding Flair Fair, a market for vendors of pins, patches, and other wearable art, in Lyric Hall.
So he approached Joe Fay, the curator of Lyric Hall’s film series, with the hope that they could “combine our powers” and “get people together for a unique event” — to not only shop, but to also see, as Fay put it, “slightly offbeat films.”
In the film 65 Revisited by D.A. Pennebaker — which screened at Cafe Nine Tuesday night as part of the New Haven Documentary Film Festival — a few of Dylan’s fans are seen talking to him. They get a bit tongue-tied. They even fall silent for a moment.
“I don’t know what to say,” one of them finally says.
“I don’t know what to say either,” Dylan responds.
Stephen Dest’s new documentary I Am Shakespeare: The Henry Green Story is a reminder that the full history and power of cinema, a 120-year-old art form uniquely equipped to inspire empathy among strangers, can be distilled into two basic camera shots: the frontal close-up and the three-quarter profile. One angle to show us who we’re looking at, the other to show us who we are.
The New Haven Documentary Film Festival will be celebrating its four-year anniversary this June with a slate of nonfiction films that feature the Elm City and its residents both in front of and behind the movie camera.
When the film Food Haven opens on Zinc owner Donna Curran and Kitchen Zinc owner and chef Denise Appel, they are shoulder-to-shoulder at a table, Appel still in her chef’s coat. Something she has said has Curran laughing through her sentences.
“Does food bring people together?” Appel asks. “For sure. Yeah. But how?”
On April 4, 1984, in the fictional state of Oceania, a low-level civil servant named Winston Smith begins to write a diary. In the repressive, dystopian world of George Orwell’s novel 1984, where history is constantly erased and rewritten and individual expression is punishable by death, putting pen to paper to explore one’s innermost thoughts is truly a subversive act.
Thirty-three years later to the day, over 220 people filled a local independent arthouse movie theater to watch the 1980s film adaptation of Orwell’s mid-century novel to commemorate the beginning of Smith’s subtle rebellion against a totalitarian government.
As the Trump administration begins to formalize its opposition toward taking action against climate change, water pollution, and the depletion of non-renewable resources, a nearly decade-old, student-run environmental film festival in New Haven is staking its claim on its mission to support environmental education through artful, entertaining, and socially significant films.