ABUSE OF WEAKNESS (Presented by John Waters)
Directed by Catherine Breillat
The original French title of Catherine Breillat’s newest film is Abus De Faibless, a legal term that describes the crime of taking advantage of someone’s disability or sickness. This happened to the director herself; during the difficult recovery following a stroke in 2004, a con man convinced her to pay him thousands to adapt and act in her next film. Weakness fictionalizes this experience in order to explore what happens when a person’s agency is compromised by someone they trust.
Directed by Robert Greene
Director Robert Greene follows former actress Brandy Burre (The Wire’s Theresa D’Agostino) as she moves away from her career in order to stay at home and take care of her children, resulting in a documentary-drama that may be more Tree of Life than Leave It to Beaver. Green leads us to question, in this age of copy-pastes and digitalizations, where the role ends and the real life begins.
APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT*
Directed by Amanda Wilder
The term “free school” has many connotations. Essential to the idea is an alternative system to traditional education, one that often places the students and teachers on equal footing, and allows both parties to have a say in what and how things are taught. Amanda Wilder’s black-and-white film documents the first year at the Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey, an elementary school that gives the students as much power over the curriculum as the adults.
Directed by Desiree Akhavan
Iranian-American writer-director-actor Desiree Akhavan stars in this comedy-drama about confused identities. She plays Shirin, a young bisexual woman living in Brooklyn, caught between her conservative family and her unconventional sexuality. When her brother decides to marry, she feels the pressure ratchet down on all sides: Her family wants her to settle down while her friends want her to come out.
ART AND CRAFT*
Directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman
With the recent discovery of a lost Renoir in Baltimore, the intersection of fraud and art made itself known close to home. This documentary explores such territory, focusing on diagnosed schizophrenic Mark Landis, who cheaply recreates near-perfect forgeries of masterful paintings. Landis isn’t interested in money, though; he just gives his fake Picassos and Matisses away, often to prestigious institutions who consider themselves the arbiters of authenticity. When museum registrar Matthew Leininger discovered one of Landis’ fakes in his collection a few years ago, he set out on a quest to out the consummate forger.
Directed by Sebastien Pilote
Aging is hard: creaky joints, the back pain, the sagging skin . . . and that’s only the physical side of it. You also have a legacy to worry about. Such is the plight Gaby, the central character played by Gabriel Arcand in French-Canadian Sebastian Pilote’s new drama. He’s worked his family’s farm his whole life, pouring all his years into the earth to support his children. Now, they’ve all grown up and moved to more urban environs, leaving Gaby to wonder what will happen now that he has grown too old to keep his farm running.
BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE*
Directed by Mary Posatko and Emily Topper
BARBARELLA (presented by Matmos)
Directed by Roger Vadim
M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel of Matmos host this screening of Barbarella—they took their band’s name from a monster in the movie. Jane Fonda stars in the lust-driven sci-fi cult classic from the same screenwriter behind Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider.
Directed by Joel Potrykus
It is, of course, true that many of today’s young people are having trouble making their way in the world. Director Joel Potrykus’ second film focuses on one such specimen: chronic deadbeat Marty, who glides from temp job to petty scams and back again on a downward spiral that ends in video games, heavy-metal music, and junk food. But when he can’t sink any lower, he becomes dangerous.
CALL GIRL OF CTHULHU*
Directed by Chris LaMartina