Arts & Education Council

Independent Film Series
  Twice a year, the Arts & Education Council offers a series of twelve independent films to the Chattanooga community, films that would otherwise be unavailable on the city's big screen. Shown each fall and spring at the downtown Bijou Theatre, the films are chosen carefully to create a diverse series of thought-provoking and award-winning independent films.

A discount card may be purchased for this spring series for $5 and will entitle cardholders to discounted prices on evening shows. All proceeds from discount cards benefit the Arts & Education Council. Cards will be sold at the Bijou Theatre or by calling 267-1218.

The following films will be show for one week each starting August 30, 2002. Call the Bijou Theatre at 423-265-5220 for times. Log on to Carmike Bijou Theatre for weekly show times.

August 30-September 5
Directed by: Neil LaBute (Nurse Betty, In The Company of Men)
United Kingdom
Based on the A.S. Byatt novel, Possession suggests that our knowledge of history is nothing less than misinformed. Two literary sleuths fall in love during an amateur detective mission that seeks to shed light on the omantic, extra-marital exploits of the fictional poet Randolph Henry Ash (played in flashbacks by Jeremy Northam). The discovery of an unfinished love letter leads to the assumption that Ash may have been engaged in an illicit affair with fictional poetress and maybe-lesbian Christabel LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle). Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Roland Michell (Aaron Eckhard) scale the British countryside for missing pieces to the puzzle just as the director begins to draw comparisons between the poet couple and the modern sleuths that resist romantic ideality.
September 6-12
Directed by Mira Nair (Mississippi Masala, Salaam Bombay)
In English, Hindi, and Punjabi with subtitles "This film is an infectious celebration of life and love." The primary story concerns the impending nuptials of Aditi (Vasundhara Das) and Hemant (Parvin Daba), a couple who are getting to know one another after agreeing to participate in an arranged marriage. Aditi is a lively young woman who is trying to conclude a dead-end relationship with her boss, and Hemant is a Texan engineer interested in finding a bride who shares his roots and heritage. As Aditi and Hemant are forging a fragile bond, Aditi's boss predatorily moves back into the picture and threatens both the marriage and Aditi's future happiness. Complementing the story are a pair of other tales ­ one dark and one light. The wedding coordinator suddenly falls for the shy and insecure Alice, Aditi's maid. Meanwhile, Aditi's cousin reveals a malignant secret about how she was sexually abused two decades earlier by a family member who may be attempting to repeat the offense with another young girl.
September 13-19
Directed by: Jacques Audiard
French with English subtitles
Despite evidence tying Read My Lips to Hitchcock's Rear Window, this film refuses any kind of genre classification. The story is of a power struggle between the frumpy, deaf secretary Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) and the ex-con Paul (Vincent Cassel). Carla has willingly shut herself out from the rest of the world by removing her hearing aides and indeed seems more comfortable in the silence; as an avid lip reader, she can decode the world around her. Both characters are overly conscious of how they can exploit each other's talents, creating a fascinating interdependence based on unspoken trust and a series of daring demands: Carla uses Paul to beat up a co-worker, and Paul uses Carla to decipher a scheme being planned by his employer Marchand (Olivier Gourmet). Devos won this year's Cesar Award for Best Actress for her performance.
September 20-26
Directed by: Jill Sprecher and Karen Sprecher
Not unlike Jill Sprecher's first film, Clockwatchers, 13 Conversations About One Thing comes from that extra ethereal part of New York City populated by contemplative, dejected working stiffs. The 13 conversations are, more or less, about fate: bringing people together and tearing them apart. Having these "conversations" are the middle management claim adjuster, Gene (Alan Arkin), his druggie son who won't stop smiling, the hotshot lawyer, Troy (Matthew McConaughey), and his housekeeper Beatrice to name a few. With all the blanket statements on vanity, class difference, and the worries of the rich, 13 Conversations is a meandering sermon for most of its running time.
September 27-October 3
Directed by: Dover Kosashvili (By The Law)
Hebrew and Georgian with English subtitles
Zaza (Lior Loui Ashkenazi) is in love with the strong-willed Judith (Roni Elkabetz), a divorcee with a 6-year-old daughter who is less than ideal wife material by his parents' standards. Zaza's mother Lily (Lili Kosashvili) still hopes to marry her son to a local 17-year-old with aspirations of becoming a fashion designer. It's no wonder that Zaza comes to question God's existence when marriage has come to resemble something not unlike a Medieval barter (phrases uttered here include "Did you close the deal?" and "Go get the girl"). After invading Judith's home, Zaza's entire family judges the cleanliness of her kitchen, her groceries and her love for Zaza, and with parental desperation even threatens to kill her. Kosashvili never shies away from poking fun at the tyranny of his religion's traditions though it becomes increasingly difficult to tell when the satire ends and reality begins.
October 4-10
Directed and written by: Fabián Bielinksy (I Got A Woman)
Spanish with English subtitles
Professional swindler Marco (Ricardo Darin) unites with small time crook Juan (Gaston Pauls) in order to dupe a rich mafioso with fake renditions of the ultra-valuable rare stamps, The Nine Queens. Juan pays a visit to his father in jail and Marco quibbles with his brother and sister over the money he underhandedly signed over to himself after their grandmother's death. Nothing's at stake, just a twisty double-cross that -- though predictable at times -- is a lot of fun. Bielinksy's compositions are smooth and efficient while Darin and Pauls share the kind of soulful camaraderie that Mamet and Hitchcock could only dream of.
October 11-17
Directed by: Yvan Attal
French with English subtitles
Written by, directed by, and starring Yvan Attal, this French serio-comedy addresses the question of how actors and their significant others deal with love scenes. Attal plays a Paris sportswriter married to a famous actress, conveniently played by Attal's real life wife Charlotte Gainsbourg. In the film, Yvan is driven to jealousy by an unrelenting barrage of questions from members of the public, some of whom assume as a matter of course that Charlotte really does sleep with her co-stars. He smashes one guy in the nose, but that doesn't help, and when Charlotte goes to London to work with a big star (Terence Stamp), Yvan all but pushes her into his arms to prove his point.
October 18-24
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom (The Claim, Jude)
United Kingdom
It is 1976 in Machester, England. Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) is an ambitious TV news reporter that attends the first lengendary Sex Pistols concert which changes his life forever. He convinces his station to televise one of their concerts and soon punk groups from all over are after him to manage them. Tony and his friends start a record label called Factory Records and opens the infamous Hacienda Club where bands like Joy Division, New Order, Stone Roses and Happy Mondays make their start that soon after changes the music industry. The soundtrack is jam packed full and there are a mixture of newsreel footage with the made-up stuff along with celebrity cameos which includes the real Tony Wilson whose life this is based on. The film, like the music, is outspoken, roaringly funny and in your face.
October 25-31
Directed by: Babak Payami (One More Day)
Iranian with English subtitles
This film is set on an island off the coast of Iran which is experiencing its first free election and the Iranian government is so intent on its citizens voting that they send an election agent with the ballot box in hand to collect votes. The agent (a woman) represents the voice of the new and the soldier who is to accompany her (a man) is a symbol of the conservative past. They both encounter various situations and people which makes them re-examine their own ideals. Joe Leydon, of The Examiner described the film as follows: "By turns whimsical and absurdist, Babek Payami's 'Secret Ballot' is a slight but likeable Iranian film with the flavor of a shaggy-dog story concieved by Samuel Beckett and directed by Jim Jarmusch."
November 1-7
Directed by: Yang Zhang (Shower)
Mandarin with English subtitles
Based on the true story of Jia Hongsheng, a fairly well-known actor of TV and Chinese action films from the late eighties/early nineties, who tried to come to grips with himself and his environment after withdrawing from a drug addiction which caused him to ruin and terrorize his family until he was institutionalized and reeducated in the 1990's. He lives with his sister and his parents eventually move in to try to help him, but all he wants to do is listen to Beatles records. Most of the characters in the film are actually played by the real people that lived the story not too many years before. (His parents are actors in real life.) The acting is well done and there is bitter humor throughout the story.
November 8-14
Additional AEC Independent Film Series sponsors include
Arts & Education Council | PO Box 4203, Chattanooga, TN 37405
Email | Phone: (423) 267-1218 | Fax: 423/267-1018