Our 2017 Spring Film Series

The Schedule
May 15 – 20
 –  Whisky Galore
May 22 -26 ( Mon – Fri )  – After the Storm
May 30 – June 3 ( Tues- Sat ) –  Nise: The Heart of Madness
June 5 – 10 –  The Women’s Balcony

The Reasons
Springtime films. As we head into the summer blockbuster time, we present spring “betterbuster” films. What is the difference with our films?

1) Fewer large explosions than most movies (or television shows or commercials).
2) Not everyone speaks English (and we have the subtitles to prove it).
3) We think people can act with their clothes on.
4) Gore and gratuitous violence — not a necessity.
5) You’ll still be thinking about the film on the next day.
6) Our concessions are affordable and delicious (which has nothing to do with our film selections, but we think food and saving money is important).

The Preview

So we open with a film name that will surely get some attention on the marquee! Whisky Galore is a remake of a 1949 film that was based on a novel by Sir Compton Mackenzie. It tells the true story (with dramatic license) of what happens in the tiny Scottish island of Todday when the SS Politician runs aground with 264,000 bottles of malt whisky. And, since war rationing has left the island dry, in a manner of speaking, the local folks’ desire to help this ship is great indeed. It is a comedy and a romance (and we note that while not all comedies are romances, some argue that all romances are comedies) with English comedian Eddie Izzard in the lead role as  Captain Wagget, the officer responsible for making sure the whisky is accounted for.

You can watch the trailer here, but I also recommend this fun clip from the original film to get you in the mood for the new film. And, in case you are wondering, “whisky” is the Scottish spelling for what we call “whiskey.”

After the Storm brings us a film from a Japanese director popular in our office. Hirokazu Koreeda directed an office favorite, “Our Little Sister” as well as another film we liked and showed, “Still Walking.” Koreeda has the ability to present dramatic situations with a touch of humor, much like we (should) handle them in life. Hiroshi Abe (whom we saw in “Still Walking”) is a one-hit wonder author who spends his time making ends meet by working as a private detective, and making ends not meet by gambling. After his father dies, he realizes the importance of family and wants to reconnect with his young son, ex-wife, and his mother. Given his track record, he is not welcomed with open arms. But when he gets the chance to reconnect with his son, he does not want to let the opportunity slip by him. The trailer does a good job showing Koreeda’s mix of humor and drama.

And, then we get serious. Nise: The Heart of Madness is based on the real-life story of Dr. Nise de Silveira. Her entire life is a lesson in battling the odds, including being the only female graduate in her medical class. She shows up in the 1940s to work at the Rio de Janeiro psychiatric hospital, where she is given little respect since she is a woman. Undaunted, she turns the psychiatric world upside down with her demand for and success with treating the mentally ill in humane way. This is not a documentary, but a dramatic telling of this one time in her life. But, after seeing it, you’ll want to learn the history of this doctor who is highly regarded in Brazil and beyond for her work. Hey, she even has a stamp with her picture, and for nerdy stamp collectors like me, that is high praise. Watch the trailer here.

From there we go to another film featuring women fighting for some rights. However, this a bit more light! The Women’s Balcony is a comedy out of Israel where it has been a huge hit. A tragedy takes an Orthodox Jewish community’s rabbi out of the picture for a while. In his place a young rabbi with strong views shows up, and before we know it we have the classic battle of the sexes played out, complete with quotes for Jewish philosophers? A fast-moving, funny film — even the trailer works that way.

You can read the press release, watch the trailers, or visit the Knick website (and we’ll be listing our Family Film Series and next One Night Only series soon).

Derek Emerson
Director of Public Affairs and Events

Things to Come Redefines a Mid-Life Crisis

Upon first reading the summary for Things to Come, I had a sense of predictability.

Here we have Nathalie, a high-school philosophy teacher who seems to have all her ducks in a row. She has a job she’s passionate about, a happy marriage of 25 years, and two wonderful children who are growing up and fleeing the nest. Even if I stopped right there, your guess on what was coming next would be pretty accurate.

“I thought you’d love me forever,” says Nathalie, ruefully to her husband. “What an idiot.”

You guessed it – Nathalie’s world is thrown for a loop when her husband announces he is leaving her for another woman. I was rolling my eyes at this point. Hello! I’ve seen this plot before. Then, when director Mia Hansen-Love introduces Fabien, one of Nathalie’s favorite former students, my Hollywood-trained mind thought we had the entire movie figured out.

Think again.

As Amanda mentioned, the films we show at the Knickerbocker are not the mainstream, predictable movies many of us are used to. Foreign films, like Things to Come, don’t follow any kind of cookie cutter plot – they do their own thing, keeping viewers engaged with original content and story lines.

So no, we don’t see Nathalie meltdown, pursing a relationship with a younger man who reminds her of herself in her younger years. Instead, we see a woman of intellectual and emotional substance find new freedoms and understanding in her new life circumstances.

Honestly, how could you not appreciate Hansen-Love’s fresh perspective in this kind of crisis? Plus, the divorce isn’t the only turbulence in Nathalie’s life, but she faces each with grace and strength, concluding, “I am lucky to be fulfilled intellectually.” I truly value a character that is not unraveled when the things she assumed were certain are broken, but rather, remains rooted in her ideals and self-confidence.

Isabelle Huppert as Nathalie, with Roman Kolinka as Fabien.

There’s also something to be said about the teasingly-romantic, yet strictly platonic nature of Fabien and Nathalie’s relationship. I blame my Hollywood- accustomed mind once again for the half second where I hoped a romantic bond would develop between the two. Thankfully, I came to my senses and appreciated Fabien’s role in Nathalie’s new journey. It’s a friendship from one intellectual to another. More importantly, it’s a glimpse backwards for Nathalie, and a realization that she did not compromise her youthful ideas so much as matured into new ones.

Mia Hansen-Love redefines mid-life crisis in Things to Come. Nathalie remains rooted as a woman of mind and heart, avoiding the chance to slip back into her youthful ways and moving forward not by refilling the things that are void, but by understanding this new phase as another chance to live freely and confidently.

This French drama is lighthearted, thoughtful and surprising in a new way. Check out the official trailer and learn more about it on our press release.

The film is showing at 7:30pm from March 27-April 1.

Odille Parker
Event and Conference Manager

5 Reasons Hope Students Should Attend Knick Movies

By Amanda Dort ’17

Amanda Dort

For the past three years, I’ve been working in the Hope College’s Events and Conferences Office writing press releases. If it was not for this job, I wouldn’t have known about the Knick movies in the first place. I’m so happy that isn’t the case because attending the Knick movies is one of my favorite activities to do on campus!

The Knick Film Series? Formally known as the “Knickerbocker Film Series,” the movies are part of the theatre’s “tradition of showing new, independent and foreign films for the West Michigan community.” What does this mean? This means that these movies are not only NEW, but are also not likely to show up at a mainstream theatre. These movies aren’t your predictable, fluffy rom-coms. The films shown as part of the Film Series are engaging and entertaining, while still being thought-provoking and educational.

There’s usually one movie per month during the academic year, and my best friends and I like to attend every one we can! These unpredictable movies’ endings aren’t the only thing that surprises me — what also surprises me is the lack of attendance by other Hope students like myself. This is why I’ve created this list of 5 reasons why you should attend the Knick movies.

  1. They’re free
    FREEEE! Although it’s not advertised in the press releases, the Knickerbocker Fall, Winter, and Spring Film Series is free for Hope College students! Just make sure to bring your Hope College ID to the ticket counter at the Knick, and you will be on your way to enjoying the film.
  2. They’re shown 6 times per week
    If there is a Knick movie playing during a certain week, then it is shown Monday-Saturday of that week. So whether you have a night class on Monday, a team meeting on Tuesday or plans with friends on Wednesday, you still have three more days to attend the Knick movie. All movies begin at 7:30 p.m. and serve as a very nice study break.
  3. They’re a great activity with friends.
    Like I said before, my friends and I love to go to these movies. Bring your friends and enjoy the films together! Plus, if you’re all Hope College students, no one has to pay for their ticket. And the concessions are inexpensive and good!
  4. They’re genuinely GOOD movies
    Some of my favorite movies previously shown include Loving, Our Little Sister, Mustang, and Phoenix. You know you’ve just seen a good movie if you’re still thinking about it the next day, and that is the case with movies shown in the Knickerbocker Film Series. The movies promote conversation and deeper thinking (if you’re into that stuff), but are still fluidly captivating and moving.
  5. They’re shown on-campus
    If you’re not aware already, the Knickerbocker Theatre is located on-campus (well, right on the edge and on 8th Street). There’s no car-pooling or fuel needed to attend a Knick movie. So go ahead, take one of the new crosswalks on Ninth St to Anderson-Werkman and walk through the first floor until you hit the Knick! You won’t regret it.

 

Now that you know about the movies and are aware of five great reasons why you should attend, I hope to see you there! There are still two more movies left in this semester’s Film Series. To stay updated on which movies are playing when, visit the Knickerbocker Film Series’ website, read the press releases on the Hope College News website or follow Hope College Events and Conferences on Facebook. See you soon!

Coming Up:
The Eagle Huntress  — March 13-18

Things to Come — March 27-April 1

The Salesman – Revenge, Forgiveness, and Arthur Miller

I have been a fan of Asghar Farhadi since we showed his Academy Award nominated film, A Separation, a couple of years ago.  The film’s powerful characters, compelling story, and intense drama reminded me of the power of film.  When we had the opportunity to book Farhadi’s latest film, The Salesman, I was quick to put it on the schedule.  And the film doesn’t disappoint.  The Salesman is nominated for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award and has already won over 80 awards from other films festivals.  

It is a powerful drama that on the surface is the story of a young couple whose peaceful lives are disrupted by a tragedy in Iran, but below the surface, The Salesman speaks to many themes much more complicated.  At its heart, the movie is a morality play which examines the power of revenge and forgiveness, as well as offering an honest and revealing look at society and culture in modern Iran. Adding another level to the film is Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, which is also a backdrop for the film.

The Salesman begins with a young couple, Emad and Rana, a teacher and his wife who are also starring in a production of Miller’s Death of a Salesman.  We first see them on stage in rehearsals for the play.  Then their normal life is interrupted and they are forced to find a new place to live.  Luckily a cast member has a vacancy in a place he rents and offers it to the couple.  What seems a stroke of good luck is actually where the problems begin.  Soon after they move in an incident happens — I won’t spoil anything — but it leaves Rana injured and Emad searching for the perpetrator.  Both of them struggle with how to deal with what has happened, but in very different ways.  As they try to come to terms the event and how it is affecting them, we see the increasing tension and distance start to appear in their relationship.  These changes seem most evident at the rehearsals for the production.  The play becomes the one place they actually communicate. As Emad’s quest for revenge builds, we are drawn into the differences between how he and his wife are dealing with this tragedy.  What follows leads us to a gripping and explosive final act.

The Salesman is filled with outstanding acting, but Shahab Hosseini (Emad) and Taraneh Alidoosti (Rana) present their characters with exceptional power and complexity.  And as they struggle to reach some sort of closure about what has happened, their performances become more and more compelling.  I can’t say that the production of Death of a Salesman and Emad’s role as Willie Loman parallels his emotional journey.  In fact, in many ways, he is the opposite of the character, but the production provides an outlet for the characters’ emotion, and it may be that Willie and Linda’s collapse in the play shadows the collapse of Rana and Emad’s life as well.  In the end, we are left with fewer answers than we want, but wiser for the journey.

The Salesman is in Persian with English subtitles and runs 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Read the press release.
Watch the trailer.

Erik Alberg
Technical Director for Events and Conferences Office

Our 2017 Winter Film Series

The marketing slogans are easy. “Films to Heat Up Your Winter.” “Four Ways to Beat Cabin Fever.” “Cold Weather, Hot Popcorn, Great Movies — The Perfect Mix.”

Those did not make the cut. Actually, we rarely have a catchy slogan as we think the films sell themselves. Our unofficial slogan for this next series of films is “the solid series” — a variety of films, all different, all strong.

Loving
Jan. 30- Feb. 4, 2017 — 7:30pm

loving_onesheetThis movie was named the number three film of the year by Time Magazine, despite the fact that it was out on limited release. This fictionalized drama is based on the true story of the incredibly named Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial married couple who took their battle to be legally recognized all the way to the Supreme Court. That it took until 1967 to have this happen makes the story even more amazing. The film is raking in award nominations and Manohla Dargis of The New York Times says “There are few movies that speak to the American moment as movingly — and with as much idealism — as Jeff Nichols’s Loving.”

Watch the preview.

The Salesman
Feb. 13-18, 2017 — 7:30pm

Here we offer an Iranian-French film by Academy-award winning directorthe salesman image Asghar Farhadi. (He won the Oscar for A Separation which we showed 2012).  An Iranian couple rehearsing for a performance in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” have to move to a new apartment. But the previous occupant’s past intercedes with their present, turning their lives inside out. Taking Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Farhadi’s latest film adds to his legacy. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian calls it “smart, ambitious…a well-crafted, valuable drama” and Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter says it “leaves the viewer tense and breathless.”
Watch the preview.

The Eagle Huntress
March 13-18, 2017 — 7:30pm

Just watch the preview and dare to miss this movie! The cinematography alone makes this a big-screen must, but the story of 13-year-old Aisholpan working to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations just adds to acclaimed documentary. This has the big themes — coming of age, women’s (girl’s) rights, the beauty of nature, the clash of ancient traditions and modern life, and, a glimpse into a culture few of us know. Receiving rave reviews, both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times named it a “Critic’s Pick,” with the NY Times saying it is “Thrilling! A movie that expands your sense of what is possible.”

Watch the preview.

Things to Come
March 27-April 1, 2017 — 7:30pm

Her husband is leaving her for another woman, her mother dies, and her professional life as a philosopher is in turmoil. Well, this sounds like a crazy comedy or a French film. And the winner is…French film! This unlikely plot line has a 100% rating by over 70 critics on Rotten Tomatoes and stars the incomparable Isabelle Huppert as the woman who decides not to fold under the challenges, but instead reinvent her life. Time Magazine says “Huppert is extraordinary—she reveals everything even when you think she’s showing nothing—and she’s the perfect actress, right now, for Hansen-Løve’s (director) fine-grained perceptiveness.” Time Out calls it “warm, thoughtful, surprising.”
Watch the preview.

We think you’ll agree that this is an incredible line up of films, likely to be heard about for years to come. We’ll feature each of these individually on the blog shortly before we show them, but please check out the trailers. And, tell your friends! You are the best advertisement we have for our unique film series. Thank you for supporting us and great films.

 

Derek Emerson
Hope College Director of Public Affairs and Events

Welcome to the Knickerbocker Film Series Blog

130618Knickerbocker009Welcome to the Knickerbocker Film Blog!

We’ve created the blog to give us some space to explore the films we show, hear from other film fans, and, basically, find a new way to celebrate the celluloid film (or digital film — we’ll cover that in a future blog).

If you are not familiar with us, the Knickerbocker Theatre is a historic venue in downtown Holland, Michigan owned and operated by Hope College. In addition to year-round live events, we also do three film series each year (winter, spring, and fall) with four independent or international films. 7:30pm is our usual starting time.

We also have a “One Night Only” series where we focus on one actor, director,150330KnickerbockerSign003 or genre over four weeks. In the past, we’ve looked at Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, and Famous Couples. In the summer we host four free family films on Thursday evenings where we throwback to some classics we all love, such as Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and The Goonies.

091013KnickerbockerTheatre007There are many great reasons to spend some time with us. Our ticket prices are reasonable and our concessions are actually delicious and inexpensive. No $40 tab when you have popcorn and soda while watching a movie with us! We have friendly students helping with tickets, concessions, and often running the movies. We also always have one of our Events and Conferences Office staff hanging around (and most of them are friendly). And, we do all this in a historic theatre!

So, this is just our way of saying welcome!

We would love your comments on our blog or our films. Suggestions? We’ll take them.

Derek Emerson
Director of Public Affairs and Events