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Fall screenings range from Chaplin to Champlain

By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / September 11, 2011

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“Movies Matter’’ is the series that launches ArtsEmerson’s fall film program, but it’s also a fitting title for the entire slate of fall film events, series, and festivals at venerable venues including the Brattle Theatre, Harvard Film Archive, Museum of Fine Arts, and Coolidge Corner Theatre. These stalwart screens are now joined by the welcome additions of Emerson College’s Paramount Theatre and Suffolk University’s Modern Theatre, offering rich and diverse programming that in the coming months will feature Chaplin’s silent classics, animated and experimental shorts, and films from an important period in Italy’s history.

The fall film season traditionally kicks off with the Boston Film Festival, now comfortably nestled in the downtown Stuart Street Playhouse; this 27th season brings to audiences six world premieres, a host of visiting filmmakers, and special events such as Boston Filmmakers Night on Sept. 19.

Mark your calendars now for these noteworthy film events on tap for the fall season:

■ SEPT. 16-18, Movies Matter, ArtsEmerson: A weekend celebration with New York Times critic Dave Kehr, who will appear at Emerson College’s Paramount Center Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. Kehr’s four-film series begins with two rare Raoul Walsh films: “Sailor’s Luck’’ (Sept. 16 and 18); “Me and My Gal’’ (Sept. 17); and also on Sept. 17, Walter Hill’s “The Driver’’ (1978) and Wim Wenders’s “The American Friend’’ (1977).

■ SEPT. 16-22, Boston Film Festival, Stuart Street Playhouse: Opens with “Certainty’’ Sept. 16 at 6:45 p.m. with director Peter Askin and writer Mike O’Malley on hand, followed at 8:45 p.m. by “After Fall, Winter’’ with director-writer-producer Eric Schaeffer. Other filmmakers attending include Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side’’) with his baseball documentary “Catching Hell,’’ and Emmy-winner Michael W. King with his documentary “The Rescuers,’’ about diplomats who helped save tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

■ SEPT. 16-30, Viva I’talia! The Risorgimento on Screen, Harvard Film Archive: Films depicting military and political events from the crucial decades in the middle of the 19th century when the Italian state took shape, such as Luchino Visconti’s “Senso’’ (1954) on Sept. 16, “Allonsanfan’’ (1974) from Vittorio and Paolo Taviani on Sept. 18, and Rossellini’s “Paisan’’ (1946) on Sept. 23.

■ SEPT. 18 and 19, For My Crushed Right Eye - The Visionary Films of Toshio Matsumoto, HFA: Matsumoto, one of the leading figures of Japanese experimental cinema, and film historian and curator Go Hirasawa will attend screenings of “Funeral Parade of Roses’’ (Sept. 18) and a short film program (Sept. 19).

■ SEPT. 21-22, Women in Adventure Sports Film Festival, Regent Theater in Arlington: The inaugural event in Boston, focusing on films about female adventurers.

■ SEPT. 23-OCT. 20, Celebrating World Cinema, Museum of Fine Arts: Films from various international festivals and series during the past year. Highlights include Julian Schnabel’s “Miral’’ (Sept. 24) and Dervish Zaim’s “Shadows and Faces’’ which showed in the Boston Turkish Film Festival (Sept. 28 and 29).

■ SEPT. 23-OCT. 2, Manhattan Short Film Festival, Coolidge Corner Theatre: Again this year, audiences all over the world will gather at cinemas during this week to view international short films and vote on finalists’ works.

■ SEPT. 23-25, Telluride by the Sea, the Music Hall, Portsmouth, N.H. Six films that made their debuts at this year’s Telluride Film Festival in Colorado.

■ SEPT. 24, Radical Light: Stories Untold, ArtsEmerson: Curator Kathy Geritz will introduce and discuss films and videos from filmmakers such as George Kuchar, James Broughton, Curt McDowell, and Anne McGuire produced between 1968 and 1999.

■ SEPT. 25, A Tribute to Boston Animator Karen Aqua, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston: Features a retrospective of the acclaimed work of Aqua, who died in May, and a discussion with filmmakers Frank Mouris, Amy Kravitz, and Ken Field.

■ OCT. 1-DEC. 16, Kate the Iconoclast, Katharine the Icon, ArtsEmerson: A three-month, 13-film retrospective on screen legend Katharine Hepburn. The month of October is devoted to her early career, beginning in 1932 with “A Bill of Divorcement’’ (Oct. 1) and ending with 1940’s “The Philadelphia Story’’ (Oct. 28 and 29), both directed by George Cukor.

■ OCT. 7-9, “Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream,’’ Brattle Theatre: Political commentator Jimmy Tingle’s documentary screens, followed by a discussion with Tingle and director Vincent Straggass.

■ OCT. 8-30, Charlie Chaplin Revisited, ArtsEmerson: Classic films including “The Kid,’’ “The Circus,’’ and “Modern Times,’’ directed and starring Chaplin, will be screened in new 35mm prints presented with synchronized orchestral scores composed by Chaplin himself.

■ CT. 13-16, New Hampshire Film Festival, various venues in Portsmouth: A mix of independent films, workshops, and events.

■ OCT. 18, “The Jazz Singer,’’ Modern Theatre at Suffolk University: In 1928 the Modern Theatre was the first Boston movie house to premiere “The Jazz Singer,’’ Hollywood’s breakthrough “talkie.’’ The classic film will be screened to commemorate the first anniversary of the restored theater.

■ OCT. 25, “Dead Reckoning - Champlain in America,’’ Modern Theatre: The film’s Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director, Frank Christopher, will present this fully animated, historical account of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of North America.

■ OCT. 21-30, The Boston Palestine Film Festival, MFA: Now in its fifth year, the BPFF showcases films that celebrate Palestinian arts and culture.

■ OCT. 22- 29, The Marriage Circle, ArtsEmerson: A cinematic look at marriage, running as a complement to the play “You Better Sit Down: Tales From My Parents’ Divorce,’’ which will be performed on the Paramount Mainstage. The film series includes Pietro Germi’s “Divorce Italian Style’’ (1961); Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini’s “Divorce Iranian Style’’ (1998); Preston Sturges’s “The Palm Beach Story’’ (1942), and Ernst Lubitsch’s “One Hour With You’’ (1932).

■ NOV. 2-13, The Boston Jewish Film Festival, various venues: Now in its 22d year presenting contemporary films from around the world on Jewish themes.

Loren King can be reached at

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