Week 49/2023

For six years already, Sabzian has been inviting a guest to contemplate the state of cinema today, craft a text that illuminates cinema's essence and potential significance, and choose a film that connects to it. For this year’s State of Cinema event, Sabzian and Bozar welcome French filmmaker Alice Diop. Diop's cinematic endeavours focus on the individuals she is “conditioned to reject”, aiming to secure their position within film heritage. Alongside her contribution, Diop has selected Sarah Maldoror’s film Sambizanga. Join us at Bozar on Thursday. 

Despite Jarmusch never having visited Memphis prior to creating Mystery Train (1989), the film remains a compelling portrayal of the city. Jarmusch captures the city through the lens of an outsider who’s enchanted by its musical legacy (with icons like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison recording there) and  seeks to uncover the echoes of its influence. Split into three narratives, the film unfolds as a canvas of Jarmusch’s musings, exploring themes of travel, solitude, crime, and the supernatural. Roger Ebert wrote that the difference between Jarmusch and many other indie filmmakers is that “he chews before swallowing.” 

On Sunday afternoon, delve into the haunting reality of a Depression-era dance marathon with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (1969) at De Cinema. Sydney Pollack's raw realism captures the desperate, muted shuffling of contestants spiralling into exhaustion and collapse as Jane Fonda’s and Michael Sarrazin's characters endure gruelling hours of dance in pursuit of a cash prize. Pollack creates a microcosm within the ballroom, where characters devoid of pasts or futures exist solely in this relentless competition, unable to escape despite their growing weariness and the futility of their endeavour accumulating with every passing hour.

This Week