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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

The Projectr Virtual Movie Club Launches Online February 5

Grasshopper Film has announced the launch of the Projectr Movie Club, a new series dedicated to presenting virtual premieres of immportant, rare, underseen and unreleased films. The first edition will launch February 5, 2021 with four films presented in two-week engagements over an eight-week period. The first edition will present online premieres of Sion Sono’s Red Post on Escher Street, co-presented with Japan Society, Ehsan Khoshbakht’s Filmfarsi, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s The Depths, and a Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet double feature, A Visit to the Louvre and Cezanne.

Projectr Movie Club will premiere new films every other Wednesday, which will only be available to stream during their two-week presentations. Screenings will be complemented by filmmaker and critic introductions, short films and other supplementary materials. Viewers will be able to learn more about the films by posting questions for filmmakers. They will also be able to share films they love with friends and fellow cinephiles by offering a $5 coupon. Tickets will be $12 per film or $25 for a 4-film Edition Pass.

Said Grasshopper’s Ryan Krivoshey, “The Projectr Movie Club is a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on vital and extraordinary films, previously thought lost or unreleased due to rights and other issues, which have not received the attention or acclaim they deserve. We’re thrilled to build on the success of Projectr with this exciting new initiative.”

I love this so much. It's the perfect idea at the right moment when online streaming is more prevelant than ever. With people becoming accustome to staying at home, there is virtually and endless need for content. Now the prospect of exploring films beyond one's usual interests is a much desired option for repeat weary watchers. The new and the different is now a componet for viewing decisions.

Filmmakers will also benefit from having an outlet for their work. It's a struggle getting work by new, young, and artistic voices. Many independents suffer the fate of sitting on a shelf never to be seen beyond a festival screening, if even that. Exposure is essential for these unique productions. Now that their work can be found, the filmmakers themselves can be discovered and given new opportunities to expand into markets previously unreachable. It's a win-win sitution, and I encourage all to give the platform a chance.

The following is a list of the first edition of films to stream:

● Available to stream February 5 – 18, 2021.

Red Post on Escher Street, by director Sion Sono. This will be co-presented with Japan Society (who are including the film as part of their upcoming February 2021 season). In the story film director Tadashi Kobayashi holds an audition for his new film project. Several unique actors and actresses apply for the roles but most of them does not pass but participate as extras after all and go out of control. Can the film come to completion without accident?

● Available to stream February 17 – March 2, 2021

Filmfarsi, directed by Ehsan Khoshbakht. This is an Iranian production that explores sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll. It is a personal journey through the history of Iranian popular cinema before the revolution and the world of “filmfarsi”, a term referring to the rowdy and melodramatic genre films made from the early 1950s to 1979. Accordian to The Guardian, Filmfarsi provides a fascinating archaeology of, “the biggest secret in cinema history”. It's a compelling window into a lost past. This documentary uncovers a cinema of titillation, action and big emotions, which presented a troubling mirror for the country, as Iran struggled to reconcile its religious traditions with the turbulence of modernity, and the influences of the West. Four years in the making, Filmfarsi features clips from more than 100 films, almost all banned in their country of production.

● Available to stream March 3 – 16, 2021

The Depths, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi focuses on a famous Korean fashion photographer on assignment in Japan who discovers a new kind of friendship with a mysterious male escort in Hamaguchi’s delicate character study. Anticipating his masterful epics, Asako I & II and Happy Hour, The Depths reveals Hamaguchi’s fascination with the unspoken and often indescribable bonds that create intimacy.

● Available to stream March 17 – 30, 2021

A Visit to the Louvre and Cézanne. These two films form a double feature of directors Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet’s most beloved films exploring the essence, history and presentation of art. Cézanne is based on Joachim Gasquet’s 1921 memoir of his friend Paul Cézanne is an invaluable portrait of the painter’s life and work. Straub-Huillet use passages from this book, together with pastoral scenes from Jean Renoir’s film adaptation of Madame Bovary (1933) and photographs of Cézanne by the painter Maurice Denis. A Visit to the Louvre provides fierce opinions about the presentation and preservation of art in museums, from the use of protective glass to the way paintings are hung, lit, and conserved.


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