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Look again: A/perture Cinema schedules new film series

Come September, Winston- Salem’s a/perture cinema will introduce a new seminar series, “Looking at Art Cinema,” a program combining big-screen entertainment with film education – popcorn included!

The series will be hosted by filmmaker and teacher Cagney Gentry, who resides in Winston- Salem and recently made his feature debut with Harvest, an independent drama currently on the festival circuit and the second-prize winner in the feature-length films competition at the Athens International Film and Video Festival.

Prior to Harvest, Gentry made the short films Sena’s Music and Cowboy, Amen (both 2009), and 1. Stop 2. Jump 3. Go (2010), the latter an award winner at the Indie Grits Film Festival. Gentry studied film and communications at Wake Forest University and received his master’s degree in Fine Arts in Filmmaking from UNC-Greensboro.

“Our first three films in the series will introduce us to the notion of looking slowly, a common requirement for many art films,” Gentry explains. “All three of these films, however, are not necessarily in the genre of ‘art cinema.’ Instead, we are beginning with films that hint at a notion of cinema as a patient medium – a medium as conducive to sustained and restrained communication as it is to quick cutting and rapid visual storytelling.”

The series begins Sept. 19 with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 suspense classic Rear Window. Based on a Cornell Woolrich short story, the film explores themes of privacy and voyeurism as James Stewart plays a photographer laid up in his apartment with a broken leg. Observing his neighbors surreptitiously, he becomes convinced that one of them (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. Rear Window also stars Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey, and was nominated for four Oscars: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (color) and Best Sound Recording.

Next in the series, screening Oct. 24, is Hal Ashby’s much-acclaimed 1979 adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There, a multi-layered (and multi-leveled) combination of humanity and satire that gave Peter Sellers his last great screen role, as Chance, a simple-minded gardener whose innate goodness and purity seems almost out of place in contemporary society. Sellers earned an Oscar nomination as Best Actor, and Melvyn Douglas won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. The film also stars Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden and Richard Dysart.

The series then concludes Nov. 21 with Kelly Reichardt’s award-winning 2006 independent drama Old Joy, starring Will Oldham and Daniel London as old friends whose reunion, a camping weekend in the Cascade Mountains east of Portland, Ore., instead becomes an opportunity for them to explore their friendship and the different paths their lives have taken since they’ve known one another.

According to a/perture curator Lawren Desai: “I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for a couple of years now – I’ve got way too many ideas floating around up there – to try and work an educational component into the mix. I was meeting with Cagney Gentry about another project and I pitched him the idea and he was immediately in.”

“By examining storytelling in visual media, we will see how pace affects us and the effects of contradicting the mainstream urge to quicken,” Gentry explains.

“We will practice looking slowly, which will not only benefit our looking at movies but also our looking at the world.”

“The overall goal of the series is to shine a light on film as art and think critically about the cinema,” adds Desai. !

WANNA go?

A/perture cinema is located at 311 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem. Rear Window will be screened 10 a.m. Sept. 19, Being There 10 a.m. Oct. 24, and Old Joy 10 a.m. Nov. 21. The class fee for each seminar is $25, which includes screening, lecture and regular popcorn. For class registration in the “Looking at Art Slowly” series, see http://www.aperturecinema.com/education.html. (Pre-registration is strongly suggested.) For more information about any of the goings-on at a/perture, call 336.722.8148 or visit the official website: http://aperturecinema.com.

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