Sundance Screening Room series returns with “Krisha,” “Born to Be Blue” and “The Family Fang”


With all the ownership news going on around Sundance Cinemas, any signs that things haven’t changed is a welcome one. The Madison theater was bought by the Carmike Cinemas chain in October, but the theater’s new owners seemed willing to let the popular arthouse continue as it was.

But the news that AMC Theatres, the largest chain in the country, was buying Carmike is a little more troubling. AMC tends to own large urban and suburban theaters (like the 16-screen AMC Fitchburg) showing mainstream movies, and what they’ll do with a six-screen theater focused on independent movies is anybody’s guess.

But both Carmike and AMC says nothing will change until the deal is finalized, probably close to the end of 2016. In the meantime, things at Sundance look to stay as they are, and movie lovers that want to keep it that way might want to consider voting with their dollars and supporting the theater, and the kind of movies they want to see there, whenever they can.

A welcome sign of normalcy is that the theater announced Wednesday that its Sundance Screening Room calendar, devoted to independent, foreign and documentary films, will continue well into May. I’ll be doing post-show screenings after a couple of these movies, so keep an eye on this space at at for announcements of those events and how you can win tickets.

Krisha” (March 25 – March 31) — This hit drama from last year’s South by Southwest Film Festival is a classic “downer Thanksgiving” movie, as a woman tries to reconnect with her estranged sister on the holiday, only to bring long-buried resentments to the surface.

Remember” (April 1-7) — The new film from Canadian director Atom Egoyan (“The Sweet Hereafter”) stars Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau as Auschwitz survivors who discover the identity of the guard who tortured them.


Born to Be Blue” (April 8-14) — In one of several biopics about famous musicians coming out this spring (along with the Miles Davis movie “Miles Ahead” and the Hank Williams film “I Saw the Light”), Ethan Hawke plays legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, zeroing in on a moment in the late ’60s when the musician tries to make a comeback after battling drug addiction.

Aferim!” (April 22-28) — After a break for the Wisconsin Film Festival, the calendar returns with this Romanian take on the Western movie, a dark comedy in which a father and son search the countryside for a runaway slave.

Francofonia” (April 29-May 5) — The new documentary by legendary Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark”) goes back to the museum, in a way, as the film tours the Louvre and meditates on how so many great works of art survived the Nazi occupation.



The Family Fang” (May 6-12) — I’m a big fan of Kevin Wilson’s comic novel about adult children whose upbringing was one giant performance-art piece by their avant-garde parents, and I’m very interested to see what Jason Bateman (as both star and director) does in adapting it.

Marguerite” (May 13-19) — In this French comedy, a wealthy woman with no musical talent whatsoever is convinced by a young journalist to sing before an audience.




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