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Pittsburgh Film Preview: May 2006

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Flowers are blooming all about, the Pirates are fighting it out with Kansas City for second-to-last place in the MLB, and the students are abandoning the city in favor of Summer internships and Mom’s home cooking, meaning it’s actually possible to find parking in Oakland. But who cares about all that, right? Pittsburgh’s May highlights will unspool from a reel!

The University of Pittsburgh’s Slavic Department kicks things off with the Eighth Annual Russian Film Symposium, which runs from Monday, May 1 – Saturday, May 6. This year’s symposium is called “White Russian–Black Russian: Race and Ethnicity in Russian Cinema.” The symposium’s public component consists of four films that will be shown at Pittsburgh Filmmakers‘ Melwood Screening room at 7:30p, Wednesday – Friday.

The films scheduled include Vladimir Korsh-Sablin’s Seekers of Happiness (1936) about Birobdzhan, the first Jewish homeland on Wednesday, May 3, and Grigorii Aleksandrov’s Busby Berkeley-inspired Circus (1936) on Thursday, May 4. There is a full schedule of events availble online.

May will also see the inaugural Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival. The festival features 22 films from a variety of Asian nations, which will screen at all three Pittsburgh Filmmakers theaters from Friday, May 12 – Saturday, May 20. All of these films are seeing their Pittsburgh premieres, and many will be accompanied by Q&A sessions with their directors, producers, and actors. Highlights include Ramani Bahrani’s Man Push Cart (2005), a FIPRESCI Prize winner at the London Film Festival, and a selection for Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival. Both will play on Friday, May 12 at 7:30pm and Friday, May 19 at 9:15pm at the Harris Theater, respectively. Festival centerpiece presentation is Georgia Lee’s Red Doors (2005), a Jury Prize winner at the CineVegas International Film Festival for ensemble acting, will play on Friday, May 19 at 7:30 and 9:30pm at the Regent Square Theater. Finally, the Closing Night Sselection is Deepa Mehta’s Water (2005), a winner of three Canadian Genie Awards, will play on Saturday, May 20 at 7pm at the Regent Square Theater. A full schedule is available.

This month’s Film Kitchen Independent Film & Video Series will feature a “coffee movies” theme. Films to be screened include works by local filmmakers Matthew Day, Chris Ivey, Carolina Loyola-Garcia, Jerry Musser, and Liz Richards. There will be a 7pm reception and an 8pm showtime on Tuesday, May 9 at the Melwood Screening Room.

The Oaks Theater kicks off its annual Moonlit Matinees Film Festival on Saturday, May 27 at midnight with Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932). It will also play on Sunday, May 28 at 10pm. Also opening at the Oaks this month is Mary Harron’s The Notorious Bettie Page on Friday, May 5. There is a full list of upcoming films at the Oaks.

Films opening at Pittsburgh Filmmakers this month include Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus (1959) on Sunday, May 21 at the Regent Square Theater; two films by Kihachi Okamoto, The Sword of Doom (1966) and Kill! (1968), at the Harris Theater on Monday, May 22; and Claude Sautet’s Classe tous Risques (1960) on Friday, May 26 at the Regent Square Theater. There is a full list of films coming soon to Filmmakers.

Other May film events include the Sunday Night Series at Regent Square “Visions of War II.” This includes Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (1966) on Sunday, May 14 and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove on Sunday, May 28. Finally, the first week in May marks the end of Carnegie Mellon University’s AB Films Spring 2006 schedule.

Films scheduled to open nationally in wide release this month include J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III on Friday, May 5; Wolfgang Petersen’s Poseidon on Friday, May 12; Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code on Friday, May 19; and Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand on Friday, May 26.

Pittsburgh’s film resources include Coming Attractions for Squirrel Hill’s CineMagic theaters and the homepages of Jefferson Presents and Viewer Discretion.

Remember, film is best enjoyed with a friend. See you there!

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