Provocative Movies on Tap as Mini Microcinema Releases May-June Schedule

A wry comedy about building a Michael Jackson statue in Serbia, a legend of American underground cinema and the only American movie by the radical British filmmaker Peter Watkins are included in the programming

click to enlarge Statue of Michael Jackson in Eindhoven, Netherlands, based on Diana Walczak's original HIStory statue - Photo: Sjors Provoost
Photo: Sjors Provoost
Statue of Michael Jackson in Eindhoven, Netherlands, based on Diana Walczak's original HIStory statue

Over-the-Rhine's Mini Microcinema has announced its May-June schedule, and it's filled with the kind of programming that cinephiles have been hungering for in Cincinnati.  Here are some highlights:

• May 1 (Tuesday), Punishment Park: Peter Watkins is one of the great names of contemporary British cinema, mixing dramatic and documentary techniques as he looks at such politically provocative topics as nuclear war (his The War Game won an Oscar for Best Documentary) and the Paris Commune. Among his innovative narrative features are 1967's Privilege — about a tormented Rock star being used by his government to divert public attention from political issues — and 1971's rarely seen, American-made Punishment Park, about political activists tried for insurrection and subjected to police brutality. Watkins, himself, approved this special screening at the Mini.

• May 6, Monument to Michael Jackson: A 2014 film by Darko Lungulov, presented by the UC Center for Film and Media Studies, this black comedy is set in a small Serbian town where a man takes advantage of the removal of a Communist-era statue from the public square to propose a monument to Michael Jackson to replace it. He sees it as a way to attract tourists and also to reclaim the affections of his wife, a Jackson fan. The director will be in attendance.

• May 10, 16mm Films by George Kuchar: With his brother Michael, the late George Kuchar made strange, funny films that parodied Hollywood convention in order to come at pop culture, and art, from a different angle. This program of shorts from the 1960s and 1970s includes Hold Me While I'm Naked, Masholu Holiday, Pagan Rhapsody, A Reason to Live and I, An Actress.

• May 22, Girlfriends: This prescient 1978 comedy-drama, directed by Claudia Weil and written by Vicki Polon, concerns a young New York photographer of weddings and Bar Mitzvahs (Melanie Mayron) who faces doubts and angst when her best friend gets married and work gets hard to find. The film has been rediscovered as a precursor of "mumblecore," and for featuring women prominently in the cast and creative team. Weil has gone on to direct for such television shows as Thirtysomething and Girls.

The Mini will also have Film Fringe programming May 31-June 7, during the upcoming Cincy Fringe Festival.

The Mini is at 1329 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. Evening films usually start at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7. Admission is usually free, with $5 donations suggested. For more info, visit mini-cinema.org

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