PINA Pays Tribute to Legendary Choreographer’s Imagination

Unique Film Showcases the Legacy of a Legendary Choreographer
Sunday, June 15, 2014, 7:30pm

Amherst Cinema’s photography series – of films that explore the “works and worlds” of great photographers – presents an extra-special screening of PINA in conjunction with the Smith College Museum of Art. PINA is an Academy Award-nominated feature-length film by famed German director Wim Wenders in memory of modern dancer and choreographer Philippina “Pina” Bausch. Set to work together in 2009 on a film that would explore Bausch’s “thrillingly unpredictable,” sensual, playful dance pieces, Wenders continued to work on the film after her unexpected and untimely death that year. Featuring her choreography and members of her Tanztheater Wuppertal group, PINA is a monumental tribute to a unique, influential woman, and brilliantly showcases her contributions to the world. Viewers are drawn into the detailed, imaginative sets that Bausch created, including a stage covered with dirt; a cafe-like setup in which the performers dance with their eyes closed, bumping into chairs and tables; and a man-made waterfall. Inspired by Pina’s last words: “Dance, dance, or we are lost,” the film highlights the power of dance as a vital mode of expression. It has been lauded as a milestone in both dance and filmmaking.

Check out the featured trailer: 

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Art History and Music Studies at the Amherst Cinema this Fall

Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure
Tour of London’s National Gallery Exhibition
Screens at Amherst Cinema this Fall

The latest in Amherst Cinema’s EXHIBITION screening series, Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure, documents and deeply examines the Johannes Vermeer‘s works on view at the London National Gallery. The film, hosted by British art historian Tim Marlow, tells the story of Vermeer’s life, a Dutch painter from the 1600’s, and gives viewers a chance to experience both the exhibition – which, notably, includes several works by Vermeer that have never before been exhibited together – as well as some stunning close-up footage of the paintings themselves, accompanied by Marlow’s knowledgeable analysis of the works.

The exhibition focuses on the popularity of music as a theme in Dutch paintings, and illustrates this connection quite clearly through its inclusion of “Lady Seated at a Virginal,” “Lady Standing At A Virginal,” and “The Guitar Player,” all by Vermeer himself. To highlight the significance of the instruments’ inclusion in the paintings – and the differences between the instruments and their two-dimensional representations – authentic 17th-century virginals (similar to harpsichords), guitars, and lutes are on display along with the artwork…

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Japanese Animation Festival at Amherst Cinema

Miyazaki Film Festival

Hayao Miyazaki holds a special place in the hearts of lovers of animated films – his hand-drawn animations combine realistic-looking landscapes with expressive imaginary creatures and human characters whose movements have an almost balletic quality to them.  Miyzaki is the creator of classic films such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and the more recent Ponyo, and his films have become legendary amongst film lovers both Japanese and American.

Amherst Cinema celebrates Miyazaki’s storytelling genius and artistic talent this spring with a series of screenings of the original Japanese versions of some of the filmmaker’s most loved films.  Screenings will take place twice weekly through April 10th, with a new film being shown each week (each film is shown twice).  Catch a showing on either a Sunday afternoon at 2pm, or on a Wednesday evening at 7pm.  Dates and films of screenings are:

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, March 3rd and 6th
  • Castle in the Sky, March 10th and 13th
  • My Neighbor Totoro, March 17th and 20th
  • Princess Mononoke, March 24th and 27th
  • Spirited Away, March 31st and April 3rd
  • Howl’s Moving Castle, April 7th and 10th

Can’t get enough Miyazaki?  You’re in luck!  A new film, titled From up on Poppy Hill, will be released soon and Amherst Cinema will offer it for a full run during May (release date TBA).  For more information, call the cinema at 413-253-2547 or visit

“A Place at the Table” Explores Solutions to Food Insecurity

Screening of A Place at the Table at the Amherst Cinema

50 million people in the U.S.—one in five children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from, despite our having the means to provide nutritious, affordable food for all Americans.

And of the 50 million facing hunger, 135,000 live right here in Western Massachusetts.

A Place at the Table, a new film exploring the issue of hunger in America and uncovering possible solutions, will be screened at Amherst Cinema on March 7th, 2013 at 7pm.

Following the screening,  The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Executive Director Andrew Morehouse will lead a panel discussion with Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), who is featured in the film, and UMass Professor Julie Caswell, who will discuss local and national hunger.

The presentation is a collaboration with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the leading provider of emergency food in Western Massachusetts that reaches individuals and families with lower incomes and an organization committed to working with our community to reduce hunger and increase food security.

Tickets for the March 7th special screening are available at  The film will open for a full run at Amherst Cinema on Friday, March 8th and will run through at least March 14th.

Bully: Documentary Looks at Kids Under Attack at School

“Bully” — Heartbreaking Look at Kids Under Daily Attack at School
By Mark R. Gould

Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary film BULLY, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.The film was written and produced by Amherst Regional High School graduate Cynthia Lowen, the daughter of Ralph and Mary Ann Lowen of Amherst. Ms. Lowen will appear in person at two screenings of the film at Amherst Cinema on April 22. 

Ms. Lowen is an award-winning writer and recipient of the Discovery Prize, and coauthor of The Essential Guide to Bullying forthcoming from Alpha Books.

The film was directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, a Hampshire College graduate.

Filmed over the course of the 2009 - 2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. From 12-year-old Alex of Sioux City, Iowa who endures physical and mental taunts in an ongoing struggle to “fit in,” to 16-year-old athlete Kelby of Tuttle, OK who is shunned by classmates, teammates and faculty alike when she comes out as a lesbian. In Yazoo County, Mississippi, 14-year-old Ja’Meya faces incarceration after brandishing a loaded handgun to scare off her tormentors. Tragically, both the Long family of Murray County, GA and the Smalley family of Perkins, OK have survived the loss of their bullied children to suicide, and continue to reach out to the surrounding communities for accountability and understanding.

Documenting the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, BULLY captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.

Ms. Lowen will speak at both the 2:45pm and 7:15pm screenings on Sunday, April 22 at Amherst Cinema. She often speaks about her experiences producing BULLY, which has sparked a nationwide social action campaign, The Bully Project, in partner with the Creative Visions Foundation.

Tickets are regular admission. The film will be at Amherst Cinema through May 3. Tickets for April 20 – 26 showings are available for purchase at the Amherst Cinema box office or online

Advance ticket purchase for Ms. Lowen’s appearances on April 22 is recommended.

‘The documentary “Bully” is opening in theaters throughout the country. If you have seen any of the clips from the film, you will know that it is a heartbreaking look at the lives of students who are harassed and attacked on a daily basis at school. The youngsters in the documentary attend schools in Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The film focuses on the deaths of Tyler Long and Ty Smalley, victims of bullying who took their own lives.

Journalist Kate Snow on writes, “If you plan to see the movie ‘Bully,’ don’t make the same mistake I did. Bring tissues. Lots. I didn’t just shed a tear when I attended a NY screening of the film last week, I cried through most of the movie. So did my husband. So did most people in the theater.

You can see Kate Snow’s report about bullying on “NBC Nightly News.”

Kenneth Turan in the “Los Angeles Times,” writes,:”If you feel like you’ve already read quite a bit about the documentary ‘Bully,’ you have. But that still won’t prepare you for the experience of seeing it.”

Democratic congresswoman Linda Sanchez (Calif.) hopes the film will raise awareness about bullying in schools across the country.

She is a sponsor for the “Safe Schools Improvement Act”, bi-partisan legislation designed to prevent students from being bullied and harassed. The legislation would ban bullying, collect information on harassment, and provide technical assistance to school districts. Sanchez also introduced the “Put School Counselors where They’re Needed Act,” which creates additional funding for secondary counselors in troubled schools, in an effort to reduce drop out rates. Read more at

“Bully” has been in the news a lot lately because it received a restrictive R rating (for a small amount of bad language) and then chose to go into theaters unrated. Its distributor, Weinstein Co., made that choice because the film’s subject matter, the pervasiveness of school-related bullying and what can be done about it, would seem to cry out for a high school age and younger audience. And “Bully” has an emotional impact that must be viewed to be understood.”

“Filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, a victim of bullying, told “NBC News,” “It’s a very personal film. I was bullied when I was a kid. So it’s like that project that you carry with you in your pocket and you say, ‘One day I’m gonna make this film when I have the guts and I have the courage.’”

In the film, one victim of bullying said, “They push me so far that I want to become the bully.” At one point during filming, Hirsch was so worried about a young man’s safety; he provided video evidence to the school and the boy’s parents.

And the victim of bullying said, “I didn’t tell them (my parents) what was going on, which was my mistake. “I should have told someone. I wish I would have told someone. But I didn’t until Lee (Hirsch) came along.”

The boy’s father says participating in the film meant a lot to their family. “Before it started he was in a deep place that we just couldn’t reach him – and Lee and the film and the whole process has just kind of brought him out of that darkness and broke him out of his shell and gave us our son back,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Four Babies. Four Countries. One Movie.

Everybody loves… Babies. This visually stunning new movie simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

Opening today, May 7th, 2010, at the Amherst Cinema, Babies is being screened Friday (5/7) –  Thursday (5/13) at 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm &  9:30. Saturday and Sunday shows are at Noon, and baby-friendly shows on Tuesday 2:30pm.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children include:

  • Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia
  • Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani
  • Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan
  • Hattie, who resides with her family in San Francisco, USA

Re-defining the nonfiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. Check out their official website.

Director Thomas Balmès. 79 mins, Rated PG. French with subtitles

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