Ferrari, State Theater
Four-time Academy Award winner Michael Mann (Thief, Heat, Ali) returns to the screen with Ferrari, a biographical film about racecar driver Enzo Ferrari. Set in the summer of 1957 with Ferrari’s auto empire in crisis, he decides to counter his company’s losses by risking everything on one race – the Mille Miglia, a thousand-mile race across Italy. Adam Driver plays the title role with Penelope Cruz as his wife Laura. The film shifts between Ferrari’s troubled marriage and homelife and the race. It’s the racing sequences that are truly jaw-dropping here including an accident that caused the Italian government to outlaw racing on public roads. Also starring Shailene Woodley and Giuseppe Festinese.
The Color Purple, State Theater
A reimagining of the 1982 novel by Alice Walker and Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film, The Color Purple leans heavily into musical territory whereas the 1985 film is a drama punctuated with music in selected scenes. The film’s producers include Oprah Winfrey (who memorably played Sophia in the 1985 film), Quincy Jones, and Spielberg himself. Fantasia Barrino plays Celie, the abused wife who is slowly trying to find a sense of self while falling for Taraji P. Henson’s Shug Avery, a juke-joint singer who has been the mistress of her abusive husband. Overall, the music is joyful lending the film a more positive, uplifting, feel than its predecessor. Music and lyrics are by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray (former music-writing partner of Madonna). Also starring Louis Gossett Jr, Halle Bailey, and David Alan Grier.
The Boys in the Boat, Michigan Theater
A sports drama based on the true story of the University of Washington’s rowing team who make it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Boys in the Boat is directed by George Clooney. Clooney takes a traditional approach to his subject that divided some critics but is still winning over audiences. Set during The Depression, the story focused on a sport that requires intense, precise teamwork. Clooney seems to have chosen this material to draw a parallel between the present and a time in our country’s history when people had to get past their differences for the sake of the country. The film was shot chronologically to give a realistic feel of the boys’ training and progress. The Boys in the Boat is based on the New York Times best seller by Daniel James Brown and stars Joel Edgerton, Callum Turner, and Sam Strike.
Quantum Cowboys, 1/12, Michigan Theater
A striking mix of 16 mm live-action film, paper cutouts, hand-drawn animation, oil paintings, 8K video and music by Neko Case, John Doe, and Xixa, Quantum Cowboys is a feast for the senses! It’s an old-fashioned western tale about two drifters in the 1870s who team up with a girl named Linde and trek across Arizona to find an elusive frontier musician. The film combines elements of quantum physics, animation, music, and memories to weave its spell. This is a one-night-only screening with the filmmakers in person for a post-film Q&A. Also starring Lily Gladstone, Kiowa Gordon, and David Arquette
Jigoku, 1/25, State Theater
A stunningly beautiful Japanese horror film from 1960, Jigoku is saturated with symbolic
imagery as it follows a group of sinners involved in interconnected tales of murder, revenge, deceit, and adultery, who meet at the Gates of Hell. Accompanied by a very cool jazz score, Jigoku screens one night only as part of the U-M Center for Japanese Studies 2024 film series.