Closer Looks

Closer Looks is a year-long, in-depth cinema series curated by the award-winning filmmaker and editor Paul Barnes, film critic and writer David N. Meyer, and founder/programmer of local microcinema No Name Cinema, Justin Clifford Rhody. The series presents twelve selections, showcasing a broad range of eras, regions, and subject matter and are unified by their integral contribution to the history of cinema as an art form. Each film screening is followed by an in-depth overview and communal conversation initiated by the presenters, which will contextualize and inform our curious, film-adoring public.

In the meantime, check out what’s now playing and what’s coming soon at the CCA—your local, independent, nonprofit cinema and arts center.

Closer Looks: Cinema + Conversation Schedule

» A Man Escaped (France, 1956) | Jan. 12, 2023 | Selected by Paul Barnes
“With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in A MAN ESCAPED. Based on the account of an imprisoned WWII French Resistance leader, this unbelievably taut and methodical masterpiece follows the fictional Fontaine’s single-minded pursuit of freedom, detailing the planning and execution of his escape with gripping precision. But Bresson’s film is not merely about process—it’s also a work of intense spirituality and humanity. We witness in awe, Fontaine’s unwavering faith that he will succeed.” –Paul Barnes

» Aferim! (Romania, 2015) | Feb. 9, 2023 | Selected by David N. Meyer

“A contemporary Western that evokes the best of traditional Westerns while heading off into new territory. An older, hard-bitten Sheriff and his naïve deputy son mount up to pursue a desperate fugitive across the wide-open plains and rugged high mountains of… 1830’s Romania! Director Jude’s calls this an ‘Eastern,’ and, in exquisite B/W cinematography, addresses Romania’s feudal history and slave-owning past. The desperate fugitive is a Roma enslaved man who will do anything to avoid capture. An unexpected, touching, bittersweet Western that transports you into its era and will stay with you long after you leave the theatre. Among the most beautiful films of the last decade and named to numerous 2015 Best Films lists.” –David N. Meyer

» Born in Flames (USA, 1983) | Mar. 9, 2023 | Selected by Justin Clifford Rhody
“Lizzie Borden’s 1983 feminist-revolutionary docufiction film is set in a dystopian near-future New York 10 years after the “social-democratic war of liberation”. During this time diverse groups of women begin to organize militant direct action groups in response to the unfulfilled promise of equality.  Born In Flames intelligently addresses intersectionality and remains an inspiring call to arms in the modern era of drastic setbacks to the individual freedoms of women and continued systemic racism in the United States. Blending raw tone and precise analysis, the film features an excellent performance by activist Florence Kennedy and a rollicking score by The Red Krayola. Borden wrote, directed, produced and edited this radical work of speculative fiction on a shoestring budget using guerrilla filmmaking tactics over a five-year period. In 2016, Anthology Film Archives restored Born in Flames from the original 16mm internegative and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you on the big screen at CCA!”- Justin Clifford Rhody

» Vertigo (USA, 1958) | April 13, 2023 | Selected by Paul Barnes
“Considered by many to be director Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest achievement, it was also his own personal favorite. James Stewart is brilliant as Scottie Ferguson, an acrophobic detective hired to shadow a friend’s oddly behaving wife, Madelaine. Scotty falls deeply in love with her, played by the stunning and mysterious Kim Novak. During his investigation/courtship, Madelaine accidentally dies; Scotty has a nervous breakdown; and while recovering, he happens upon a woman he swears is Madelaine and—you’ll have to come see the film to find out what happens. Made in spectacular widescreen color, VERTIGO is gorgeous to look at, highly entertaining and with one of the greatest music scores by Bernard Herrmann that raises the emotional temperature of the film to fever pitch. Made in classic 1950’s Hollywood style, Hitchcock creates a hallucinatory puzzle of a thriller intertwined with the personal perverse poetry of obsessive love.” –Paul Barnes

» Ni pour, ni contre (bien au contraire) Not For Not Against (Quite the Contrary) (France, 2003) | May 11, 2023 | Selected by David N. Meyer
“In this perverse, witty French thriller—a heist movie unlike any otherdirector Klapish mixes crime capers with class/race consciousness to create a seductive, feminist Noir. Marie Gillain gets a glimpse of her dark side and really likes it. She embraces—revels in—crime, seduction, luxury and gunplay. For the first time ever in Noir, the femme fatale is the lead character. And unlike every femme fatale before her, the film never defines Gillain by her relationships with men—and neither does she. Klapish presents the Paris underworld in rich, dark colors, fueled by an irresistible dance soundtrack. He also showcases, as all French Noir must, one of the coolest bars on Earth. Gripping, intelligent and mad fun.” –David N. Meyer

» Love Streams (USA, 1984) | June 8, 2023 | Selected by Justin Clifford Rhody
In this final directorial effort from maverick independent filmmaker, John Cassavetes, two closely bound, emotionally wounded souls reunite after years apart.

» Persona (Sweden, 1966) | July 13, 2023 | Selected by Paul Barnes
“By the mid-1960’s, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema’s most unforgettable images. But with the radical PERSONA, he attained new levels of visual poetry. In the first of a series of legendary performances for Bergman, Liv Ullmann plays a stage actor who has inexplicably gone mute; an equally mesmerizing Bibi Andersson is the garrulous young nurse caring for her in a remote island cottage. While isolated together there, the women undergo a mysterious spiritual and emotional transference. Performed with astonishing nuance and shot in stark contrast and soft light by the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist, the influential PERSONA is a penetrating, dreamlike work of profound psychological depth.” –Paul Barnes

» Two-Lane Blacktop (USA, 1971) | Aug. 10, 2023 | Selected by David N. Meyer
“The joys of the Road Movie are the joys of the road; the point’s not the getting there but the going. This poetic hotrod masterpiece is a touchstone of American cinema celebrating the romance of the American road. Singer/songwriter James Taylor and Dennis Wilson, madman drummer of The Beach Boys, are wandering outlaw drag racers. Instead of shootouts, they street race for cash. Warren Oates appears, driving a bitchin’ GTO, and races Taylor and Wilson cross-country. It’s like a European art film about a subject no European can understand, starring archetypal Americans. The roaring drag races, profound silences and brilliant cinematography form only a fraction of the film’s enduring, spellbinding power. And TWO-LANE BLACKTOP ends like no other movie in cinema history…no other movie.” –David N. Meyer

» Touki Bouki (Senegal, 1973) | Sept. 14, 2023 | Selected by Justin Clifford Rhody
Mory, a cowherd, and Anta, a university student, try to make money in order to go to Paris and leave their boring past behind. Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty.

» The Rules of the Game (France, 1939) | Oct. 12, 2023 | Selected by Paul Barnes
“Considered one of the greatest films ever made, THE RULES OF THE GAME, by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society on the brink of WWII. Renoir said he wanted to tell a “light” story about a world dancing on a volcano. The film is cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a marquis’ country château lays bare some underlying ugly truths about a group of haut bourgeois acquaintances. The film has had a tumultuous history: it was subjected to cuts after the violent response of the premiere audience in 1939, and the original negative was lost during World War II; it wasn’t reconstructed until 1956. The restored film premiered in 1957 at the Venice Film Festival and THE RULES OF THE GAME was finally recognized for what it was – one of the 20th century’s undisputed masterworks.” –Paul Barnes

» La Haine (France, 1995) | Nov. 9, 2023 | Selected by David N. Meyer
“Winner of the Palm d’Or and Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and of the César – France’s Oscars – for Best Picture, this is where the revolution begins. Teenage best friends – one African, one Arab, one Jew – live bored, desperate lives in the banlieue, the high-rise ghetto encircling Paris. During an anti-police riot, one of the friends steals a cop’s gun – death incarnate. LA HAINE follows the trio’s dire and hilarious adventures around Paris – a city on a knife-edge as police battle the banlieue kids. Director Kassovitz’s ­groundbreaking, thrilling B/W camera movement, street dialogue and gritty realism is a lightning bolt, a youthquake, a cry of rage.” –David N. Meyer

» Good Morning (Japan, 1959) | Dec. 14, 2023 | Selected by Justin Clifford Rhody
Two boys begin a silence strike to press their parents into buying them a television set. Directed by Yasujirô Ozu.

Presenter Bios

Paul Barnes is a documentary Producer and Editor who has had a career that spans 43 years. He is best known for working with Ken Burns for 34 of those years on such documentary series as The Civil WarThe National Parks, and The  Roosevelts. In 2004, Barnes won an Emmy for producing Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. He also edited the groundbreaking documentary The Thin Blue Line for director Errol Morris and the award-winning classic about gospel music, Say Amen, Somebody. Barnes is a lifelong fan of all kinds of films and is fascinated with the history of cinema.

Professor Appointee in Cinema Studies at The New School in New York City for 15 years, screenwriter David N. Meyer‘s books include The 100 Best Films to Rent You’ve Never Heard Of; A Girl and a Gun: The Complete Guide to Film Noir; The Bee Gees: The Biography and Twenty Thousand Roads: The Ballad of Gram Parsons and His Cosmic American Music, which the LA Times and Rolling Stone named one of the Best Books of the Year.

Justin Clifford Rhody is a filmmaker, photographer, curator and sound artist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, film festivals, universities, books, records, and online. Rhody is the founder and co-operator of No Name Cinema, a Santa Fe-based microcinema, gallery and community gathering space showcasing international and local experimental, avant-garde and repertory films, videos and visual art. Rhody also runs the Physical media imprint and plays violin, guitar and trumpet in free-improv sound ensembles.