Film Studies: A preview of this year's Cinetopia movies in A2


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Cinetopia's website states that its film festival, which features acclaimed movies from Sundance, Cannes, and more, was "created for the people of southeastern Michigan." 

That's cool, but for our Pulp preview, we're keeping it strictly provincial and have highlighted films playing in Ann Arbor at the Michigan and State theaters. (Click here for the full Cinetopia schedule.)

We've also embedded the fifth episode of the Michigan Theater and AADL podcast Behind the Marquee, which features hosts Nick, Caitlin, and Brian talking about all things Cinetopia, including some of their favorite films arriving this year.

Get out your calendars and plan your May 31 to June 10 cinematic experiences.

Behind The Marquee: Episode 5 - "Deep Dive Into The Cinetopia Film Festival Program"

306 Hollywood
Sat. 6/2 | 6: 45 pm | State Theatre
Sat. 6/3 | 1 pm | State Theatre
Mon 6/4 | 4:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
As filmmaking siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarin's excavate their deceased grandma's modest Newark home of 71 years, her random collection of stuff, from toothbrushes to vacuum cleaners, take on a life of their own through animations, the appearances of fictional characters, and actors lip-synching a family conversation from a 1972 cassette. 

A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night
Fri. 6/1 | 9 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Director and Ann Arbor native Qasim Basir tells the story of a USC grad (Omari Hardwick) lost in the haze of L.A. nightclub promotion who meets a Midwest woman (Meagan Good). The film tracks their first meeting in a stylish, emotional, dreamlike manner.

Anote's Ark
Sat. 6/2 | 12:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Wed. 6/6 | 4:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
The low-lying Pacific nation Kiribati will be swallowed by the sea unless something miraculous happens. Matthieu Rytz's documentary follows President Anote Tong as he searches for answers and Sermary, a mother of six who must decide to leave the only place she knows. Michigan premiere.

Best of the Fest: Children's Film Festival Seattle 2018
Sat. 6/2 | 12:05 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
11 animated films from 9 countries. Free.

The Big House
Sat. 6/2 | 7 pm | State Theatre
Sun. 6/10 | 1 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Documentarian Kazuhiro Soda and 14 of his students from U-M made this life-of-life documentary about all the behind-the-scene action at the Wolverines' football stadium on game day. The movie has an appealing meditative and fly-on-the-wall vibe, though it inexplicably ends at the January 2017 women's march in Ann Arbor in an effort to make a point about ... something.

Bisbee '17
Thu. 6/7 | 7:15 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Fri. 6/8 | 4:15 pm | State Theatre
Sat. 6/9 | 4:45 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Sun. 6/10 | 6:30 pm | State Theatre
Robert Greene directs a movie that features mining town locals on the Arizona-Mexico border re-creating a dark day from 100 years ago when 1,200 immigrant miners were violently deported and left to die in the desert.

Fri. 6/8 | 6:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Daveed Diggs plays a man in the last days of his probation looking for a fresh start. Instead, his trouble-bound childhood bestie (Rafael Casal) causes things to go haywire in director Carlos López Estrada's film set in a rough part of Oakland that is rapidly gentrifying.

Choose Me
Mon. 6/4 | 9 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
Alan Rudolph's 1984 film stars Geneviève Bujold as a late night radio host whose show The Love Line offers romantic advice to callers even as her own situation with Keith Carradine, his lover Lesley Ann Warren, her married lover Patrick Bauchau, and his wife Rae Dawn Chong is chaotic.

Eighth Grade
Thu. 5/31 | 8 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
Writer/director Bo Burnham makes his feature film debut with a keenly observed and achingly funny portrait of the insecurities and absurdities of being 13 in a world where one’s private experience is lived publicly online. Midwest premiere.

Fri. 6/1 | 5:45 pm | Michigan Theater annex
Sat. 6/9 | 2:30 pm | State Theatre
A documentary on director Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Being There) by Amy Scott.

Hearts Beat Loud
Sun. 6/3 | 4 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Nick Offerman stars in Brett Haley's film as an owner of a failing record store who convinces his college-bound daughter to start a band and they end up having a minor Spotify hit. Their creative process helps them explore the emotions about pending life changes.

The Last Race
Sat. 6/9 | 7:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Nominated for the Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize, director Michael Dweck offers an intimate portrait of a local race track featuring Mad Max-inspired stock cars that do battle on a quarter-mile track. As a real-estate boom pressures the owners to sell, their love of the track and its community keeps it alive.

The Legacies Project
Sun. 6/3 | 12:15 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
This documentary features interviews and stories told by the elders in a community as a way to pass on knowledge to the younger generation. Free.

Of Love and Law
Wed. 6/6 | 7 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Thu. 6/7 | 4:15 pm | State Theatre
Sun. 6/10 | 5:15 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Hikaru Toda's film tells the tale of Fumi and Kazu, law-firm partners and an openly gay couple who help fellow "outsiders" in Japanese society, thereby revealing the hidden diversity inside a culture that prides itself on conformity. Special preview.

Madeline's Madeline
Fri. 6/1 | 8:30 pm | Michigan Theater annex
Mon. 6/4 | 8 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Helena Howard stars in Josephine Decker's film as a woman who's part of an intense, experimental theater troupe, much to the worry of her protective mother, played by Miranda July. Destructive ways ensue as the lines between performance and real life blur. Midwest premiere.

The Moderns
Tue. 6/5 | 8:15 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
Alan Rudolph's 1988 film stars Keith Carradine as a struggling Parisian painter in 1926 who forges masterpieces for wealthy divorcee Geraldine Chaplin as he desires Linda Fiorentino, the wife of a jealous and dangerous businessman.

Quiet Heroes
Fri. 6/8 | 1:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Sun. 6/10 | 1:15 pm | State Theatre
This documentary profiles Dr. Kristen Ries and assistant Maggie Snyder, the only medical professionals willing to treat HIV/AIDS patients in the early days of the epidemic in Utah. Michigan premiere.

Ray Meets Helen
Sun. 6/3 | 7 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
Alan Rudolph's first film in 15 years stars Keith Carradine and Sondra Locke who, in a strange turn of events, acquire a ton of money and find themselves living the high life while falling in love with each other and the qualities they're trying to hide. Michigan premiere.

Sat. 6/2 | 9:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Thu. 6/7 | 10 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
On the eve of the Y2K apocalypse, Abbie's older brother challenges him to sit on the couch until he beats the unbeatable: level 256 on Pac-Man. Starring Joshua Burge, a regular collaborator with Michigan-based director Joel Potrykus. Michigan premiere.

Remember My Name
Mon. 6/4 | 7 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
Alan Rudolph's 1978 film stars Geraldine Chaplin and Anthony Perkins as ex-lovers who continue to clash once the former gets out of jail. 

Sat. 6/2 | 4 pm | Michigan Theater annex
Wed. 6/6 | 9:15 pm | State Theatre
Asher Lax stars in Matan Yair's film as a troubled 17-year-old who struggles in school until a literature teacher (Ami Smolartchik) sparks his imagination. But his father (Yaacov Cohen) expects his son to take over his scaffolding business when he graduates. When a tragedy separates the teen from his mentor, he struggles to reconcile the dominant male figures in his life. Midwest premiere.

Sun. 6/3 | 3:45 pm | Michigan Theater annex 
Thu. 6/7 | 4 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Marian Shaar stars in Thomas A. Morgan's film about a group of refugee woman in Beirut who overcome numerous obstacles to start a catering business that helps other women heal from the wounds of war.

Supa Modo
Sat. 6/2 | 3:15 pm | State Theatre
Sun. 6/3 | 12:45 pm | Michigan Theater annex
Stycie Waweru stars in first-time director Likarion Wainaina's movie about a terminally ill girl who loves Jackie Chan and superhero movies. Her fellow villagers band together to make her dreams a reality.

Thirst for Justice
Fri. 6/8 | 4 pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium
A rough cut of U-M fellow Leana Hosea's documentary about three women leading the fight for clean water in Flint and Sanders, Arizona who meet in Standing Rock at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

This Is Home
Fri. 6/1 | 5:45 pm | State Theatre
Sat. 6/9 | 2 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Winner of the Audience Award - World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Alexandra Shiva follows four Syrian families who resettle in Baltimore in 2016. The film traces the travails of displaced families in a country that's increasingly hostile to Muslim refugees. Michigan premiere.

Three Identical Strangers
Fri. 6/1 | 6 pm | State Theatre
Sat. 6/2 | 3:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Sun. 6/3 | 3:45 pm | State Theatre
Three adult strangers in 1980 New York discovered, by chance, they were triplets. But as Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman's celebrity grows and the men get to know one another after lifetimes apart, documentary director Tim Wardle slowly reveals the dark tale of how they were separated at birth.

Under the Tree
Fri. 6/1 | 5:45 pm | State Theatre
Sat. 6/2 | 6:30 pm | Michigan Theater annex
Wed. 6/6 | 4:15 pm | State Theatre
This absurd and psychologically astute comedy from director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson documents the simmering tensions between two neighbors over shade from a front-yard tree.

White Rabbit
Fri. 6/1 | 8 pm | State Theatre
Sun. 6/3 | 1:15 pm | State Theatre
Wed. 6/6 | 9:30 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Performance artist Vivian Bang co-wrote this dramedy with director Daryl Wein about a Korean-born Los Angeles artist who is offered a film role and increasingly can't tell the difference between acting and reality. Michigan premiere.

Woman Walks Ahead
Sun. 6/1 | 3:30 pm | State Theatre
Sat. 6/2 | 6:45 pm | Michigan Theater screening room
Director Susanna White and writer Steven Knight tell the true tale of artist Catherine Weldon who traveled from NYC to Dakota Territory in 1889 to meet Sitting Bull. She becomes Sitting Bull's confidante and an advocate for Native America rights.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.

Cinetopia runs May 31 to June 10 in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Dearborn. Visit for the full schedule and tickets.