Petaluma Cinema Series lineup revealed

Jesse Hoopes, Staff Writer

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Celebrating its 10th season, The Petaluma Film Alliance brings its Cinema Series to the Petaluma Campus of Santa Rosa Junior College Jan. 29.

Mike Traina, SRJC film and media studies professor and architect of this community-oriented cinematic showcase, says this season is focused more on modern films, including Oscar contenders “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Her.” Previous Oscar winners “Atonement” and the 1942 romantic comedy classic “Woman of the Year” will also be featured.

Traina hopes that this series will expose budding film buffs to “great work” they might not otherwise get the chance to see, as well as appeal to the “faithful group of cinephiles” that flock each season to the Series.

Kicking off the Series Oct. 29 is the 1973 Francois Truffaut classic “Day For Night,” one of three films Traina is very excited to have, after many years of trying, finally secured rights to.

The other two films include the rarely screened neo-noir masterpiece “The Fourth Man,” directed by  then little known art house filmmaker, Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven would go on to direct such action epics as “Total Recall” and “RoboCop.” With no dialogue, Czech Republic director, Jan Svankmajer spins an absurdist tale via a combination of live action and stop motion animation in the 1996 film “Conspirators of Pleasure.”

“Dallas Buyers’ Club,” starring Matthew McConnaughey as an unlikely champion for AIDS patients is the second film in the series on Feb. 5.

Twenty directors, including the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Zant and horror film maestro Wes Craven, pay homage to the City of Lights in the 2006 film “Paris Je’ T’aime” on Feb. 12.

Feb. 19 the controversial 2013 local gem and Sundance Grand Jury Audience Award winner “Fruitvale Station,” about 22-year-old Oscar Grant who was fatally shot by a BART officer on New Year’s Day in 2009.

2006 English wartime drama “Atonement” with Keira Knightly and James McAvoy conveying their star-crossed lover’s angst, while donning an award-winning wardrobe, will no doubt be a feast for the eyes on March 5.

The 1942 Hepburn/Tracey Oscar winning romantic comedy classic “Woman of the Year” will remind us what authentic romantic comedy is.

Through live action and animation, director Terence Nance will explore the dynamics of a relationship in 2012’s “The Oversimplification of Her Beauty” on March 26.

The year-long series of 250k races known as The Four Deserts Ultra Marathon in director Jennifer Steinman’s 2013 documentary “Desert Runners” will air on April 2.

The ‘70s Scorsese classic that propelled star Robert DeNiro into quotable, cinematic infamy, “Taxi Driver” makes its way back on the screen April 9, causing us to redefine the term “mentally unstable.”

The Coen Brothers 2000 classic “O Brother Where Art Thou,” inspired in part by Homer’s “The Odyssey,” showcases the budding comic talents of former dead-pan doctor, E.R.’s own George Clooney on April 23.

The 2009 thought-provoking Greek Export by director Yorgos Lanthimos, “Dogtooth,” challenges our concepts of social norms in an idyllic country setting on April 30.

Experimental auteur Spike Jonze keeps things interesting while exploring human relationships in 2013’s first SIRI/human ‘love story’ “Her” on May 5.

Wrapping up the series on May 14, “(500) Days of Summer” features Third Rock From the Sun alum Joseph-Gordon Levitt displaying his inner vulnerability without a maudlin aftertaste in this 2006 anti-romantic, romantic comedy.

There is something to whet every film enthusiast’s appetite, including the special appearance of directors Jennifer Steinman (“Desert Runners”) and Terence Nance (“The Oversimplification of Her Beauty”), who will hold a discussion after the screening of their films.

Traina also promises some as-yet, unnamed cast members from “Fruitvale Station” to be present for a question-and-answer session after the film, as well as what he teasingly says will be a “surprise guest” at some point in the festival.

The series begins Jan. 29 at the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium on the SRJC Petaluma Campus and will continue through May. General admission is $5, $4 for students,  Petaluma Film Alliance members are free.

The box office opens Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information, go to the Petaluma Film Alliance website, www.petalumafilmalliance.org.

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