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The Camera Cinema Club events are the most unique cinematic experiences offered in the Bay Area. Special guests and celebrities who have talked with audiences about their films include actors John Malkovich and Peter Mullan, and a host of independent filmmakers who have gone on to celebrated careers. One of the all-time highlights for members was when Jessica Yu, Academy Award�-winning director of "Breathing Lessons: The Life And Works of Mark O'Brien", passed her Oscar around the audience during the Club's inaugural 1997-98 season.
For an overview of Club events from its inaugural season to the present, check out our CLUB HISTORY
Provocative French Drama In The House Screens for April
On Sunday, May 19th, 2013 the Camera Cinema Club screened THE EAST, a
suspenseful and provocative espionage thriller from acclaimed
writer-director Zal Batmanglij and writer-actress Brit Marling, who stars as
a former FBI agent starting a new career at an elite private intelligence
firm that ruthlessly protects the interests of its A-list corporate
clientele. Handpicked for a plum assignment by the company's head honcho,
Marling goes deep undercover to infiltrate The East, an elusive anarchist
collective seeking revenge against major corporations guilty of covering up
criminal activity. Ingratiating herself into the group, she soon finds
herself torn between her two worlds as she starts to connect with members of
the collective, and awakens to the moral contradictions of her personal
A taped interview with the director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij was preceded by
a lively discussion.
THE EAST opens in the Bay Area on Friday, June 7th.
See you all on Sunday, June 9th!
THE EAST: Sundance Review
by John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
Environmental-justice themes are put to smart use in Zal Batmanglij's
corporate espionage film.
PARK CITY - A social-conscience espionage film that has actually thought
about its "eco-terrorism" themes beyond figuring out how to mine them for
suspense, The East sends a straight-laced overachiever undercover with a
violent eco-vigilante group. Zal Batmanglij and cowriter/star Brit Marling
deliver a consistently tense, morally alert story that has plenty of
Marling plays Sarah, a former FBI agent now seeking her fortune in the
private sector. Her first assignment for Hiller/Brood, a secretive company
providing undercover risk assessments for multinational corporations,
requires her to infiltrate a new anarchist group, The East, which has
targeted polluters in a series of let-the-punishment-fit-the-crime "jams."
Telling her patient boyfriend (Jason Ritter) she's off to Dubai for
business, Sarah actually hits the streets not far from her Washington, D.C.
home -- getting grubby with freegans and hobos while watching for someone
whose political rants sound likely to produce action. After an enjoyable bit
of improvised role-playing, she winds up at the burned-up mansion The East
The group looks a bit like a cult, especially given the shaggy, Jesus-like
appearance of head strategist Benji (Alexander Skarsgard), but is more of a
democracy than it seems. Members like Doc (Toby Kebbell) and Izzy (Ellen
Page) offer villains from their own pasts -- a reckless drug manufacturer,
say, whose wares injured loved ones -- and together they decide how to get
close enough to do that company well-publicized harm.
The tidy paybacks will appeal to many viewers: Who hasn't thought execs who
knowingly pollute waterways should have to bathe in their own slurry? But
putting a secret agent in the middle of their execution allows us to live
the fantasy and question its justice simultaneously. Sarah will inevitably
be changed by this group. But will it be in the expected, manageable way --
as her sharklike boss (Patricia Clarkson) warns, some sympathy is inevitable
when you devote every waking moment to earning someone's trust -- or will
she go rogue?
The actors bringing this band of anarchists to life project enough wounded,
uncertain self-righteousness to distance them from the generic zealots more
often seen in this kind of tale, and Marling, working behind a couple of
layers of role-playing, keeps audiences guessing about what Sarah actually
believes. Batmanglij balances emotional tension with practical danger
nicely, a must in a story whose activist protagonists can make no
distinction between the personal and the political.
Camera Cinema Club 2012-13 Event Summary
May 19th - The East
The Camera Cinema Club screened The East, a suspenseful and provocative espionage thriller from acclaimed writer-director Zal Batmanglij and writer-actress Brit Marling, who stars as a former FBI agent starting a new career at an elite private intelligence firm that ruthlessly protects the interests of its A-list corporate clientele. A taped interview with the director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij was preceded by a lively discussion.
April 21st - In The House
The Camera Cinema Club screened In The House, director Francois Ozon's comedy/drama about a 16-year-old boy (Ernst Umhauer) who insinuates himself into the house of a fellow student from his literature class and writes about it in essays for his lit teacher (Fabrice
Luchini). Club Director Tim Sika led the post-film discussion.
March 17th - Upstream Color
The Camera Cinema Club screened Shane (Primer) Carruth's enigmatic and mysterious romantic thriller Upstream Color, a critically acclaimed festival favorite. A provocative discussion with Carruth -- who wrote, produced, directed, edited, photographed, did the music, and co-starred -- took audience questions at both morning and afternoon screenings via SKYPE.
February 10th - Beyond The Hills / Lore
The Camera Cinema Club screened Christian Mungiu's Beyond The Hills (10:30 a.m.--Camera 7), based on true story about two young women at an Orthodox convent in Romania, and Cate Shortland's Lore (2:00 p.m.--Camera 12), tracking journey of five children across Germany at the end of World War II. Both films were submitted to the A.M.P.A.S. to represent their countries in the 85th Annual Academy Award competition for Best Foreign Language Film (Rumania and Australia, respectively).
January 13th - Things I Don't Understand
The Camera Cinema Club screened the indie-film-festival-hit Things I Don't Understand,
writer/director David Spaltro's story of changing, relationships, love, life and what comes after we die. David Spaltro spoke to audiences at the morning and afternoon screenings via SKYPE from Los Angeles.
November 18th - The Impossible
The Camera Cinema Club screened The Impossible, a powerful drama based on the true story of one family's survival of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and starring Naomi Watts and Ewan MacGregor. Conducting audience Q&As via SKYPE were producer Belen Atienza ("Pan's Labyrinth") at the 10:30 screening (from Spain) and screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez ("The Orphanage") at the 2:00 p.m. screening (from London).
October 21st - The Sessions
The Camera Cinema Club inaugurated its 17th season with screenings of The Sessions, based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes), who lived most of his life in an iron lung and is determined -- at age 38 -- to lose his virginity. Taped Cinema Club comments were played from Helen Hunt, John Hawkes and writer/director Ben Lewin prior to a brief group discussion of the film.