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Laughter in the dark: ‘The Death of Stalin’ turns grim history into comedy

Stalin was one of the bloodiest tyrants of the 20th century, an era that had no shortage of bloody tyrants, so it’s only natural to wonder whether his final days, filled with murderous paranoia, and the bureaucratic struggle to seize power following his death are really fitting material for a comedy. The Death of Stalin follows the path cut by Mel Brooks, whose classic comedy The Producers, which revolves around a musical about Hitler, hit movie theaters just 22 years after the end of World War II. […]

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Crowdfunding campaign underway for ‘Gridshock: A Film about Sex Trafficking in Iowa’

Three Iowa natives are raising funds to begin production on the documentary Gridshock: A Film about Sex Trafficking in Iowa, a “wake-up call” regarding the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise. Gridshock will be an exploration of the sex trafficking trade in Iowa, uncovering “the underground and horrendous crimes that are running rampant in our communities,” according […]

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Win tickets to another “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You”

Bob and the Trees FilmScene — Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. By now, we’re all fully aware that the nomenclature of the Best Film(s) Not Playing at a Theater Near You series that just wrapped up its 10th year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York doesn’t apply to us here in […]

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‘Vanguard of a Revolution’: Black Panther doc screens at the IMU

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution Iowa Memorial Union — Thursday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. You couldn’t ask for better publicity: This past Sunday, Beyoncé took the field in a Superbowl halftime show that, among other things, paid visual homage to the Black Panther legacy. The backlash was swift and astounding. Even today […]

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The Headroom series kicks off its third year with highlights from the Ann Arbor Film Festival

Headroom Screening Series Presents: 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm Tour Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building — Friday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. A touring collection of 13 short films makes its way to Iowa City on Friday from Ann Arbor, MI. The Ann Arbor Film Festival, founded in 1963, is the oldest […]

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New immigration and identity film festival launches in Des Moines

Define American Film Festival Des Moines Art Center — Thursday, Jan. 21–Saturday, Jan. 23 A new film festival kicks off in Iowa on Thursday, courtesy of the non-profit Define American, an organization dedicated to using stories and narrative to take the national conversation about immigration to the next level. Filmmaker and Define American founder Jose […]

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Celebrate Pete Seeger and his musical legacy this weekend

Legendary folk musician Pete Seeger died just two months ago at the age of 94. He not only gave the world songs like “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” and adapted “We Shall Overcome” into its now-familiar form, but also showed how music can be a tool for progressive politics. Both of these songs, for example, were anthems of the Civil Rights Movement, in which Seeger was an early, avid and vocal participant — despite having been blacklisted from television appearances during the communist witch hunts of the 1950s. […]

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Talking Movies: Looking beyond the controversy of Blue is the Warmest Color

Let me begin by giving my opinion on all the controversies surrounding the seven-minute-long lesbian sex scene in Blue Is the Warmest Color. My opinion is that it’s not worth my time to have opinions about silly controversies. The French title of Abdellatif Kechiche’s new movie, which is playing at the newly-opened FilmScene beginning Dec. […]

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