When the Alarm Clock Sounds : Human rights worldwide explored over four evenings at UCSB

Last year, UCSB’s Human Rights Film Festival promised six films over three days of double features. True to its incremental popularity, this year the fest has added on another day, two more features and two short films.

Like previous years, the festival tells two truths. The first, documentaries are still flourishing to cover the stories that our traditional media fail to tell, and second, that women make up a majority of the filmmakers, an inverse situation to that of Hollywood.

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Into the Woods — ‘Rashomon,’ now in a sterling 35-mm print, is still a classic

Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa's seminal samurai film "Rashomon." Courtesy photos
Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa’s seminal samurai film “Rashomon.”
Courtesy photos

Four retellings of an incident resulting in a dead husband and a raped wife … four perceptions of a reality in which each teller confesses to a crime instead of hiding it. All are plausible, and all seem understandable for the characters. What to do?

If you’ve seen “Rashomon” before, it’s worth seeing again (and again). If you’ve never seen it, the time is long overdue to enjoy a classic that still stands up as such. Either way, a brand new 35 mm print of the film comes to UCSB this Tuesday evening.

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Moving on, Moving out — ’35 Shots of Rum’ demands a close watch

Mati Diop, left, and Alex Descas, right, star in Claire Denis' "35 Shots of Rum."
Mati Diop, left, and Alex Descas, right, star in Claire Denis’ “35 Shots of Rum.”
Claire Denis’ “35 Shots of Rum” is a movie of quiet, subtle gestures, of gazes, looks and glimpses. It’s also a movie about life slowly changing and the inevitability of people moving on. Set among the varied African communities of Paris, Denis presents a tale about a quartet of people who have known each other for a long time and about the period of time where everything has changed.

Viewers have to figure out a lot of these relationships themselves and become like the characters in the film, closely examining body language and eyes. Denis makes us work more than other filmmakers, and a lot of “35 Shots of Rum” is like being at a party for new friends and trying to figure out how everybody is related.

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Climb Every Mountain — Popular Banff documentary film festival returns to UCSB for two days

There are film festivals that you go to in the mountains, like Sundance and Telluride. And then there are film festivals that come from the mountains to you. That would be the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which swings past UCSB this Tuesday and Wednesday for two days of the best in mountain-themed documentaries, from climbing to gliding.

The festival has been coming to UCSB on tour since 1992. The festival originally started as a community event in Banff, Canada. It was a way, Fest coordinator Seana Strain says, of bridging the gap between the summer and winter recreational seasons. It gained such popularity that the festival was taken on the road. The first tour went across Canada only, but the word of mouth spread. Today, the tour hits 30 cities worldwide, and even includes a few shows in the Antarctic, making this viewable in all seven continents.

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