Culture / Entertainment

The Ultimate Houston Cinema Arts Festival Preview — the Movies You Need to See

Arts Lovers Will Dig These Pics

BY Catherine D. Anspon & Matthew Ramirez // 11.04.19

Five days, 10 venues, 31 programs and screenings, and one new curatorial vision define Houston Cinema Arts Festival 2019, which unfurls citywide Thursday, November 14 through Monday, November 18.

Newly minted HCAF19 artistic director Jessica Green organizes the lineup, which feature premieres, reflects international to Texas perspectives, and embraces diversity including female, queer, black, Asian and Latino filmmakers.

Importantly for Houston’s arts community, five screenings and one lecture focus on dance, photography, and music; design and architecture; community and gentrification; and otherworldly visual art.

Here are our recommendations:

At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the international prize-garnering Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus arrives at the centennial of Bauhaus founding by Walter Gropius; the documentary features rare images that reveal the rich synthesis of discipline and freedom, art and design, architecture and utopianism that defined the movement, whose ideals still inspire today.

Award-garnering "Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus" screens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Saturday, November 16, at 1:30 pm, the film arrives in time for the centennial of the grand architectural school founded by Walter Gropius in Germany.
Award-garnering “Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus” screens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Saturday, November 16, at 1:30 pm, the film arrives in time for the centennial of the grand architectural school founded by Walter Gropius in Germany.

Dance disciples will gravitate to Yuli, the dramatic biography of ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, who plays himself. The storyline follows Acosta from the streets of Havana to the stages of the Houston Ballet and Royal Ballet of London; screening at MFAH.

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Closer to home, Houston photojournalist Ben DeSoto’s 30 years on the music scene (rap to punk rock) makes for a potent offering in Ben DeSoto: For Art’s Sake, at Rice Cinema.

Aligning with our moon-landing year, digital talent Kelly Richardson dishes about her immersive environments and previews future planetary landscape projections at MATCH.

Concurrent with its exhibition “Gareth Long: Kidnappers Foil,” the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston screens Four Films on Memory and Place, focused on Houston, Miami and the Persian Gulf region.

Also recommended: opening night, Thursday, November 14, sees Houstonian Trey Edward Shults’s Waves (who also directed 2017’s horror film It Comes at Night), which follows a Floridian family after a loss with a stellar ensemble cast, make its Houston debut at the Museum of Fine Arts.

French film director, artist and photographer, Agnés Varda, who recently passed in March this year, last directed Varda by Agnés, an autobiographical documentary that splits her life into two parts: from 1954 to 2000, which she calls her “analog period,” where she set to shake up the film world as a bold new voice. The second half is split from 2001 to 2018, when Varda began using digital photography and reintroduced herself to the world as a photographer and digital artist.

A few other movies to catch: Nailed It, which takes a look at the $8 billion dollar nail industry, from California to the Bronx, at Asia Society Texas Center. And once again rolling through town is Solange’s When I Get Home, the album-length accompaniment to the album of the same name, a free-form art film fixated on scenes around Houston, black cowboys in action at rodeo, interpretative dance and much more. Its plays twice in one evening at The DeLuxe Theater, Saturday, November 16.

One final must-see: Houston’s Third Ward is the poignant subject of the Cry of the Third Eye, The Last Resort, accompanied by an opera performance by its writer and director, Houston Grammy-nominated artist Lisa E. Harris, at Aurora Picture Show.

For the complete Cinema Arts schedule and single tickets click here. All-access passes ($129 are available here.

All images courtesy Houston Cinema Arts Festival.

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