Japanese horror film series continues with cult classic “House” Tues., July 12

Here at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, horror films aren’t just relegated to the cold, dark months of the year—we celebrate them all year round. So why not a horror film series in July, Mother Nature’s hottest offering yet? BVFCC would like to invite you to a Japanese Horror series in the midst of humidity, sweat, and muggy moods.

BVFCC launches a new film screening series, “4 Icons of Japanese Horror: From Mizoguchi to Miike—A Peek Into the Dark,” on Tues., July 5. Beginning with Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu” (1953), it proceeds chronologically on Tuesdays through “House” (1977), “Cure” (1997), and “Audition” (1999).

Each screening starts at 7 PM and admission is $7.

With our recent installation of an Asian Horror section, customers will be able to enjoy the dark corners of the film universe. By shining a spotlight on it this month, we’re showcasing some of the best of the best. Because this section is so varied, we decided to pick 4 films from a single country, Japan. Why Japan, one might ask? Japan has arguably the most storied and vast selection of truly masterful exercises in the genre. With these four films, we hope to illustrate the genius and/or madness the genre has to offer.

The 1977 film “House,” directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, screens Tues., July 12. “House” is a certified cult classic—wild and beyond comprehension. It’s an odd and charming take on the haunted house genre made famous by American directors such as Robert Wise and James Whale.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Japanese horror/supernatural film series starts Tues., July 5, with Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu” (1953)

Here at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, horror films aren’t just relegated to the cold, dark months of the year—we celebrate them all year round. So why not a horror film series in July, Mother Nature’s hottest offering yet? BVFCC would like to invite you to a Japanese Horror series in the midst of humidity, sweat, and muggy moods.

BVFCC launches a new film screening series, “4 Icons of Japanese Horror: From Mizoguchi to Miike—A Peek Into the Dark,” on Tues., July 5. Beginning with Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu” (1953), it proceeds chronologically on Tuesdays through “House” (1977), “Cure” (1997), and “Audition” (1999).

Each screening starts at 7 PM and admission is $7.

With our recent installation of an Asian Horror section, customers will be able to enjoy the dark corners of the film universe. By shining a spotlight on it this month, we’re showcasing some of the best of the best. Because this section is so varied, we decided to pick 4 films from a single country, Japan. Why Japan, one might ask? Japan has arguably the most storied and vast selection of truly masterful exercises in the genre. With these four films, we hope to illustrate the genius and/or madness the genre has to offer.

Our series begins with Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu” (1953), a haunting, atmospheric look into the human psyche and our preoccupation with greed. Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “House” (1977), on the other hand, is a certified cult classic—wild and beyond comprehension. It’s an odd and charming take on the haunted house genre made famous by American directors such as Robert Wise and James Whale.

Viewers might find “Cure” (1997) familiar when seen through a procedural lens: a story that follows a detective’s woeful attempt at uncovering the mystifying secret behind a string of grisly murders. Bookending the series is Takashi Miike’s “Audition” (1999). Infamous upon its release, Audition places the viewer in a corporate setting inhabited with corrupt, arguably sexually-repressed film producers. Casting has never been so important… or life threatening.

Be it haunted cats or telepathic serial killers, this series has it all. Please join us every Tuesday night this month for a walk through some seriously scary good films.

Best Video founder Hank Paper presents “The Last Suit,” final film in his June series

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

He screens “The Last Suit” on Tues., June 28, starting with an introduction at 7:15 PM.

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which began on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

The final film in the series is “The Last Suit” (2021). (Originally scheduled to be screened Tues., June 21, “The Last Suit” has been swapped for “Pig,” which will screen on June 21.)

An 88-year-old tailor runs away from his family’s plans for him, deciding instead to return a suit to an old friend that, 45 years earlier, saved his life as an escapee from a concentration camp. He doesn’t know if his friend is still alive or where he lives, and vows not to arrive there by crossing Germany. How is all this possible? This Argentinian/Spanish film about one man’s idiosyncratic stubbornness and the kindness of strangers is unforgettable.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

UPDATE! Best Video founder Hank Paper presents film screening of “Pig” Tues., June 21

UPDATE 6/20/22: Due to unforeseen considerations, the scheduling of the last two movies in Hank Paper’s series have been switched. Instead of screening on June 21, “The Last Suit” screens on June 28. “Pig,” initially slated to be the final film, instead screens Tues., June 21.

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which began on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

The fourth film in the series is “Pig” (20121).

If “Moonstruck,” “Raising Arizona,” and his Oscar-winning starring role in “Leaving Las Vegas” didn’t make you a Nicholas Cage fan, this film will. In this unconventional love story of a man and his pig, Cage plays a hermit whose beloved truffle-foraging pig is kidnapped, forcing him to return to Portland, Oregon seeking to get him back. You might expect another throw-away Cage revenge film but—not at all. Instead, you will find yourself on a profound spiritual odyssey exploring issues of authenticity, celebrity, gourmet cuisine, and the grace of finding something you truly care about. And—instead of the realist acting style so pervasive today—you will discover, in Cage, the deep, emotional, performative acting of a latter-day Marlon Brando. This is my favorite film of the year.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Best Video founder Hank Paper continues film series with “Sound of Metal” Tues., June 14

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which began on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

The third film in the series is “Sound of Metal” (2019). Which is not at all about the punk rock scene (it actually contains a most delicately sensitive and interesting soundscape) but about love and spiritual healing and people you’ll care about. This unique film features an unforgettable Oscar-nominated performance by Riz Ahmed in a profound journey that is rarely seen in film. In our world of sensory overload, you’ll find an oasis of surcease (so come to watch and relax!).

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Best Video founder Hank Paper screens “One Night in Miami” Tues., June 7

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which begins on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

The second film in the series is “One Night in Miami” (2020).

What do 4 Black icons talk about in a hotel room in Miami? In the aftermath of his surprising knockout of Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali meets with three friends (Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke) in a motel room to celebrate his win and discuss each’s trajectory and obligations in the crosshairs of history. Beautifully and inspiringly acted (Cooke’s songs are not only thrillingly entertaining but cleverly figure in the climax of the story), what could have been simply exploitative turns out to be thought-provoking and profound. Director Regina King’s powerful, multi-award-winning tour-de-force—a fictionalization of a real meeting, based on a 2013 play by Kemp Powers—couldn’t come at a better time. This is history written in lightning.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Acclaimed indie film “Ham on Rye” screens Wed., June 1, with editor & executive producer Kevin Anton as special guest

Best Video Film & Cultural Center screens the acclaimed independent film “Ham on Rye” on Wed., June 1. The event starts at 7 PM and admission is $7.

Kevin Anton, a Hamden-native and editor and an executive producer of “Ham on Rye,” will be on hand to discuss the film—how it got made, its journey through film festivals, and more.

The movie has a 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

New York Times critic Glenn Kenny chose it as a “New York Times Critic’s Pick.” Kenny writes:

With his first feature, the director and co-writer Tyler Taormina delivers something at first familiar and then increasingly — but never ostentatiously — strange. “Ham on Rye” can be taken as an allegory for middle-class suburban life in America, but it’s got added value as a potent mood piece, accomplished with a bare minimum of means.

Rolling Stone writer K. Austin Collins awarded the film 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Collins writes:

The payoff is quiet, but grand. It is referential, but not merely so: “Ham on Rye” is more than just a catalog of our own pop culture memories. I definitely thought of Pennywise the Clown when a balloon got loose for no apparent reason; I thought more than once of “Blue Velvet,” too, if only because the movie’s sense of menace is, though tamped down, more than hinted at. Ultimately, “Ham on Rye”’s best point of reference is itself. It is, like the people therein, one of a kind and completely unforgettable.

The film scored 3 out of 4 stars from Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr. “Aspects of dreaming stick to the edges of this film,” Burr writes. “It’s never clear when we are, with music cues from the early ’60s and late ’90s, cars from the ’80s, an iPod from the turn of the millennium… “Ham on Rye” will frustrate literal-minded audiences, but it’s a work of gentle, genuine American surrealism — a lo-fi love song to those left behind by character and chance.”

Support for this screening has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Best Video founder Hank Paper presents 5-film series starting Tues., May 31

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which begins on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

May 31: Woman at War

For those who always wanted to go to Iceland, here’s your chance to see it in this thrilling Icelandic film about a woman, who longs to adopt a child, but instead wages single-handed war against Iceland’s environmentally destructive aluminum industry. Iceland’s beautiful setting underscores the stakes of the story—and offers one of the cleverest endings of any film.

June 7: One Night in Miami

What do 4 Black icons talk about in a hotel room in Miami? In the aftermath of his surprising knockout of Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali meets with three friends (Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke) in a motel room to celebrate his win and discuss each’s trajectory and obligations in the crosshairs of history. Beautifully and inspiringly acted (Cooke’s songs are not only thrillingly entertaining but cleverly figure in the climax of the story), what could have been simply exploitative turns out to be thought-provoking and profound. Director Regina King’s powerful, multi-award-winning tour-de-force—a fictionalization of a real meeting, based on a 2013 play by Kemp Powers—couldn’t come at a better time. This is history written in lightning.

June 14: Sound of Metal

…is not at all about the Punk Rock scene (it actually contains a most delicately sensitive and interesting soundscape) but about love and spiritual healing and people you’ll care about. This unique film features an unforgettable Oscar-nominated performance by Riz Ahmed in a profound journey that is rarely seen in film. In our world of sensory overload, you’ll find an oasis of surcease (so come to watch and relax!)

June 21: The Last Suit

An 88-year-old tailor runs away from his family’s plans for him, deciding instead to return a suit to an old friend that, 45 years earlier, saved his life as an escapee from a concentration camp. He doesn’t know if his friend is still alive or where he lives, and vows not to arrive there by crossing Germany. How is all this possible? This film about one man’s idiosyncratic stubbornness and the kindness of strangers is unforgettable.

June 28: Pig

If “Moonstruck,” “Raising Arizona,” and his Oscar-winning starring role in “Leaving Las Vegas” didn’t make you a Nicholas Cage fan, this film will. In this unconventional love story of a man and his pig, Cage plays a hermit whose beloved truffle-foraging pig is kidnapped, forcing him to return to Portland, Oregon seeking to get him back. You might expect another throw-away Cage revenge film but—not at all. Instead, you will find yourself on a profound spiritual odyssey exploring issues of authenticity, celebrity, gourmet cuisine, and the grace of finding something you truly care about. And—instead of the realist acting style so pervasive today—you will discover, in Cage, the deep, emotional, performative acting of a latter-day Marlon Brando. This is my favorite film of the year.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

The series is also sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom. TBS members may attend free.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film series “Contemporary Classics of International Cinema” concludes with Iranian “The Salesman,” presented by Farbod Honarpisheh

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has continued its film screening renaissance in May with a four-film series “Contemporary Classics of International Cinema.”

After screening “Two Days, One Night” (Belgium), “Timbuktu” (Mauritania), and “Shoplifters” (Japan) May 3 , 10, and 17, respectively,. the series concludes with a modern masterpiece from Iran. All the spotlighted movies were released within the past decade. Each film has been presented by—and feature a post-film discussion led by—a faculty member of the Yale University Film & Media Studies department. The screening starts at 7 PM and admission is $7.

The series wraps up with Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s 2016 Oscar-winning Best Foreign Film “The Salesman.” Farhadi wraps a gripping drama of violence, marital discord, and patriarchy around a theater company’s attempt to mount a production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” New York Times critic A.O. Scott wrote that, “Not since Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘All About My Mother,’ which brilliantly re-engineered ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ has a classic of the American stage been put to such ingenious cinematic use.”

Farbod Honarpisheh, who presents “The Salesman,” is currently a postdoctoral associate with Yale’s Film and Media Studies Program. His dissertation, “Fragmented Allegories of National Authenticity: Art and Politics of the Iranian New Wave Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s,” was completed at Columbia University. His research interests intersect film and media theory and history, critical theory, Iranian and Middle Eastern cinemas, comparative modernist studies (visual and literary), intermediality, the modern city, postcolonial theory, migration, and documentary studies.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

As an indoor event, proof of vaccination and masks are required.

Film series “Contemporary Classics of International Cinema” journeys to Japan Tues., May 17, for “Shoplifters,” presented by Aaron Gerow

Love watching the movies you rent from Best Video but want to go deeper? The discussions we’ve been having after our screenings will enrich your appreciation of cinema. Plus, they’re fun!

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has continued its film screening renaissance in May with a four-film series “Contemporary Classics of International Cinema.”

The first and second films in the series, “Two Days, One Night” (Belgium) and “Timbuktu” (Mauritania), screened on May 3 and 10, respectively. The series will showcase acclaimed movies from Japan and Iran, all released within the past decade, over the next two Tuesdays. Each film will be presented by—and feature a post-film discussion led by—a faculty member of the Yale University Film & Media Studies department. Each screening starts at 7 PM and admission to each is $7.

The remaining two films are:

Tues., May 17: “Shoplifters” (2018, Japan, dir. by Kore-eda Hirokazu, presented by Aaron Gerow)

Tues., Apr. 24: “The Salesman” (2016, Iran, dir. by Asghar Farhadi, presented by Farbod Honarpisheh)

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

“Shoplifters,” directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, is a family drama that delves deep on themes of poverty and connection. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis wrote, “Kore-eda’s great subject is the contemporary family, a topic that gives him an immensity of themes, including loss, love, class, alienation in the modern world and just about everything else.” It was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

Aaron Gerow will introduce “Shoplifters” and moderate the post-film discussion. Gerow is Professor of East Asian cinema and culture at Yale University and has published widely on variety of topics in Japanese film and popular culture. His books include “Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895-1925” (2010); “A Page of Madness: Cinema and Modernity in 1920s Japan” (2008); and “Kitano Takeshi” (2007). He also runs his own Japanese film website Tangemania (www.aarongerow.com).

As an indoor event, proof of vaccination and masks are required.