Austin Film Society Announces May/June 2019 Film Program

Austin Culp, Director of Marketing | (512) 694-2825

April 8, 2019


Austin Film Society Announces May/June Film Program
Includes Fourth Edition of Richard Linklater’s series, Jewels in the Wasteland, and initial AFS Doc Days 2019 selections

AUSTIN, TX — AFS announces its May and June programming, notably featuring Jewels in the Wasteland, a series hosted by Richard Linklater that highlights independent and foreign films from the 1980s. Also announced are the first selections of AFS Doc Days, the second annual non-fiction film festival, taking place May 30 to June 2 this year.

Jewels In the Wasteland, now in its fourth edition, has been a signature hit series of the AFS Cinema. This season will focus on directors not previously featured in the past three chronological surveys, and will feature films by Wayne Wang, Alan Rudolph and Agnès Varda, among others. Richard Linklater, AFS Founder and Artistic Director, created and programs the series, and will host each screening in person. He commented on this year’s program:

“The 1980s continues to be miscast as a decade of bad movies, when in fact it’s a treasure-trove. We started this series five years ago as a chronological survey of great cinema of the 80s. Even after completing the decade, there were still so many directors and films I wished to include. Our return to ‘Jewels’ is an opportunity to include a few of those filmmakers whose work we haven’t looked at in this context, and present some films that have had new prints made, that we previously didn’t have access to.”

AFS Doc Days will be a highlight of the May-June season at AFS after the success of last year’s inaugural festival, which saw three of the seven festival selections go on to be nominated for Academy Awards. The second annual AFS Doc Days will ultimately feature 10 films, and the first two selections have been announced. They include Danish film Cold Case Hammarskjöld, by The Red Chapel director Mads Brügger, and American Factory, by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (A Lion In The House). Both films were recipients of directing awards at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

These announcements come with the release of the full May-June AFS Cinema programming calendar. Other highlights include several recent groundbreaking Chinese documentaries in the Essential Cinema program Chronicler: Films of Wang Bing. A leading figure in Chinese independent film, Wang Bing’s films are often banned in his home country for shedding light on hidden corners of Chinese society and history. The restored director’s cut of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2-part epic, 1900, will be June’s Essential Cinema selection.

Among other newly restored selections is the Oscar-winning Cold War-era Russian epic War & Peace (1966), which will be presented in four parts on four consecutive weekends; Jamaa Fanaka’s Emma Mae (1976) and Nina Menkes’ Queen of Diamonds (1991).

AFS brings back the annual series, Noir Canon, in which foundational film noir selections educate audiences about the history and characteristics of a beloved genre. Filmswill include Scarlet Street and The Lady From Shanghai, among others.  

New films from Jia Zhangke (Ash Is Purest White) and Christophe Honoré (Sorry Angel) will be presented in the Modern Masters program.

The full announcement, including new releases and other signature programs, continues below.Ticket prices range from $9 to $11.25, with discounts for AFS members. Special pricing is noted if applicable.

For a complete list of film screenings and special events, please visit A digital press kit, including the two-month calendar PDF and high-res images, is available upon request.


Jewels in the Wasteland, Hosted by Richard Linklater

AFS Founder and Artistic Director Richard Linklater returns with the latest cycle of Jewels In The Wasteland, a series designed to spotlight some of the best films made during the 1980s. This was a time when zillion-dollar studio blockbusters became the norm, while in other corners of the industry, a new kind of independent cinema was taking shape, and auteurs young and old made important work. Each screening will be introduced by Linklater and will be followed by an audience discussion.


Local Hero

Bill Forsyth, United Kingdom, 1983, 35mm, 111 min.

May 8

In Bill Forsythe’s sly comedy of manners, Burt Lancaster plays an American oil billionaire who dispatches a young underling (Peter Riegert) to Scotland to buy up a small village so that it can be destroyed and make way for an oil refinery. In 35mm



Agnès Varda, France, 1985, 35mm, 105 min. In French, Arabic, and English with English Subtitles.

May 14

Agnès Varda’s novelistic study of a homeless young woman who traverses the highways and back roads of France was a highly acclaimed art house sensation in its day and has become even more meaningful as the decades pass. In 35mm.


Lost in America

Albert Brooks, USA, 1985, DCP, 91 min.

May 15

Albert Brooks’ curveball of a road movie features a yuppie couple, played by Brooks and Julie Hagerty, who ditch all their possessions and hit the road in an RV in search of a dimly understood “Easy Rider” ideal. Very funny, with comic situations that brew up out of small details. In many ways Brooks’ style was a precursor of comic trends that took hold decades later.


Chan is Missing

Wayne Wang, USA, 1982, 35mm, 80 min.

May 20

A groundbreaking independent film, Wayne Wang’s first feature is a black-and-white neo-noir puzzle set in San Francisco’s Chinatown. As its protagonist, cab driver Jo (Wood Moy) searches for a man named Chan who owes him money, we are exposed to all kinds of facets of Asian-American life that had never been essayed on film before. Presented in partnership with Austin Asian American Film Festival. In 35mm


Return of the Secaucus 7

John Sayles, USA, 1979, 35mm, 104 min.

May 22

John Sayles’ ensemble study of a group of friends who reunite for a weekend together in New Hampshire only to find that old problems have a way of becoming new again. This film set off a wave of similar films including the bigger-budgeted THE BIG CHILL and led to a period of self reflection among the generation that came of age in the ‘60s. In 35mm


Choose Me

Alan Rudolph, USA, 1984, 35mm, 106 min.

May 29

Alan Rudolph’s neon roundelay of deception, love, and sex among the night people of Los Angeles stars Keith Carradine as a newly-released mental patient with a mysterious past who finds himself in a love triangle with bar owner Lesley-Anne Warren and late-night radio sex advice host Genevieve Bujold. In 35mm


Doc Days

May 30 – June 2

AFS Doc Days, our second annual festival of non-fiction cinema, features outstanding new documentary work from around the world with filmmakers in attendance. Doc Days is an opportunity for Austin’s vibrant documentary community, filmmakers and audiences, to come together, see new work, and meet with visiting filmmakers. Last year’s seven-film program included three films that went on to be nominated for Academy Awards. Thanks to our promotional partner, Book People.


Cold Case Hammarskjöld

Mads Brügger, Denmark, 2019, DCP, 128 min.

The latest film from filmmaker/provocateur Mads Brügger (The Red Chapel) begins as a quest to discover whether or not UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld’s 1961 death in a plane crash was the result of foul play. His subsequent findings, presented in a style that varies between absurd and riveting, involve mercenary armies, the CIA, and some extremely dark state secrets.


American Factory

Julia Reichart and Steven Bognar, 2019, DCP, 115 min.

By award-winning directors Julia Reichart and Steven Bognar (A Lion in the House). In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.


Doc Nights


A Texas Myth

David Fenster and Joe Cashiola, USA, 2019, DCP, 75 min.

May 11

In this new documentary, West Texas landowners and Native Americans band together to resist the Trans Pecos oil pipeline. With filmmakers in attendance.


Dance Hall Days

Erik McCowan, USA, 2018, Digital, 82 min.

June 9

Dance halls were once as common as cattle in Texas. Now, the ones that remain exist in a time where their past is legend and their future is uncertain. A cast of iconic characters strive to keep these country institutions alive while one man does his best to make sure that not one more is lost to history. With filmmakers in attendance.


Antonio Gaudí

Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan, 1984, 35mm, 72 min. In Japanese and Spanish with English Subtitles.

June 25

In celebration of the birth anniversary of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí, we present this unique document of his major works, filmed by the Japanese maverick director Hiroshi Teshigahara. Presented in partnership with Blanton Museum of Art.


New Releases


Hail Satan?

Penny Lane, USA, 2019, DCP, 95 min.

Opens May 3

This new doc from Penny Lane (Our Nixon, Nuts!) depicts the efforts by the Church Of Satan to place a statue of the demon Baphomet at the Oklahoma State Capitol in civic protest of the State’s installation of a Ten Commandments sculpture on the site.


Carmine Street Guitars

Ron Mann, Canada, 2019, DCP, 80 min.

Opens May 10

Ron Mann’s philosophical, music-filled documentary sweeps viewers into master lutenist Rick Kelly’s cluttered, magical guitar shop, where Kelly, his associates and customers (among them Jim Jarmusch, Charlie Sexton, and Bill Frisell) talk about music, life and memory as the neighborhood changes around them.



Zhang Yimou, China, 2018, DCP, 116 min.

Opens May 17

The latest film from Chinese director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) is a tale of intrigue and war that features some of the boldest and most exciting action imagery in years. Made with a hyper-stylized visual aesthetic that uses the alternating blacks and whites of yin/yang to tell a complex story in shadows, it is a rewarding and exciting war epic.


Walking on Water

Andrey Paounov, Italy/US/Germany/UAE, 2018, DCP, 105 min.

Opens May 24

For many years, the legendary land artist and his collaborator/wife Jeanne-Claude collaborated on massive projects that transformed large areas of land. Now, seven years after Jeanne-Claude’s death, Christo returns with an enormous project, the creation of colorful floating fabric piers that allow visitors to “walk on water” for two miles. This film depicts the struggles and the triumphs of the effort. Presented in partnership with The Contemporary Austin.


Our Time

Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2018, DCP, 173 min.

Opens June 28

In the latest uncompromising (nearly 3-hour!) film from Carlos Reygadas (POST TENEBRAS LUX), the writer-director and his real-life wife Natalia López play a married couple who own and operate a ranch for breeding fighting bulls in the rural Mexican countryside. They are cultured and literate people – he is also a well-known poet – and they have an open marriage. When the rules of this open marriage begin to fray, so does the trust at the heart of their partnership. Presented in partnership with Cine Las Americas.


Essential Cinema: Chronicler: Films of Wang Bing

For the past two decades Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing has been making pointedly observational documentaries about his home country of staggering substance – and length. Though his work is unknown and unscreened in China, he has become one of the most important figures in the medium. For this series, we present two recent works.


We present Wang Bing’s most recent film in three parts, due to its very long run time – over 8 hours. In DEAD SOULS, Wang has located and interviewed survivors of Mao Tse-tung’s Jiabiangou labor camp, created to punish and re-educate people considered opponents of his regime. Presented in partnership with Austin Asian American Film Festival.


Dead Souls Part 1

Wang Bing, China, 2018, DCP, 175 min. In Mandarin with English subtitles.

May 2


Dead Souls Part 2

Wang Bing, China, 2018, DCP, 164m. In Mandarin with English subtitles.

May 9


Dead Souls Part 3

Wang Bing, China, 2018, DCP, 175 min. In Mandarin with English subtitles.

May 16


‘Til Madness Do Us Part

Wang Bing, Japan, France, and Hong Kong, 2013, DCP, 227 min. In Chinese with English Subtitles.

May 23

This observational documentary takes viewers inside a single floor of a vast Chinese mental hospital, where many different men of varying needs are confined and largely left to fend for themselves.


Essential Cinema: Bertolucci’s Novecento

Finally presented in its uncut form, this decades-spanning epic is perhaps the greatest film of the late Bernardo Bertolucci. In it, we follow the lives and rivalries of two men, one of the upper class (Robert De Niro) and one of the working class (Gerard Depardieu) during a period of massive social and political upheaval.


1900 Part 1

Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, France, and West Germany, 1976, DCP, 162 min. In Italian with English Subtitles.

June 20


1900 Part 2

Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, France, and West Germany, 1976, DCP, 154 min. In Italian with English Subtitles.

June 27


1900 (Complete)

Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, France, and West Germany, 1976, DCP, 317 min. In Italian with English Subtitles.

June 29


Newly Restored


War & Peace

In the 1960s the Cold War reached its apex. On land, at sea, even in outer space the Soviet Bloc and Western Allies duelled for physical and ideological supremacy. During this same period, Hollywood movies were more popular than ever, seducing the world with lush scenery, beautiful people and breathtaking spectacle. Sergei Bondarchuk’s massive adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s WAR & PEACE represented a cinematic counteroffensive to Western hegemony. Every available resource was provided to Bondarchuk and his enormous crew and the film, upon release, was seen by a quarter of a billion people worldwide where it was widely acclaimed and even won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. To call this film an epic is to understate its true scale. It’s such an overwhelming experience that we will be presenting the film in four parts on four consecutive weekends.


War & Peace Part 1: Andrei Bolkonsky

Sergei Bondarchuk, Russia, 1966, DCP, 147 min. In Russian, German and French with English subtitles.

May 5


War & Peace Part 2: Natasha Rostova

Sergei Bondarchuk, Russia, 1966, DCP, 98 min. In Russian, German and French with English subtitles.

May 12


War & Peace Part 3:  The Year 1812

Sergei Bondarchuk, Russia, 1966, DCP, 82 min. In Russian, German and French with English subtitles.

May 19


War & Peace Part 4: Pierre Bezukhov

Sergei Bondarchuk, Russia, 1966, DCP, 96 min. In Russian, German and French with English subtitles.

May 26


Emma Mae

Jamaa Fanaka, USA, 1976, DCP, 100 min.

June 3, June 5

In Jamaa Fanaka’s low-budget wonder, made while he was a student at UCLA, a young black woman, born and raised down South, comes to Los Angeles when her mother dies. In the big city she finds injustice as well, so she fights hard with all the tools at her disposal.


Queen of Diamonds

Nina Menkes, USA, 1991, DCP, 77 min.

June 22, June 26

Nina Menkes’ no-budget 1991 study of an alienated Las Vegas blackjack dealer (played by the filmmaker’s sister and muse Tinka Menkes) seems especially prescient now, considering subsequent trends in world cinema. Made with a series of very long, contemplative takes, it envelops the viewer in the psyche of the protagonist, who haunts the streets and corridors of a city that sleeps all day.




They Live

John Carpenter, USA, 1988, DCP, 94 min.

Week of May 10

John Carpenter’s subversive sci-fi action movie about a construction worker who finds a stash of sunglasses that allow him to see subliminal evidence of alien/corporate collusion has become a modern classic.


Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Alan Arkush, USA, 1979, 35mm, 93 min.

Week of May 24

All teenager Riff Randall (P.J. Soles) wants is to listen to rock and roll, and see the destruction of her high school. When the Ramones come to town, she gets her chance to do both at the same time. Presented in 35mm.


Ghost in the Shell

Mamoru Oshii, Japan and UK, 1995, DCP, 83 min. In Japanese with English Subtitles.

Week of June 19

One of the most rigorously made animated films ever, GHOST IN THE SHELL depicts a near-future where cybernetic humans face the threat of a shadowy godlike force called The Puppet Master.


Noir Canon

In Paris, after the World War II Nazi occupation, American crime and detective films flooded back into cinemas after a four-year absence. The moral and visual darkness of these films caused French critics and audiences to coin a new term, film noir, to describe them. The narrative directness, visual sophistication and dark humor that characterized these films have made film noir enduringly popular. With this ongoing series, we hope to share some of the foundational films of film noir and, in our introductions to these screenings, help people understand what characterizes the genre, what it meant to audiences of its time, and what it still says to us today.


The Killers

Robert Siodmak, USA, 1946, DCP, 103 min.

June 21, June 23

Proceeding from the central premise of Ernest Hemingway’s very short story of the same name, this technically astounding, flashback-filled noir has two of the most memorable performances in the canon, from Burt Lancaster, as a boxer who makes too many bad decisions, and Ava Garner, as a femme fatale who derives so much pleasure from being bad it’s almost unseemly.


The Lady from Shanghai

Orson Welles, USA, 1947, DCP, 87 min. In English and Cantonese with English Subtitles.

June 28, June 30

Strapped for cash, Orson Welles made a spur-of-the-moment deal with Columbia Pictures honcho Harry Cohn to direct and star – alongside Welles’ wife at the time, Rita Hayworth – in an adaptation of a pulp novel. As you would expect with Welles, he turns the story of a convoluted murder plot into something of much greater import than the novel presupposes. The hall-of-mirrors climax of this film is rightly celebrated as one of the greatest moments in all of Hollywood cinema.


Scarlet Street

Fritz Lang, USA, 1945, DCP, 102 min.

July 5, July 7

Fritz Lang’s perverse film of amor fou between a stolid middle age clerk named Chris Cross, played by crime-film stalwart Edward G. Robinson, and a young woman with dishonest intentions (Lang favorite Joan Bennett) is a haunting master class in shifting perspectives. The masterful Dan Duryea completes the love triangle and, as always, plays the heel with zeal.


Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder, USA, 1944, DCP, 107 min.

July 12, July 14

Billy WIlder’s adaptation of James M. Cain’s slim novel of sex, murder, and the art of the insurance investigation provided a template for many subsequent noir films. Barbara Stanwyck as the rapacious and determined suburban wife, Fred MacMurray as the tough-talking but weak-willed insurance agent, and Edward G. Robinson as the patron saint of pencil pushers deliver an unbeatable triumvirate of canonical performances.


Homo Arigato


Knife + Heart

Yann Gonzalez, France, 2018, 35mm, 110 min. In French and Spanish with English Subtitles.

May 28

Paris, 1979: A masked killer is at large, targeting members of a gay porn production company in this stylish Palme d’Or-nominated love letter to giallo films starring Vanessa Paradis. In 35mm.




Alice (Švankmajer)

Jan Švankmajer, Czech, 1988, Digital, 86 min. In Czech with English subtitles.

May 10, May 11

Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer takes on Lewis Carroll’s literary classic in this daringly original and utterly demented masterpiece of live-action and stop-motion animation.


Hail the New Puritan

Charles Atlas, UK, 1987, DCP, 85 min.

May 17, May 18

Leigh Bowery’s Blitz Kids take to the dance floor in Charles Atlas’ legendary “docufantasy”. Featuring Michael Clark, Mark E. Smith, Ballet, and music by The Fall, Bruce Gilbert, Glenn Branca, Ravel & Elvis!



Todd Haynes, USA, 1995, 35mm, 119 min.

May 24, May 25, May 26

In this ‘90s indie classic-cum-allegory from hell, Todd Haynes directs everyone’s favorite, Julianne Moore, as a paranoid California housewife who becomes allergic to her environment.


Der Fan

Eckhart Schmidt, West Germany, 1982, DCP, 92 min. In German with English Subtitles.

June 21, June 22, June 23

Teen angst and obsession are set to cold German synths in this entrancing, minimalist take on pop fanaticism accompanied by Walkman. Shocking & sordid — meet your new cult favorite.


Je T’aime Moi Non Plus

Serge Gainsbourg, France, 1976, DCP, 89 min. In French with English Subtitles.

June 28, June 29, June 30

Serge Gainsbourg directs Jane Birkin and Warhol-superstar Joe Dallesandro in this gender-bending romance about a woman who “looks like a boy” & falls in love with a man who sleeps with men.


Modern Masters


Ash is Purest White

Zhangke Jia, China, France and Japan, 2018, DCP, 136 min. In Mandarin and Chinese with English subtitles.

May 6, May 12

The director of Still Life and Mountains May Depart returns with a daring 3-part epic, spanning 17 years in contemporary China. Phenomenal actress Tao Zhao plays Qiao, the girlfriend of a mob boss in a declining rural coal town, whose relationship and status is disrupted by violence. 2018 Cannes Film Festival main competition film.


Sorry Angel

Christophe Honoré, France, 2018, DCP, 132 min. In French with English Subtitles.

June 30, July 1

An exciting, emotional new work by visionary queer director Christophe Honoré (Ma Mere, Love Songs), an intergenerational love story set against the backdrop of the height of the Paris’ AIDS epidemic. AFS presents Sorry Angel in celebration of National Pride Month. 2018 Cannes Film Festival main competition film.


Anniversary Screening

Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt

June 16

Margaret Brown’s seminal 2004 film about the Texas music legend assured that Townes’s story would live on for a new generation to discover. Margaret Brown and key special guests join us for an anniversary screening and a post-screening conversation about Townes, his music, and his legacy. (Re-scheduled from our April calendar)


AFA Cine-Club

May 19, June 23

Spend your Sunday morning enjoying the best classic and contemporary French films, often featuring post-screening discussions, brought to you by the Alliance Française Ciné-Club.  


Partner Events


May 21

A filmmaker and her mother investigate why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in North America, despite being labeled in 64 countries worldwide. Presented in partnership with Texas Farmers Market.


Cinema on the Creek: Christo’s Valley Curtain & Shorts

May 19 at Symphony Square

A curated selection of short films featuring Christo’s Valley Curtain (1974), directed by Albert & David Maysles and Ellen Giffard. Presented in partnership with The Waller Creek Conservancy. *Note that this screening takes place at Symphony Square, 1111 Red River Street.



Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, the Austin Film Society’s mission is to empower our community to make, watch, and love creative media. AFS curates and screens hundreds of repertory, international, and art house films annually at the AFS Cinema; delivers financial support to Texas filmmakers through the AFS Grant; operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, and Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse media makers to train and collaborate. Through its award-winning after school classes, intern training, and the Ed Lowry Student Film program, AFS encourages media and film literacy and provides a place for youth of all backgrounds to learn the craft of filmmaking and gain access to tools for media production. By hosting premieres, special events, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. To learn more about the AFS Cinema or about Austin Film Society’s mission visit: and follow @AustinFilm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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