Minneapolis, March 1, 2013—The Walker Art Center’s dialogue and retrospective program, which brings together some of the most innovative and influential filmmakers of our time with leading critics, writers, and historians, presents Noah Baumbach: Visibly Human, March 15–April 5, 2013. A dialogue with the director and film critic Scott Foundas takes place at 8 pm Friday, April 5. Tickets to the dialogue are $20 ($15 Walker members, seniors, and students).
Writer/Director Noah Baumbach has become known for creating witty characters who can be unsparingly honest and frustratingly flawed, yet somehow also endearing. He also shows their fragility, and as critic Scott Foundas notes, these people “remain visibly human” in dealing with major transitions: post-college life, marriage, divorce, emotional crises.
Films in the retrospective series include Kicking and Screaming (March 15, 7:30 pm); The Squid and the Whale (March 16, 7:30 pm); Margot at the Wedding (March 20, 7:30 pm); Greenberg (March 27, 7:30 pm); Frances Ha (April 4, 7:30 pm). Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $9 ($7 Walker members, students, and seniors). A Cinephile Package, good for admission to all films and the Regis Dialogue, is available for $45 ($32). All films are screened in the Walker Cinema.
NOAH BAUMBACH: VISIBLY HUMAN
MARCH 15—APRIL 5
Friday, March 15, 7:30 pm
Kicking and Screaming
“Noah Baumbach has a knack for acute observation and a spirited cast to animate every twisted nuance.” —Rolling Stone
This debut feature takes on post-college ennui, deftly chronicling a group of friends dodging life’s encroaching responsibilities while parrying with self-assured references to Immanuel Kant and Friday the 13th. Baumbach’s aptitude for snappy, culturally astute dialogue as well as languorous long takes set Kicking and Screaming apart from the contemporary wave of Gen X malaise films. Eric Stoltz and Parker Posey are invaluable in supporting roles, but their four leads—Josh Hamilton, Carlos Jacott, Chris Eigeman, and Jason Wiles—do the heavy lifting, appearing at once jaded and sympathetic. 1995, 35mm, 96 minutes.
Saturday, March 16, 7:30 pm
The Squid and the Whale
“The Squid and the Whale has the power to break your heart and heal it again. It’s acutely observed, faultlessly active, overflowing with emotion and honesty. It will make you laugh because you can’t bear to cry.” —NPR.org
Named after a diorama at the New York Museum of Natural History, The Squid and the Whale is an achingly felt, astutely realized story told from the perspective of teenaged Walt (Jesse Eisenberg). Drawing from his own adolescence in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, Baumbach is perfectly armed to script this war of words fought among Walt’s parents (Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels), literary professionals whose marriage is falling apart, and their two sons, who wish to either imitate or irritate them. Winner of best director and best screenwriter prizes at Sundance, this unexpected hit was also nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards, three Golden Globes, and an Oscar. 2005, 35mm, 81 minutes.
Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 pm
Margot at the Wedding
“Margot has a kitchen-sink realism that’s genuinely unsettling, like a John Cassavetes movie populated by the hyper-articulate.” —The A.V. Club
Following The Squid and the Whale, Baumbach unleashed an even more scathing portrait of a family beset with emotional baggage. With the seeming intention of mending fences, Margot (Nicole Kidman) travels home to attend the wedding of her estranged sister, Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh), to ne’er-do-well Malcolm (Jack Black), but the family reunion explodes into a disastrous mess. The actors give fierce performances as sisters caught in a web of egos, retribution, and the undeniable connection of shared genes. The title references one of Baumbach’s influences, Eric Rohmer, and his film Pauline at the Beach. 2007, 35mm, 93 minutes.
Wednesday, March 27, 7:30 pm
“It is the funniest and saddest movie Mr. Baumbach has made so far, and also the riskiest.” —New York Times
Baumbach strikes a perfect tone between disillusionment and vulnerability in this portrayal of the midlife crisis of Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller). Still fragile from a recent nervous breakdown, Roger accepts a house-sitting stint for his brother in Los Angeles. There he meets California cool housekeeper Florence (Greta Gerwig), who offers a refreshing change from his crew of judgmental friends. Defensive, hypercritical, and narcissistic to his core, Roger is a compilation of characters from Baumbach’s other films, but one drawn with a certain measure of warmth, sympathy, and understanding. 2010, 35mm, 107 minutes.
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 pm
“Loose, limber and driven by a fierce energy … [this] is a fresh and vivacious near-reinvention of the director/writer’s comedic milieu.” —Playlist
Baumbach’s new film is an effervescent, sophisticated comedy, crafted with cowriter Greta Gerwig, who stars in the title role. Frances is a 27-year-old dance apprentice living in New York, whose personal and professional progress seems to have stalled as others move onward and upward. The film embraces her aimless ways with tenderness and humor, while Gerwig’s organic performance is a raw yet comedic show of clumsiness and insecurity. Shot in black and white, Frances Ha free-associates stylistically with the French New Wave and Woody Allen, but asserts its originality through Baumbach’s unmistakable wit and wholly original characters. 2012, DCP, 86 minutes.
Friday, April 5, 8 pm
Noah Baumbach with Scott Foundas
$20 ($15 Walker members, seniors, and students)
Noah Baumbach joins Scott Foundas, chief film critic at the Village Voice and former associate program director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in a discussion of his creative process, his work as both screenwriter and director, and the films he’s made over the past 18 years.
GALLERY HOURS AND ADMISSION
$12 adults; $10 seniors (65+); $8 students (with ID)
Free to Walker members and children ages 18 and under.
Free with a paid event ticket within one week of performance or screening.
Free to all every Thursday evening (5–9 pm) and on the first Saturday of each month (10 am–5 pm).
Target Free Thursday Nights sponsored by Target
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 am–5 pm
Thursday 11 am–9 pm
Noah Baumbach on the set of Greenberg, 2007
Courtesy: Focus Features