Film preview series returns to Scottsdale in October

(photo by Scottsdale Arts)

Scottsdale residents and moviegoers are invited to become a film critic for a day through Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts annual preview-series, Talk Cinema.

The first movie screening scheduled for Talk Cinema will be 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in Scottsdale Center for the Performing Art’s Virginia G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second Street.

Talk Cinema founder, Harlan Jacobson says one word for the kind of movies being screened this year at major film festivals is “Confrontational.”

“We live in perilous, confrontational times,” Mr. Jacobson said in a prepared statement. “And the conflicts that reflect our culture are reflected in our films, big and small.”

Talk Cinema puts viewers in the critic’s chair, according to a press release. What will be screened is almost always a surprise. The audience has the opportunity to see films before they are in general release, as well as films that will never been screened in the Valley because of limited distribution.

After the films, patrons are encouraged to engage in a critical discussion led by film scholars and special guests.

Through Talk Cinema’s sneak-preview film series, Mr. Jacobson says he aims to bring some of the thought-provoking, confrontational films to Scottsdale.

A nationally recognized film critic whose signature guarantees quality selections from Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and other internationally ranked film festivals, Mr. Jacobson’s selections may include an award-winning drama, an indie comedy, a documentary, or the next breakout hit, the press release stated.

Over the years, Talk Cinema participants were among the first to see hits such as Slumdog Millionaire, The Reader, Rachel Getting Married, Cadillac Records and more.

Mr. Jacobson, based out of New York, has yet to choose this season’s Talk Cinema selections, but he noted that the films at the major festivals this year “are about big social forces slamming into each other … People are working through extremely uncomfortable situations … The kinds of films that we have been seeing have been highly personal, character-driven films … These are the alternative independent films. They are the films that go on to success in the United States and often win Oscars.”

One film Mr. Jacobson said likely will be shown is The Square by Swedish writer-director Ruben Ostlund, which earlier this year won the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

“This is a very confrontational film, a rough piece of business,” Mr. Jacobson said in a prepared statement.

Another film he is keen on showing at Talk Cinema is Novitiate, about a young nun in training in the early 1960s that garnered high praise at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Aside from getting the inside scoop on upcoming films and seeing winners from film festivals in Cannes and at Sundance, as well as favorites from Toronto, patrons also have the opportunity to enjoy the films in an all-digital video and audio format, so they will see and hear exactly what the director intended.

“We have shown the best of independent films from around the world that come out in festivals,” he said in a prepared statement. “That festival experience is what we bring to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It’s an adventurous year in (festival) movies”

The 2017-18 Talk Cinema screenings will begin at 7 p.m.:

  • Oct. 10 and 24;
  • Nov. 7 and 28;
  • Jan. 16 and 30, 2018;
  • March 13 and 27, 2018;
  • April 10 and 24, 2018;
  • May 15 and 29, 2018.

General Admission: $15 Free for eligible veterans, students and teachers. Patrons 29 and under, 50 percent off.

For tickets visit

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