It’s August already. How is that even possible? Any day now, you’ll be seeing back-to-school shopping displays at Target and planning out a visit to the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Already that nostalgia for summer is welling up as the nights get increasingly cooler. Already I’m drinking beers on rooftops and patios wondering how many of these I’ll have before the leaves start falling and the sun goes down with the workday.
But perhaps cinema, or certain kinds of cinema, can help us savor summer. Some movies – like Terrance Malick’s Tree of Life – allow for a certain type of reflection that ends up giving you fresh eyes, if only for a few minutes.
While there’s not too much going on movie-wise in the Twin Cities this week (although there are plenty of shows with the Fringe Festival), here are some screenings that might offer a bit of that time-slowing reflection I’m talking about.
All Week: My Neighbor Totoro (Riverview Theater)
There’s an incredible sense of innocence in this classic of Japanese animation. The story of two little girls discovering mysterious creatures in the woods isn’t about fear or coming of age or saving the world. It’s about life, experience, and being part of something big, beautiful and evolving. Another joy of this film — and others like it by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli — is that they seem to offer so much from repeat viewings. Not unlike a meditative experience, it’s hard to leave a Miyazaki movie without feeling it’s easier to breathe, or even smile.
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Blue Velvet (Walker Art Center)
This week’s Summer Nights/Cool Cinema offering is David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. The 1986 film is a sort of a love-it-or-hate-it creature, pitting a raw sexual story in an idyllic American small town. Like Miyazaki above, Lynch’s work is something easy to revisit, in that there’s so much in his movies, which seem to throb with a sort of fevered genius. Just the imagery alone — say, a severed ear in the grass — will remind you why Lynch is considered an American master.
Friday, Aug. 7: The End Of The Tour (Uptown Theater)
David Foster Wallace aficionados, even if they’re concerned about the quality of Jason Segel’s performance, likely have their tickets for this screening already. While it seems the film doesn’t exactly promise to showcase the literary superstar’s genius, it does look to examine the dynamic between great talents and the journalists who cover them. Critics seem quite positive on the film — and Segel’s Wallace — and the movie sits at comfortable 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so I’d say it’s a safe bet. Moreover, parts of the movie were shot in Minneapolis. So, there’s that.