Opens June 9
IFC, various times
*Q&A with director Andrew Cohn Friday, June 9, 6PM; Saturday, June 10, 4:05 PM and 6PM; Sunday, June 11, 4:05 PM*
If you had a second chance, would you take it even if it meant doing what seems impossible? Andrew Cohn’s new documentary Night School addresses this question by following the lives of three Indianapolis residents as they balance the struggles of daily life with earning a high school diploma as adults. Structured around an upcoming exit exam that determines whether or not they will graduate, the film weaves in and out of the personal and academic lives of Greg, Melissa, and Shynika to show the circumstances that led them to drop out of high school in the first place, the challenges that they must face in their present situations to complete their degree, and what they stand to gain as a result.
June 9, 12, 13
Metrograph, various times
Screening as part of Metrograph’s series, Marlene, Maximilian Schell’s unusual documentary of the same name came after adamant refusals on the part of its subject, Marlene Dietrich. A result of much persistence on the behalf of Schell, Dietrich finally agreed to participate in the film with the caveat that she would only appear in voiceover. Though she was contracted, as Dietrich reminds Schell in his interview, to do “40 hours of talking,” the recording that makes its way into the final cut often includes Dietrich refusing to answer her Judgment at Nuremberg co-star’s questions, noting that much of what he seeks is in her book. For his part, Schell paired the audio with stills and clips from her expansive career to create an enigmatic portrait of the star.
Varda in California
Runs through June 13
BAMcinématek, various times
Now in its final weekend, BAMcinématek’s Varda in California series showcases films from the period French New Wave director Agnès Varda spent in California. Taken as snapshots of time and place from the outside, Varda’s treatment of California ranges from the political (Black Panthers (1968)) to undeniably loopy (Lions Love (…and Lies) (1969)) and the personal (Uncle Yanco (1967) (her first American film)). There’s still time to catch all of the films from the series this weekend, which includes Lions Love (…and Lies), Mur Murs, Black Panthers, Documenteur, Uncle Yanco, and Model Shop (directed by her late husband and filmmaker Jacques Demy).