It’ll be heavy and fabulous. At least, that’s what it looks like from where we’re standing, as Spazju Kreattiv at St James Cavalier, Valletta unveil their late-summer cinema schedule with an eclectic feast of powerful feature films and intriguing art documentaries.
Either by accident or design, September’s programme appears skewed towards explorations of both art and death – perennial human concerns, to be sure, and ones which we’ll see being tackled by the best in the field.
Here’s a taste of what’s in store for the coming month, with an indication of how each of these artsy films will contribute to your hipster cred.
What: Philosophical sci-fi thriller from one of the most renowned Russian filmmakers of all time
When: September 28 at 19:00
Hipster points: 10/10
There was a George Clooney-starring remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s philosophical sci-fi opus which… actually wasn’t all that bad. But nothing beats experiencing the original, in which an astronaut is confronted by the ghost of his wife when he is sent to investigate the titular planet.
Solaris will be screened as part of a retrospective of the legendary Russian filmmaker’s best work at Spazju Kreattiv… and trust us when we say that it don’t get more arty than Tarkovsky. So experiencing a large chunk of his back catalogue in what amounts to Malta’s own arthouse cinema is actually the very definition of a good idea.
2. Valley of Love
What: Existential drama starring two of France’s most popular actors
When: September (Exact dates TBA)
Hipster points: 5/10
Tackling somewhat similar themes to Solaris – no spaceships here, but still humans pining after the ghostly memory of someone close to them – this drama featuring Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert finds the estranged couple reunited after their son sends them his suicide note.
The kicker? The newly-dead young man promises he will meet with them if they come to Death Valley, California on a specific day, and at a specific time. A French film that’s brooding and existentially unforgiving? You don’t say! Joking apart – and the trailer actually lets a few jokes slip in through the gloom – this looks like an emotional rollercoaster worth taking.
3. Hieronymus Bosch: Touched by the devil
What: Uppity art experts battle over which Bosch paintings are the real deal
When: September (Exact dates TBA)
Hipster points: 8/10
Hieronymus Bosch is one of the most powerful and idiosyncratic painters of all time, and his unforgettable portrayals of hell on earth – which somehow manage to be both grotesquely detailed and breathtakingly panoramic at the same time – ensure he’s got fans among angsty heavy-metal listening teens as well as the more conventionally genteel members of art-loving society.
Taking a landmark exhibition of Bosch’s paintings in Madrid as its starting point, this documentary plunges us into the surprisingly vibrant (and somewhat catty) world of art experts, who here cast doubts over the authenticity of some of Bosch’s paintings. This is obviously a must-see for confirmed Bosch fans – PS. Leonardo DiCaprio is one – but anybody interested in the legacy of such a master painter, as well as the politics of the contemporary art world, might also want to peek in.
4. The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic in Brazil
What: Rock star performance artist does Brazil
When: September 2, 10, 18 at 20:30
Hipster points: 9/10
‘The Artist is Present’, the previous documentary focusing on the most famous performance artist in the world – who can count Jay-Z as a former collaborator and James Franco among her closest friends – was something of a small blockbuster in its field. And now, Abramovic is back with another adventure: this time taking her to Brazil. Abramovic will be imbibing lots of drugs and getting freaky with some ancient religious practices in what will amount to a painful but hopefully revealing journey of self-discovery.
Or as the promotional copy would have it, she will “[explore] the crossroads between art and spirituality”. Love her or loathe her, Abramovic is the top representative of her artistic class, and knowing what she thinks as does is crucial for anyone seeking to understand where the global contemporary art scene is at.
But before you book your tickets, be sure to check out Spazju Kreattiv’s newly-launched Cinema Membership scheme, which entitles you to some great offers!