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Alexander Payne's ‘Nebraska’ coming to Omaha a week earlier
By Bob Fischbach / World-Herald staff writer


News flash: Omaha director Alexander Payne’s sixth feature, “Nebraska,” will be at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater in a limited special engagement Nov. 15 — a week earlier than previously announced.

Paramount bumped up the New York City and Los Angeles premiere dates of the movie to the 15th, and Payne asked that his hometown get an early peek as well. “Nebraska” will play on one screen at Film Streams until Nov. 22.

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At that point, Payne’s black-and-white father-son road-trip movie will officially open, taking over both of Film Streams’ screens. Starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte, it was shot mostly in small towns near Norfolk, Neb., in October and November 2012.

Film Streams director Rachel Jacobson said she expects only about 30 cities in the United States to open “Nebraska” on the 22nd. The movie will have a gradual rollout, building on word of mouth, as the holiday season — and Oscar season — arrive.

In the meantime, Payne has curated Film Streams’ next repertory series of classics, choosing a dozen of his favorite movies for screenings that begin Friday. It’s his third curated series at Film Streams, following the very first when the theater opened in July 2007 and a salute to Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in March 2008.

Payne, a true cinephile, is so excited about this latest set of films that he wants to watch some of them again on a big screen himself.

So, Jacobson said, don’t be surprised if the double Oscar winner (“Sideways,” “The Descendants”) pops up at the Sokolof to introduce some titles in person (hint, hint: Friday evening’s series opener).

He’ll also be in town Nov. 24, when Film Streams’ major annual fundraiser, Feature V, happens at the Holland Center. Payne, Forte and Dern, who won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for “Nebraska,” will all appear for a discussion of the movie led by NPR host Kurt Andersen.

Here’s a rundown of the movies Payne chose for the repertory series, along with his comments on each:

“Le Rayon Vert,” 1986, directed by Eric Rohmer, Oct. 4 through 10. “I haven’t seen it since it came out, but its spell has never left me. A companion piece to David Lean’s ‘Summertime.’ ” In French, subtitled.

“Walkabout,” 1971, directed by Nicholas Roeg, Oct. 11 though 17. “A haunting masterpiece that needs to be seen projected.” Two children stranded in the Australian outback are taught to cope by a young native. In English, Czech and Aboriginal, subtitled.

“I Fidanzati,” 1963, directed by Ermanno Olmi, Oct. 11 through 17. “An intimate, delicate story beautifully shot in black and white. I watch it every two years or so and aspire to its simplicity and depth.” In Italian, subtitled.

“L’avventura,” 1960, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, Oct. 18 through 24. “An infinitely mysterious and seductive film that presented a new film language to the world. It established Antonioni as one of our greatest directors. It will forever seem modern.” In English and Italian, subtitled.

“Onibaba,” 1964, directed by Kaneto Shindo, Oct. 25 through 31. “A widescreen black-and-white tour de force, it casts a hypnotic spell over all who see it.” Two women in feudal Japan survive by killing weakened samurai and selling their clothes. In Japanese, subtitled.

“Dersu Uzala,” 1975, directed by Akira Kurosawa, Nov. 1 through 7. “Winner of the Oscar for foreign language film, and Kurosawa’s only time shooting outside of Japan. The wonderful story of a friendship between a Russian officer and a man of wilderness. Has one of the best-ever endings of a film.” In Russian and Chinese, subtitled.

“Tokyo Story,” 1953, directed by Yasujiro Ozu, Nov. 1 through 7. “A world treasure from one of the greatest directors,” it follows an elderly couple in bustling postwar Tokyo as they visit their adult children. In Japanese, subtitled.

“La Amiche,” 1955, Nov. 8 through 14, directed by Antonioni. “His first major feature appeals to my own interest in telling provincial stories with a strong sense of place. It takes us inside upper-class Turin.” In Italian, subtitled.

“High and Low,” 1963, directed by Kurosawa, Nov. 29 through Dec. 5. “Based on an American detective novel, one of Ed McBain’s ‘87th Precinct’ series. Kurosawa’s black-and-white photography was never more brilliant, and it stars two titans of Japanese cinema, Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai.” In Japanese, subtitled.

“An Autumn Afternoon,” 1962, directed by Ozu, Dec. 6 through 12. “When young filmmakers ask me for advice, I invariably say, ‘Watch as much Ozu as you can. He never made a bad film.’ This one was his last.” In Japanese, subtitled.

“Come and See,” 1985, directed by Elem Klimov, Dec. 13 through 19. “A harrowing look at war through the eyes of a young boy. Not only the most powerful war film I’ve seen but also one of the most brilliant uses of subjective storytelling.” In Belarusian, Russian and German, subtitled.

“Summertime,” 1955, directed by David Lean, Dec. 20 through 26. “My favorite of all David Lean films, it shows us romantic Venice through the eyes of a lonely American spinster (Katharine Hepburn). Full of solitude and longing, it inspired my segment of ‘Paris, Je T’aime.’ ” In English and Italian, subtitled.

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

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