Three films, “Our Body,” “Fremont” and “Joan Baez I Am A Noise” open at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center Oct. 20.
“Our Body” tells the story of French documentary titan Claire Simon who observes the everyday operations in the gynecology ward of a public hospital in Paris. In the process, she questions what it means to live in a woman’s body, filming the diversity, singularity and beauty of patients in all stages of life. Through these many encounters, the specific fears, desires and struggles of these individuals become the health challenges we all face, even the filmmaker herself.
“Our Body” is not rated and is showing at the Ross through Oct. 26.
“Fremont” tells the story of Afghan refugee Donya who lives in Fremont but works at a fortune cookie factory in San Francisco. Seeking connection, she decides to send a message out to the world through a cookie in this offbeat vision of the universal longing for home.
Each morning Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) leaves her tight-knit community of Afghan immigrants in Fremont, Calif. She crosses the Bay to work at a family-run fortune cookie factory in San Francisco. Donya drifts through her routine, struggling to connect with the culture and people of her new, unfamiliar surroundings while processing complicated feelings about her past as a translator for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. Unable to sleep, she finagles her way into a regular slot with a therapist (Gregg Turkington) who grasps for prospective role models. When an unexpected promotion at work thrusts Donya into the position to write her own story, she communicates her loneliness and longing through a concise medium: the fortunes inside each cookie. Donya’s koans travel, making a humble social impact and expanding her world far beyond Fremont and her turbulent past, including an encounter with a quiet auto mechanic (Jeremy Allen White) who could stand to see his own world expanded. Tenderly sculpted and lyrically shot in black-and-white, Babak Jalali’s “Fremont” is a wry, deadpan vision of the universal longing for home.
“Fremont” is not rated and is showing at the Ross through Nov. 2.
“Joan Baez I Am A Noise” is an unusually intimate psychological portrait of legendary folk singer and activist Joan Baez. Neither a conventional biopic nor a traditional concert film, this immersive documentary shifts back and forth through time as it follows Joan on her final tour and delves into her extraordinary archive, including newly discovered home movies, diaries, artwork, therapy tapes and audio recordings. Throughout the film, Baez is remarkably revealing about her life on and off stage – from her lifelong emotional struggles to her civil rights work with MLK and a heartbreaking romance with a young Bob Dylan. A searingly honest look at a living legend, this film is a compelling and deeply personal exploration of an iconic artist who has never told the full truth of her life, as she experienced it, until now.
“Joan Baez I Am A Noise” is not rated and is showing at the Ross through Oct. 26.