A welcome addition to the arts scene in downtown Winston-Salem opens this weekend.  a/perture cinema (http://www.aperturecinema.com/) is located at 311 West Fourth Street and has two screens (total of 160 seats) with plans to show a variety of independent and international films, including a documentaries.

a/perture opens this weekend with three films – An Education, A Town Called Panic, and New York, I Love You.  The first I recommend highly, the second is fun for adventurous moviegoers, and the third I have not seen.  Tickets are available online through a link from the a/perture site, but online ticket sales do end a couple of hours before showtime, and the box office opens one hour before showtime.

I have been a fan of Lone Scherfig’s work since her Dogma 95 film Italian For Beginners.  Likewise, I’ve enjoyed Nick Hornby’s novels and film adaptations (particularly About A Boy and High Fidelity).  With An Education, Hornby is adapting someone else’s work, a memoir by Lynn Barber, a British journalist, set in a London suburb in 1961.  The story is simple:  a precocious 16-year-old schoolgirl is seduced by an older man, with the unlikely complicity of her parents, and there are consequences none of them foresee.

The implications of the story are anything but simple, and I’ve seldom seen a more compelling argument for formal education presented in a movie.  The tricky part of the film, the unsavory part, is determining the effects of the other education the girl seeks and finds outside of the classroom.  Peter Saarsgard gives a wonderful performance as a man of about 30 who is both less and more than he appears.  We know from the outset that he is a predator, but we can also see how his charm causes people to overlook, at least for a time, what is right before their eyes.  The education this predator gives the schoolgirl is presented, ultimately, as something of a mixed bag, which will be a problem for some viewers but makes the film more complex.  An Education will give you a lot to think about as you watch it and more to consider after the credits have rolled.

A Town Called Panic, which is based on a Belgian TV show with a cult following, is a cleverly conceptualized film using stop motion techniques to animate plastic toys.  The horse (and his music teacher love interest, also a horse) are likeable, and if only his roommates the cowboy and Indian had his horse sense (I couldn’t resist), then a lot of trouble would be avoided.  Of course, then there would be no opportunity to explore an inventive underwater world and lots of adventure.  The film is fun, but even so it is hard to sustain the momentum for 75-minutes with plastic figures.

Can’t wait to see what’s coming next…


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