Spending the summer in Santa Barbara has its pros and cons. On the one hand, there’s plenty of parking, the bike paths are relatively traffic-free and the beaches are beautiful. On the other hand, unless you’re willing to shell out big bucks for a concert at the Bowl, chances are you will be hard-pressed to find more than a small handful of cultural activities with which to indulge the side of you that yearns to do something other than play beer pong.
Fortunately for us students, Arts & Lectures has once again saved the day with its annual summer cinema series. This year’s films are eclectic, engaging, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining, with the proverbial “something for everyone” at prices that everyone really can afford. Tickets are just $6 for the general public and $5 for students, which is about half of what you would pay to go see the summer blockbusters. Considering that such movies aim to blow up as many things up as possible, including the plotline, we here at Artsweek are big fans of any excuse to avoid bad summer blockbusters. Thus, we’ve decided to provide you with a rundown of the films you’ll find during the summer cinema series. The movies screen at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall and more information about the series is also available at www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
The series kicks off on July 11, with a double feature of films about the king of pop art, Andy Warhol. “Superstar : The Life and Times of Andy Warhol” portrays the iconic artist via archival footage, images and interviews with his contemporaries, including Lou Reed and Dennis Hopper. “I Shot Andy Warhol,” beginning at 9:15, is a renowned indie flick about Warhol hanger-on Valerie Solanas, who ultimately attempted to assassinate the artist in the mid-1960s. Both films are being shown in conjunction with the University Art Museum’s exhibition “Andy Warhol Presents,” which features reproductions of window displays Warhol did in New York as well as illustrations by the artist.
On July 18, the series will screen the Oscar-winning political documentary “The Lives of Others,” about a Stasi police captain in 1980s East Germany who ends up tangled in a web of surveillance, manipulation, celebrity and secrets. Admission to this award-winning film is free for UCSB students.
“Offside,” a film about Iranian women who defy an official ban on female attendance of men’s sporting events, is a humorous and poignant look at gender politics and the lengths to which some fans will go to see their favorite soccer team. It screens on July 25. Another international offering, “The Wind That Shakes the
Barley,” is an award-winning Irish film about two Irish brothers who fight together against Britain, but find themselves fighting for opposing sides during the Irish Civil War. “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” screens on August 1.
On August 8, be sure to check out “An Unreasonable Man,” which details the life and career of the controversial author, politician and pundit Ralph Nader. On August 15, the film is “Days of Glory,” an Oscar-nominated film showcasing the true story of four Algerian men who enlist in the French Army in order to fight the Nazis on behalf of the “fatherland” that colonized their country.
The series ends with two classic films that are must-sees for film nerds and neophytes alike. “City Lights,” which screens on August 22, is the definitive Charlie Chaplin vehicle, as the Little Tramp courts a blind flower girl and comes up against all the obstacles the big city has to offer in the process. Expect plenty of physical comedy, as well as many of Chaplin’s most iconic on-screen moments. “La Dolce Vita,” which closes the series on August 29, is a one of the most influential and popular films in contemporary cinema. This Italian masterpiece by the great Federico Fellini follows the escapades of a tabloid journalist as he wines, dines and debauches with the swankiest members of Rome’s high society. It’s a sumptuous and scintillating piece of cinema, and a fitting end to a series that guarantees to bring some much-needed stimulation to students spending the sunny summer days in Santa Barbara.