From Fellini to Wang: Spring at the BAMPFA

Two years ago, when COVID-19 closed all the theaters, the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) was running a series called Federico Fellini at 100. Now that series is coming back…although they should have called it this time Federico Fellini at 102.

But Fellini is only one of the film series that will be running through spring. They’re also running series about Wayne Wang, Souleymane Cissé, and Chinese films.

UC Berkeley’s revival movie theater doesn’t do individual films. They do film series. Here are the series coming up from March through May:

Federico Fellini 100
March 4–May 14

This is by far the longest series BAMPFA is running this spring (or at least the longest of those that have not yet been announced).

To my mind,  is his masterpiece (read my A+ appreciation). Other Fellini works that are highly revered include La dolce vitaAmarcordLa strada, and Fellini’s Roma. And if you want a little-known treat, see his directorial debut, a screwball comedy called The White Sheik.

Chinese Portraits
March 5–17

I don’t really have much to say about this series. I haven’t seen any of the four films in the series. It starts with an American documentary of the Chinese artist Chang Dai-chien. The other three films are Chinese.

Wayne Wang in Person
March 11–April 17

In 1982, Wayne Wang busted into American cinema with his independent first feature, Chan Is Missing. A decade later, he broke into Hollywood with The Joy Luck Club. I’m glad to say that the series doesn’t have his deeply boring documentary, Soul of a Banquet.

Souleymane Cissé
March 31–April 17

Until now, I knew nothing about Souleymane Cissé, who is “regarded as one of the first generation of African filmmakers” and “Africa’s greatest living filmmaker” (the quotes come from Wikipedia). Judging BAMPFA’s descriptions of the four films in the series, he seems to be concerned about gender and class issues.

Limited Engagements & Special Screenings

If every film shown must be in a series, you must have a series for films that don’t fit into a series. And so, there’s a forever series for the oddballs. Three of these films will play in spring: