LOcal films, festivals, and faces

MFA series focuses on the family dynamic of movies

Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” part of the Family Matters series.

Nicole Rivelli/Independent Production

Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” part of the Family Matters series.

Families — nuclear, blended, created, dysfunctional — have long provided movies with red meat for both drama and comedy. The film series Family Matters, running Thursday through next Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, offers four very different movies that examine family dynamics and behavior. Following each film, panelists will lead an audience discussion about issues represented in the film. The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology has collaborated with the MFA on the series, which opens Thursday with “The Squid and the Whale,” Noah Baumbach’s story of two brothers dealing with their parents’ divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s. The Cuban film “Viva Cuba” (Friday) is about a friendship between two children that’s threatened by their parents’ differences. Lynne Ramsay’s controversial 2011 film, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (Saturday), presents Tilda Swinton as the guilt-ridden mother of a sociopath son. “Circumstance” (next Sunday) is about two young women pushing the boundaries of sexuality as they come of age under Islamic fundamentalism in Iran. At this screening, “Circumstance” director Maryam Keshavarz will receive the Hugo Munsterbeg Award for excellence in “using film as a pathway to understanding human nature.”

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Musical artistry

Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 silent biblical epic, “The King of Kings,” will be showcased on Friday in an unusual but wholly appropriate setting when Saint Cecilia Church in Back Bay screens the silent masterpiece with musical accompaniment by acclaimed organist Peter Edwin Krasinski. One of the world’s leading silent film improvisational accompanists, he will play the 1999 Smith and Gilbert Organ of 3,000 pipes. Richard J. Clark, Saint Cecilia’s music director and organist, presents this event in the restored sanctuary of the church. Krasinski’s recent performances include “Nosferatu,” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium, in Philadelphia; “Metropolis,” at Trinity Wall Street, New York; and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” at St. Joseph’s Oratory, in Montreal. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors and students with ID.

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International flair


The Boston International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Opening Friday and running through April 22, the fest boasts more than 100 shorts and features from 35 countries. All screenings take place at the AMC Boston Common. Among the many world premieres are several films with local ties. Boston filmmaker Maryanne Galvin’s latest documentary, “Urban Odyssey” (next Sunday), chronicles a movement to reconnect both young and old to nature. It follows a year in the life of three teens and three retirees working together to reinvigorate interest in the outdoor surroundings at the Boston Nature Center and Habitat in Belmont. Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman codirected “For the Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Revival” (April 17), a history of the Cambridge folk music scene. The documentary centers on the legendary Club 47, the Harvard Square coffeehouse now known as Club Passim, where Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Taj Mahal, Judy Collins, and many others got their start in the early years of the folk revival from 1958 to 1968. Actress and Boston resident Elika Portnoy is featured in the political thriller “Sofia,” (April 18) which was shot in her native Bulgaria and stars Christian Slater, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Spall, with a script co-written by Carlisle resident Nancy Babine.

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Projectors, dishes, spoons

Two different filmmakers pay visits to local theaters this week. Balagan Films brings architect-turned-filmmaker Bruce McClure to the Brattle on Tuesday. McClure uses multiple 16mm projectors and short film loops to create rhythmic strobes and drones meant to produce a visceral experience. In 2009, he was the opening act in Brooklyn and Chicago for a reunion of Throbbing Gristle, a group noted for their post-punk industrial music. The filmmaker will discuss his work after the screening.

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Across town, ArtsEmerson presents director Alison Bagnall, who’ll appear at the Paramount Center’s Bright Family Screening Room Friday for the opening night of “The Dish and the Spoon,” her indie drama about a brief encounter between a distraught woman (Greta Gerwig) who has left her cheating husband and the British teen (Olly Alexander) she finds in an abandoned lighthouse at a seaside town. The film runs through next Sunday. Before directing and co-writing the screenplay for “The Dish and the Spoon,” Bagnall co-wrote Vincent Gallo’s “Buffalo ’66.”

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Showing his hand

Boston poker professional Bernard Lee will engage in a post-screening talk with the audience when the new documentary “All In: The Poker Movie” shows Thursday at Arlington’s Regent Theatre. Written and directed by Douglas Tirola, the film chronicles the worldwide poker boom. The film includes interviews with Matt Damon, Ira Glass, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frank Deford, and Kenny Rogers. It also features most of the world’s most famous professional poker players, among them Chris Moneymaker, Annie Duke, Daniel Negreanu, Amarillo Slim, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Phil Hellmuth.

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Loren King can be reached at
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