Film offerings at Thing in the Spring

  • A still image from “Instructions on Parting” by Amy Jenkins, screening as part of the Thing in the Spring. COURTESY IMAGE

Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:42PM
Thing in the Spring Film Series runs June 7 through June 10

Well folks, we are getting mighty close to The 11th annual Thing in the Spring; I’m just as surprised as you are. I don’t really have any idea how it got to be the end of May already, not to mention eleven years after Mary, Ryan, and I decided to jam a bunch of events into one weekend. You could say it’s gotten a mind of its own at this point; which is really great because that means I don’t have to do as much.

We are pleased as pudding to bring you a fine selection of motion pictures for this year’s Thing in the Spring Film Series, presented by the Peterborough Community Theatre and Arts Alive. All of the screenings are free, and each one is a real treat.

First up on Thursday June 7 at 2 p.m., is Amy Jenkins critically acclaimed documentary, Instructions on Parting. It follows Jenkins as she is pregnant with her first child while simultaneously dealing with the cancer diagnoses and eventual deaths of her mother, sister, and brother. As a visual artist, when this was all happening, she turned her camera onto it all, capturing a poignant and crushing process of grief and acceptance that can only illuminate. Before the screening, TraverSing Hospice and Palliative Choir will be sharing a couple of songs with the audience. The volunteer outreach project of Two Rivers Community Choir provides ease and comfort to those traversing the boundaries between this life and the next. The director will be conducting a Q and A after the film as well.

On Friday June 8 at 2 p.m., we’ve got Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, directed by John Scheinfeld. I’ve been reading, listening to, and studying John Coltrane’s life since I was 13 years old, so this is a real coup for me. This documentary is the most contemporary of works purporting to encapsulate Coltrane’s momentous career. With Denzel Washington narrating, plus Coltrane’s incendiary and contemplative music throughout, you could probably just close your eyes and let this wash over you.

Saturday June 9 at noon, there will be a very special screening of Milford Graves Full Mantis. Mr. Graves is a renaissance man, percussionist, scientist, gardener, philosopher, and he was here in Peterborough last year to perform at The Thing. That concert was one of the most engaging and glorious performances I have ever seen, and anyone else who was there I’m sure will agree. This film by Jake Meginsky, co-directed by Neil Cloaca Young, is getting accolades from the free form community, as well as the film community, for its deft handling of such a storied and deep subject.

The film series closes out Sunday June 10 at noon with a screening of Further Beyond, a documentary directed by Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor. The film follows the voyage of Ambrose O’Higgins, an 18th century figure who made the amazing journey from Ireland to Chile. The picture aims to highlight the idea of place in cinema, but ends up touching on immigration and displacement, and the transformative powers of travel. Sarah Steinberg-Heller is a film maniac, and always helps us with the film series, so I’m grateful to her for turning me onto this picture. You will be too if you come check it out.

As I said before, the Film Series is free, but you should use this as an opportunity to discover (or rediscover) the Community Theatre, one of the gems of Peterborough, and a fine place to see a film. Carol really cares about films and about the folks that come to her place to settle into the suspension of disbelief. These kinds of places, not to mention music and arts celebrations, only work if people show up. I’ll try to get something together to highlight some of  the music for Tuesday’s paper! Hope to see you next week!