Notes on the International Black Film Festival, Jacques Tati and The Social Network 

The Social Network

The Social Network

With Wednesday's premiere of Blood Done Sign My Name attracting a crowd of luminaries to Vanderbilt's Sarratt Cinema — where rising star Nate Parker and Die Hard/The Fugitive screenwriter turned director Jeb Stuart led the walk up the red carpet — the International Black Film Festival of Nashville seems poised for its biggest year yet, despite the loss of its Opry Mills home to the May flood. Thursday night brings a real coup: the U.S. premiere of A Screaming Man, the Cannes prize-winning film by native Chad filmmaker Mahamet Saleh-Haroun, which screens 7 p.m. at Sarratt. The IBFFN closes 7 p.m. Sunday at Sarratt with the world premiere of Soul Kittens Cabaret. The festival continues throughout the weekend with an ambitious slate of features, documentaries and shorts at venues including Sarratt, the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Scarritt-Bennett and the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza: a full schedule is available at www.ibffnashville.com. For more information, see Ron Wynn's festival coverage online at www.nashvillescene.com.

• David Fincher's The Social Network — easily one of the most assured and entertaining American movies so far this year — opens the floodgates to a deluge of new releases and special screenings this week in local theaters. Also opening: Bruce Beresford's arthouse hit Mao's Last Dancer, with Joan Chen and Kyle MacLachlan, at Green Hills; the Renee Zellweger shocker Case 39; the Bollywood musical comedy Anjaana Anjaani at the Hollywood 27 (which has been showing Hindi films most every week this summer); and sneak previews Saturday of Secretariat (7 p.m., Green Hills) and Life as We Know It (7:30 p.m., Hollywood 27). Watch also for sing-along screenings of Beauty and the Beast this weekend at numerous local theaters. More on The Social Network next week.

• We can't urge you strongly enough to check out one of the most striking widescreen films ever made, in a rare Nashville appearance: Jacques Tati's incomparable 1967 comedy Playtime (Oct. 1-3), which turns Tati's pipe-puffing alter ego M. Hulot loose in a funhouse replica of modernist Paris. Tati essentially gambled his fortune on the film's enormous sets (and lost), but for once the visual splendor sharpens rather than smothers the humor: The movie's tickling wit builds to a kind of euphoria by the time Tati converts a traffic roundabout into a giant merry-go-round. Speaking of traffic, The Belcourt presents an even rarer screening of Tati's 1971 follow-up Trafic (Oct. 4-5), where M. Hulot applies his mechanical bewilderment to gadget-laden cars and motor homes, along with one of the French slapstick master's biggest hits, Mon Oncle (Oct. 1-3, in a newly found English-language version). See www.belcourt.org for more information.

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