Expanding the Frame challenges you to take a journey

Cutting-edge cinema at the Walker Art Center will help you get perspective on the film world beyond Hollywood.

A still from “Where is Where” directed by Eija-Liisa Ahtila
PHOTO COURTESY CRYSTAL EYE, LTD.

A still from “Where is Where” directed by Eija-Liisa Ahtila PHOTO COURTESY CRYSTAL EYE, LTD.

Kara Nesvig and John Sand

Expanding the Frame: Journeys WHERE: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls WHEN: Jan. 21 – Feb. 28 TICKETS: $24 for five films The Walker Art Center is all about opening up the minds of those who come to ponder over its rooms of sculpture, installation and performance art. Wandering through its stark white rooms can reveal to an art explorer gilded toilets, Swedish architecture and even an exhibit of phallic caterpillars. The modern art bastion on Hennepin seeks to further that endeavor with their exploratory six-month film series âÄúExpanding the Frame,âÄù an ambitious project that Walker curator of film and video Sheryl Mousley explains has the aim of âÄúexpanding the idea of filmmaking in a different way.âÄù Though no single idea unites each offering, the works selected by the WalkerâÄôs film staff during months of research all seek to challenge our pre-existing ideas of film and performance art and strive to transcend limits and conventions. âÄúSometimes [the films are] physically changing the shape, such as using multiple screens or using the frame in a different way,âÄù Mousley said. âÄúWe isolate the time frame to look at people who are doing something unusual with the format.âÄù Particular emphasis is placed upon the work of cinematographer Ellen Kuras and Chinese filmmaker Zhao Liang , both of whom will appear at the Walker for various events supporting their work. Here are a few A&E recommend you check out. âÄúPetition âÄî The Court of the ComplainantsâÄù DIRECTED BY: Zhao Liang WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29 In concurrence with his running exhibition at the Walker, âÄúHeavy Sleepers ,âÄù visiting artist Zhao Liang pushes us into the world of the impoverished Chinese lower-class in his 2009 documentary âÄúPetition âÄî The Court of the Complainants.âÄù Liang examines the hardships of the Chinese working-class when they are wronged by the government. Many of the people in the film have been wrongfully fired without benefits or robbed of all of their belongings. The only means of righting these bureaucratic wrongs is to draft a petition and move to a remote town in China in an effort to have their voices heard. However, these citizens often find themselves spending years in poverty as they wait for the government to hear their pleas. âÄúCrime and Punishment (Zui yu fa)âÄù DIRECTED BY: Zhao Liang WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30 LiangâÄôs second film follows a set of border guards along the border between China and North Korea. âÄúCrime and Punishment (Zui yu fa)âÄù shows several raids of delinquentsâÄô houses, followed usually by a disproportionately harsh verbal lashing. The guards are often summoned for menial civil problems, like phony calls to police officers about a dead body or a stolen mah-jongg board game. Liang draws attention to the constant tension present along the border of North Korea, where the government seeks to immediately crush any form of ostentatious behavior, whether it be public drunkenness or the pilfering of a simple board game. The film opens with four straight minutes of different guards frantically folding their bed sheets several times until they are molded into perfect rectangular prisms. The succession of extended, one-shot scenes emphasizes both the monotony of the border patrolsâÄô job and the perfection sought by the military higher-ups. âÄúThe Betrayal (Nerakhoon)âÄù DIRECTED BY: Ellen Kuras/Thavisouk Phrasavath WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18 After shooting for nearly 23 years, Ellen KurasâÄôs film âÄúThe Betrayal (Nerakhoon)âÄù was finally released in 2008. The narrative follows a Laotian mother and son as they are exiled and forced to move to Brooklyn during the hushed United States war in Laos. The documentary follows the son Thavisouk Phrasavath working through the reconciliation of his separate homelands, and the hardships suffered by those living in a place that will always regard them as foreign. Kuras has worked as a cinematographer in the past, most notably in such stylistic movies as âÄúEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindâÄù and âÄúBlow.âÄù This extreme attention to detail is reflected in her documentary work, which plays out more like a blockbuster drama, often changing between decades and generations to mirror experiences in Laos and the United States. Kuras places emphasis on the PhrasavathâÄôs adolescence complicated by his obvious outsider perspective. The factual masterpiece was nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary in 2008. âÄúI Shot Andy WarholâÄù and âÄúBerlinâÄù DIRECTED BY: Mary Harron/ Julian Schnabel WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19 At the hedonistic height of Andy WarholâÄôs foil-covered silver studio/hangout called the âÄúFactory,âÄù two days before Robert Kennedy was assassinated, a woman named Valerie Solanas walked in and shot the Pop artist. He didnâÄôt meet his maker, but WarholâÄôs life was changed and so too was SolanasâÄô âÄî she gained a cult following for her âÄúS.C.U.M. Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men )âÄù and a lasting reputation as the woman who, well, shot Andy Warhol. In a Factory tie-in, Mary HarronâÄôs 1996 version of this chaos, âÄúI Shot Andy WarholâÄù plays as a double feature with Julian SchnabelâÄôs experimental concert film âÄúBerlin,âÄù a reimagining of Factory mainstay Lou ReedâÄôs failed concept album of the same name. The traditional narrative of âÄúI Shot Andy Warhol,âÄù with cinematography by Kuras, occasionally breaks for shots of SolanasâÄô rapid-fire feminist fuming. Schnabel, who helmed the dreamlike âÄúThe Diving Bell and the ButterflyâÄù has brought ReedâÄôs tragic druggie heroine Caroline to the screen in a darkly romantic reimagining set to a rare live performance of the album done by Reed (along with Sharon Jones and Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons) in 2006. âÄúBerlinâÄù is rarely screened anywhere, so if you consider yourself a Reed fan, donâÄôt miss your chance to catch it now.