Des Moines Film Society

Music in the Movies of Quentin Tarantino

This summer, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film (tenth, if we’re counting the two “Kill Bill” installments as separate entities), splashed onto cinema screens. The poignant ode to the end of Hollywood’s golden age proved to be as joyously indulgent as any of Tarantino’s other films — many of which resemble a collage of the director’s most cherished cultural artifacts.   The most obvious of these artifacts is, of course, film. Tarantino’s love...

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“Birth of the Cy-Hawk” Documentary to Premiere Across Iowa

The Iowa-Iowa State football rivalry is one of the most widely celebrated (and hotly contested) sports feuds in the Midwest — and, indeed, the entire country. The annual fall game pitting Cyclones versus Hawkeyes never fails to incite a wave of pride, passion and competition from fans across the state.   And it’s all in the name of one highly coveted prize: the Cy-Hawk trophy.   But this iconic trophy didn’t just come to exist out of thin air....

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“The Farewell” Reviewed: An Honorable and Honest Deception

It’s not easy saying goodbye.    Writer-director Lulu Wang confronts this uncomfortable truth, ironically enough, through a series of lies and deceptions in “The Farewell” (A24), her incredibly poignant ode to the shifting nature of family, culture and life itself.   Inspired by Wang’s own family experience (or, “based on an actual lie,” as the opening title card playfully puts it), “The Farewell” follows a Chinese-American family who decides not to tell their grandmother that she’s been diagnosed with...

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Blaxploitation Films: Sticking It to the Man!

Few film movements elicit a sly smile from one’s lips as quickly as that of the blaxploitation films of the 70s. In a reversal of the standard cliché, the whole often proved greater than the sum of its parts. These films were not the typical glossy, seamless, high production value fare of mainstream Hollywood, but usually the flip side: down-and-dirty, in-your-face, doing-the-best-we-can-on-a-limited-budget product designed for a demographic that had been all but ignored to that...

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50 Years Later: Three Films from 1969 that Changed America

From the Apollo 11 moon landing to the birth of the gay liberation movement, 1969 was a year that brought historic change to America.    The cinema, it turned out, was no different.    Merely a year after the new Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system marked the official death knell for Hays Code-era censorship, American moviegoers were more eager than ever to explore radical, new stories at the theater in 1969.   From Sam Peckinpah’s ultra-bloody western “The...

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“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” Reviewed: Reframing the Cinematic Superhero

“People are more than just one thing.”   When a displaced and grieving man by the name of Jimmie Fails admits this simple truth, it feels like a moment of genuine epiphany that, sadly, will never seep into his city’s collective consciousness. In that moment, Fails is, in a way, set free because he is no longer defining himself by a single story or a single purpose. But at the same time, he knows that his own...

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“Toy Story 4” Reviewed: Embracing a Toy’s Impermanence

When “Toy Story 4” (Pixar/Disney) was first announced back in November of 2014, the response from fans could best be described as cautious curiosity, rather than full-blown anticipation.    And for good reason.    After all, the creative team at Pixar had already closed the book on their most beloved film franchise, with the heartrending climax of “Toy Story 3” (2010) bringing every man, woman and child in the world to tears. Did there really need to be a...

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Becoming American and the Immigrant Experience

We are proud to partner with the Franklin Avenue Library to present two film series: Becoming American and The Immigrant Experience Film Festival.   Becoming American is a six-week program featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history. Kevin Gannon, Ph.D., a professor of History at Grand View University, will serve as the series' scholar/moderator.   Films will screen Mondays at 6pm, beginning Feb....

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Shoplifters: Special Advance Screening

Buy Tickets Now   Join us for a special Advanced Screening of Shoplifters, winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, before it opens in New York and Los Angeles.   After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making...

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Saving Brinton: Des Moines Premiere

Des Moines Film Society is proud to co-host the Des Moines premiere of Saving Brinton, a documentary about Iowa film history produced by Iowa filmmakers.   Saving Brinton is the story of Michael Zahs, an eccentric Iowa collector who uncovers five hours of film from the early 1900s that once belonged to Frank Brinton, one of America's most successful barnstorming moving picture exhibitors.   Produced by Iowa City filmmakers Tommy Haines, John Richard and Andrew Sherburne, the film premiered...

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