BEST ART CINEMA - 2000
The latest rumor of U Film's demise (there are usually two or three in a given year) came courtesy of Split Screen host John Pierson, who broke the "news" to the Web site indieWIRE a few months ago that "the University has finally closed Al [Milgrom] down after 35 years." While fielding calls from a variety of overeager gloaters and alarmed cineastes, the director of the least commercially minded film venue in the Twin Cities rang Pierson in New York to set him straight: U Film lives. While he was at it, Milgrom might also have corrected the indie guru on his implication that the society's job is to handle "spillover" from the Uptown and Lagoon. Rather, U Film's raison d'être has long been to take on the more challenging world-cinema titles that the artsyplex wouldn't dare to book. In the past year, these have included essential films such as the French shocker I Stand Alone and the timely portrait of Chechnya, The Making of a New Empire, as well as expansive series of Czech, Hungarian, Jewish, and queer films--not to mention the massive Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. In recent months, we've also seen some encouraging new signs of organization amid the notorious campus chaos; perhaps they can start putting their various obituaries into a database.