Movies with a Side of Restaurants

Steak Frites.

Steak Frites at Carmon’s.


Film: Metropolis

Restaurant: Das Café

Ebertfest kicks off on Wednesday evening with Fritz Lang’s 1927 German film, Metropolis. A movie of epic proportions at the time of its release, Metropolis is still as breathtaking now, even with its archaic special effects. Lang’s dynamic portrait of an urban dystopia has been brought to light in recent years due to the discovery of 30 minutes of missing footage. However, that is not the only spectacular feature of this particular screening.

Metropolis is a silent film and has been paired with a variety of different soundtracks over the years. At this year’s Ebertfest, the Alloy Orchestra will provide their interpretation of the score live. It has been almost a century since a live accompaniment was a normal inclusion in film showings. The Alloy Orchestra is bringing it back with a fresh musical dialogue, an experience that should not be missed.

Complement this product of Weinmar Republic Cinema with locally owned Das Café, located in downtown Urbana. Das Café focuses on tasty traditional German cuisine, as well as a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads and soups.


Film: Tiny Furniture

Restaurant: Carmon’s

Perhaps one of the most appealing films to the collegiate community is Lena Dunham’s 2010 film, Tiny Furniture. A recent graduate of an Ohio university, Aura returns to her mother’s loft in Tribeca, film degree in tow, as she navigates her emergence into the unemployed life of a recent liberal arts graduate.

Aura’s return is punctuated with characters that correlate to each issue she faces: her uber-successful younger sister with all the potential in the world; Jed, a mild YouTube sensation lobbying for his own show; an old childhood friend, Charlotte, a sassy and sexual creature.

As Aura slowly slips further into post-graduate career limbo, the other issues of body image, sexuality and self-realization intermingle in a film that captures them all succinctly and with the utmost of ease.

A place that is equally as quirky, yet comfortable in its own skin is Carmon’s, located in downtown Champaign on Neil Street. Much like the restaurant that Aura hosts at in the film, Carmon’s is a petite space with a lot of charm developed through carefully carved wooden tables and French knick-knacks. With daily quiche specials, carefully crafted crepes and a full bar, Carmon’s is the perfect pairing. The staff is especially delightful and always warm.


Film: Me and Orson Welles

Restaurant: Stage 5 Bar at Krannert

The intermingling of theater, romance, betrayal and one of the biggest personalities in cinematic history creates a platform for an enticing movie-going experience. Richard Linklater’s 2008 film, Me and Orson Welles, is a film at this year’s festival that should not be overlooked.

Zac Efron stars as Richard, a young thespian who unexpectedly gets offered the role of Lucius in Orson Welles’ anti-fascist take on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

The production turns turbulent with the ever-dramatic and overbearing Welles calling the shots. The road to opening night is further complicated when Richard gets involved with the production assistant Sonja (Claire Danes), who is also involved with Welles.

The most impressive contribution to the film is Christian McKay’s dead-on impersonation of the one and only Orson Welles. Welles had a larger-than-life persona, and though some have tried to capture it over the years, none have done it as flawlessly as McKay. Brutal, honest, but nevertheless enchanting, there is no gap between the Welles persona and McKay’s character.

In the spirit of the theater, stop by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana on Thursday. At 5 p.m., they will be hosting Krannert Uncorked, a weekly event that allows you to pair the musical styling of a local group with a complimentary wine tasting. Cheese and crackers are available at no cost, or you can select from a small, but tasty menu at Stage 5 Bar.


Film: I Am Love


Tilda Swinton (Emma), who plays a Russian immigrant transformed Italian, enters the patriarchal world of rich Italian aristocrats in Luca Guadagnino’s film I Am Love. She is an individual — wife and mother — in the Recchi family, but not quite a real member.

As her family undergoes large changes in their lives with her husband, Tancredi, and son, Edo, being named heirs to a massive industrial company, Emma experiences her own changes when she falls into a deep love affair with her son’s friend, Antonio.

To continue the feel of the passionate, aristocratic and familial Italian atmosphere, Bacaro, located at 113 N. Walnut in Champaign is the best place to visit. Bringing the essence of Italian fine dining to Champaign, Bacaro offers both typical Italian dishes, such as the braised veal osso bucco and homemade tagliatelle with a veal Bolognese, to less traditional dishes, such as the pan roasted sea bass or the grilled ribeye.


Film: Louder Than A Bomb

Restaurant: Red Herring

Concluding this year’s Ebertfest is a movie that encompasses our youth’s true heart and soul. Louder Than A Bomb tells the story of the 2008 Chicago-era poetry slam of the same name, where teams and soloists from nearly 60 high schools met to compete.

The story is centered on Steinmetz, an inner-city school that had never participated until 2007, where it won the Bomb. The film also follows three students from schools all across the city of Chicago in the months before the competition.

If Louder Than a Bomb has inspired poetic lyrics, Red Herring, located on campus on the corner of Oregon and Mathews, is a perfect match. Run in the Unitarian Universalist center on campus, the Red Herring offers a vegetarian restaurant on Monday through Friday from 10 to 3 p.m. In addition to serving vegetarian options, the chapel hosts numerous concerts, poetry slams and student productions for the public.

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