A highly affecting film, “Woman in Gold” reveals both the pain and joy inherent in reclaiming family heirlooms stolen during World War II. It’s a film that explores the inner battle of remembering a repressed past. And it’s one of those films that leaves you feeling sad, with its plot hinging on the tension created through the main character’s emotional flashbacks to the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Vienna. But the film ends (perhaps somewhat predictably) on a triumphant note.

The 2015 Spring Arts Festival, Amherst College’s biggest arts festival yet, is currently holding a mix of musical and visual performances; art exhibits and workshops and conversations with artists. Spanning over 10 days with an event or two every day, the festival has so far hosted a few music showcases and celebrations, a film screening and an artist workshop with Jonathon Keats ’94. Still to come: an arts party at the Powerhouse, a glee club concert, an arts faculty performance and a reveal of the Jonathon Keats exhibit at The Mead, paired with a lecture by Keats himself.

A few days before spring break began, I found myself taking some time out of the busy week to hike through the light rain to Amherst Books for the evening. Even though I took the short route through the parking lot across from Val, I was still a minute late, walking into the back room of the store at 8:01. Sheltered from the cold, almost slushy drops of water, I instantly relaxed once I entered the room: Filled with Amherst English professors and their students, and some others, the warm atmosphere was characterized by light conversation and the crumble and crunch of cookies.

With sunny 30-degree days becoming less and less rare, early March proves to be a great time to visit the Montague Bookmill. The Bookmill is a conglomerate of three 180-year-old buildings overlooking the Sawmill River in Montague, just 25 minutes outside of Amherst. Converted from an industrial site to a bookstore in 1987, the area now hosts an eclectic mix of businesses — a local art store, a music and video store, a cafe, a restaurant and, of course, the used book store (which was recently acquired by screenwriter Susan Shilliday of “thirtysomething.”)

Nestled in the corner behind A.J. Hastings and Amherst Coffee, Amherst Cinema is a local gem that can easily be overlooked. With the motto, “See Something Different!”, the independent nonprofit gives students and townies alike the unique opportunity to watch, in an intimate theater setting, carefully selected films, cartoons, documentaries and, right now, both the animated and live action 2015 Oscar-nominated shorts.

A title like “A Most Violent Year,” without further information, might lead you to expect (as I did) raging war scenes, intense, blaring shootouts and cacophonous dialogue. Yet, the violence that existed was so silent and so subdued, that it felt real, very far from your average action-packed blockbuster. Set in New York in 1981,“A Most Violent Year” carefully depicts failure of the American Dream by following the life of a poor-immigrant-turned-rich-oil-guy as he protects his family and business during New York’s most violent year.

Sophie Currin ’17
Staff Writer

I walked into the McCaffrey Room in Keefe on Friday at noon to hear Alexandra Theall ’19 share her personal rendition on the beauty of life, or as she so eloquently deems it, “The Improbability of Existence.”