Vincent Van Gogh and his ear, an opera diva, and other indie flicks screening this month

Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh

Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh 'At Eternity’s Gate'

Check out these indie flicks coming to theaters in December.

Sensations of Time
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater
7 p.m. Dec. 9
$5-$12 suggested donation

Baltimore filmmaker Margaret Rorison presents 16mm films and videos that toy with sight and sound.

We’re accustomed to watching scenes in which the live sound is switched out for a soundtrack. Here Rorison lets the score lead the way even more, flexing the influence and power sound holds over what's perceived as a largely visual medium.

Her work “Cante Jondo” starts with a woman aimlessly walking in the woods as a soundtrack blasts away. Soon, though, it becomes apparent that the music is on a loop, and the woman’s actions can change the impact of the music as she goes from silly behavior to dark and mysterious then back to silly again.

A Rorison film is an experience in constantly reexamining the texture of blended audio-visual fare, yielding both comic relief and moments of emotion while subverting expectations.

Maria By Callas: In Her Own Words
Edina Cinema
Various times Dec 1-6

Tom Volf’s documentary, Maria by Callas: In Her Own Words, is a fascinating look at how fame, even decades ago, largely operates the same as it does now. Technology has changed, but the drawbacks -- the constant attention, lack of privacy, personal choices becoming international issues -- are timeless.

Maria Callas was a midcentury soprano singer, heralded as the best in generations, with a diehard following. In Volf’s documentary, Callas discusses her life and career between scenes of getting in and out of cars, fans hounding her as paparazzi clamor to take photos.

“I would have prefered to have a happy family and have children,” says Callas in an interview. “I would have given up this career with pleasure. But destiny is destiny and there is no way out.”

At Eternity’s Gate
Uptown Theater
Various times Dec 1-6
$7-$9 depending on time

Under Julian Schnabel's direction, Willem Defoe brings Vincent Van Gogh with all his manic, mad-man energy to life.

Portraying Van Gogh’s artistic sensitivity, revolutionary sensibility, deep doubt, and sadness is a tough enough assignment. But Defoe has the gravitas necessary to embody this iconic figure, as the film covers his struggles with the art community, his family, women, and his ear.

Stage Russia: Onegin
St. Anthony Main Theater
1 p,m, Dec 1, 7 p.m. Dec 4

One great thing indie theaters consistently offer: screenings of theater and ballet productions.

Even with all of the streaming services and on-demand options, world-class live productions with short runs have yet to become as easily accessible.

Russian stage art is a trip, and this is a frigid, emotional trek that any Minnesotan can relate to. Onegin is a theater rendition of Alexander Pushkin’s novel following an 18th-century scion who’s disenchanted with life. Filled with wondrously snowy scenes of cold reflection, much of the play deals in pregnant silences that give birth to stirring contemplations of sorrow, solitude, love, and death.