September 12, 2010 – Don Juan DeMarco
USA, 1995, Color, Rated PG-13, 91 Minutes.
Directed by Jeremy Leven. Starring Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway.
In a wonderful late-career performance, Marlon Brando plays Dr. Jack Mickler, a clinical psychiatrist on the brink of retirement from a New York mental hospital. He is assigned to care for a dashing but suicidal young man, John R. DeMarco (Johnny Depp), who wears a mask and cape and claims to be the great lover, Don Juan. The avowed seducer of more than a thousand women has been brought low at the hands of his one true, but unobtainable, love. With just ten days to cure “Don Juan” of his delusion, Mickler has him relate his fantastical life story. As their sessions unfold, the passionate youth exerts a powerful effect on the hospital staff and on Mickler’s own relationship with his wife, Marilyn (Faye Dunaway). The world-weary doctor starts to believe that his patient might really be Don Juan after all.
October 10, 2010 – Mafioso
Italy, 1962, B&W, Not Rated, 105 Minutes, Subtitled.
Directed by Alberto Lattuada. Starring Ugo Attanasio, Norma Bengell, Alberto Sordi.
A dark comedy with strong neo-realist influences, Mafioso was one of the first Italian features to address the subject of Cosa Nostra. Alberto Sordi stars as Antonio, a Sicilian working in a gleaming, modern Fiat factory in Milan. As the movie opens, Antonio prepares to take his lovely blonde wife, Marta (Norma Bengell), and their daughters to see his hometown of Calamo, Sicily. Before leaving, he agrees to deliver a gift from his boss to Don Vincenzo (Ugo Attanasio) in Calamo. On the ferry, Antonio beams with pride as the isle of his birth comes into view. His delight grows as he introduces his bride and children to his eccentric relations. Antonio’s holiday comes to a sudden end, however, when Don Vincenzo asks him for a favor. Leaving his family (ostensibly on a hunting trip), Antonio embarks on an unexpected journey. Viewed through the lens of later American movies such as The Godfather trilogy, Mafioso offers a counterpoint to our voyeuristic fascination with the Mob. This forgotten gem was re-released to raves in 2007.
November 14, 2010 – Why We Fight
France/UK/Canada, 2004, Color and B&W,Rated PG-13, 98 Minutes. Directed by Eugene Jarecki.
Winner of the Grand Jury Price at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, Eugene Jarecki’s documentary is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine. Weaving personal vignettes with commentary by John McCain, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, Gore Vidal, Richard Perle and others, Why We Fight mounts a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the apparatus decried by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the “military industrial complex.” This film digs beneath the headlines about American military operations to explore the political, economic, and ideological forces that drive us to wage perpetual war against an ever-changing enemy. Inspired by Frank Capra’s film series that explored the reasons for entering World War II, Jarecki’s Why We Fight raises questions that have particular resonance today: Why are we doing what we’re doing? What is it doing to others? And what is it doing to us?
December 12, 2010 – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
France/West Germany, 1964, Color, Not Rated, 82 Minutes, Subtitled. Directed by Jacques Demy. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Marc Michel.
Jacques Demy’s masterpiece of music and romance, which won the Grand Prize at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, propelled 20-year-old Catherine Deneuve to international stardom. A pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director’s own description, a film in song, this simple romantic tragedy begins with Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, falling in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (Deneuve), who works in her widowed mother’s chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy’s return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant (Marc Michel). Considered one of the most beautiful color films ever made, Umbrellas of Cherbourg was restored to its former glory and re-released in 1992 under the supervision of Demy’s widow, Agnès Varda.
January 09, 2011 – Ivan’s Childhood
USSR, 1962, B&W, Not Rated, 97 Minutes, Subtitled.
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Starring Nikolai Burlyayev, Valentin Zubkov.
Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky created a style of filmmaking he called “sculpting in time,” characterized by Christian and metaphysical themes extremely long takes, and indelible images of extraordinary beauty. Hints of his poetic sensibility and deliberate pacing are already on display in his debut feature, Ivan’s Childhood. In this World War II drama, 12-year-old Ivan (Nikolai Burlyayev) is orphaned after his village is overrun by the invading Nazi army. He escapes from a prison camp and is adopted by Captain Kholin (Valentin Zubkov). Although Kholin intends to send the boy to school, Ivan is determined to help the Russian army. He begins to spy on the Germans, passing freely back and forth behind enemy lines — for awhile. This remarkable film won the Golden Lion Award at the 1962 Venice Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the 1962 San Francisco Film Festival.
February 13, 2011 – Charade
USA, 1963, Color, Not Rated, 113 Minutes.
Directed by Stanley Donen. Starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau.
The first shot of Charade shows a pistol swinging ominously into close-up – right before Audrey Hepburn gets a squirt of water right in the eye. And so it goes: Charade is an elegant thriller that manages to spoof its genre while also being uncommonly suspenseful. Hepburn and Cary Grant are the ideal leads for keeping their cool under preposterous twists in a deadly chase through Parisian environs. The supporting heavies include James Coburn, George Kennedy and Walter Matthau. There are five corpses; the red herrings are incalculable; the gowns are by Givenchy; the percussive score is by Henry Mancini; and the point of the whole thing is style and wit for their own sake. Charade, in its own way, is one of the most radical and experimental American films of the 1960s.
March 13, 2011 – Ajami
Israel/Germany, 2009, Color, Not Rated, 120 Minutes, Subtitled. Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani. Starring Fouad Habash, Shahir Kabaha, Eran Naim.
Winner of Best Picture at the Israeli Ophir Awards and an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Ajami is a multi-layered crime drama set in the streets of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Israel – a melting pot of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Characters include a young Israeli (Shahir Kabaha) fighting a criminal vendetta against his family; a Palestinian (Ibrahim Frege) working illegally to finance a life-saving surgery; a Jewish police detective (Eran Naim) obsessed with finding his missing brother; and an affluent Palestinian (Scandar Copti) dreaming of a future with his Jewish girlfriend. As their stories intersect and the film shifts back and forth in time, we witness the tragic consequences of enemies living as neighbors. Co-written and directed by a Jaffa-born Arab and an Israeli, and starring a local, nonprofessional cast, Ajami is a vivid portrayal of a multi-ethnic Israeli community’s response to a violent act of vengeance.
April 10, 2011 – Wordplay
USA, 2005, Color, Rated PG, 94 Minutes.
Directed by Patrick Creadon.
Crossword puzzlers everywhere rejoiced at Patrick Creadon’s lively and oddly exhilarating love letter to the English language and the people who revere it. Centering on New York Times Crossword editor and puzzle master Will Shortz, Wordplay spotlights a number of highly skilled crossword pros competing at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut, whose sharp wits and endearing eccentricities shine. Also interviewed are a bevy of celebrity crossword fanatics – including Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, the Indigo Girls, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina – each of whom sings the praises of the form.
May 08, 2011 – Flight of the Red Balloon
Taiwan/France, 2007, Color, Not Rated, 113 Minutes, Subtitled. Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Starring Juliette Binoche, Song Fang, Hippolyte Giardot, Simon Iteanu.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien transforms the details of everyday life into poetry in his tribute to Albert Lamorisse’s 1956 classic short, The Red Balloon. Juliette Binoche stars as a Parisian mother overwhelmed by the complications of modern life. She hires Song (Song Fang), a Taiwanese film student, to babysit her son, Simon (Simon Iteanu). As Simon and Song explore the city, they create an imaginary world where a mysterious red balloon follows them wherever they go. Borrowing Lamorisse’s conceit of a red balloon tracking a lonely boy through the City of Lights, Hou weaves an extended meditation on urban isolation.
“A flawless tribute to Paris, to the spirit of childhood and to the ability of art to compensate for some of the painful imperfections of life.” – New York Times.
June 12, 2011 – Harold and Maude
USA, 1971, Color, Rated PG, 105 Minutes.
Directed by Hal Ashby. Starring Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon, Vivian Pickles.
A young man with a death wish and a 79-year-old high on life find love in this cult classic. Deadpan rich kid Harold (Bud Cort) stages elaborate suicide tableaux in a vain attempt to win the attention of his mother (Vivian Pickles), who is too busy planning for his brilliant future. The death-obsessed Harold spooks blind dates and modifies his sports car to look like a hearse. He also attends funerals, where he meets the spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon). Eccentric to the bone, Maude lives exactly as she pleases, with avid collecting and nude modeling among her many pursuits. To the chagrin of his relatives and the befuddlement of his shrink, Harold falls in love. As lilting Cat Stevens tunes play on the soundtrack, Maude teaches Harold a valuable lesson about making the most of his time on earth.
July 10, 2011 – Manhattan Murder Mystery
USA, 1993, Color, Rated PG, 107 Minutes.
Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Alan Alda, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Anjelica Huston.
Woody Allen’s reunion with Diane Keaton, two decades after their comedic heyday, is an absolute delight. Allen plays Alvi Singer Larry Lipton, a nebbish-y editor married to the free-spirited Annie Hall Carol (Keaton). When it appears that a neighbor has killed his wife, Carol is eager to investigate. Larry dismisses Carol’s suspicions, but their friend Ted (Alan Alda) is all too willing to help her. Marcia Fox (Anjelica Huston), a stylish, seductive writer whose book Larry is editing, also signs on as amateur sleuth Wary of Ted and Carol’s budding relationship, Larry reluctantly comes along for the ride. Though Allen winks and nods to genre conventions – there’s a murder to solve, after all – he steers the film toward his usual subjects: romance and neurosis on the Upper West Side. Manhattan Murder Mystery covers familiar terrain, but in a winning way that recalls the transcendent Allen/Keaton comedies of the 1970’s. Watch for the director’s homage to Orson Welles’ bravura hall of mirrors scene in The Lady from Shanghai.
August 14, 2011 – Pandora’s Box (Live Musical Accompaniment)
Germany, 1928, B&W, Not Rated, 110 Minutes, Silent with intertitles. Directed by G.W. Pabst. Starring Louise Brooks, Karl Götz, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer.
German filmmaker G.W. Pabst’s late-silent classic, Pandora’s Box, stars the hauntingly beautiful Louise Brooks as libertine dancer Lulu, an amoral vamp who wanders through a decadent Berlin innocently destroying everyone she meets. Ever out for the “main chance,” Lulu persuades her wealthy lover Dr. Schön (Fritz Kortner) to marry her. But in a fit of jealous rage, he pulls a gun, a scuffle ensues, and she shoots him. Escaping to London with the doctor’s moonstruck son, Alwa (Francis Lederer), Lulu takes up residence with her “adopted” father Schigolch (Carl Götz), where she is reduced to walking the streets. Regarded now as a masterpiece, Pandora’s Box received surprisingly scathing reviews, with most of the critical broadsides aimed at Brooks.
We are delighted to present Pandora’s Box with live piano by David Drazin, a music and movie archivist nationally renowned for his improvised accompaniments to silent films.
To buy a season ticket to see 12 films for just $20 total, click here [http://www.cinema-inc.org/tickets.htm].