Add a little culture to your entertainment with these new titles headed for the Criterion Channel in August. Programming includes Bill Gunn, Mia Hansen-Løve, Terry Gilliam, Wim Wenders, Australian New Wave, Rafiki, Bacurau, and more!
Saturday, August 1
Saturday Matinee: The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s internationally beloved philosophical fable receives a touchingly sincere, imaginative musical adaptation courtesy of three giants of the form: director Stanley Donen and legendary songwriting team Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Filmed on location in Tunisia, The Little Prince brings to life Saint-Exupéry’s deceptively simple tale of an encounter between a pilot (Richard Kiley) who has made an emergency landing in the Sahara Desert and a young, blonde-haired prince (Steven Warner), an intergalactic traveler from the Asteroid B-612 whose observations on life on Earth offer poignant insight into the human condition. The illustrious supporting cast includes Bob Fosse as the Snake, Gene Wilder as the Fox, and Donna McKechnie as the Rose
Sullivan’s Travels: Criterion Collection Edition #118
Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment, he encounters a lovely but no-nonsense young woman (Veronica Lake)—and more trouble than he ever dreamed of. This comic masterpiece by Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry’s most revered funnymen. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A PBS-produced documentary on Sturges; a video essay by critic David Cairns, featuring filmmaker Bill Forsyth; an archival interview with Sturges by gossip columnist Hedda Hopper; and more.
Sunday, August 2
Australian New Wave Featuring Voices from the Australian New Wave, a short documentary including interviews with Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, David Gulpilil, Peter Weir, and others
It came from a land down under . . . From the early seventies through the mideighties, a resurgence of government funding for national film production gave birth to a generation of brave, unconventional new voices who made Australia the home to a brief but bright-burning cinematic renaissance. Among the filmmakers who emerged from this artistic flowering were pivotal figures like Peter Weir, George Miller, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, Fred Schepisi, and Phillip Noyce, many of whom went on to successful international careers. Encompassing subversive visions of Australian history (Picnic at Hanging Rock, My Brilliant Career), dystopian science-fiction cult classics (Mad Max, The Cars That Ate Paris), groundbreaking coming-of-age dramas (The Devil’s Playground, Puberty Blues), and beyond, these formally bold, thematically provocative films delved into the intricacies of Australian society and identity with newfound fearlessness. Among their most urgent concerns was for the country’s relationship to and mistreatment of its Indigenous people, as seen in works like The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith,Walkabout, Storm Boy, and The Last Wave, the last three of which all star legendary Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, who stands as one of the movement’s most enduring faces.
Walkabout, Nicolas Roeg, 1971
The Cars That Ate Paris, Peter Weir, 1974
Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir, 1975
Sunday Too Far Away, Ken Hannam, 1975
The Devil’s Playground, Fred Schepisi, 1976
Don’s Party, Bruce Beresford, 1976
Storm Boy, Henri Safran, 1976
The Getting of Wisdom, Bruce Beresford, 1977
The Last Wave, Peter Weir, 1977
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Fred Schepisi, 1978
Long Weekend, Colin Eggleston, 1978
Money Movers, Bruce Beresford, 1978
Newsfront, Phillip Noyce, 1978
Mad Max, George Miller, 1979
My Brilliant Career, Gillian Armstrong, 1979
The Plumber, Peter Weir, 1979
Breaker Morant, Bruce Beresford, 1980
Gallipoli, Peter Weir, 1981
Puberty Blues, Bruce Beresford, 1981
Starstruck, Gillian Armstrong, 1982
The Year of Living Dangerously, Peter Weir, 1982
Monday, August 3
Four Documentaries by Ron Mann Featuring a new introduction by Mann
Essential records of North America’s pop-culture underground, the documentaries of Ron Mann are deep dives into some of the most vital and often overlooked artistic movements of the twentieth century. Finding offbeat inspiration in the creativity that flourishes outside the mainstream, he has chronicled everything from free jazz (Imagine the Sound) to modern poetry (Poetry in Motion) to comic books (Comic Book Confidential), along the way capturing invaluable interviews with cult luminaries like musicians Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp, writers William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, and cartoonists Jack Kirby and Robert Crumb. Made in the same outsider spirit as the subjects he chronicles, Mann’s films are engagingly idiosyncratic odes to iconoclasts and visionaries bold enough to follow their own muses.
Imagine the Sound, 1981
Poetry in Motion, 1982
Comic Book Confidential, 1988
Tuesday, August 4
Short + Feature: High-Flying HeroesMynarski Death Plummet and Only Angels Have Wings
Composed in a constructivist riot of eyeball-scrambling images, Matthew Rankin’s acclaimed experimental short Mynarski Death Plummet jumbles live action and animation to expressionistically evoke the courageous final moments of Andrew Mynarski, a Canadian World War II airman who plunged to his death after saving the life of a fellow pilot. It’s a white-knuckle warm-up to the daredevil action on display in Howard Hawks’s rollicking adventure classic Only Angel Have Wings, starring Cary Grant as a dashing pilot who risks life and limb to keep the mail deliveries flying in a remote South American outpost.
Wednesday, August 5
Bursting with the colorful street style and music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, Rafiki is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety. Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, Rafiki made history by winning a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Thursday, August 6
World Cinema Project: Lucía Featuring Humberto & Lucía, a new documentary about the making of the film
A breathtaking vision of Cuban revolutionary history wrought with white-hot intensity by Humberto Solás, this operatic epic tells the story of a changing country through the eyes of three women, each named Lucía. In 1895, she is a tragic noblewoman who inadvertently betrays her country for love during the war of independence. In 1932, she is the daughter of a bourgeois family drawn into the workers’ uprising against the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado. And in the postrevolutionary 1960s, she is a newlywed farm girl fighting against patriarchal oppression. A formally dazzling landmark of postcolonial cinema, Lucía is both a senses-stunning visual experience and a fiercely feminist portrait of a society journeying toward liberation.
Friday, August 7
Double Feature: The Decline of Midwestern CivilizationThe Magnificent Ambersons and Kings Row
The year 1942 saw the release of two films, both based on acclaimed novels and set in turn-of-the-century Midwest railroad towns, that follow the trials, tribulations, and downward spirals of their characters, as brought to life by stellar ensemble casts. While Orson Welles’s majestically poignant adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons has, despite the tragedy of its missing footage, taken its place as one of the auteur’s greatest achievements, Warner Bros.’ lurid take on Henry Bellamann’s taboo-busting best seller Kings Row occupies a different place in film history: as one of the most wildly hysterical melodramas ever made, a shockingly perverse portrait of the seamy side of small-town life that features star Ronald Reagan’s immortal utterance, “Where’s the REST of me?!”
Saturday, August 8
Saturday Matinee: Storm Boy
This deeply affecting classic of the Australian New Wave is one of the most moving films ever made about the relationship between children and animals. Cut off from the world by his reclusive father (Peter Cummins), Mike (Greg Rowe), a lonely young boy, experiences an emotional awakening through his growing bonds with an orphaned pelican and Fingerbone Bill (David Gulpilil), an Aboriginal man estranged from his tribe. Lyrically shot amid the scenic splendor of South Australia’s coast, Storm Boy weaves a simple but profound fable about friendship and loss that’s beautifully attuned to the wonders of the natural world.
Sunday, August 9
Starring Alain Delon
The beautiful boy of French cinema whose steely, ice-blue gaze betrayed more than a hint of danger, Alain Delon was a favorite of modernists like Luchino Visconti, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Michelangelo Antonioni, all of whom were seduced by his impossible good looks and air of cool detachment. This selection of many of Delon’s finest moments spotlights his star-making performance as the gorgeous, duplicitous Tom Ripley in René Clément’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation Purple Noon; his career-defining turn as a zen contract killer in Melville’s Le samouraï; his sizzling chemistry with a leather-clad Marianne Faithfull in Jack Cardiff’s X-rated counterculture head-trip The Girl on a Motorcycle; his subtle portrayal of an amoral art dealer mixed up in a case of mistaken identity in Joseph Losey’s unsung classic Mr. Klein; and more.
Purple Noon, René Clément, 1960
Rocco and His Brothers, Luchino Visconti, 1960
L’eclisse, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962
Any Number Can Win, Henri Verneuil, 1963
Once a Thief, Ralph Nelson, 1965
Le samouraï, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967
The Girl on a Motorcycle, Jack Cardiff, 1968
Spirits of the Dead, Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim, 1968
Le cercle rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970
The Widow Couderc, Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1971
Un flic, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972
Mr. Klein, Joseph Losey, 1976
Monday, August 10
Festival: Criterion Collection Edition #892
Before Woodstock and Monterey Pop, there was Festival. From 1963 through 1966, Murray Lerner visited the annual Newport Folk Festival to document a thriving, idealistic musical movement as it reached its peak as a popular phenomenon. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, the Staple Singers, Pete Seeger, Son House, and Peter, Paul and Mary were just a few of the legends who shared the stage at Newport, treating audiences to a range of folk music that encompassed the genre’s roots in blues, country, and gospel as well as its newer flirtations with rock and roll. Shooting in gorgeous black and white, Lerner juxtaposes performances with snapshot interviews with artists and their fans, weaving footage from four years of the festival into an intimate record of a pivotal time in music—and in American culture at large. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A selection of unreleased performances by Johnny Cash, Odetta, John Lee Hooker, and others; Making “Festival,” a program featuring Lerner, associate editor Alan Heim, and assistant editor Gordon Quinn; When We Played Newport, featuring archival interviews with musicians Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, and others; and more.
Tuesday, August 11
Short + Feature: Hands of FateCutaway and L’argent
Radical minimalism is wielded with extraordinary power in the hands of two cinematic ascetics. Told entirely without spoken dialogue and exclusively though close-ups of its main character’s hands, Kazik Radwanski’s Cutaway uses the simplest of means to crate a piercing portrait of a construction worker grappling with a devastating personal crisis. Radwanski was inspired in large part by the work of Robert Bresson, whose famously austere style achieves its purest form in his shattering final film, L’argent, in which a focus on hands is used to convey the story of a circulating counterfeit bill that infects the lives of all who come in contact with it.
Brazil: Criterion Collection Edition #51
In the dystopian masterpiece Brazil, Jonathan Pryce plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy. This cautionary tale by Terry Gilliam, one of the great films of the 1980s, has come to be esteemed alongside antitotalitarian works by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And in terms of set design, cinematography, music, and effects, Brazil is a nonstop dazzler. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: What Is “Brazil”?, Rob Hedden’s on-set documentary; The Production Notebook, a collection of interviews and video essays, featuring a trove of Brazil-iana from Gilliam’s personal collection; The Battle of “Brazil,” a documentary about the film’s contentious release; and more.
Wednesday, August 12
Three by Mia Hansen-LøveFeaturing a new introduction by Hansen-Løve
One of the most electrifying but unjustly neglected talents to emerge from the creative ferment of 1970s American cinema, actor, writer, and director Bill Gunn blazed a new trail for Black independent filmmakers with his avant-visionary, Afrocentric vampire myth Ganja & Hess and Personal Problems, an epic, intensely intimate “meta-soap opera” (as writer Ishmael Reed called it) that went virtually unseen for decades before reemerging to widespread acclaim. Those twin masterpieces are presented alongside Ján Kadár’s The Angel Levine, an overlooked Bernard Malamud adaptation cowritten by Gunn and starring Zero Mostel and Harry Belafonte. With their bold, iconoclastic style and focus on the lives of intellectual and middle-class Black characters, Gunn’s uncompromising films were decades ahead of their time—only now is the world beginning to catch up.
The Angel Levine, Ján Kadár, 1970Ganja & Hess, Bill Gunn, 1973Personal Problems, Bill Gunn, 1980
Friday, August 14
Double Feature: Behind the ScreensHollywood Shuffle and The Player
Two maverick filmmakers with uneasy relationships to Hollywood offer hilarious and scathing satires of the film industry. Made guerrilla style on maxed-out credit cards, Robert Townsend’s brilliantly inventive Hollywood Shuffle draws on his own experiences struggling to make it as a Black actor in Hollywood to lampoon the typecasting of people of color. Another Robert—Altman, no less—takes aim at the industry’s corporate soullessness in his biting insider comedy The Player, featuring one of the most virtuosic opening shots in film history as well as an astonishing sixty-five (count ’em!) celebrity cameos.
Saturday, August 15
Saturday Matinee: The Secret Garden
Two of golden-age Hollywood’s greatest and most beloved child stars bring the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett to enchanting life. In her final role at MGM, Margaret O’Brien plays Mary, a young orphan sent to live at the dark and foreboding English estate of her embittered uncle (Herbert Marshall) and his temperamental, bedridden son (fellow juvenile virtuoso Dean Stockwell). There, Mary discovers the existence of a walled-off, overgrown garden, a secret little world that, as the children nurture it, brings a glimmer of hope to a broken family. The film’s sense of wonder is enhanced by the expressive cinematography, which blossoms from atmospheric monochrome to radiant color in an unforgettable moment of movie magic.
Sunday, August 16
Directed by Wim Wenders
Turning seventy-five this August, Wim Wenders is cinema’s preeminent poet of the open road, soulfully tracing the journeys of wanderers and drifters searching for themselves. Over the course of his incredible five-decade career, Wenders has traversed the landscapes of his native Germany (Alice in the Cities, Kings of the Road), the highways of the American Southwest (Paris, Texas), and the dream worlds of angels (Wings of Desire), working with master cinematographers like Robby Müller and Henri Alekan to create some of the most indelible images in all of modern cinema. Moving restlessly between exquisite narrative works and innovative documentaries like Tokyo-ga and Pina, Wenders remains a vital and prolific creative force, following his inspiration across the world wherever it may lead.
FeaturesAlice in the Cities, 1974Wrong Move, 1975Kings of the Road, 1976The American Friend, 1977Paris, Texas, 1984Tokyo-ga, 1985Wings of Desire, 1987Until the End of the World, 1991Palermo Shooting, 2008Pina, 2011
ShortsSame Player Shoots Again, 1968
Monday, August 17
Documentaries by Les Blank
From garlic to gap-toothed women, no subject was too esoteric to capture the imagination of Les Blank, an uncompromisingly independent spirit who, for nearly fifty years, disappeared with his camera into subcultures rarely seen on-screen. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, Blank’s films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to music, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights. Whether documenting the art of a legendary Texas bluesman (The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins), the richness of Cajun culture (Spend It All), or the quixotic exploits of his friend Werner Herzog (Burden of Dreams), Blank had a boundless zest for life and people that shines through every frame of his affectionate, joy-filled work.
FeaturesA Poem is a Naked Person, 1974Burden of Dreams, 1982
ShortsThe Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, 1968God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance, 1968Spend It All, 1971A Well Spent Life, 1971Dry Wood, 1973Hot Pepper, 1973Always for Pleasure, 1978Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, 1980Sprout Wings and Fly, 1983In Heaven There Is No Beer?, 1984Gap-Toothed Women, 1987Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking, 1990The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists, 1994Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella, 1995
Tuesday, August 18
Short + Feature: Landscapes of LossVoices of Kidnapping and Nostalgia for the Light
The enduring love of families for victims of political violence reaches across time and space in two haunting topographic meditations on grief and hope. Ryan McKenna’s ghostly short Voices of Kidnapping sets otherworldly images of Colombia’s lush jungle landscapes to broadcasts of Voces del secuestro, a radio program that allows family members of those kidnapped by guerrillas to transmit messages to their missing loved ones. Then, master documentarian Patricio Guzmán journeys from the furthest reaches of outer space to Chile’s parched Atacama Desert—where family members of those “disappeared” by the Pinochet regime scour the sands for their remains—in Nostalgia for the Light, another stunning, impressionistic exploration of the relationship between landscape and political trauma.
Wednesday, August 19
For the follow-up to her acclaimed first feature, My Brilliant Career, Australian New Wave leader Gillian Armstrong turned to a very different type of project: a gloriously over-the-top, shiny pop musical complete with outré costumes, high-energy dance numbers, and eye-popping production design courtesy of Brian Thomson (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Desperate to break into the music business, teenage Jackie (Jo Kennedy) gets her shot at superstardom when her enterprising cousin (Ross O’Donovan) engineers a string of audacious publicity stunts that take the pair from their family’s pub to the stage of the Sydney Opera House. Featuring infectiously catchy tunes by Kiwi legends Split Enz, Starstruck updates the classic “let’s put on a show” formula with a blast of irresistible, neon-bright exuberance.
Thursday, August 20
Bacurau Exclusive streaming premiere, featuring an interview with directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles
A few years from now . . . As Bacurau, a small town in the Brazilian sertão, mourns the loss of its ninety-four-year-old matriarch, its inhabitants (among them national cinema icon Sônia Braga) begin to notice a series of strange happenings: their village has literally vanished from online maps, cell phones have stopped working, and a UFO-like drone hovers menacingly overhead. An ominous force is converging on Bacurau, an unknown threat that will force the community to band together and fight for its survival. Luckily, the resourceful residents are more than up for the challenge. A blistering sci-fi thriller streaked with antiracist and anticolonialist rage, the new film from Aquarius director Kleber Mendonça Filho, codirected with Juliano Dornelles, is an audacious, furiously entertaining model of genre art as a vehicle for political resistance.
Thursday, August 20
Three by Robert Siodmak
Along with fellow European émigrés like Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, German-born Robert Siodmak was instrumental in importing the expressionist visual style and hard-bitten existentialist sensibility that would define Hollywood film noir, arguably creating more classics of the genre than any other director. His moody, shadow-etched compositions and flair for the fatalistic are on full display in three of his finest: Phantom Lady, his dreamlike first noir and a fascinating protofeminist example of the genre; The Killers, a landmark known as the “Citizen Kane of noir” for its intricate flashback structure, starring Burt Lancaster in his film debut; and Criss Cross, which reunited the director with Lancaster for one of the twistiest and bleakest crime thrillers ever made.
Phantom Lady, 1944
The Killers, 1946
Criss Cross, 1949
Friday, August 21
Double Feature: Art of DarknessThe American Friend and Mr. Klein
Master directors Wim Wenders and Joseph Losey paint sinister portraits of moral corruption in a pair of spellbinding, coolly stylized tales of unscrupulous art dealers embroiled in dangerous underworlds. Wenders’ gripping Patricia Highsmith adaptation The American Friend casts Dennis Hopper as the author’s recurring antihero Tom Ripley, here a menacing peddler of forged paintings who draws an ailing Bruno Ganz into his murderous web. Then, Alain Delon gives one of his greatest performances in Joseph Losey’s long-neglected masterpiece Mr. Klein, a tensely atmospheric plunge into the world of a collaborationist art dealer in Nazi-occupied Paris who becomes mixed up in a disturbing case of mistaken identity.
Saturday, August 22
Saturday Matinee: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
One of the most outrageous acts of cinematic surrealism ever to emanate from Hollywood’s dream factory, the only film written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) is a riotous Technicolor fantasy in which a young boy (Tommy Rettig) dreams himself into an imaginary world ruled by a diabolical piano teacher (Hans Conried) who forces five hundred children to practice an enormous keyboard for eternity. With its outlandish sets, eccentric musical numbers (with lyrics also penned by Dr. Seuss), and vaguely unsettling tone, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. was met with incomprehension upon its release but has since taken its place as a beloved cult favorite, a one-of-a-kind children’s film that doubles as a triumph of genuine avant-garde imagination.
Sunday, August 23
Wishing you could get away this summer? This collection of some of cinema’s most memorably disastrous trips will have you reconsidering the comforts of home. Dreaming of the crystal blue waters of the French Riviera? The existential ennui of Otto Preminger’s Bonjour tristesse and Eric Rohmer’s La collectionneuse should set you straight. Pining for romance under the Italian sun? Just see how it works out for the tourists in Paul Schrader’s The Comfort of Strangers and Joanna Hogg’s Unrelated. And then there’s the terror of a camping excursion gone wrong in the Ozploitation shocker Long Weekend, the dread-inducing psychological torpor of a dysfunctional family getaway in Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga, and the black-comic craziness of a killer road trip in Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers. Finally, whatever you do, take a lesson from House and do not, under any circumstances, visit your witchy aunt’s possessed, people-munching domicile . . .
Bonjour tristesse, Otto Preminger, 1958
La collectionneuse, Éric Rohmer, 1967
The Deep, Peter Yates, 1977
House, Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977
Long Weekend, Colin Eggleston, 1978
The Green Ray, Eric Rohmer, 1986
The Comfort of Strangers, Paul Schrader, 1990
The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990
Funny Games, Michael Haneke, 1997
Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat, 2001
La Ciénaga, Lucrecia Martel, 2001
Unrelated, Joanna Hogg, 2007
Sightseers, Ben Wheatley, 2012
Monday, August 24
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection
Narrated by Mathieu Amalric, this innovative documentary revisits a wealth of 16 mm footage of tennis superstar John McEnroe taken at the height of his career, when he competed to defend his status as the world’s top-ranked player at the 1984 French Open. Close-ups and slow-motion sequences of McEnroe playing, as well as flare-ups of his notorious on-court tantrums, reveal a “man who played on the edge of his senses.” Far from a traditional sports documentary, John Mcenroe: In the Realm of Perfection expressively reshapes its material to explore both McEnroe’s game and the footage itself, creating a mesmerizing,immersive study of a driven athlete, the human body in motion, and cinema itself.
Tuesday, August 25
Short + Feature: Poetry in MotionThe Lonedale Operator and And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead
The words and worlds of two visionary poets flicker to life in these richly cinematic odes to American genius. Named for both a D. W. Griffith short and a poem it inspired by the great John Ashbery, Michael Almereyda’s The Lonedale Operator interweaves the writer’s reflections on cinema with fragments of the films that touched him to create a prismatic portrait of the artist that mirrors the free-flowing, postmodern style of his own work. Poetry and archival footage are also combined to alchemical effect in Billy Woodberry’s And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead, an enlightening look at the life of brilliant Black Beat writer and activist Bob Kaufman, featuring interviews with and readings from luminaries like Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.
Wednesday, August 26
Sun Don’t Shine Featuring a new introduction by Seimetz and her short film When We Lived in Miami
A self-taught filmmaker who has quietly garnered a reputation as one of American independent cinema’s most thoughtful and compassionate artists, Stephen Cone is a true actor’s director, working intimately with a cast of regulars to tell naturalistic, deeply human stories about coming of age, coming out, and the intricacies of modern-day religion. First coming to attention with The Wise Kids, a remarkably nuanced portrait of Bible Belt teenagers dealing with issues of faith and sexuality, Cone has continued to explore themes of adolescent discovery and turmoil in sensitively observed works like Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and Princess Cyd. Triumphs of subtle, empathetic storytelling, Cone’s unjustly under-the-radar films exude an easy, understated grace even as they grapple with some of life’s most complex questions.
The Wise Kids, 2011
Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, 2015
Princess Cyd, 2017
Friday, August 28
Double Feature: Private EyesPhantom Lady and Variety
The power of the female gaze subverts the genre and gender conventions of classical film noir in a dreamlike thriller and a feminist touchstone it inspired. The first of the baroquely stylized noir masterpieces directed by genre specialist Robert Siodmak, the expressionistically sinister Cornell Woolrich adaptation Phantom Lady casts Ella Raines as a secretary who transforms herself into an amateur sleuth in order to track down a mysterious witness she hopes can clear her boss of a murder charge. The way Raines’s character plays against the traditionally male gumshoe archetype inspired Bette Gordon in the making of her landmark revisionist noir Variety, a provocative study of voyeurism, obsession, and female erotic fantasy set amid the Times Square porn houses of 1980s New York City.
Saturday, August 29
Saturday Matinee: The Scarlet Pimpernel
Prestige producer Alexander Korda applies his seal of quality to this rip-roaring swashbuckler, a rollickingly entertaining adaptation of the classic novel by Baroness Orczy, which introduced the widely imitated trope of a hero with a secret identity. Leslie Howard steps into the foppish finery of the seemingly ineffectual English aristocrat who, as his quick-thinking alter ego the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescues innocents from the guillotine during the French Revolution. Boasting a superb cast that includes Merle Oberon and Raymond Massey, this crackling adventure offers one of cinema’s most unique heroes: a charming, cheeky dandy with the heart of a lion.
Sunday, August 30
Films by Bill Plympton
King of Indie Animation” Bill Plympton’s wonderfully weird creations are unmistakable: the wriggly, hand-sketched style, warped humor, and endlessly shape-shifting, transmogrifying images are the hallmarks of a singularly bizarre and brilliant imagination. Originally a newspaper cartoonist, Plympton found success as a film animator when his entrancingly twisted musical Your Face received an Oscar nomination for best animated short, leading to dozens more shorts and features, regular play on early 1990s MTV, another Oscar nomination (for the short Guard Dog), and a worldwide cult following. A self-described “blend of Magritte and R. Crumb—that European surrealism, but the weird, goofy sexual craziness of R. Crumb,” Plympton is a one-of-a-kind auteur of the absurd, an underground animation hero whose films hold a funhouse mirror up to the innate strangeness of everyday reality.
The Tune, 1992
I Married a Strange Person!, 1997
Mutant Aliens, 2001
Hair High, 2004
Idiots and Angels, 2008
Your Face, 1987
One of Those Days, 1988
25 Ways to Quit Smoking, 1989
How to Kiss, 1988
Push Comes to Shove, 1991
The Wiseman, 1991
How to Make Love to a Woman, 1996
Sex and Violence, 1997
Guard Dog, 2004T
he Fan and The Flower, 2005
Guide Dog, 2006
Hot Dog, 2008
Santa, the Fascist Years, 2008
Horn Dog, 2009
The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, 2010
Monday, August 31
Exporting RaymondFeaturing a new introduction by director Phil Rosenthal
Phil Rosenthal created one of the most iconic television families of all time with his hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. He was a bona fide expert in his craft. And then . . . the Russians called. In this genuine fish-out-of-water comedy that could only have happened in real life, Phil travels to Russia to help adapt his beloved show for Russian television. The Russians don’t share his taste. They don’t share his sense of humor. But what Phil does discover is a true farce, filled with characters and situations as outlandish as any he could script. Whether you’re a fan of the show or have never seen it, Exporting Raymond offers a hilarious, wildly entertaining look at what happens when a quintessentially American comedy gets lost in translation
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