This week, a double feature contrasting two sides of beloved New Wave director Éric Rohmer. For one of only a few period films he made, Rohmer went to West Germany to adapt a 1808 novella by Kleist! Yet the film is a sumptuous joy, delving into past romantic relations just as complex as those today.
Shot fast on the heels of Nosferatu, using the same crew, star, and location, Woyzeck is a tight Herzogian psychodrama of civilized insanity and murder most foul. Filmed largely in long takes, it showcases possibly Kinski’s best performance: subtle, human, and ready to explode.
The greatest photographer of the 20th century? Quite possibly. This ode to Henri Cartier-Bresson, touring through his photos of Parisian streets, the Spanish Civil War, and beyond, makes the case simply but convincingly: filming Bresson himself, showing us the brilliant work singing its praises.
What more can be said about John Ford’s immortal classic, when all you need to do is watch? Its DNA is everywhere from Kurosawa to Firefly, but the original rip-roaring, sharp-eyed, quick-drawing adventure is still a masterclass. And when the camera dollied in on John Wayne, a star was born.
An ethereal musician behind which lay so much pain and instability: that’s the mystery of this documentary on Texan troubadour Townes Van Zandt. Extensive and wonderful archive footage tell one story, the tales of friends, family and admirers something else. And then there’s the great, great music.
French director Stéphane Brizé recently turned heads when his The Measure of a Man picked up the Best Actor prize at Cannes for star Vincent Lindon. Catch up on this auteur and his leading man with this 2009 collaboration, a heartfelt romance whose nuanced, incisive screenplay won Brizé a César.
Our final rare film from Jacques Rivette is generally considered a failure—but what a failure! Two 1970s greats—Maria Schneider and Joe Dallesandro—collide in a bewildering, free-wheeling experimental drama that sent the director into a breakdown and left the film unjustly unreleased for years.
Our epic Herzog series enters its last round! Revisiting F.W. Murnau’s classic, Herzog made a unique, elemental take on Dracula: a haunting vision of life, death, and superstition, aglow with color and finding pity for Kinski’s deathless wraith. With Isabelle Adjani, the carnal queen of Euro-horror.
One of America’s greatest, but perennially under-funded and under-appreciated filmmakers, Charles Burnett, the director of the lyrical L.A. ghetto portrait Killer of Sheep, here focuses with skewering vision on police and race relations. Made twenty years ago, the era still feels much like our own.
Here’s a treasure from the vaults: the directing debut of Billy Wilder, a comedy made in France in between his flight from Germany and his arrival in Hollywood. Starring Danielle Darrieux (Madame de…), it shows Wilder’s sweet-and-sour sensibility, mixing romance and cynicism, comedy and drama.
Our hothouse Radley Metzger double bill climaxes with Camille 2000. Criticized as purely pornographic in the newly X-rated world of 1969, this erotic tale (adapted from Alexandre Dumas) is also a campy melodrama, a chic piece of 60s pop art, and a provocateur’s test of the new freedoms of cinema.
Presenting our most risque double bill: Radley Metzger! The death of censorship left a brief hope that erotic films could be legit cinema, and Metzger was a celebrated, scandalous practitioner. This 1970 gem doubles as sly meta-commentary. Warhol called it a masterpiece. Where you land is up to you.
The next subject of our Summer Concert Series is this smooth-voiced pop singer, who’s best known for the opening theme of Midnight Cowboy but whose legacy is so much bigger. Featuring interviews with Randy Newman, Yoko Ono, and more, it’s a tribute to an underrated musician’s place in pop history.
Our next rare film from New Waver Jacques Rivette is what Jonathan Rosenbaum describes as a fusion of a female pirate adventure, mythological fantasy, Jacobean tragedy, experimental dance film, and personal psychodrama, for a wildly risky film that now seems unimaginable today.
Thai auteur Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s gorgeous, languid, Sundance-playing drama. Its lackadaisical melancholy is perfectly embodied by Japanese film star Tadanobu Asano, who buries himself in the exquisitely muted colors of legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle. Watch for Takashi Miike’s cameo!
We conclude our highlights from the Locarno Film Festival with this stellar Swiss co-production. An audacious debut, it (ad)ventures into the Portuguese countryside to explore a man’s life (shot across a gorgeous landscape) in ways that go beyond the boundaries of normal documentaries.
For our final two selections of films being shown from the Locarno Film Festival come from the Swiss Panorama section, highlighting the best of recent Swiss productions. In Esen Isik’s feature debut, the Turkish director explores the tensions and passions of those who live on Istanbul’s margins.
A lightweight favorite films from Locarno last year is Russian-born Pierre Léon’s slim, comedic adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s “The Double.” Its charming insider cast includes auteur Serge Bozon, Truffaut’s enchanting granddaughter, film historian Bernard Eisenschitz, and New Wave secret Jackie Raynal.
Up-and-coming director Benjamín Naishtat prize-winning third film is an audaciously stark and powerful tale of the Argentine frontier. In this small film with impressive ambition—and stunning black and white cinematography—Naishtat cleverly envisions a crucial moment in his nation’s history.
Each August the Swiss town of Locarno hosts a festival showing some of the year’s best discoveries. We celebrate this year’s edition with favorites, intimate and provocative, that recently premiered there, beginning with Columbian director Oscar Ruíz Navia’s follow-up to his acclaimed gem Crab Trap.
This month, we pay tribute to Jacques Rivette, the best kept secret of the New Wave, whose free-form tales of conspiracy and game-playing inspire clandestine fervor. He followed his masterpiece Celine and Julie Go Boating with this phantasmal noir, starring the great Juliet Berto and Bulle Ogier.
After the discretion of Wendy and Lucy Kelly Reichardt surprised us with her own take on the Western genre: intensely focused, fascinatingly observant, and loaded with portent. It continues Reichardt’s rich partnership with Michelle Williams, but it is Bruce Greenwood as Meek who steals the show.
We’re showcasing a new restoration of stalwart American independent Kelly Reichardt’s debut, which premiered at Sundance this year alongside her latest film, Certain Women. A fugitive drama, its dedication to outcasts in the American landscape would become a hallmark of this very special director.
After 12 years away, Kelly Reichardt returned to independent filmmaking with this small scale but beguiling portrait of two men, no longer young, not quite old, trying to resume a friendship. With a lush Oregon setting and precise social detail—a director hallmark—she made a road movie in miniature.
We’re devoting a 4-film series to Kelly Reichardt to celebrate the new restoration of her debut, River of Grass. Our tribute begins with the movie that opened this independent, socially inquisitive American sensibility to a larger public: her powerful first collaboration with Michelle Williams.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of a legend: Fritz Lang. Easily one of the most iconic films ever made, his classic future shock is still thrilling: a propulsive sci-fi epic, a mind-blowing visual symphony, and a time-honored gateway to the marvels of silent film. Restored in HD.
The caged bird sings in Bruce McDonald’s documentary on the blues, culminating in a concert of prison inmates serving life. Both somber and toe-tapping, it examines the humanity, mythology, and contradictions of a uniquely American art form’s roots in the most extreme of circumstances.
Before Park Chan-wook rocketed to international acclaim with Oldboy, his stylish chops tackled the highly charged subject of the border between North and South Korea. Comic book composition and crackling energy done right, it concludes our double feature highlighting thrilling Korean genre movies.
While great genre films have abdicated Hollywood, we look East for inspiring re-invention of old stories. This weekend, we double feature early films by two South Korean genre masters before they were world famous. We begin with Snowpiecer auteur Bong Joon-ho’s gripping countryside detective tale.