Introduction to Film/Media Studies

Monday, January 13 at 7pm

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Wes Anderson (U.S. 2014) 100 min. DCP. With Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Adrian Brody, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum.

Admired for his meticulously designed cinematic confections, Wes Anderson is among a small handful of contemporary American Hollywood directors whose name is known and esteemed by the 18-49 demographic. This creation, for which he assembled an all-star cast, depicts the adventures of a legendary concierge working at a famous European hotel between the wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

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Monday, January 27 at 7pm

TOUCH OF EVIL

Orson Welles (U.S. 1958) 111 min. 35MM. With Charlton
Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles.

A bomb rolls into a small, seedy border town in one of cinema’s most astounding opening shots. The ensuing thriller – Welles’ monstrously corrupt detective investigates, with the help of a Mexican narc (Heston) recently wed to Janet Leigh – is the stuff of a deliriously grotesque noir nightmare. “The tallest tree in the wilderness of Welles’ post-Kane career! The dialogue is as intricately overlapped as the lighting is cross-hatched; the cameos are as vivid as possible in a black-and-white movie; the camera work and blocking have the coordination of an Olympic pole vaulter” (J. Hoberman).

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Monday, February 3 at 7pm

BARAKA

Ron Fricke (U.S. 1992) 96 min.

Fricke reportedly spent five years devising this “non-verbal” feature documentary; photographed on 70mm in over 20 countries, Baraka is a journey of interconnection and transcendence.

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Monday, February 10 at 7pm

UPSTREAM COLOR

Shane Carruth (U.S. 2013) 96 min. DCP. With Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig.. 

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. As they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of their wrecked lives, identity becomes an illusion. Romantic, intense, boldly (some might say willfully) opaque, and driven by philosophical curiosity about humanity’s mysterious biological connections, Upstream Color is “a deeply sincere, elliptical movie about being and nature, men and women, self and other” (Manohla Dargis, New York Times).

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Monday, February 17 at 7pm

NORTH BY NORTHWEST

Alfred Hitchcock (U.S. 1959) 136 min. 35MM. With Cary
Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie
Royce Landis.

A breathless ride – from the spiffy Saul Bass title sequence to the cliffhanger climax on Mount Rushmore – North by Northwest was, per screenwriter Ernest Lehman, “the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures.” Featuring an unforgettable Bernard Herrmann score, VistaVision Technicolor cinematography, an impeccable Cary Grant and a classic case of Hitchcockian mistaken identity – and also the crop duster sequence, one of Hitch’s most iconic set pieces. Asked by an admiring Truffaut about the audaciously conceived scene’s “fantasy of the absurd,” Hitchcock replied, “The fact is, I practice absurdity quite religiously!”

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Monday, February 24 at 7pm

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

Ana Lily Amirpour (U.S. 2014) 99 min. DCP. With Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh. Farsi with English subtitles.

The first vampire Western ever made in the Farsi language, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. Dressed in hijab, a female vampire cruises the ghost town of Bad City on a skateboard, seeking her next victim in this joyful mash-up of genre, archetype and iconography, whose prolific influences span Spaghetti Westerns, graphic novels, horror films and the Iranian New Wave.

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Monday, March 2 at 7pm

THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES

Abbas Kiarostami (Iran 1994) 103 min. DCP. With Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Farhad Kheradmand, Zarifeh Shiva. Farsi with English subtitles.

A tale of life, love, and cinema, Through the Olive Trees is a narrative puzzle that pushes Kiarostami’s penchant for narrative puzzles to its extreme. The third film in the “Koker Trilogy,” it’s a fictionalized account of a previous film, 1991’s And Life Goes On (which is itself a fictionalized story linked to the actor in an earlier film, 1987’s Where is the Friend’s House). The film-within-a-film is set among the ruins of Koker’s earthquake-ravaged landscape, where a local stonemason-turned-actor falls in love with the lead actress. The stunning last shot provides the film’s title, and must be seen on the big screen to be seen at all.

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Monday, March 16 at 7pm

FILIBUS: THE MYSTERIOUS AIR PIRATE

Mario Roncoroni (1915 Italy) 71 min. DCP. With Valeria Creti, Cristina Ruspoli, Giovanni Spano.  

“No other crime thriller compares to Filibus!” exclaimed an ad in the April 1915 edition of the Italian film magazine La Vita Cinematografica. Directed by Mario Roncoroni and scripted by future science fiction author Giovanni Bertinetti, Filibus is indeed the most exciting, witty, feminist, steampunk, cross-dressing aviatrix thriller you will ever see. Previously available in a badly subtitled, imperfect version, Filibus was recently remastered by the Eye Filmmuseum, restoring its marvelous range of tinting and toning in the original nitrate material. To bring the film back to its flavor of the period — when characters like Fantomas were worldwide sensations — Milestone hired young poet Austin Renna to write new intertitles based on an improved translation. Playing with illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès iconic A Trip to the Moon (France 1902, 15 min. 35MM), along with shorts by the Lumière brothers, the storied cinema inventors.

“In an era when cross-dressing and transgenderism are becoming more common, the gender fluidity that lies at the heart of Filibus demonstrates that, more than 100 years ago, women were taking advantage of conventional gender roles (even in crime capers). Indeed, the program book for the Dortmund Cologne International Women’s Film Festival hailed Filibus as “probably one of the first lesbian characters in the history of film.” — The Huffington Post

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Monday, March 23 at 7pm

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS Radio Drama!

Orson Welles (U.S. 1938) Approx 60 min.

The legendary mass panic caused by Welles’ transmission about alien invasion has been questioned – just how many (or few) of the 12 million Americans listening, when Welles and his actors interrupted the regular programming to “report” the invasion, were truly gripped by fear, has likely been hyped. Nevertheless, this controversial moment in broadcasting history is fascinating, and a justly infamous work by one of American media’s most ingenious, mischievous and creative artists.

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Monday, April 6 at 7pm

RINGU Restoration!

Hideo Nakata (Japan 1998) 96 min. DCP. With Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi. Japanese with English subtitles.

In this J-Horror classic, a television journalist investigates an urban legend about a cursed VHS tape that murders the viewer seven days after they watch it. The highest grossing Japanese horror movie in history still manages to shred nerves with its quiet, phantasmic elegance; it’s the only VHS fetish movie to inspire an entire subgenre, as well as dozens of remakes and rip-offs. Criminally absent from theaters since its original theatrical release in 1998, the time is now for Ringu to terrify the world. Again. Restoration courtesy of Arrow Films and the American Genre Film Archive.

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Monday, April 13 at 7pm

WALTZ WITH BASHIR

Ari Folman (2008 Israel / France / Germany / USA / Finland / Switzerland / Belgium / Australia) 90 min. 35MM. Hebrew / Arabic / German with English subtitles.

This arthouse hit boasts a unique format: documentary animation. Based on a true story, the film is a quest into the director’s memory for the missing pieces from the days of the Lebanon War in the mid-80s, and has been heralded as a brilliant exploration of trauma. Full of imagination and fantasy, Waltz With Bashir is a formally and conceptually complex film that, as film scholar Giulia Miller shows in her book on the film, “allows for multiple themes and discourses to coexist, including Israel’s role during the Lebanon War and the impact of trauma upon narrative, but also the representation of Holocaust memory and its role in the formation of Israeli identity.”

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Monday, April 20 at 7pm

F FOR FAKE

Orson Welles (U.S. 1975) 88 min. 35MM. With Orson Welles, Oja Kodar.

Welles’ free-form, sort-of documentary is the legendary filmmaker and self-described charlatan’s inspired prank, a gleeful engagement with the central preoccupation of his career: the tenuous lines between illusion and truth, art and lies. Beginning with portraits of the world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles embarks on a dizzying journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes — not the least of whom is Welles himself.