STALKER – Restoration!
Andrei Tarkovsky (USSR 1979) 161 min. DCP. With Aleksandr Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko. Russian with English subtitles.
One of the most immersive and rarefied experiences in the history of cinema, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker embarks on a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic post-apocalyptic landscape. A hired guide (the “Stalker”) leads a writer and a scientist into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men seek the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, and making what would be his final Soviet feature, Tarkovsky created a challenging and visually stunning work, his painstaking attention to material detail and sense of organic atmosphere further enriched by this vivid new digital restoration. At once a religious allegory, a reflection of contemporary political anxieties, and a meditation on film itself, Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings. Co-presented by the Bucknell Philosophy Department.
“New York always whispers about Tarkovsky, since he is a hero to the kind of film nerd who gravitates toward lonely dystopias full of rats. But with the pitch of Tarkovsky conversation at a high, and the administration’s climate policy pitching at a historic low, the time has come to give Stalker its due as the great apocalyptic opus for the climate change era.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic
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Tuesday, August 29 at 7pm
THE ORNITHOLOGIST – Area Premiere!
João Pedro Rodrigues (Portugal/France/Brazil 2016) 117 min. DCP. With João Pedro Rodrigues, Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao. Portuguese, Mandarin, and Latin with English subtitles.
The latest film from Portuguese writer-director João Pedro Rodrigues recasts the story of 13th century saint Anthony of Padua, playfully setting it in the present day, where a solitary ornithologist embarks on a journey searching for an elusive species of stork. After a misadventure on the river, Rodrigues plunges his explorer headlong into an eerie and dark forest in a “transfixing spiritual and sexual odyssey” (Los Angeles Times).
“The single most delightful and narratively adventurous movie I saw at [the Toronto Film Festival]. … Rodrigues opens up a world like a scroll as he shifts from realism to the fantastical and then the allegorical; pauses to meditate on the beauty of the world; and insists on the fusion of the spirit and the flesh.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
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Tuesday, September 5 at 7pm
I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE
Jacques Tourneur (U.S. 1943) 69 min. 35MM. With James Ellison, Frances Dee, Tom Conway, Edith Barrett.
Elements of Jane Eyre are transposed to the Caribbean in Jacques Tourneur’s atmospheric classic, its terror evoked by chiaroscuro lighting and suggestive camera work. A brooding journey into fear, I Walked with a Zombie’s tale of a catatonic young wife (her husband is a sugar plantation owner whose ancestors brought slaves to the island) features voodoo drums and dark, silent, “undead” sentries. Uneasy relations between the island’s white community and descendants of African slaves, and between men and women, are the powerful forces that achieve producer Val Lewton’s agenda: “to move the focus of the horror genre from supernatural monsters to the dread under the surface of ordinary life” (Martha P. Nochimson, Senses of Cinema). Introduced by Professor of Anthropology Clare Sammells, in conjunction with her Zombies course. Preserved by the Library of Congress.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
Ernst Lubitsch (U.S. 1932) 83 min. 35MM. With Miriam Hopkins, Herbert Marshall, Kay Francis.
This year repertory houses across the country are commemorating the 125th anniversary of Ernst Lubtisch’s (1892 – 1947) birth. The German-born director, whose famous “Lubitsch touch” still sparkles with delightful wit, raised the bar for American cinema’s screen comedy and storytelling, and Trouble in Paradise is one of his most beloved farces. A love triangle among high-society swindlers, it is quintessential Lubitsch: cosmopolitan and subversively skeptical of monogamy, insinuating infidelity and carnal passion with humanizing good-humor and joie de vivre–a far cry from the moral rectitude of a Puritanical America then birthing Hollywood’s Production Code. With his pickpocket (Hopkins), heiress (Francis) and jewel thief (Marshall), Lubitsch “attained an unsurpassable perfection. A game of deceptions and surprises weaving intricate patterns on the themes of theft and seduction and complicity. No Lubitsch film more fully realizes his wish to make a film like a piece of music, in this instance a sonata of Mozartean grace” (Geoffrey O’Brien, The New York Review of Books).
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Tuesday, September 19 at 7pm
Gordon Douglas (U.S. 1954) 93 min. 35MM. With James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon.
A classic in the “big bug” genre, Them! was the first of the popular features churned out during Hollywood’s postwar sci-fi boom in which gargantuan, homicidal anthropods took the starring roles. The cause of the ants’ gigantism, as the entomologist (Gwenn) assigned to the case quickly determines, is radiation: spillage from New Mexico’s nuclear testing sites. Whether you interpret Them! as a symbolic rendering of Cold War era anxieties, ambivalence about science and technocratic authority, or repressed Freudian impulses, it’s a wild ride: cautionary tale and creature feature combined. Introduced by Professor of Biology & Animal Behavior Elizabeth Capaldi, in conjunction with her course Bugs & People: The Impacts of Insects on Human Civilization.
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Tuesday, September 26 at 7pm
QUEST – Area Premiere!
Jonathan Olshefski (U.S. 2017) 105 min. DCP.
Filmed with vérité intimacy, Quest (a 2017 Sundance standout) is the empathetic portrait of a family’s everyday life in North Philadelphia. Initially intrigued by Christopher “Quest” Rainey’s music studio–which serves as a creative sanctuary from the strife that grips the surrounding neighborhood–Jonathan Olshefski’s decade-long chronicle of Quest, his wife Christine’a, and the rest of the Rainey clan grows to encompass much more. Over the years, as violence and precarious economic circumstances trouble the Rainey’s survival, Quest tenderly depicts their journey as it unfolds, ultimately weaving a profound testament to love, healing and hope.
“Quest is political insomuch as it insists that poor black people are human beings deserving of empathy, respect, and inquiry. Olshefski resists platitudes and overarching sentiments, devoting himself to rendering the quotidian textures of this family… [with a] feeling for raw, poetic texture.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
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Tuesday, October 3 at 7pm
SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR
Fritz Lang (U.S. 1948) 99 min. 35MM. With Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere.
Lang’s version of the Bluebeard tale blends the Hollywood genres of women’s melodrama and (female) noir to tell its Freudian, Rebecca/Hitchcock-inspired plot. A young Joan Bennett marries a moody man she barely knows, an architect with an unusual hobby: his ancestral mansion houses a collection of rooms haunted by murder. Fearing that her husband is either threatening her life or trying to drive her insane, the naïve and lonely bride enters a fairy tale world of hypnotic dream-logic, danger and awakening sexuality–a world in which she is more agent than victim. The story gave Lang “the opportunity to indulge in the kind of Expressionist shadowscapes he had been famous for in Germany in the 1920s, as well as his longstanding interest in architecture and its metaphoric connotations. Ultimately, the film is less about psychoanalysis than about Stanley Cortez’s beautifully photographed pastiche of Gothic and Expressionist imagery” (Jan-Christopher Horak). Introduced by of Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies Erica Delsandro, in conjunction with her course Fairy Tales to Playboy Bunnies. 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Preservation funding provided by The Film Foundation.
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Tuesday, October 17 at 7pm
THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION – Restoration!
Penelope Spheeris (U.S. 1981) 100 min. DCP. With musicians including Germs, Black Flag, X, Fear and Circle Jerks.
Shocking and outrageous at the time of its original release, this unflinching account of the punk rock phenomenon and its alienated, reactionary subculture depicts the lawless world of punk’s violent revolution. Penelope Spheeris’ portrait is fierce, bleak and riveting, a cavalcade of interviews (with punk fans, music critics and club owners) and documents of performances by L.A.’s infamous punk bands, as they perform on stage, and discuss their lives, music and philosophy off stage. Seen today, Decline is a compelling record of one of the most significant and influential youth movement and musical transformations of the past three decades–a major cultural phenomenon that was perhaps a prophetic glimpse of the forces that shaped our contemporary world. Introduced by Philosophy Professor Pete Groff, in conjunction with his course “Punk Rock Subcultures.”
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Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm
A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Daniel Petrie (U.S. 1961) 128 min. 35MM. With Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands.
Daniel Petrie’s faithful adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s play was released the year of the Freedom Rides through the American South, and was exceptional for Hollywood in that it challenged white audiences with its forthrightness about systemic racism – a topic avoided even by the social dramas that were dealing with race in the 50s and 60s. Hansberry’s landmark vision of black family life, in which a husband and father living in poverty on Chicago’s South Side tries to move his family to the suburbs, features one of Sidney Poitier’s defining performances. Introduced by Creative Writing Professor Chinelo Okparanta, in conjunction with her course “American Family in Lit, TV & Film.”
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Tuesday, October 31 at 7pm
Stanley Kubrick (U.S. 1980) 144 min. DCP. With Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd.
Kubrick’s iconic horror film for adults is remembered best for Jack Nicholson’s screwball performance as a raging psychopath novelist-hotel caretaker – and for those terrifying twins. It’s also notable for its use of then innovative Steadicam technology to glide around the supernaturally charged Overlook Hotel, and as a mordant riff on Stephen King’s more straightforward bestselling novel; the author himself disavowed the film, despite its power as a primal nightmare of family dysfunction. October 31
“ A majestically terrifying movie, where what you don’t see or comprehend shadows every move the characters make.” — Martin Scorsese
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Tuesday, November 7 at 7pm
Paul Thomas Anderson (U.S. 2012) 144 min. 35MM. With Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s earliest films (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love) were admired for their narrative innovation and cinematic, character-driven dynamism. By the time he made The Master, Anderson was positioned at the pinnacle of American cinema – a place from which he chose to study masculine power within a fictional movement that bears an unmistakable resemblance to Scientology. With arresting performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman, as the charismatic leader of “the Cause,” and Joaquin Phoenix, as a troubled ex-soldier who becomes his disciple, The Master imagines a potent twentieth-century, man-made religion, giving Anderson space to illuminate new aspects of his recurring interest in power, religion and the very human search for purpose. Introduced by John Penniman, Professor of Religious Studies, in conjunction with his course “What is Religion.”
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Jean Cocteau (France 1946) 93 min. 35MM. With Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély. French with English subtitles.
Jean Cocteau’s sublime adaptation of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece—in which the pure love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast—is a landmark of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais and Josette Day. The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire and death in Beauty and the Beast have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder that originate here, with Cocteau’s screen adaptation of a story that decades later became synonymous with Disney and singing candlesticks. Introduced by History Professor Ann Tlusty, in conjunction with her course “ Fairy Tales as Historical Doc.”
THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS
Gillo Pontecorvo (U.S. 1966) 121 min. DCP. With Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi. In Arabic and French with English subtitles.
A grippingly realistic political thriller, Pontecorvo’s sympathetic re-enactment of the Algerian National Liberation Front’s decision to declare urban warfare on French troops still feels like it was ripped from today’s headlines; indeed, it was screened at the Pentagon in 2003 to wise up Baghdad occupiers. “Even today it’s easy to see why [this film] outraged French officials (who banned it until 1971) and astonished everyone else. No other fiction filmmaker had so accurately replayed a recent, world-shaking conflict. No one else had pursued the truth by creating a big film with so few trained performers… And apart from Orson Welles, no one before had so imaginatively imitated the look of a newsreel… The term docudrama was not yet in wide use, and already Mr. Pontecorvo’s film overshadowed the nascent genre (Stuart Klawans, The New York Times).” Introduced by Philosophy Professor Adam Burgos, in conjunction with his course “Philosophy of Revolution.”