WRITING THROUGH FILM/MEDIA & HOME VIEWING: Tick Tock…Tik Tok

Wednesday, August 25 at 7:10pm

 

PLAYTIME

Jacques Tati (France 1967) 116 min. DCP. With Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden. French and German with English subtitles.

Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in an age of high technology reached their apotheosis with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the lovably old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a baffling modern world, this time Paris. With every inch of its super-wide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting record of a modern era tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.

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Wednesday, September 1 at 7:10pm

BURNING

Lee Chang-dong (South Korea 2018) 148 min. DCP. With Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun. Korean with English subtitles.

An adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s 1992 short story, itself inspired by William Faulkner’s similarly titled 1939 story “Barn Burning,” the latest from Korean master Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine, Poetry) traces an unusual romantic triangle. It is also an tense “character study that morphs, with masterly patience, subtlety and nary a single wasted minute, into a teasing mystery and eventually a full-blown thriller. To reveal more would ruin the story’s slow-building pleasures, which are less about the haunting final destination than the subtle, razor-sharp microcurrents of class rage, family-inherited pain, everyday ennui and youthful despair that build in scene after scene, even when nothing more seems to be happening than a simple or not-so-simple conversation” (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times). Named the best film of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival by two critics’ groups (the International Federation of Film Critics and the International Cinephile Society).

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Wednesday, September 8 at 7:10pm


ATLANTICS

Mati Diop (France, Senegal, Belgium, 2019) 105 min. DCP. With Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow, Traore, Nicole Sougou. Wolof with English subtitles.

In Senegal’s bustling capital, two young lovers sneak private moments with the urgency of youthful desire, knowing their time is limited, as Ada (newcomer Sané) is soon to be wed to a wealthy but frivolous man. Meanwhile, Souleiman (first-time actor Traoré) hasn’t been paid for weeks and is forced to leave land for the sea in hopes of finding a better life. When he sets off, Ada is haunted by his memory and, then, perhaps more.

Like the works of Denis and Matías Piñeiro, Diop’s film rejects a simple narrative framework, instead focusing on the poetic and thoughtful, with politics that simmer beneath the surface. And like her uncle, the iconic filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty — whose work also explored migration — she refuses a reductive portrait of those dreaming of a better life. Leaving comparisons aside, Diop stands very much on her own two feet with an evocative and stunning study of how love and loss haunts us all. Known for her work in front of the camera (starting with Claire Denis’ 35 Rhums) and her body of short films, Mati Diop made her highly anticipated leap to feature filmmaking. The jump was an assured one, as Atlantics picked up the Jury Grand Prize in Cannes Competition, making Diop the first Black woman to win an award in the French festival’s 72-year history. (Toronto International Film Festival program notes).

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Wednesday, September 15 at 7:10pm

REAR WINDOW

Alfred Hitchcock (US 1954) 114 min. 35MM. With James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey.

Hitchcock’s brilliant meditation on cinema and voyeur- ism binds the viewer to the perspective of photojournalist Stewart, bound to a wheelchair with a broken leg and obsessively spying on his West Village neighbors. One of the Master of Suspense’s greatest successes.

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Wednesday, September 22 at 7:10pm

ADAM’S RIB

George Cukor (US 1949) 101 min. 35MM. With Judy Holliday, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn.

In Cukor’s manic, strikingly modern battle of the sexes, feuding lawyer spouses Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy let their domestic power struggles spill over into the public sphere when they end up on opposite sides of a high-profile murder trial. As the film cycles from home to courtroom and back again, it stacks up a series of unforgettable set pieces: Tracy visualizing the trial’s key male players as women, and vice versa; a female circus performer matter-of-factly hoisting Tracy aloft by the feet; even a film-within-a-film that gives Cukor a chance to reflect on his own complicity in the proceedings. More than a classic screwball comedy, Adam’s Rib is one of Hollywood’s most sophisticated meditations on the gender gap, and a genuinely moving portrait of a marriage on the brink. (Film Society of Lincoln Center program notes)

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Wednesday, September 29 at 7:10pm

NO HOME MOVIE

Chantal Akerman (France/Belgium 2016) 115 min. DCP. English and French with English subtitles.

The final film from groundbreaking auteur Chantal Akerman, No Home Movie is a portrait of her relationship with her mother, Natalia, a Holocaust survivor and familiar presence in many of her daughter’s films.

“At the center of Chantal Akerman’s enormous body of work is her mother, a Holocaust survivor who married and raised a family in Brussels. In recent years, the filmmaker has explicitly depicted, in videos, books, and installation works, her mother’s life and their own intense connection to each other. No Home Movie is a portrait by Akerman, the daughter, of Akerman, the mother, in the last years of her life. It is an extremely intimate film but also one of great formal precision and beauty, one of the rare works of art that is both personal and universal, and as much a masterpiece as her 1975 career-defining Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.” — New York Film Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Center

“The #1 Best Film of the Year.” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times)

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Wednesday, October 27 at 7:10pm

© The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Film still courtesy The Andy Warhol Museum

KISS & THE LOVES OF ONDINE

Directed by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey (U.S. 1964, approx 50 min. & 1968, 85 min.) 

In Kiss, one of his early silent films, Warhol explores a common bodily acts through a minimalistic framework, featuring thirteen different couples kissing, with each pair’s scene lasting the three or so minutes of an individual roll of film (SF MOMA). Warhol was “godfather” to the downtown scene that Club 57 members strived to emulate, and although he failed to appear at their events in person, his films were shown often. His star, Ondine, was a club semi-regular: playing closeted actor Raymond Burr in a Bill Landis stage play, hosting a gay benefit event, and introducing screenings of the master’s work. In this film, Ondine plays a wannabee heterosexual attempting to change his queer orientation (MOMA). Directed by Warhol and Paul Morrissey. With Ondine (Robert Olivo), Brigid Berlin, Joe Dellesandro.

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