THE BAD SLEEP WELL
Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1960, 150 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
June 5, 2017, 7 p.m.
A young executive hunts down his father’s killer in director Akira Kurosawa’s scathing The Bad Sleep Well. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect in exposing the corrupt boardrooms of postwar corporate Japan.
THE VIRGIN SPRING
Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1960, 89 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
June 12, 2017, 7 p.m.
Winner of the academy award for best foreign language film, Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring is a harrowing tale of faith, revenge, and savagery in medieval Sweden. Starring frequent Bergman collaborator and screen icon Max von Sydow, the film is both beautiful and cruel in its depiction of a world teetering between paganism and Christianity, and of one father’s need to avenge the death of a child.
Basil Dearden, United Kingdom, 1961, 100 Minutes, B&W
June 19, 2017, 7 p.m.
An extraordinary performance by Dirk Bogarde grounds this intense, sobering indictment of early-sixties social intolerance and sexual puritanism. Bogarde plays Melville Farr, a married barrister who is one of a large group of closeted London men who become targets of a blackmailer. Basil Dearden’s unmistakably political taboo buster was one of the first films to address homophobia head-on, a cry of protest against British laws forbidding homosexuality.
Dino Risi, Italy, 1962, 105 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
June 26, 2017, 7 p.m.
The ultimate Italian road comedy, Il Sorpasso stars the unlikely pair of Vittorio Gassman And Jean-Louis Trintignant as, respectively, a waggish, freewheeling bachelor and the straitlaced law student he takes on a madcap trip from Rome to Tuscany. An unpredictable journey that careers from slapstick to tragedy, this film, directed by Dino Risi, is a wildly entertaining commentary on the pleasures and consequences of the good life. A holy grail of commedia all’italiana, Il Sorpasso is so fresh and exciting that one can easily see why it has long been adored in Italy.
TALE OF ZATOICHI
Kenji Misumi , Japan, 1962, 96 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
July 3, 2017, 7 p.m.
The epic saga of Zatoichi begins. As tensions mount between rival Yakuza clans, one boss hires a formidable but ailing Ronin as his clan’s muscle—while the other employs a humble, moral blind masseur named Ichi. With its lightning-fast swordplay, sleight-of-hand dice games, and codes of honor upheld and betrayed, this first chapter sets the stage for all the Zatoichi adventures to come. And Shintaro Katsu brings author Kan Shimozawa’s blind swordsman to vivid life, making the character excitingly, indelibly his own.
LORD OF THE FLIES
Peter Brook, United Kingdom, 1963, 90 Minutes, B&W
July 10, 2017, 7 p.m.
In the hands of the renowned experimental theater director Peter Brook, William Golding’s legendary novel about the primitivism lurking beneath civilization becomes a film as raw and ragged as the lost boys at its center. Taking an innovative documentary-like approach, Brook shot Lord of The Flies with an off-the-cuff naturalism, seeming to record a spontaneous eruption of its characters’ ids. The result is a rattling masterpiece, as provocative as its source material.
Federico Fellini, Italy, 1963, 138 Min, B&W, English Subtitles
July 17, 2017, 7 p.m.
Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s 8½ (Otto E Mezzo) turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title for 8½ was the beautiful confusion, and Fellini’s masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.
THE SOFT SKIN
François Truffaut, France, 1964, 117 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
July 24, 2017, 7 p.m.
François Truffaut followed up the international phenomenon Jules and Jim with this tense tale of infidelity. The unassuming Jean Desailly is perfectly cast as a celebrated literary scholar, seemingly happily married, who embarks on an affair with a gorgeous stewardess, played by Françoise Dorléac, who is captivated by his charm and reputation. As their romance gets serious, the film grows anxious, leading to a wallop of a conclusion. Truffaut made The Soft Skin at a time when he was immersing himself in the work of Alfred Hitchcock, and that master’s influence can be felt throughout this complex, insightful, and underseen French new wave treasure.
I KNEW HER WELL
Antonio Pietrangeli, Italy, 1965, 115 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
July 31, 2017, 7 p.m.
Following the gorgeous, seemingly liberated Adriana (Divorce Italian Style’s Stefania Sandrelli) as she chases her dreams in the Rome of La Dolce Vita, I Knew Her Well is at once a delightful immersion in the popular music and style of Italy in the 1960s and a biting critique of its sexual politics and culture of celebrity. Over a series of intimate episodes, just about every one featuring a different man, a new hairstyle, and an outfit to match, the unsung Italian Master Antonio Pietrangeli, working from a script he co-wrote with Ettore Scola, composes a deft, seriocomic character study that never strays from its complicated central figure. I Knew Her Well is a thrilling rediscovery, by turns funny, tragic, and altogether jaw-dropping.
DOUBLE FEATURE: BLACK PANTHERS AND BLACK GIRL
Agnès Varda, France, 1968, 28 Minutes, Color
August 7, 2017, 7 p.m.
Agnès Varda turns her camera on an Oakland demonstration against the imprisonment of activist and Black Panthers cofounder Huey P. Newton. In addition to evincing Varda’s fascination with her adopted surroundings and her empathy, this perceptive short is also a powerful political statement.
Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 1966, 65 Minutes, B&W, English Subtitles
August 7, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Ousmane Sembène, one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived and the most internationally renowned African director of the twentieth century, made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl (La noire de . . .). Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a figurative and literal prison—into a complex, layered critique on the lingering colonialist mindset of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.
King Hu, Taiwan, 1967, 111 Minutes, Color, English Subtitles
August 14, 2017, 7 p.m.
The Chinese Wuxia (martial arts) picture was never the same after King Hu’s legendary Dragon Inn. During the Ming Dynasty, the emperor’s minister of defense is framed by a powerful court eunuch and executed, and his family is pursued by secret police. In the ensuing chase, a mysterious band of strangers begins to gather at the remote dragon gate inn, where paths (and swords) will cross. This thrilling landmark of film history returns to the screen in a new, beautifully restored 4k digital transfer, created from the original negative.
Jiří Menzel, Czechoslovakia, 1968, 76 minutes, Color, English subtitles
August 21, 2017, 7 p.m.
Two years after his worldwide hit Closely Watched Trains, Jiří Menzel directed this amusing idyll about three middle-aged men whose mellow summer is interrupted by the arrival of a circus performer and his beautiful assistant. A meditation on aging and sex, shot in warm, sun-dappled color, Capricious Summer is one of the New Wave’s loveliest reveries.
Costa-Gavras, France/Greece, 1969, 127 Minutes, Color, English Subtitles
August 28, 2017, 7 p.m.
A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Z was one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from that hallowed era of filmmaking. This Academy Award winner—loosely based on the 1963 assassination of Greek left-wing activist Gregoris Lambrakis—stars Yves Montand as a prominent politician and doctor whose public murder amid a violent demonstration is covered up by military and government officials; Jean-Louis Trintignant is the tenacious magistrate who’s determined not to let them get away with it. Featuring kinetic, rhythmic editing, Raoul Coutard’s expressive vérité photography, and Mikis Theodorakis’s unforgettable, propulsive score, Z is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping masterpiece.