Japanese documentary filmmaker Masao Adachi not only
preached revolution in his fiery agit-prop films, he practiced it too,
following up his pro-Palestinian-resistance newsreel/screed Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War (1971; 9 pm) by abandoning film
to join the Japanese United Army in Lebanon, where he was
arrested in 2002.
When you think of the land that gave us Heidi, cuckoo
clocks, and cheese, the topic of child abuse is not likely to come to mind.
Nonetheless, from 1800 to the 1950s Switzerland farmed out hundreds of
thousands of orphans and wayward youths to workhouses where they served as
virtual slaves. In a presentation by the Goethe Institut, Swiss filmmaker
Markus Imboden dramatizes this Dickensian injustice with this tale of Max, a
12-year-old boy sold to a farm family, where he is forced to work and treated
Leos Carax makes public appearances almost as infrequently
as he makes movies, so the two together is a rare treat. As part of the Harvard
Film Archive's retrospective "Overdrive: The Films of Leos Carax," the sui
generis French auteur will present and discuss his latest opus, the delightful,
madness-inducing Holy Motors
The Coolidge Corner Theatre continues its Django Unchained-inspired blaxploitation @fter Midnite movie series with Jonathan
Kaplan's Truck Turner (1974). Like Django,
Truck (Isaac Hayes) is a bounty hunter, but he's not as much of an idealist. He
doesn't seek justice, or even the rescue of his beloved, but rather $1000 for
bringing in a pimp named Gator.
Stanley Kubrick's The
Shining (1980) is the happy hunting ground for those prone to byzantine, if
not paranoid, movie interpretations (the upcoming documentary Room 237 explores just a few of these).
So it's well worth watching again no matter how many times you've already seen
the kid riding the Big Wheel down the endless Overlook Hotel corridors, or the
flirty, naked, decomposing woman in the tub, or the creepy Diane Arbus twins,
or the diabolical bartender, or Jack Nicholson with a grin and an axe saying,
Though One Life (2011)
offers the usual anthropomorphic wildlife-documentary narrative - baby animals and
their parents - spoken by a resonant, top-tier actor - Daniel Craig, in this instance - the cinematography is especially
striking, and the creatures and their survival tactics have to be seen to be
Some experiences need to be shared to be endured. The
Academy Awards is one of them. Every year the Brattle Theatre complies by
throwing a pre-program bash. Okay, it's $75, but it goes to a good cause, the
Brattle Foundation, and it gives you a chance to put a buzz
on before Oscar-show host Seth MacFarlane starts reprising his Family Guy voices and so that even if Les Misérables wins Best Picture, you'll
be having such a good time you won't care.
As suggested by the title, Rob
Grant's Mon Ami (2012) is a buddy movie, but with a twist - as well as
slashes, chops, spurts, gouges, and other standbys of the slasher genre. The
two friends of the title plan a kidnapping, and it goes so gruesomely, hilariously
wrong that they make the culprits in Fargo look like
The Master of Suspense got a raw deal in the lousy, recent
biopic bearing his name, but the Coolidge Big Screen Classics series showcases
his greatness with its screening of Rebecca
(1940). In it, Joan Fontaine plays a fresh-faced ingénue whose fairy-tale
marriage to a morose, elegant widower, played by Laurence Olivier, is disrupted
by two women, one of whom is dead.
Maybe today's rom
coms would be better off if they just hushed a bit and aspired to the visual
wit of classic silent comedies like Harold Lloyd's Girl Shy (1924). In it Lloyd plays the title shy guy who
tries to compensate for his ineptitude with women by writing a macho dating
book. But words turn to action when he must stop the wedding of the woman he
fancies and engages in one of the most inventive, dazzling, and hilarious chases
In Carlo Guillermo Proto's documentary El Huaso (2012), the director's father, Toronto
retiree Gustavo Proto, returns to his native Chile to fulfill his dream of
becoming the rodeo star of the title. But tests suggest that he might have
Alzheimer's, which could complicate, or maybe simplify his plans, since he intends
to end his life once his condition becomes hopeless.
It's a lot shorter than the Oscar show later this month, and
it's a lot more fun, as well. The Boston Society of Film Critics Annual Awards
and Screening takes place tomorrow night at the Brattle Theatre, and the featured film
will be Best Documentary winner How To
Survive a Plague (2012), with the director, David France, accepting his
award in person and sticking around for a Q&A after the screening.
More people should know about the University of Massachusetts
Boston Film Series, which offers outstanding recent
films, many of them local premieres, plus appearances by the filmmakers. This
year's spring program runs through April 25 and opens today with Nisha Pahuja's
The World Before Her (2012), a
compelling documentary that compares and contrasts two different, and equally
alarming, training camps for women in India: one for the Miss India beauty
contest and the other for a Hindu-nationalist paramilitary group.
Whether you like it or not, there's no stopping Lena Dunham,
creator of the much beloved, much criticized HBO show Girls (see Michael Braithwaite's piece online at thephoenix.com). She'll be at
the Museum of Fine Arts presenting Tiny Furniture (2010), the
micro-budgeted indie film that got her started and in which she plays a precursor
to the autobiographical protagonist of the TV show, encountering the same
trials of degrading romance, existential ennui, skewed feminism, and self-loathing.
Two entertaining, shrewdly satirical, and slyly profound
sci-fi movies helped salvage the '80s from the junk heap of cinema history.
Paul Verhoeven's brutal and hilarious RoboCop
(1987; 4:30 + 9pm) presaged the economic downfall
of Detroit with
its tale of a half-dead policeman rebuilt into a humanoid machine fighting
crime in the blighted city.