This Is Not a Film
Under house arrest in Tehran, Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi managed
to smuggle his film This Is Not a Film
(2012; 7:30 pm ) out of the country by putting it on a flashdrive and sticking
it in a cake. Under house arrest in China, world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei
gets his message out via Twitter and other ironic acts of subversion, as seen
in Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never
Sorry (2012; 5:30 + 9:15).
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Benh Zeitlin's debut feature Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012; 3:30 + 7:30 pm)
raised some eyebrows by scoring Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director,
Actress, and Screenplay. Eagle-Tribune
film critic Greg Vellante will explain the appeal of this sui generis, magical-realist tale of moonshine, squalid poverty,
childhood innocence, and environmental disaster as it opens the Brattle
Theatre's "(Some of) The Best of 2012" series.
The approaching end of the movie award season is a good time
to be reminded of the past masterpieces that this year's winners will
ultimately be compared to. Like Luis Buñuel's surreal/neo-realist Los Olvidados (1950; 6 pm), a tender,
and brutal, study of doomed delinquents, and Satyajit Ray's tragicomic The Music Room (1958; 9 pm), a tale of a
cultured nabob fallen on hard times whose final gesture of refinement is one
last concert in the title salon (1958; 9 pm).
occasionally dramatizes the plight of the disabled and mentally ill - as in
this year's highly touted films The
Sessions and Silver Linings Playbook
- it's not a subject they're very
comfortable with. For a more enlightening look at how those faced by various
mental and physical challenges cope and prevail, don't miss this series of nine
films that runs through February 5.
Why is it that of all contemporary filmmakers ,none has as
keen and capricious an insight into the adolescent spirit as Wes Anderson,
director of the Oscar-nominated
Maybe Steven Schlozman, MD, Associate Director of Training for the Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program at the MGH among other distinguished
credentials, has the answer.
Documentaries remain the hottest genre in filmmaking today,
and The DocYard continues to bring the best and most recent to their series at
the Brattle Theatre. On Monday night they present Jason Tippett and Elizabeth Mimms's
debut feature Only the Young (2012),
a poetic study of teenagers growing up in the economically blighted setting of
a small, Southern California desert town.
Well, it's not so different now, as many have tried and
failed to reproduce the surreal, absurdist hilarity of the ingenious clowns
celebrated in Monty Python Week! at the Brattle Theatre. Every evening, in
tandem with screenings of A Liar's
Autobiography: The Untrue Story of
Monty Python's Graham Chapman, Bill (son of Terry) Jones's documentary
about the late member of the troupe, they'll present a classic film from the
Python canon, starting Saturday, January 26 with - what else? - the potpourri of skits that
made them famous, And Now for Something
Completely Different (1971).
Kimberly Peirce, now wrapping up her remake of Brian De
Palma's thriller Carrie, first came
on the scene with this groundbreaking 1999 true story about a young woman who
preferred to be a man, much to the confusion and brutal outrage of a small Nebraska community. It won
Hilary Swank a Best Actress Oscar, and proved a landmark in gaining tolerance
for alternative sexual lifestyles.
One. Two. One.
Even though they keep putting their directors in jail, Iran
still produces some of the best films in the world. You might want to catch
some of the more recent offerings at the ongoing Museum
of Fine Arts Festival of Films from Iran. Friday, January 25 they will be screening painter/filmmaker Mania Akbari's One.
The Brattle's "Dead of Winter: Satan on the Screen" comes to
a diabolical climax with Roman Polanski's sardonic, twisted masterpiece, Rosemary's Baby (1968). Adapted from
the Ira Levin novel, it doesn't need many special effects to evoke the chill of
pure evil in its story of a young couple (Mia Farrow and John Cassavettes) who
make friends with some interesting neighbors when they move into the creepy
Dakota (a/k/a "Bramford") building in an otherworldly Upper West Side
Has Spike Lee has been living up to the title of his breakthrough
hit, Do the Right Thing (1989)? These
days he seems to be putting more effort into knocking other filmmakers than in
making good films. This might be his best - a funny, flashy, thoughtful fable
in which he stars as a goofball pizza deliveryman in Brooklyn who gets caught
up in the racial strife simmering during the hottest day of the summer.
The Coolidge's @fter Midnite series
is screening The Bird with the Crystal
Plumage (1970), the first feature by maestro of suspense and shaman of
shocking violence, Dario Argento. Here an American visiting Rome with his girlfriend gets caught up in a
police manhunt for a killer. That's pretty scary, but what's even more
disturbing is the guy who eats cats.
The cold weather makes everyone long to visit someplace
warm, but the Brattle might be taking that impulse to infernal extremes with
their series "Dead of Winter: Satan on Screen." Their round-up of hellacious
hits begins today with the European cut of Ridley Scott's Legend (1985), in which Tom Cruise plays a hero who must save his
land from a demon played by Tim Curry.
While Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained offers a highly satisfying, simplistic,
wish-fulfillment fantasy about achieving racial justice, Stanley Nelson's
documentary Freedom Riders (2010)
shows what the arduous, perilous struggle was really like. In 1961, hundreds of
activists put their lives on the line peacefully challenging segregation on
public transportation in the Deep South,
achieving more than guns and vengeance ever could.
The HFA offers up another puckishly intricate treat from
Hong Sang-soo. In three intertwined narratives set at a dreary beach resort the
director plays variations on his favorite themes of hopeless love and
existential bewilderment, with each story featuring a character named Anne,
played by Isabelle Huppert.