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.
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 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.
Many know the surging Korean film industry for its rousing,
bloody genre hits, but it also boasts movies of a more elliptical, enigmatic,
New Wave-y kind. Like this playful, melancholy bagatelle by Hong Sang-soo, a
seemingly autobiographical portrait of a drunken filmmaker whose relationships
are as untidy as the film is exacting and masterful.
If your last-minute shopping takes you to Harvard Square and you're looking for
some yuletide relief, head over to the Harvard Film Archive's Fourth Annual
Vintage Christmas Show. It's a kid-friendly event featuring two hours of shorts
including a George Kuchar video diary, some comedy classics, and a murder
Two trademarks of Michelangelo Antonioni's career, obscure
plots and visual beauty, reach their peak in his penultimate film, Identification of a Woman (1982). Oh,
and beautiful naked women, too. It's got a lot of that.
Harvard Film Archive, 24 Church St,
Cambridge :: Friday, December 14 @ 7 pm :: $9; $7 students, seniors :: 617.
Blow Up (1966)
A series titled "The Mysteries of
Michelangelo Antonioni" is asking for trouble. Like, what's going on at the end
of Blow-up (1966)? What happens to
Lea Massari in L'Avventura (1960)?
Every film in this retrospective has its head scratchers. It starts tonight and runs through
November 11 at the HFA.
In Harm's Way
There are a couple of deviations from the standard
noir in Lewis Allen's Desert
Fury (1947; 5 pm). First of all, the protagonist is a woman (Lizabeth Scott),
a teenager whose mother (Mary Astor) runs the local casino. Paula has the hots
for a racketeer trying to horn in on her mom's business, a "hunk fatale" played
by a sometimes-shirtless John Hodiak.
For one brief moment between the dawn of sound and the
crackdown of the studio's moral watchdogs in 1934, Hollywood turned out some
its sexiest, most mature, and effervescent movies. Half a dozen of the best can
be seen at the Harvard Film Archive's "Hot
Saturday: Paramount pre-Code Marathon," including classics like Mae West's She Done Him Wrong (1933) with her
infamous come-on to Cary Grant, "Why don't you come up sometime and see me;"
and Cecil B.
Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game (1939) took fourth
place in the most recent Sight &
Sound magazine critics poll of the ten best movies in the history of
cinema, but some prefer the great French auteur's eloquent, funny, and tragic Grand
Illusion (1937). A possible inspiration for such diverse works as The Great Escape and Hogan's Heroes, it tells the story of
French soldiers in a German POW camp where matters of class, compassion, and
personal honor trump patriotism.
After making The
Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Seven
Days in May (1964) John Frankenheimer wrapped up his creepily paranoid but
uncannily prescient trilogy of political thrillers with the lesser known Seconds
(1966). In it Rock Hudson plays a staid businessman who, Philip K. Dick-style,
employs a mysterious company to extract him from his dull but respectable life
and provide him with a new identity as a louche Malibu
The Exterminating Angel (1962), one of Luis Buñuel's most
bewildering and brilliant movies, plays tomorrow as part of the Harvard Film
Archive's "Buñuel in Mexico" series.The surrealist auteur
brings his entomological eye to a white tie dinner party where the guests, for
some reason, find it impossible to leave.
Driven from his native Spain by the Franco
dictatorship, unable to find refuge within the Hollywood studio system, Luis
Buñuel settled quite nicely in the rough-and-ready Mexican film industry. There
over the course of 35 years he made some of his most powerful and enigmatic
films. The Harvard Film Archive opens its Buñuel
in Mexico series with one of the best, Los Olvidados (1950), a brutally
honest, rigorously compassionate, and sneakily surreal study of disaffected
youth undone by grinding poverty and a heartless society.
Sidney Lumet, who died last year, mastered the art of
balancing social issues with pulse-pounding entertainment. Such is the case
(1973), the true story of a New York City cop - played by Al Pacino in an
Oscar-nominated role - who blows the whistle on department corruption. Not the
best way to guarantee a comfortable retirement.
Trial on the Road (1971)
Now that the
Soviet Union is history, there are those who miss it. Filmmakers in particular
benefited from state sponsorship, though censorship made things a bit tricky.
The Harvard Film Archive features one of the great directors of that period in
the retrospective History Through The
Wrong End Of The Telescope: The Films Of Aleksei Guerman