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  • November 17, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Laurel Nakadate knows how to get a rise out of people. Her work explores the tyranny of the male gaze, but who exactly the victims are in her videos, photographs, installations, and films is debatable. In her second feature, The Wolf Knife (2010), a pair of teenaged girls go on a road trip from Florida to Tennessee in search of one's father.

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  • November 15, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Among Peter Greenaway's impenetrably beautiful and maddeningly symmetrical films, The Belly Of An Architect (1987) might be the most accessible. In it a rotund Brian Dennehy plays Stourley Kracklite (a name worthy of Edward Gorey), the designer of the title, who travels to Rome with his young wife (Chloe Webb) for an exhibition of his favorite architect, the visionary 18th century genius Étienne-Louis Boullée.

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  • October 14, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    You don't need a bike to demonstrate your auteur skills during Home Movie Day, which takes place today at venues around the world, and locally at the HFA. Anyone can contribute a short film in 8 mm, 16 mm, VHS, or DVD formats. As John Waters said, "There's no such thing as a bad home movie." Here's a chance to put that statement to the test! The Archive is in the Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge | Saturday, October 15 @ noon | $9; $7 students, seniors | 617.

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  • October 13, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Two of the most brilliant women in film teamed up to make 35 Shots of Rum (2008) a bittersweet, meditative, and visually sublime study of the changing relationship between an aging father and his adult daughter as the former retires and latter gets the itch to move on. Director Claire Denis captures the mood and rhythms of her mentor, Yasujiro Ozu, and Agnès Godard's cinematography sets the story intimately in the world of working class, multi-cultural Parisians.

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  • October 09, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Agnés Godard is one of the world's great cinematographers and has worked with the biggest names in cinema, as is evident in the retrospective Agnés Godard's Inexhaustible Landscapes. Screening tonight is Erick Zonca's The Dreamlife Of Angels (1998), the story of the bond between two plucky working-class women and the ne'er-do-well who threatens to come between them.

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  • October 06, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Excerpt from Out of the Present (1999)

    Romania has produced some great feature film directors of late; lesser known are its outstanding documentarians. Such as Andrei Ujica, who takes found footage and archival material and shapes them into poetic - and sometimes self-referential - investigations into the past and its implications for the present and future.

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  • September 23, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Baltimore has given birth to its share of disparate filmmakers, including Barry Levinson, John Waters, and now Matt Porterfield, who presents his two features this week at the Harvard Film Archive. The first is Putty Hill (2010), which takes place in a working class section of Porterfield's hometown, where a group of disaffected teens gather when a friend dies of an overdose.

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  • September 17, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The title of the HFA's retrospective For My Crushed Right Eye: The Visionary Films Of Toshio Matsumoto suggests a messier version of the infamous razor blade scene in Buñuel's Un chien andalou. The veteran Japanese director's work lives up to the comparison, challenging conventions with his formal experimentation and transgressive subjects as much as Buñuel did with his surrealism.

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  • September 15, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Recent Italian politics have been chaotic and outrageous - so what else is new? As can be seen in the terrific period films in the Harvard Film Archive's series Viva L'italia! The Risorgimento On Screen, that's pretty much the way it's always been. The program opens with Luchino Visconti's masterpiece, Senso (1954; 7 pm), a lushly romantic extravaganza set during the 19th century Italian war for independence in which a patriotic Venetian countess falls in love with an officer of the occupying Austrian army.

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  • September 09, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who died in 1979 at the age of 37, made more than 40 films in 10 years, a body of work that continues to impress with its audacity, originality, and skewed beauty. One work that got lost in the shuffle is his sole foray into sci-fi, the recently restored 210-minute TV movie World On A Wire (1972), an adaptation of the Daniel F.

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  • August 18, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

    Ghosts were once less disagreeable on the big screen than they are today. Compare the specter in, say, Paranormal Activity, with the spook in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947; 7 pm). He's the sexy, pipe-smoking, bearded sea captain (Rex Harrison), who proves erotically titillating to the widow (Gene Tierney), when she moves into the quaint cottage he haunts.

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  • August 11, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    "Wild Night in Reno"

    As was seen in a program last year at the HFA, George Kuchar is best known for his no-budget, John Waters-like trash epics made with his brother Mike. But he has a more romantic side, as well (as in Caspar David Friedrich), which can be seen in another HFA series, George Kuchar's Weather Diaries, a collection of short films he made over the years about the extreme weather in Oklahoma, and the folks who love it.

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  • July 21, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

    Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve (1950) is included in just about everyone's top 10 best Hollywood movies list, and the line "Fasten your seatbelts. Its going to be a bumpy night" comes in at #9 in the AFI's list of greatest movie quotes. But that film is just one of the nearly two dozen Mankiewicz turned out in his richly varied, remarkable career.

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  • June 30, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    People Parade

    With its numerous university film departments, the Boston area has grown into a hotbed of young talent. Four recent graduates from local programs showcase their work tonight at the Harvard Film Archive in "Four Films From Young Boston: An Evening Of Personal Cinema." They include Ahmed Khawaja and Andre Puca's Kassandra with a K, a feature about a Muslim-American film student who wants to make a movie about his first heartbreak (don't miss Phoenix film critic Brett Michel's cameo - with his pet rabbit).

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  • June 16, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Woody Allen has a little fun with one of the great filmmakers of all time in his new film Midnight in Paris by having him look confused when Owen Wilson suggests to him the plot of what would eventually be his film The Exterminating Angel (1962). But the real Luis Buñuel knew his way around a surreal concept, as can be seen in the films opening the retrospective Bunuel: The End And the Beginning

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