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  • June 11, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The brilliant Jerzy Skolimowski, star director of the Polish New Wave, has had his ups and down since he left his homeland in 1967 because of censorship and political oppression. One high point is The Shout (1978), an adaptation of a Robert Graves story in which Alan Bates plays a mysterious stranger who seemingly has mastered a cry so sad and desperate that .

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  • June 02, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Deep End (1971)

    An under-appreciated auteur of the Polish New Wave, Jerzy Skolimowski's career peaked in the '80s with films like his masterpiece Moonlighting (1982). The Harvard Film Archive offers a long overdue retrospective of his career, The Radical Vision Of Jerzy Skolimowski, starting tonight with Deep End (1971 | 7 pm), a coming of age story set in the shabbier fringes of Swinging London, and Barrier (1966 | 9 pm), a portrait of disaffected youth in '60s Poland.

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  • May 26, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Born in 1912, he's probably the oldest Japanese director you've never heard of, making the Masterworks of Kaneto Shindo at the HFA essential viewing. The films include Shindo's harrowing and controversial Children of Hiroshima (1952; 7 pm), an uncompromising look at the A-bombing of Japan; his masterpiece, Onibaba (1964; 9 pm) a Marxist parable about social breakdown set in medieval Japan; and his most recent film, Postcard (2010; May 30 @ 7 pm ), an autobiographical drama about a Japanese soldier who sends his wife the title missive as he's shipped out to the Pacific in World War II.

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  • May 12, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The City Below (2010)

    Every four decades or so, some German filmmakers stir themselves into a frenzy of creative energy and revitalize world cinema. Could this be happening with Christoph Hochhäusler and Isabelle Stever, who are showcased in the Harvard Film Archive weekend program "The Berlin School Now"? Stever's Gisela (2005; May 13 @ 7 pm) looks at how the stolid existence of a suburban mom is disrupted, or maybe not, when a knucklehead from her school days shows up.

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  • May 05, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    If you're already in Cambridge for the LGBT Festival, head over to the Harvard Film Archive to check out "Where Are Their Stories? The Films Of Nicolás Pereda." At a time when the popular image of Mexico has devolved into the chaos of drug wars, Pereda's meticulously observed fusions of documentary and fiction are a refreshing corrective.

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  • April 30, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    To judge from Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines's 1982 documentary Seventeen (1982), teenagers 30 years ago were no less miserable than they are today. Made for the Middletown Film Project, a series of documentaries about Muncie, Indiana, that was a kind of portrait of Middle America, this chronicle of high-school scandal, treachery, and despair was so disheartening and controversial that it was rejected by PBS - only to go on to a successful theatrical run.

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  • April 04, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Alfred Guzzetti at work

    Alfred Guzzetti takes the poignancy we all feel for our family albums and home movies and makes it universal in his documentary Family Portrait Sittings (1975), a collection of films, photos, and audio recordings edited into an elegant account of four generations of his own relatives.

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  • January 29, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The profession of film criticism has fallen on hard times of late, but the Boston Phoenix's own Gerald Peary comes to its defense with his aptly named documentary For the Love of Movies, a brisk and eloquent look at the history and future of film reviewing featuring such eminences as Roger Ebert, Andrew Sarris, and even jolly Harry Knowles.

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  • November 24, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    When humans go up against nature in films like 127 Hours, they usually come out short. Such is the case also in Werner Herzog's compelling documentary Grizzly Man (2005), in which the director finds someone almost as strange as himself, Timothy Treadwell, who just wanted to share his life with the ursines of the title in the Alaskan wilderness.

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