In response to the plaintive title of Maurice Pialat's
autobiographical film We Won't Grow Old Together (1972),
you might ask "and why on earth would you want to?" A miserable,
underachieving, fortyish filmmaker is estranged from his wife and abuses his
much younger mistress. Not released for 40 years in the US, this harrowing
portrait of the artist as a miserable prick might be one of the best
pathological studies of relationships gone bad since Roberto Rossellini's Voyage to Italy, but it's not
recommended as a first date movie.
The UCLA Festival of Preservation, at
the Museum of Fine Arts through August 17, showcases the latest film, TV, and
newsreel gems preserved for the ages by the university's state-of-the-art archive.
Among the filmmakers featured are Robert Altman, Buster Keaton, Cecil B.
DeMille, Douglas Sirk, and Barbara Loden.
continues its outstanding Boston French Film Festival with Outside Satan (2011), in
which Bruno Dumont brings his bleak eye for landscape and his even bleaker
insight into human nature to a tale about a charismatic stranger passing
through a desolate seacoast village. The visitor has strange powers and
performs apparent miracles.
The next best thing to spending a week in Paris and taking in its vast film scene is attending the Boston French Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts. Now in its 17th year, the
event continues to present the best of the most recent offerings from what is
still one of the most vital film industries in the world. Just in time for Bastille
Day, it opens tonight with the lush period drama Farewell, My Queen (2011 | July 12 @ 7:30 pm), a chronicle of the tragic, decadent last
days of Marie Antoinette and her court at Versailles before the mobs descended
with their pitchforks and rights of man.
The Oscar-winning success of The Artist reminded moviegoers that people were making films
before, say, Titanic. And so Mark
Cousins's marathon series The Story of Film: An Odyssey has come along at an auspicious time.
The 15 hour-long episodes begin with the first cinema pioneers - like Georges
Méliès, now familiar to fans of Martin Scorsese's Hugo - and progress to the present day and the oneiric complexities
of David Lynch and Alexander Sokurov.
Not since the salad days of Arthur Godfrey and Don Ho
has this minute strummer's delight been so popular, and Nina Koocher's Under
the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story (2011) helps explain why. A
documentary about the ukulele Club of Santa Cruz - "the largest ukulele social
group in the world" - it also provides a concise history of the diminutive but
In recent years Turkey has emerged as a major player
on the world stage, but its presence on the screen has been felt for much
longer. Now in its 11th year, the Boston Turkish Film
the Museum of Fine Arts brings the newest and best
films from this vibrant and eclectic national cinema. It opens with Once
Upon a Time in Anatolia by reigning Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a crime
thriller set in the rolling steppes of Turkey's Wild East.
A true test of cinephilia, the films of Michelangelo
Antonioni try the viewer's patience with their long takes, enigmatic longueurs,
and lingering studies of ennui. The reward is a rare beauty and spiritual
elevation. Such is the case with Red Desert (1964), in which Monica
Vitti plays a disturbed woman adrift in a toxic landscape of industrial waste
and spiritual malaise, as hauntingly beautiful as it is laden with dread.
My Spectacular Theatre
Already known for putting on one of the best film
events in these parts, the organizers of the Boston Jewish Film Festival are
also hosting the first annual REELAbilitiesBoston Film
a series of six films from around the world about the lives of people with
Though imprisoned for so-called crimes against the state,
Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof somehow managed to make
features and smuggle them out to the West. Both of these films can be seen in
the MFA's Iranian
Film Festival, which today is screening Rasoulof''s Good Bye
Where is the Friend's House? (1987)
An unsung victim of the draconian Iranian regime is
its film industry, once regarded as among the most accomplished in the world.
But recently the authorities have incarcerated some of their best directors,
including Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, who nonetheless have completed
features and smuggled them out of the country.
They started out as a determined, talented, but struggling
klezmer band and within a few years became, as someone comments in Erik
Greenberg Anjou's documentary The
Klezmatics: On Holy Ground
(2011), "the Jewish equivalent of arena rock." Anjou follows the band for four
years, taking in their ups and downs, their concerts, and the recording
sessions for their hit album Wonder Wheel.
If the extent of your Greek cinematic knowledge is
limited to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma
you'd do well to widen your horizons at the MFA. They're unrolling the Festival Of Films From Greece an 11-day
series of films hailing from one of the world's most conflicted nations. The
festival opens tonight with Attenberg, Greece's
submission for Best Foreign Film for the 2012 Academy Awards, and highlights
include Pelican's Watch, a documentary about Europe's oldest vineyard, on
the island of Santorini, and the farmers struggling to keep it up and running.
Far from provoking more intolerance and rage,
Palestine Film Festival,
now in its fifth year, has provided a sagacious cinematic point of view on the Middle East's intractable conflict. It does so with films
like The Time That Remains (2009; 6:30 pm), a bittersweet chronicle of
six decades in the lives of an Israeli-Palestinian family enduring the travails