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Film Architectures

November 2 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm

The Naked City

Directed by Jules Dassin
USA 1948, b/w, 35mm, 96 min.
With Barry Fitzgerald, Don Taylor, Howard Duff

While this highly influential neorealist thriller, shot on location in New York’s teeming streets, claimed to be giving an impression of city life, its real mission was to tell an ordinary murder tale through an accumulation of detail and humor. The narrator’s last words have become a widely quoted urban cliché: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

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November 3 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

Craig's Wife

Directed by Dorothy Arzner
USA 1936, b/w, 16mm, 75 min.
With Rosalind Russell, John Boles, Billie Burke

Rosalind Russell’s wild performance dominates Dorothy Arzner’s adaptation of George Kelly’s play about a woman’s struggle to control every inch of her home. By assuming the housewife’s perspective and confining plot and conflict to discreet moments within the home, Craig’s Wife takes the cult of domesticity to a strange extreme. Through the director’s subtle yet subversive treatment of domestic space, a remarkably sympathetic portrait emerges of a housewife who walls herself up, brick by brick, in a pathological tomb of her own creation.

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November 9 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm

The Fountainhead

Directed by King Vidor
USA 1949, b/w, 35mm, 114 min.
HFA archival print
With Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, and Raymond Massey

The most bizarre movie in the careers of both King Vidor and Gary Cooper, The Fountainhead is an adaptation of a novel by Ayn Rand, whose neo-Nietzschian philosophy of "objectivism" deploys expressionist symbolism to articulate her "free enterprise"vision. The central impression of the film is its stylization, through which Vidor captures the New York skyscrapers as if they were extensions of nature.

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November 10 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

Toute Une Nuit

Directed by Chantal Akerman
France/ Belgium 1982, color, 35mm, 90 min.
With Aurore Clement, Tcheky Karyo, Jan Decorte
French with English subtitles

On a sultry summer night in Brussels, various bodies, each searching for another, collide: some find love, others do not. Foregrounding small gestures and actually capturing the shape of solitude, Akerman’s fragmentary style quietly subverts typical narrative conventions and establishes a choreography of indoors and out, upstairs and down, attraction and rejection. The film is fashioned from the shards of two dozen pulverized melodramas. locations criss-cross as characters meet and embrace, dance and split up, yank each other into cabs, or simply watch everyone else in the throws of passion.

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November 30 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm

Chungking Express (Congqing Senlin)

Directed by Wong Kar-wai
Hong Kong 1994 color, 35mm, 97 min.
English subtitles

No film in years has better recaptured the giddy spontaneity of the early French New Wave than this elegant comedy about love and loss in Hong Kong. Two stories: in the first, a Chinese woman in a blonde wig comes out on the wrong end of a drug deal, with potentially fatal consequences; meanwhile, a broken-hearted policeman vows to fall in love with the first woman he meets, which happens to be the Chinese woman in the blonde wig. In the second, a server at a fast-food stand secretly moves in with an admired customer, moving furniture and leaving other clues in the hope that he’ll notice. Director Wong Kar-wai more than fulfills the promise of his stunning debut, Days of Being Wild.

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November 15 (Monday) 7:00 pm
December 14 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm

Wings of Desire (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

Directed by Wim Wenders with Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Peter Falk
Germany 1987 b/w, color, 35mm, 127 min.
German w/ subtitles

Wenders won the Best Director Award at Cannes in 1987 for this film inspired by one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems. Wings of Desire tells the story of two angels, Damiel and Cassiel, who descend to earth to observe and minister to the people of Berlin. One falls in love with a trapeze artist and decides to give up his immortality and, by indulging in earthly pleasures of love and romance, become human. The film is as much a re-examination of the divided city of Berlin before the Fall, with its spectral inhabitants, as it is a love story. The rich black–and–white photography intermixed with bursts of evocative colors helps to contrast the solemn Berlin of yesterday with a new and vital city.

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November 16 (Tuesday) 6:00 pm
November 17 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm


Directed by Jacques Tati
France 1967 color, 35mm, 152 min.
With Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Jacqueline Lecomte
French with English subtitles

Monsieur Hulot (Tati), doing battle with objects, observes a group of American tourists on their peregrinations around the Paris of modern office blocks and skyscrapers. They end up at the opening of a nightclub which is far from ready. The only glimpse of old Paris the tourists receive as they scurry through the extraordinary metropolis of glass and concrete designed by Eugene Roman, is on postcards. Tati’s use of space has probably never been equaled. As the critic Noel Burch has written, it is the only film that must be seen "not only several times, but at different distances from the screen."

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December 1 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

Contempt (Le Mepris)

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
with Brigitte Bardot , Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance
France 1963 color, 35mm, 103 min.
French with English subtitles

Based on Alberto Moravia’s novel Il Disprezzo (A Ghost at Noon), Contempt focuses on the break-up of a marriage while making sharp commentary on international filmmaking. A scriptwriter (Piccoli) and his wife (Bardot) are visited by an American producer (Palance) working on a new version of The Odyssey. Caught between the director (Fritz Lang), who wants to capture the reality of Homer’s world, and the crass producer who imagines a vulgarization of the story, the writer finds his personal and professional life collapsing.

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December 7 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm
December 8 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

The Belly of an Architect

Directed by Peter Greenaway
Great Britain 1987, color, 35mm, 108 min.
With Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb

Set in Rome, Greenaway’s visually stunning tragedy chronicles the self-destructive decline of an American architect whose obsession with his stomach causes him to lose his wife, his creativity, and maybe even his sanity. True to Greenaway’s form, The Belly of an Architect is extravagant in detail and color and is packed with symbolism, art and architecture, obsession and omens, and life and death.

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