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March 2 - April 27, 2005

Frames of Mind


March 2 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Eclipse (L’Eclisse)

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Italy, 1962, b/w, 124 min.
With Monica Vitti, Alain Delon, Lilla Brignone
Italian with English subtitles

In this final installment of the trilogy that began with L’Avventura and La Notte, Antonioni once again presents a middle-class couple in crisis, here set against the closely observed background of the urban environment. After an initial breakup with her lover, Vittoria (Vitti) drifts into the classic Antonioni condition, wandering aimlessly through an alienating milieu. In what is perhaps his most compelling deployment of the architectural setting, Antonioni displays an unparalleled visual style, using spatial perspective and graphic delineation to create his vision of the modern world. In the film’s famous final sequence, the narrative space of the story is revisited in the absence of its characters, suggesting perhaps, as Georges Sadoul has noted, the nature of solitude as man’s accustomed state.

March 9 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Rear Window

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
US, 1954, color, 112 min.
With James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter

An intriguing study of obsession, Rear Window tells the story of L. B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Stewart), a temporarily wheelchair-bound photographer who uses his convalescent time to spy on the tenants of other apartments on his block through his own “rear window.” Amid a growing suspicion that one of his neighbors has committed murder, he enlists his girlfriend (Kelly) and maid (Ritter) to gather evidence, with near-tragic results. Hitchcock’s creative use of camera angles, shot predominantly from Jefferies’s apartment window, draws viewers into the tantalizing world of voyeurism.

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March 16 (Wednesday) 7 pm
FREE SCREENING

L’Invitation au Voyage

Directed by Germaine Dulac
France, 1927, b/w, 36 min.

One of the major figures of the French film avant-garde of the 1920s and an early feminist, Germaine Dulac combined narratives of psychological realism with the visual techniques of the French Surrealist movement. In the rarely screened L’Invitation au Voyage, she employs a minimum of plot and maximum of atmosphere to convey her tale of the intense desire generated between a bored young wife and a handsome naval officer who meet in a Paris cabaret.

Meshes of the Afternoon

Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid
US, 1943, b/w, 18 min.
With Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

Dancer, ethnographer, philosopher, and “visual poet” Maya Deren began making films in the early 1940s, mainly psychodramas in which the filmmaker navigates a path through an anxiety-laden everyday world. In her first and most famous work, a woman (Deren) dreams within dreams about suicide and about inanimate objects that assume threatening aspects.

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March 16 (Wednesday) 8 pm
FREE SCREENING

Get Your Man

Directed by Dorothy Arzner
US, 1927, b/w, 48 min.
With Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Harvey Clark

One of Dorothy Arzner’s earliest films as a director, this romantic comedy was made for Paramount as a vehicle for its star, Clara Bow. Cast as an American in Paris, Bow finds herself stranded overnight in a wax museum together with a dashing French nobleman (Rogers). A love is born, but inevitable complications follow that can be overcome only through the happy marriage of American ingenuity (including Clara staging an automobile accident) and aristocratic values. As the title suggests, love manages to win out in the end.

March 22 (Tuesday) 7 pm
March 23 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Pillow Book

Directed by Peter Greenaway
France/UK/Netherlands, 1996, b/w and color, 126 min.
With Vivian Wu, Ken Ogata, Yoshi Oida
Cantonese, English, Japanese and Mandarin with English subtitles

Greenaway deploys a broad arsenal of formal effects (varying screen widths, multiple imagery, textual inscription) to impart the complex story of a beautiful fashion model-turned-writer who is obsessed with calligraphy and the flesh. Based on the classic tenth-century text of the same title by Sei Shonagon, radically transposed by Greenaway to modern-day Japan and the information age, The Pillow Book melds a timeless eroticism and a fascination with language that is at once erudite and libidinal into a dreamlike, startlingly beautiful, and sometimes shocking narrative.

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April 6 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Rashomon

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Japan, 1950, b/w, 88 min.
With Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori
Japanese with English subtitles

 

One of the first Japanese films to receive worldwide acclaim, Rashomon is the twelfth-century tale of a murder told from the multiple, irreconcilable perspectives of the crime’s participants and witnesses. The murdering bandit (Mifune), the spirit of the victim, the widow, and a woodcutter each retell their versions of the event as Kurosawa casts a critical eye on the unstable nature of truth.

April 12 (Tuesday) 7 pm
April 13 (Wednesday) 7 pm

In the Mood for Love (Hua yang nian hua)

Directed by Wong Kar-wai
France/Hong Kong, 2000, color, 98 min.
With Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung
Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles

 

A swooningly cinematic unfolding of romantic desire, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love paints the industrious world of 1960s Hong Kong in luxuriant color, texture, and sound. This paean to love follows two lonely professionals from the same apartment building who circle each other romantically after they begin to suspect their spouses are having an affair. At once restrained and sensual, the film layers detail upon detail to create a ravishing, hypnotic portrait of urban desire.

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April 20 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Lost in Translation

Directed by Sofia Coppola
US, 2003, color, 102 min.
With Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi

A bittersweet tale of modern melancholy and cultural alienation, Sofia Coppola’s second feature offers an ebullient visual style built almost entirely on the atmosphere of Tokyo’s strange blend of the international and the indigenous. A washed-up American actor visiting Japan to film a whiskey commercial (Murray) finds himself adrift in the strange, airless atmosphere of a sleek Tokyo hotel. He strikes up a friendship with a fellow guest (Johansson), the young wife of a photographer who is similarly bored and uneasy about the direction of her life. The actor’s inability to communicate with his wife and the girl’s difficulties with her husband bring them together in the strange and utterly foreign dream world of Tokyo at night as the pair negotiates flirtatious steps toward a romance that never materializes.

April 27 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Matrix

Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski
US, 1999, color, 136 min.
With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

One of the top-grossing films of the 1990s, Andy and Larry Wachowski’s The Matrix set a new benchmark in movie special effects. Blending the kind of classic science-fiction stories found in Alien, Soylent Green, and The Terminator with Chinese martial-arts films, Japanese animation, and American comic art, plus a touch of mysticism in the mix, the Wachowskis created an unparalleled vision of a future that seems very like our own present with a surreal twist.

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