Saturday, December 9
Quad Cinema, 4:15pm
Part of the series More Than Meets the Eye: William Wyler running from December 1 – December 13
Famous for his epic film Ben-Hur, director William Wyler made dozens of silent Westerns before the advent of sound in film. Wyler returned to the genre with sound in 1940 with The Westerner. Gary Cooper plays a classic cowboy drifter in The Westerner, but the highlight of the film is Walter Brennan’s performance as Judge Roy Bean, which won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Bean claims to be bringing justice and law to the post-Civil War West, but he appears to be a corrupt tyrant who pursues land and power, hanging those who disagree with him after mock “trials.” When Harden (Cooper) is brought before the Judge accused of stealing a horse, the two men develop a mutual respect for one another. However, they continuously butt heads over the Judge’s crooked and anti-settler policies, and conflict brews between the outlaws of the old West and the encroaching homesteaders and lawmen of the new West.
Quad Cinema celebrates the almost fifty-year career of director William Wyler. This week you can also see: The Desperate Hours (December 7, 4:15pm and December 8, 9:05pm); Dodsworth (December 7, 6:35pm); Mrs. Miniver (December 7, 8:45pm); Carrie (December 8, 4:30); Detective Story (December 8, 6:55pm); The Children’s Hour (December 9, 8:30pm); These Three (December 9, 6:25pm); Ben-Hur (December 10, 1pm); The Collector (December 10, 7:30pm and December 13, 4pm); The Heiress (December 10, 5:10pm); Jezebel (December 11, 4:15pm); The Liberation of L.B. Jones (December 11, 8:50pm); The Little Foxes (December 11, 6:30pm); and How to Steal a Million (December 12, 4pm).
Touki Bouki and A Thousand Suns
Sunday, December 10
Film Society at Lincoln Center, 5:30pm
Part of the Non-Actor series running from November 24 – December 10
Touki Bouki is a West African coming-of-age film by Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty. Few African-made films receive international attention, but Touki Bouki was shown at Cannes Film Festival in 1973 and has been preserved by the World Cinema Foundation. Touki Bouki portrays the hybrid nature of post-colonial Senegal, caught between Western modernity and Senegalese tradition. The conflicted generation of the 1970s is characterized by Mory (Magaye Niang), a cowherd, and Anta (Mareme Niang), a university student, who meet in Dakar and dream of living in France but are separated from their fantasies by their troubled pasts.
A Thousand Suns is a companion documentary to Touki Bouki. Mati Diop, Mambéty’s niece, is the filmmaker, and she follows actor Magaye Niang forty years after Touki Bouki’s release. The documentary reveals the similarities between Niang’s adult life and the character he played on screen as a young man.
Roman Holiday and Summertime Double Feature
Sunday, December 10
Film Forum, 1:20pm/3:40pm and 5:40pm/8:00pm
Part of the series Roman Hollywood: American Movies Go to Italy, running from December 6 – December 21
In its series Roman Hollywood, Film Forum presents over a dozen American movies either filmed in Italy or involved in Italian culture. Roman Holiday and Summertime are 1950s-era romances featuring the beautiful scenery of Rome and Venice respectively. Roman Holiday stars Audrey Hepburn as a European princess who rebels against her stifling lifestyle to explore the streets of Rome. There she meets an American expat (Gregory Peck) who shows her the sights of the city and helps her escape her responsibilities for a short while. In Summertime, Venice provides a romantic setting for a budding affair between a vacationing secretary (Katharine Hepburn) and an Italian shop owner (Rossano Brazzi). Film Forum is showing these films as a double feature on December 10, so you can see both movies for the price of one admission.
The Missing Picture
Tuesday, December 12
BAMcinématek Peter Jay Sharp Building, 7pm
Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Rithy Panh, moderated by Chi-hui Yang of the Ford Foundation
The Missing Picture is a powerful memoir that has received international attention for its raw portrayal of the Khmer Rouge rule over Cambodia. Panh reflects on his childhood living under the genocidal regime through poignant voiceover and illustrates the struggles of ordinary Cambodians using intricate clay figurines and dioramas. The film combines archival footage and photographs with Panh’s poetic narration and unique clay figures, developing an emotional story about humanizing those victims determined by the Khmer Rouge to be inhuman. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with Panh.
Tuesday, December 12
French Institute Alliance Française, 4pm and 7:30pm
Winner of the 1969 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Z is an intense political thriller made to condemn the fascist military regime ruling Greece in the 1960s. Based on the true assassination of a Greek politician, the film portrays the murder of a politician by right-wing militants and the subsequent investigation by a magistrate and a journalist, who are constantly blocked by the right-wing military government.
Both screenings will be followed by receptions with complimentary wine and beer, and the 7:30pm screening will be introduced by film professor Annette Insdorf, who will be signing her new book Cinematic Overtures: How to Read Opening Scenes during the reception following the film.
Series, December 1 – December 31
Metrograph, various times
This month-long Metrograph series features films that inspire and celebrate goth subculture, from the classic horror film Nosferatu to Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. This week’s showings includes Rosemary’s Baby, Roman Polanski’s 1968 thriller about a pregnant woman berated by a Satanic cult (December 8, 4:15pm and 9:00pm). On December 9 at 8:45pm you can watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a horror based on the novel of the same name. The star-studded cast includes Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Gary Oldman as Dracula, and Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing.
Also showing this week as part of the Goth(ic) series are: Vampire Hunter D (December 8, 7pm and 9pm); The Innocents (December 9, 1:15pm); Spider Baby (December 9, 1:30pm); Cemetery Man (December 9, 3:30pm); Corman’s House of Usher and Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher (December 9, 6pm); Possession (December 9, 6pm); The Haunting (December 10, 1pm and 5:15pm); The Devil Rides Out (December 10, 1:15pm); Fascination (December 10, 3:15pm); Nosferatu the Vampyre (December 10, 3:15pm and 7:30pm); and Gothic (December 10, 5:30pm and 9:45pm).
The 70th Anniversary of Polish Animation
Series, December 8 – December 10
Anthology Film Archives, December 8, 9, 10 at 7:30pm
Polish animated films have a rich history expanding back to World War II. This series, curated by Adriana Prodeus, presents films from the 1950s to the 1980s in three thematic programs highlighting the Golden Age of Polish animation. Censorship under communism was not enough of a barrier for the creative minds of the animators, who used crafty metaphors and wry satire to discuss politics. This era of Polish animation included not only two-dimensional drawings but also elaborate art forms such as puppetry, stop-motion, and a mixture of filmed reality and animation.
Prime Lois Smith
Series, December 12 – 14
Quad Cinema, various times
Culminates in a showing of Marjorie Prime on December 14, 6:45pm and a Q&A with Lois Smith
Fans of actress Lois Smith should not miss this series held at Quad Cinema. Smith will be appearing several times throughout the series for Q&As and introductions. Quad Cinema will be presenting four films from her early career and finish the series with this year’s brilliant Marjorie Prime. On December 12 at 6:30pm, watch Smith’s film debut East of Eden, in which Smith played opposite James Dean. The film will be accompanied by a Q&A with Smith. Afterwards, Smith will introduce Next Stop, Greenwich Village at 9:15pm.
On December 13 at 6:30pm and December 14 at 9:10pm you can see her acclaimed role in Five Easy Pieces, and the December 13 showing will have a Q&A with the actress. Later that night at 9:05pm, Smith will introduce the film Foxes, in which she plays an overprotective mother to a rebellious teenager. Finally, the series will end on December 14 at 6:45pm with Marjorie Prime, an emotional portrayal of a woman with dementia who seeks comfort in a holographic projection of her dead husband. This final film will be presented with a Q&A with Smith.
—By Susan Bitter