The film blurbs below have been gleaned from various reviews. I introduce and give some background to the films, and discuss them briefly afterwards.
At 7:30 pm in MRHS
Jan. 7 – Seven Samurai (1954), 3 hr 27 min. Warriors protect a village from bandits. Weaves philosophy, emotions and relentless action into an unforgettable tale of courage and hope. One of the greatest movies of all time. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. In Japanese with English subtitles. Not rated.
* * *
Feb. 4 – Rome Open City (1954), 1 hr 40 min. Anna Magnani’s breakthrough role as the fiancée of a resistance member during the Nazi occupation. Aldo Fabrizi stars as a priest helping the partisan cause. Directed by Roberto Rosselini. Marks watershed moment in Italian cinema. With English subtitles. Not rated.
* * *
March 4 – Paris, Texas (1984), 2 hr 25 min. A man wanders out of the desert after a four-year absence. His brother finds him and they return to L.A. to reunite the man with his young son. Soon after, he and the boy set out to locate the boy’s mother. A heartbreaking, heartwarming tale of love and loss. Won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Directed by Wim Wenders. Rated R.
* * *
April 1 – The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), 1 hr 39 min. Villagers including a young girl watch a traveling movie show of Frankenstein in 1940. Exploring the emotional world of childhood in a poetically quiet tone, it is widely regarded as the best Spanish film of the 1970s. Directed by Victor Erice. With English subtitles. Not rated.
* * *
May 6 – Killer of Sheep (1977), 1 hr 23 min. Landmark urban drama of African-American life in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles through the eyes of a slaughterhouse worker. Paints a picture of economic exclusion and muted hopes dusted with moments of transcendent joy. Directed by Charles Burnett. Not rated.
* * *
June 3 – Come and See (1985), 2 hrs 22 min. A 13 year-old boy’s odyssey during the Nazi occupation of Byelorussia. Startling mixture of lyrical poeticism and expressionist nightmare; an anti-war masterpiece. Directed by Elem Klimov. In Russian with English subtitles. Not rated.
* * *
July 1 – Gertrud (1964) , 1hr 59 min. A sublime portrayal of a woman who leaves her marriage and searches for romance. A meditation on individual will and the refusal to compromise by the master director Carl Theodor Dreyer. In Danish with English subtitles. Not rated.
* * *
Aug. 5 – Classe Tous Risques (1960), 1 hr 43 min. Fugitive decides to return to France from Italy with his family. Lino Ventura as the criminal at the end of his rope. Jean-Paul Belmondo at the beginning of his iconic career. “Classe Tous Risques is the best film adaptation of any of my books,” says Jose Giovanni, “it has more heart than Le Deuxième Souffle (Second Wind).” The latter is one hell of a tough-guy movie, though. Directed by Claude Sautet. In French with English subtitles. Not rated.
* * *
Sept. 2 – No (2012), 1 hr 58 min. An ad executive comes up with a campaign to defeat Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s 1988 referendum. This engaging drama was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Directed by Pablo Larraín. In Spanish with English subtitles. Rated R.
* * *
Oct. 7 – Bus 174 (2002), 2 hr 13 min. A moving chronicle of a young man’s hijacking of a Rio de Janeiro bus. Street children, police, family and sociologists delve into his background and the criminal justice system. One of The New York Times’ ten best films of the year. Directed by Felipe Lacerda and José Padilha. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Rated R.
* * *
Nov. 4 – Of Gods and Men (2010), 2 hr 3 min. Trappist monks’ routine of prayer, medical assistance and harmonious interaction with a local community in Algeria is upended by external forces. A big hit in France, this film won the Cannes Grand Prix. In French with English subtitles. Directed by Xavier Beauvois. Rated PG-13.
* * *
Dec. 2 – Shall We Dance? (1996), 2 hr 15 min. A depressed Tokyo accountant secretly takes lessons in a dance school. His wife becomes suspicious. “One of the more completely entertaining movies I’ve seen in a while” – Roger Ebert. Directed by Masayuki Suo. In Japanese with English subtitles. Rated PG.
There are several dedicated members of the MRHS Film Committee, including, currently, its chair Barbara McLaughlin, Alice Lilly, and Leslie Kiss, who take turns hosting the Saturday afternoon weekly film program. The First Wednesday of the month films are introduced and discussed by Michael DeBorja as a member of the MRHS Film Committee, as were the Saturday afternoon films below. Michael would like to acknowledge the generosity of George Wu and Ramon Castañeda in providing dvds from their film collections to share with the community. George co-hosted “Killer of Sheep” this May, and showed outstanding Saturday afternoon movies in the past couple of years, among them Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, and Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D.
Saturday afternoon films shown by Michael:
Oct 13, 2012: Tokyo Story (1953), directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Dec 15, 2012: Madadayo (1993), directed by Akira Kurosawa
Feb 16, 2013: To Rome with Love (2012), directed by Woody Allen
June 29, 2013: Incendies (2010), directed by Denis Villeneuve
July 6, 2013: Rosetta (1999), directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardennes
Aug 24, 2013: Still Walking (2008), directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Sept 14, 2013: Twenty-Four Eyes (1954), directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
Oct 26, 2013: Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), directed by Robert Bresson
Nov 30, 2013: Amarcord (1973), directed by Federico Fellini
Feb 1, 2014: Army of Shadows (1969), directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Mar 8, 2014: The Woman in the Dunes (1964), directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
May 3, 2014: Grave of the Fireflies (1988), directed by Isao Takahata
* * *
Saturday afternoon movies shown by George:
The Magnificent Ambersons 1942
Umberto D 1952
Days of Heaven 1978
Raising Victor Vargas 2003
The 400 Blows 1959
The Cameraman 1928
Ride the High Country 1962
The Court Jester 1956
City Lights 1931
The Man Who Knew Too Much 1934
Radio Days 1987
F for Fake 1973
Steamboat Bill, Jr. 1928
Shoot the Piano Player 1960
Sullivan’s Travels 1941
To Be or Not To Be 1942
Sawdust and Tinsel 1953
War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death 2008
A Woman Is a Woman 1961
Chronicle of a Summer 1961