2016 original First Wednesday movies

Note: The film showing of “The Gatekeepers” in March 2016 was cancelled by MRHS. The rest of the First Wednesday of the month films scheduled for 2016 were discontinued by the programmer, who showed monthly “Evening movies at Morningside Gardens” from June 2016 until May 2017. The First Wednesday film program resumed in June 2017.

At 7:30 in MRHS


Jan. 6 – The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) 3 hrs. A peasant couple is persuaded by the local priest to send their boy to school quite a distance away in turn-of-the-century northern Italy. His wooden clogs break. To replace them, his father cuts down a small roadside tree owned by the landlord. A poignant and poetic masterwork on rural life that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Directed by Ermanno Olmi. In Italian, with English subtitles. Not rated.

* * *


Feb. 3 – ILO ILO (2013) 1 hr 39 min. A bond develops between a Singapore boy and his Filipino nanny. Compassionate and rich in detail, it received a standing ovation and the Camera d’Or award from Agnes Varda for the best first feature film at Cannes. Directed by Anthony Chen.
In Chinese, English and Tagalog, with English subtitles. Not rated.

* * *


March 2 – The Gatekeepers (2012) 1 hr 38 min. All six living former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic counter-terrorism agency, talk about its operations – and say that Israel should get out of the occupied West Bank. With rare footage and reconstructions; riveting, thought-provoking, unparalleled. Best documentary of 2012 – A.O. Scott, New York Times. Directed by Dror Moreh. In Hebrew, with English subtitles. Rated PG-13.

* * *


April 6 – Brief Encounter (1945) 1 hr 26 min. David Lean’s timeless love story featuring an unconsummated romance between a suburban English doctor (Trevor Howard) and a married housewife (Celia Johnson). Called “the British Casablanca” and “the best romantic film of all time,” it shared the top prize, the Palme d’Or, at the first Cannes Film Festival. Not rated.

* * *


May 4 – A Separation (2011) 2 hr 3 min. An Iranian couple split up over the man’s decision to stay and care for his aging father instead of leaving the country. Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving; captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity. Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Language Film. Directed by Asghar Farhadi. In Persian, with English subtitles. Rated PG-13.

* * *


June 1 – Yi Yi (2000) 2 hr 53 min. A middle-aged businessman’s firm is in flux and he’s just reconnected with an old girlfriend. Grandma has had a stroke for which his daughter blames herself and his son is having trouble adjusting to it all. Nuanced performances, delicacy of narrative, and the gentleness and affection with which the characters are considered, garnered Edward Yang the Best Director award at Cannes. In Chinese, with English subtitles. Not rated.

* * *


July 6 – The Salt of the Earth (2014) 1 hr 50 min. As this artfully crafted documentary co-directed by Wim Wenders shows, legendary Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado has created a spectacular body of work during his long career, capturing both the planet’s stunning beauty and humankind’s heartbreaking atrocities. Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary. In French, Portuguese and English, with English subtitles. Rated PG-13.

* * *


Aug. 3 – Cinema Paradiso – Extended Version (1988), 2 hrs 55 mins. Salvatore returns home to a Sicilian village after 30 years. He reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. Additional footage provides closure for Salvatore’s relationship with his teenage love, Elena, and we also find out more about Alfredo. A much-loved film! 1990 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. In Italian, with English subtitles. Rated R.

* * *


Sept. 7 – A Time to Live, a Time to Die (1985), 2 hr 18 min. An autobiographical film on growing up in Taiwan in the 1950s and ’60s. It conveys a density of familial detail that we usually encounter only in certain novels. Like many great films, it makes you see the world anew, as if for the first time. Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, “the world’s greatest working narrative filmmaker” (J. Hoberman). In Chinese, with English subtitles. Not rated.

* * *


Oct. 5 – The Son’s Room (2001) 1 hr 39 min. When the teenage son dies in a diving accident, his parents and sister react with denial, sorrow, anger, the disintegration of their own lives, the picking up of the pieces, and finally a form of acceptance. With a relaxed tenderness and empathy, the film reaches out and touches us. It won the Palme d’Or, or top prize, at Cannes. In Italian, with English subtitles. Directed by and starring Nanni Moretti. Rated R.

* * *


Nov. 2 – Infernal Affairs (2002) 1 hr 41 mins. A Hong Kong police officer infiltrates a triad while another officer secretly works for the same gang. Martin Scorsese translated the story into The Departed‘s Oscar gold, but Infernal Affairs is out-of-this-world brilliant. It gets on with it and sucks you in immediately. You won’t be able to stop thinking about it. Tony Leung and Andy Lau are on a different planet. In Cantonese, with English subtitles. Rated R.

* * *


Dec. 7 – No Greater Love (1959), 3 hr 28 min. Tatsuya Nakadai, in an incredible, subtly modulating performance, plays the leading role of a Japanese mine supervisor whose kindly treatment of POW laborers during World War II incurs the wrath of his superiors. He is ordered to don a uniform and fight for his country. The first of Masaki Kobayashi’s The Human Condition trilogy (“the greatest film ever made” – David Shipman, The Story of Cinema). In Japanese, with English subtitles. Not rated.



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