The folks at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York are screening some incredible films over the next few months. Over the next month they’ll be hosting their Film Comment Selects series, which will feature films from directors like Herzog, Fassbinder, and Lanzmann. They’ll then screen several new films as part of their French Cinema event (Catherine Breillat will be featured). Finally, at the end of March (the 24th through April 2nd), the Film Society will be screening 14 films from Janus, all of which are part of the Criterion Collection.
Tickets will go on sale on March 10th, and I’m so happy to bring you the full list of films that you’ll be able to see, before they’ve been announced on their website. Screening times are not available yet, but since this is just a week-long event, I’d imagine it will be a pretty packed week of cinema if you want to catch them all.
This will certainly be a rare chance to see most of these films on the big screen, so I’d highly recommend you get your tickets early. No word yet on whether any of these are remastered / restored prints, or if these could potentially represent some of what we may see upgraded on Blu-ray in 2011 from Criterion (obviously not Seventh Seal).
Hopefully Rudie or James will have the opportunity to see some of these films, and talk about them on upcoming episodes of the podcast.
What do you think of the Janus Films Classics line-up? What films are you planning on attending?
Plot descriptions for the films are provided by the Criterion Collection, I’m linking the titles to their corresponding pages for purchase from Criterion.com.
Mar. 24 – Apr. 02
For more than 50 years, Janus Films’”subject of a 2006 New York Film Festival retrospective’”has set the high bar for foreign-language film distribution in the United States, amassing an extraordinary library of canonical classics directed by the likes of Antonioni, Bergman, Truffaut and Renoir. In an exclusive weekday matinee series, we are pleased to offer 14 gems from the Janus treasure trove, all presented in pristine 35mm prints.
Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 10!
FranÃ§ois Truffaut is drunk on the possibilities of cinema in this, his most playful film. Part thriller, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour, in a triumph of hangdog deadpan) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair. Loaded with gags, guns, clowns, and thugs, this razor-sharp homage to the American gangster film is pure nouvelle vague.
Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, legendary director FranÃ§ois Truffaut’s early masterpiece Jules and Jim charts the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession over the course of twenty-five years. Jeanne Moreau stars as Catherine, the alluring and willful young woman whose enigmatic smile and passionate nature lure Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) into one of cinema’s most captivating romantic triangles. An exuberant and poignant meditation on freedom, loyalty, and the fortitude of love, Jules and Jim was a worldwide smash upon its release in 1962 and remains as audacious and entrancing today.
With sixteen women to each man, the odds are against Andula in her desperate search for love’”that is, until a rakish piano player visits her small factory town and temporarily eases her longings. A tender and humorous look at Andula’s journey, from the first pangs of romance to its inevitable disappointments, Loves of a Blonde (LÃ¡sky jedné plavovlÃ¡sky) immediately became a classic of the Czech New Wave and earned Milos Forman the first of his Academy Award nominations.
A milestone of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman’s first color film The Firemen’s Ball (HorÃ, mÃ¡ panenko) is both a dazzling comedy and a provocative political satire. A hilarious saga of good intentions confounded, the story chronicles a firemen’s ball where nothing goes right’”from a beauty pageant whose reluctant participants embarrass the organizers to a lottery from which nearly all the prizes are pilfered. Presumed to be a commentary on the floundering Czech leadership, the film was ‘banned forever’ in Czechoslovakia following the Russian invasion and prompted Forman’s move to America.
The Golden Coach (Le Carrosse d’or) is a ravishing eighteenth-century comic fantasy about a viceroy who receives an exquisite golden coach, and gives it to the tempestuous star of a touring commedia dell’arte company. Master director Jean Renoir’s sumptuous tribute to the theater, presented here in the English version he favored, is set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi and built around vivacious and volatile star Anna Magnani.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s masterpiece The Rules of the Game (La RÃ¨gle du jeu) is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners. Although the original negative was destroyed during World War II, this edition features the fully reconstructed version embraced by audiences and critics around the world as a timeless representation of Renoir’s genius.
Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning, The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet), was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art-house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.
Legendary director Ingmar Bergman creates a testament to the strength of the soul’”and a film of absolute power. Karin and Maria come to the aid of their dying sister, Agnes, but jealousy, manipulation, and selfishness come before empathy. Agnes, tortured by cancer, transcends the pettiness of her sisters’ concerns to remember moments of being’”moments that Bergman, with the help of Academy Award’“winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist, translates into pictures of staggering beauty and unfathomable horror.
Shotgun weddings, kidnapping, attempted murder, emergency dental work’”the things Don Vincenzo will do to restore his family’s honor! Pietro Germi’s Seduced and Abandoned was the follow-up to his international sensation Divorce Italian Style, and in many ways it’s even more audacious’”a rollicking yet raw series of escalating comic calamities that ensue in a small village when sixteen-year-old Agnese (the beautiful Stefania Sandrelli) loses her virginity at the hands of her sister’s lascivious fiance. Merciless and mirthful, Seduced and Abandoned skewers Sicilian social customs and pompous patriarchies with a sly, devilish grin.
Baron Ferdinando CefalÃ¹ (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile young cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli), but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia (Daniela Rocca). His solution? Since divorce is illegal, he hatches a plan to lure his spouse into the arms of another and then murder her in a justifiable effort to save his honor. The Criterion Collection is proud to present director Pietro Germi’s hilarious and cutting satire of Sicilian male-chauvinist culture, winner of the 1962 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Carlos Saura’s exquisite CrÃa cuervos . . . heralded a turning point in Spain: shot while General Franco was on his deathbed, the film melds the personal and the political in a portrait of the legacy of fascism and its effects on a middle-class family (the title derives from the Spanish proverb: ‘Raise ravens and they’ll peck out your eyes’). Ana Torrent (the dark-eyed beauty from The Spirit of the Beehive) portrays the disturbed eight-year-old Ana, living in Madrid with her two sisters and mourning the death of her mother, whom she conjures as a ghost (an ethereal Geraldine Chaplin). Seamlessly shifting between fantasy and reality, the film subtly evokes both the complex feelings of childhood and the struggles of a nation emerging from the shadows.
Criterion is proud to present VÃctor Erice’s spellbinding The Spirit of the Beehive (El espÃritu de la colmena), widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s. In a small Castilian village in 1940, in the wake of the country’s devastating civil war, six-year-old Ana attends a traveling movie show of Frankenstein and becomes possessed by the memory of it. Produced as Franco’s long regime was nearing its end, The Spirit of the Beehive is a bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life and one of the most visually arresting movies ever made.
Navigating the deadly waters of Stalinist politics, Eisenstein was able to film two parts of his planned trilogy about the troubled sixteenth-century tsar who united Russia. Visually stunning and powerfully acted, Ivan the Terrible charts the rise to power and descent into terror of this veritable dictator. Though pleased with the first installment, Stalin detected the portrait in the second film’”with its summary executions and secret police’”and promptly banned it.