Harpur Cinema presents spring schedule of films
January 31, 2012Tweet
A mix of recent releases from American and international cinema highlight Harpur Cinema’s spring schedule.
• Feb. 24 and 26: “The Princess of Montpensier” (France-2010), Bernard Tavernier, 139 min. Love, money, power. The terms are inseparably connected for Marie de Montpensier (Melanie Thierry) the protagonist of Mme. de Lafayette’s 17th saga novella adapted by director Bernard Tavernier. The gift of the film is to capture both the intimacies of Marie’s passionate struggle for love and self-determination as well as the sweeping social landscape of bloody religious war in which she is only a valuable pawn. Nominated Palme d’or, Cannes, 2010.
• March 2 and 4: “Animal Kingdom” (Australia-2010), David Michôd, 113 min. What do you do when crime is the family business? From the moment “J” (James Frecheville) is orphaned at 17, he is confronted with the question of brute heredity—is biology destiny, or can “J” figure a way out of the “loving” grasp of “Smurf” the terrifying matriarch and crime queen of his dysfunctional family? (Jackie Weaver’s performance was nominated for an Oscar). Inspired by the true crime case of the Pettingill clan, Michod’s first feature film is chilling and creepily absurd by turns. Winner, New York Film Circle Award, Best First Film; Winner, Sundance, Grand Jury Award.
• March 9 and 11: “Certified Copy” (France-Italy-Belgium, 2010), Abbas Kiarostami, 106 min. Play-acting and counterfeiting have been persistant themes for Kiarostami, perhaps the best-known of the cadre of Iranian talents working in cinema today. In this first film made outside Iran, Elle (Juliet Binoche) meets James Miller (William Shimmel) by happenstance from which a number of questions arise about the difference between original and copy, authenticity and duplicity, art and artifice. Romantic adventure, yes, but only as Kiarostami could envision eros. Best actress, Juliet Binoche, Cannes, 2010; Nominated, Palme d’or, Cannes, 2010.
• March 16 and 18: “Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene” (United States, 2011), Sean Durkin, 102 min. Damaged by her experience in a cult located in rural New York state, and perhaps still longing for the rituals devised by its seductive leader Patrick (John Hawkes), Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) seeks refuge in the “normal” family life of her sister (Sarah Paulson) and her husband (Hugh Dancy). But the damage has been done, perhaps irrevocably. Anthony Lane’s review called Durkin’s directorial debut insidious, uncanny and cunning. Sundance, Best Director, 2011.
• March 23 and 25: “A Screaming Man” (Chad-France-Belgium, 2010), Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 92 min. Representing the under-recognized African cinema, Haroun’s film stages the tragic violence of colonialism and civil war in the context of the jealous competition between a quiet man and his beloved son. New York Times film critic Manhola Dargis finds the filmmaker’s admiration for the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu “evident in the stillness inside the frame and in how meaning emerges in daily conversations and the silences between words.” The oblique approach to the tragedy of conflict, both personal and political, is no less powerful. Nominated, Palme d’or; won Jury Prize Best Film, Cannes, 2010.
• April 13 and 15: “Meek’s Cut-off” (United States, 2010) Kelly Reichardt, 104 min. O Pioneers! The western genre may occasionally fade away from the screen, but it never completely disappears as is evident in this bleak but intense saga of trust and betrayal by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy). The vast spaces of the American prairie are as likely to manifest terror and paranoia as they are to lead to the promised land as the band of settlers discovers in their harrowing trek. Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”) stands out here for her decidedly unglamorous but riveting portrayal of the woman fighting for survival. Won SIGNIS award; Nominated, Golden Lion, Venice, 2010.
• April 20 and 22: “Wild Grass” (France, 2009) Alain Resnais, 104 min. In the past few years cinema has lost Nouvelle Vague directors Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer, but in “Wild Grass,” Alain Resnais shows that he is not only still with us, but has lost none of the sly and elegant rigor of early films like “Last Year at Marienbad” and “Muriel.” The premise of “Wild Grass” is simple, even romantic: her (Sabine Azéma) purse is stolen; he (Andre Dusollier) finds it; a chance encounter with much potential. But these meeting are never that simple. Not in life and certainly not in the films of Resnais, at 88 still making cinema playful and perplexing as ever. Won Special Jury Prize, Cannes, 2009; Nominated, Palme d’or.
• April 27 and 29: “Vengeance” (Hong Kong-France, 2009), Johnny To, 108 min. Two legendary Johnnys meet: Johnny To, star director of the Hong Kong New Wave and Johnny Hallyday, the “French Elvis Presley.” Costello (Hallyday) is French hit man determined to avenge the death of his daughter’s family (Sylvie Testud), but he’s not on home ground ... and his attempt to navigate the landscape of Hong Kong assassins takes him to the extreme limit of his resources—both physical and mental. To’s high-energy style is remarkably elegant and beautiful, bringing an unexpected poignancy to a hard-hitting action film. Nominated, Palme d’or, Cannes, 2009.
All screenings take place at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Sundays in LH-6. Single ticket: $4.