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Directed by Federico Fellini, Italy 1954 (108 mins) in English with Italian subtitles
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film that year, it is one Fellini’s most internationally beloved works and one of his most cherished collaboration with wife Giulietta Masina, whose indelible, heartbreaking face is the soul of the movie. “She’s singularly able to express astonishment, dismay, frenetic happiness, the comic somberness of a clown.” said Fellini of “La Masina” in a 1991 interview. Those qualities, he added, allowed him to “crystallize” the tone of the film. Here Fellini directs her as Gelsomina, sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Richard Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La Strada Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide. The perfect way to celebrate Fellini’s centennial!
Restored in 4K by the Criterion Collection and The Film Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna’s L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, from a 35mm dupe negative preserved by Beta Film GmbH. Restoration funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Directed by Claire Denis, France 1999 (93 mins) in French with English subtitles
With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor, Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sun-baked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Denis Lavant) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (Grégoire Colin) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of Benjamin Britten. Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.
With reviews going from “masterpiece” (‘Chicago Reader’), to “perhaps one of the most beautiful films ever made” (‘The Oregonian’), to “a stunning work of beauty, mystery, contemplation and grit” (‘The Austin Chronicle’) Beau Travail cemented Denis’ reputation among US critics and audiences alike. It is a supremely interesting film to revisit today.
WEDNESDAYS WITH WISEMAN:
SINAI FIELD MISSION
Directed by Frederick Wiseman; USA (1978) 127 minutes, in English
Wednesdays With Wiseman will feature a classic Frederick Wiseman film each week, introduced by a conversation between Mr. Wiseman and fellow documentary filmmakers. The series will begin on October 21 with Academy Award winner Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo) doing a pas-de-deux with Mr. Wiseman about Ballet (1995). Academy Award winner Errol Morris (the Fog of War) goes through the maneuvers with Mr. Wiseman on October 28 with Sinai Field Mission (1978), and Academy Award nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) pay tribute to health care workers on November 4 with Hospital (1970).
Sinai Field Mission documents the routine activities of the diplomats and electronic technicians who operate the United States Sinai Field Mission, the early warning system established in 1976 to help carry out the disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel following the 1973 war.
Directed by Frederick Wiseman; USA (1995) 170 minutes, in English
Ballet is a film about the American Ballet Theater and shows choreographers, ballet masters and mistresses working with principal dancers, soloists and the corps de ballet as well as the
administration and fundraising aspects of the Company.
Directed by Mario Bava; Italy 1960 (87mins) in English
What a better way to salute Halloween that to feature the debut film of an Italian master of horror? Admired by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, John Landis, Joe Dante and Quentin Tarantino, Mario Bava may be lesser known to the general audience than Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni or Luchino Visconti. But real film lovers consider him an equal.
In one of the most auspicious directorial debuts in movie history, former cinematographer Bava bridged the gap between the gothic horror picture and the European art film with Black Sunday (aka La maschera del demonio or The Mask of Satan). An adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’ short story Vij, with a nod to early Universal horror films, Bava’s cruel and stylish nightmare is considered a cult classic. Its influence reverberating through generations of young filmmakers. A seminal title for the genesis of slasher film, its influence reverberates through generations of young filmmakers.
In an absolutely mesmerizing performance, Black Sunday stars Barbara Steele as Asa Vajda, a beautiful woman tortured and executed as a witch — but not before pronouncing a curse upon those who have condemned her, a curse that is fulfilled some 200 years later.
This newly mastered HD edition is the original Italian cut of the film, complete with Roberto Nicolosi's expressive score and three minutes of footage deleted from the original U.S. Release version.