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It’s getting close to Christmastime at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, and that can only mean one thing: architecture! In what’s become an unusual December tradition, the theater runs Hiroshi Teshigahara’s spectacular documentary Antonio Gaudí for a full week. The film, which sensually and gorgeously caresses with its camera work the grand designs of the legendary Catalan architect, may not seem to scream holiday fun, but with its succession of jaw-dropping images, the film is quite a gift. If you’re in the Windy City, scale its glorious heights from December 16 to December 22.
Other essential classics available in the Criterion Collection are playing at theaters across North America this week. The Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, Vermont, tickles audiences with Jacques Tati’s M. Hulot’s Holiday (December 18). Also in New England: the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge continues its tribute to Henri-Georges Clouzot with the terrifying Diabolique (December 17–18). The French master of suspense also turns up at New York’s Film Forum with The Wages of Fear (December 16–22), and at the Museum of Modern Art with Quai des orfèvres (December 16 and 17); also playing there are two films by cinematic titans, Carol Reed’s The Third Man (December 16) and Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (December 21 and 22). New York’s Anthology Film Archives gives a rebel yell with Jean Vigo’s Zéro de conduite (December 17). Brooklyn’s BAMCinematek offers Alexander Mackendrick’s caustic Sweet Smell of Success as part of its free Senior Cinema series (December 16). Right outside the city in Pleasantville, New York, the Jacob Burns Film Center dangles World on a Wire (December 18), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sci-fi epic.
Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana scandalizes the International House Philadelphia (December 17), and Costa-Gavras’s Z electrifies the Charles Theater in Baltimore (December 17, 19, and 22). Louis Malle’s The Lovers seduces viewers at the Tower Theater in Miami (December 16–18). M. Hulot turns up again, in Tati’s Playtime at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Cinematheque (December 18). Aki Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys Go America goes Tucson at the Loft Cinema (December 21). Agnès Varda’s Le bonheur pursues happiness at the Battelle Film Club in Richland, Washington (December 16). The Seattle International Film Festival displays two colorful early sixties Italian classics: Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (December 16–19 and 22) and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert (December 16–18 and 21). Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko floats over to Cinefamily in Los Angeles (December 20). And the Honolulu Academy of Arts luxuriates in Visconti’s Le notti bianche (December 16 and 20). René Clair’s Under the Roofs of Paris brings the city of lights to Mexico City’s Cineteca Nacional de México (December 17). Meanwhile, up north, the TIFF Cinematheque in Toronto honors Roman Polanski with a retrospective that includes Knife in the Water (December 17) and Cul-de-sac (December 18); and World on a Wire delivers a future shock to the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa (December 21 and 22).
In Brisbane, Australia, the Queensland Art Gallery dives into Dreyer with Vampyr (December 16), Gertrud (December 18), and Ordet (December 18). Meanwhile, in Ljubjana, Slovenia, François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (December 16) and Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (December 22) warm up and cool off, respectively, viewers at the Slovenska Kinoteka. And Antonioni’s Identification of a Woman wanders over to the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (December 16).
And of course, Europe is hopping with cinematic delights. In Paris, the Cinémathèque française holds Jean-Luc Godard in Contempt (December 16) and highlights two crazy Koreyoshi Kurahara titles, Black Sun (December 17) and The Warped Ones (December 18); and the Forum des Images spies Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (December 18 and 22). Over in Lyon, the Institut Lumière puckers up for Samuel Fuller’s The Naked Kiss (December 16–18). And the Cinémathèque de Nice goes to foggy London with David Lean’s Oliver Twist (December 16). The Belgian Cinematek in Brussels lounges with The Leopard (December 17), does the bossa nova with Black Orpheus (December 18), gets kaleidoscopic with Krzystzof Kie?lowski’s Three Colors: Blue (December 18) and Three Colors: Red (December 18), reflects on The Double Life of Véronique (December 20), and plays Five Easy Pieces (December 22). The Swiss Cinematheque in Lausanne finds Federico Fellini enticing, screening 8½ (December 16 and 21) and La strada (December 20). The Swedish Film Institute in Stockholm classes up the joint with James Ivory’s Howards End (December 17). The Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam flies away with Ken Loach’s Kes (December 16–21) and rides of with Fellini’s The White Sheik (December 17 and 20). The Cinemateca Portuguesa in Lisbon bows to Roberto Rossellini’s royal The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (December 17), gets misty with Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu (December 21), and gets dead-ended by both Cul-de-sac (December 22), and Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise (December 22).
Finally, a trio of theaters in the United Kingdom: The play’s the thing at BFI Southbank in London, which continues its run of Marcel Carné’s Children of Paradise (through the first week of January), and shows Tati’s Playtime (December 22). Carné’s masterpiece also plays at the Glasgow Film Theatre (December 17 and 18), as does Milos Forman’s Loves of a Blonde (December 22). And finally, stop by the Arnolfini in Bristol for a chat with André Gregory and Wallace Shawn in Malle’s My Dinner with André (December 18).