This weekend, the Melwood Screening Room in Pittsburgh presents an intimate look at the American immigrant experience from French master Louis Malle. Commissioned by HBO in 1986 to commemorate the centenary of the Statue of Liberty, . . . And the Pursuit of Happiness weaves together interviews with new transplants hailing from a wide array of backgrounds, including Cambodian refugees, a NASA astronaut originally from Costa Rica, and future Nobel Prize–winning West Indian poet Derek Walcott. The result, which marked Malle’s last foray into nonfiction filmmaking, is an empathetic and ultimately optimistic portrait of the diverse tapestry of contemporary American life, informed by the director’s own experience moving to the United States. For more on Malle’s documentary work, read Michael Koresky’s liner notes for our Eclipse box set. And for those who aren’t in Pittsburgh, the film is available to stream, along with more than a dozen others by Malle, on the Criterion Channel at FilmStruck.
Two Stark Visions of the American Underbelly Hit the Big Screen
A new restoration of the groundbreaking vérité documentary Streetwise joins its companion piece, Tiny: the Life of Eric Blackwell, at New York’s Metrograph theater this weekend.