Goings On: Hitchcock, To, and More

New York. The Anthology Film Archives’ series Boxing on Film: Part 2 is on through October 31, and William Klein’s Muhammad Ali, The Greatest (1974), screening once more on Saturday, “evades fight footage and instead alights upon the press appearances and interviews that provided the fighter with another kind of spot-lit ring, and one in which he was just as capable of a kayo,” writes Rebecca Cleman at Screen Slate. “Ali is a great match for Klein, the two pairing idiosyncratic approaches to form.”

Los Angeles. On Saturday, Kino Slang presents a double feature at the Echo Park Film Center, Jean Renoir’s The Southerner (1945) and Luis Buñuel’s The Young One (1960). “Renoir's masterpiece, screening on a rare 16 mm print, sensitively depicts the the plight of a poor migrant family attempting to establish a cotton farm in rural Texas,” writes Jordan Cronk in the Hollywood Reporter. “With characteristic naturalism and a one-of-a-kind poetic touch, Renoir captures an unfamiliar milieu with a grace and sensitivity uncommon to even the era's most lauded American auteurs. The Young One (screening digitally), by contrast, finds Buñuel confronting sexual taboos and the region's entrenched racism with unflinching immediacy.”

On Sunday, the New Beverly will present a new archival 35 mm print of William Castle’s The Old Dark House (1963) followed by Elliott Nugent’s The Cat and the Canary (1939) with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard and George Marshall’s Scared Stiff (1953) with Dean Martin and the late Jerry Lewis. “The only thing more delightful than Charles Addams’s animated credit sequence in The Old Dark House is the next eighty-four minutes,” writes Ariel Schudson. “Unfairly maligned by the director himself (Castle doesn’t even mention the film in his deliciously readable autobiography Step Right Up!: I’m Going to Scare the Pants Off America), this film has an undeservedly poor reputation. It is a true gem.”

Cambridge. On Saturday, the Harvard Film Archive celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Houghton Library with “two very special films that typify the spirit of one of Harvard’s most unusual special collections: the Ludlow-Santo Domingo (LSD) Library, which collects books, manuscripts and images about psychoactive drugs and the many cultural and countercultural products inspired by the altered states of mind such drugs produce, with major holdings of erotica and underground comix.” And those films are Roger Vadim’s Barbarella (1968) with Jane Fonda and Andre De Toth’s Monkey on My Back (1957).

Toronto. Tomorrow, TIFF will present “an exquisite IB Technicolor 35 mm print of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window to mark the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, an annual event which aims to raise awareness of the need for film preservation and the conservation of our audiovisual heritage.”

And on the following evening, Thursday, Johnnie To will introduce a screening of his 1999 film The Mission, opening TIFF’s retrospective Johnnie To: Expect the Unexpected. “The Mission exemplifies Johnnie To’s ambition to create something new in local cinema,” writes David Bordwell for the TIFF Review. “Shot in eighteen days for about US$300,000, more or less made up as it went along, the film has become a milestone in post-handover cinema. It bears the influence of Kurosawa but also owes something to the early 1990s films of Kitano Takeshi, who invested gunfights with a statuesque simplicity at odds with the kinetic Hong Kong tradition. At the same time, The Mission exemplifies how To’s laconic, elliptical principles of narration can yield something of enduring value.”

London. With the series Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama on at BFI Southbank through November, Jasper Sharp writes about five “iconic Japanese actresses of the golden age,” Kinuyo Tanaka, Setsuko Hara, Yamaguchi Yoshiko, Machiko Kyo, and Sachiko Hidari.

On Thursday at the Barbican, Kino Klassika presents Sergei Eisenstein’s October (1928) accompanied by a live score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. “October is not a historical document, more a remembered dream,” writes the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw. “The film pioneered a number of things, quite apart from the montage—the audacious juxtaposition of images—for which Eisenstein became famous. Stalin himself interfered at an early stage, viewing an early rough assembly of material and demanding that scenes with Trotsky and even Lenin were removed. And so he became cinema’s first overbearing producer, in a nauseous parallel with his censorship, tyranny and mass murder.”

UK. Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959; image above) is winding its way through theaters through November before popping up once again on December 30. “Witty, impudent, suspenseful, this is Hollywood filmmaking at its most urbane and glamorous,” writes BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew.

China. The inaugural Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival opens on Saturday and runs through November 4. Jia Zhangke, the “main driver behind the project,” has “assembled a team of international curators and producers to select films for the Pingyao festival,” reports Yijun Yin for China Film Insider. “They reportedly hope to see PYIFF become the Chinese version of Sundance.” Via Movie City News.

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