Next month brings a bevy of femmes fatales, gumshoes, crooks, and con artists to the Channel with a twenty-seven-film spotlight on the neonoir thrillers that updated one of Hollywood’s richest genres for the post-studio-system era. Meanwhile, an extensive survey of art-house animation from around the world explores the imaginative, surreal, and boundary-pushing vanguard of animated film. Plus: the face behind Scarface, Slacker turns thirty, World of Wong Kar Wai, and more.
Premiering July 1
The endless possibilities of animation are on dazzling display in this round-the-world showcase of some of the medium’s most innovative, boundary-pushing, and mind-enhancing examples. Far from cuddly kid’s stuff, these optical wonders are frequently dark, transgressive, sexually charged, and psychologically complex, using the anything-goes potential of animation to evoke expressionistic inner worlds and transport viewers to realms of the fantastical and the bizarre. Czech stop-motion surrealism (The Fabulous Baron Munchausen, Alice), Hungarian psychedelia (Son of the White Mare), visionary Japanese anime (Mind Game, Paprika), American underground experimentation (Consuming Spirits), hallucinatory Chilean horror (The Wolf House), Palestinian political satire (The Wanted 18), and many more fantasias leap off the screen in this epic animation celebration that will leave your imagination whirling and your retinas reeling.
FEATURING: Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955), Invention for Destruction (1958), The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962), Belladonna of Sadness (1973), János vitéz (1973), Fantastic Planet (1973), Watership Down (1978), Son of the White Mare (1981), The Plague Dogs (1982), Alice (1988), Faust (1994)**, Millennium Actress (2001), Mind Game (2004), Paprika (2006), Persepolis (2007), Waltz with Bashir (2008)**, A Town Called Panic (2009), Mary and Max (2009), Chico & Rita (2010)**, The Rabbi’s Cat (2011)**, Alois Nebel (2011), Tatsumi (2011), The King of Pigs (2011), It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012), Consuming Spirits (2012), Aya of Yop City (2013), Rocks in My Pockets (2014)**, The Wanted 18 (2014)**, The Girl Without Hands (2016), Tower (2016), The Wolf House (2018), No. 7 Cherry Lane (2019)
While film noir had its heyday in the disillusioned postwar era of the 1940s and ’50s, its seductively moody style and dark, cynical edge have continued to inspire more recent filmmakers—freed from the constraints of the Production Code—to put their own, often subversive stamps on the genre. Featuring unforgettable femmes fatales (Kathleen Turner in the Double Indemnity–inspired Body Heat, Linda Fiorentino’s ice-cold bad girl in The Last Seduction) and world-weary private eyes (Jack Nicholson in Chinatown; Elliott Gould and Robert Mitchum offering their respective takes on Raymond Chandler’s legendary detective Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye and Farewell, My Lovely), this selection of some of the finest neonoirs spotlights the myriad ways in which the hard-boiled vocabulary of noir has endured and evolved over the decades. From the blaxploitation boom (Across 110th Street) to Hollywood’s post-Watergate cynicism (Night Moves, Cutter’s Way) to the New Queer Cinema (Swoon) and beyond, these films prove that noir is more than just a single era or movement—it’s a state of mind.
FEATURING: Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Across 110th Street (1972), The Long Goodbye (1973), Chinatown (1974)**, Night Moves (1975), Farewell, My Lovely (1975), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), The American Friend (1977), The Big Sleep (1978), Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), The Onion Field (1979), Body Heat (1981), Thief (1981)*, Blow Out (1981), Cutter’s Way (1981), Blood Simple (1984), Body Double (1984), The Hit (1984), Trouble in Mind (1985), Manhunter (1986), Mona Lisa (1986), The Bedroom Window (1987), Homicide (1991), Swoon (1992), Suture (1993), The Last Seduction (1994), Brick (2005)**
World of Wong Kar Wai
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema. Joined by such key collaborators as cinematographer Christopher Doyle; editor and production and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping; and actors Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has written and directed films that have enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with their poetic moods and music, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the seven films collected here are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist.
FEATURES: As Tears Go By (1988), Days of Being Wild (1990), Chungking Express (1994), Fallen Angels (1995), Happy Together (1997), In the Mood for Love (2000), 2046 (2004)
SHORTS: Hua yang de nian hua (2000), The Hand (2004)
Paul Muni: An Actor Among Stars
In an era when movie stars were often better known for their glamorous images than for their performances, Paul Muni stood out for his almost religious devotion to the art and craft of acting. Honing his skills in the Yiddish theater—where he learned to use makeup to facilitate his remarkable physical transformations—Muni shot to film stardom in 1932 with his electrifying turns in the gangster classic Scarface and the hard-hitting prison exposé I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. Marketed by Warner Bros. as “the screen’s greatest actor,” Muni was given the rare privilege of choosing his roles, an opportunity he used to make a series of acclaimed biographical dramas—including The Story of Louis Pasteur, for which he won the Academy Award for best actor, and The Life of Emile Zola—built around his intensely researched, meticulously realized portrayals of men who changed the course of history. Though he worked only sporadically in films throughout the 1940s and ’50s, choosing instead to concentrate on his equally successful stage career, Muni left behind a legacy of quality and integrity that set a new standard for serious screen acting.
FEATURING: Scarface (1932), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), Black Fury (1935), The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937)**, Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942), A Song to Remember (1945), The Last Angry Man (1959)
Premiering July 1
Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979)
Criterion Collection Edition #864
Peter Sellers gives one of his most finely tuned performances in this deeply melancholy and hilarious satire from Hal Ashby.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A documentary on the making of the film; interviews with Sellers, Ashby, and author Jerzy Kosinski; and more.
Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)
Criterion Collection Edition #247
Shot on 16 mm for a mere $23,000, Richard Linklater’s breakout feature—released thirty years ago—is one of the key films of the American independent-film movement of the 1990s.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A new introduction by Linklater for the film’s thirtieth anniversary; It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988), Linklater’s first full-length feature; three audio commentaries featuring Linklater and members of the cast and crew; deleted scenes; and more.
Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994)
Criterion Collection Edition #289
Two ordinary inner-city Chicago kids dare to reach for the impossible—professional basketball glory—in this epic chronicle of hope and faith, one of the great works of American nonfiction cinema.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries by the filmmakers and their subjects, a documentary following up with the film’s characters, and more.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)
Criterion Collection Edition #982
With this trailblazing musical, writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask brought their signature creation from stage to screen for a movie as unclassifiable as its protagonist.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary featuring Mitchell and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco, a conversation among cast and crew members, programs on the making of the film, and more.
A Room with a View (James Ivory, 1986)
Criterion Collection Edition #775
Merchant Ivory Productions, led by director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, became a household name with this acclaimed E. M. Forster adaptation starring Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day-Lewis.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A TV segment about Merchant Ivory Productions and interviews with Ivory, cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts, costume designer John Bright, and actors Helena Bonham Carter, Simon Callow, and Julian Sands.
Othello (Orson Welles, 1952)
Criterion Collection Edition #870
Shot over the course of three years in Italy and Morocco, this fiercely independent film joins Macbeth and Chimes at Midnight in making the case for Orson Welles as the cinema’s most audacious interpreter of the Bard.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary from 1995 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles scholar Myron Meisel; Filming “Othello,” Welles’s last completed film; a documentary about actor Suzanne Cloutier; and more.
Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger, 1959)
Criterion Collection Edition #600
A virtuoso James Stewart plays a small-town Michigan lawyer who takes on a difficult case in this gripping envelope-pusher from Hollywood provocateur Otto Preminger.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Otto Preminger biographer Foster Hirsch and critic Gary Giddins, an archival conversation between Preminger and William F. Buckley Jr., and more.
Exclusive Streaming Premieres
No. 7 Cherry Lane
THURSDAY, JULY 1
The first animated film by celebrated director Yonfan is an exquisite, sumptuously stylized ode to young love, cinema, and the world of 1960s Hong Kong that has earned comparisons to the lush, languorous romanticism of Wong Kar Wai. Set amid the turbulent social unrest of Hong Kong’s 1967 anticolonialist riots, No. 7 Cherry Lane unfolds as an almost hypnotic daydream of bittersweet nostalgia and heady eroticism in which a taboo love triangle plays out between a Proust-reading university student, a self-exiled Taiwanese divorcée, and her ravishingly beautiful daughter. Stunningly realized through a mix of colored-pencil and charcoal drawings on rice paper and studded with references to literature and international art cinema—in particular the films of French screen siren Simone Signoret—this singular achievement in adult animation casts an intoxicating spell all its own.
Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7
The second feature by Hungarian director Lili Horvát is a slippery, seductive investigation of memory, obsession, and delusion. After twenty years in the United States, Hungarian neurosurgeon Márta (Natasa Stork) returns to Budapest for a romantic rendezvous with János (Viktor Bodó), a fellow doctor she met at a conference. The only problem: when she arrives, János is nowhere to be seen and, when she at last tracks him down, claims the two have never met. What ensues is a tantalizing psychological puzzle that toys brilliantly with the conventions of film noir and with the viewer’s own sense of reality.
You Will Die at Twenty
THURSDAY, JULY 15
Winner of the Lion of the Future Award for best debut film at the Venice Film Festival, Amjad Abu Alala’s revelatory first feature is a visually sumptuous coming-of-death fable. During a child’s naming ceremony, a sheikh predicts that Muzamil (Mustafa Shehata) will die at the age of twenty. Haunted by this prophecy, his mother (Islam Mubarak) becomes fiercely protective of him. As Muzamil escapes his mother’s ever-watchful eye, however, he encounters friends, ideas, and challenges that cause him to question his destiny. Sudan’s first-ever Oscar submission, You Will Die at Twenty is a moving reflection on what it means to live in the present from a captivating new cinematic voice.
Observations on Film Art No. 43: Flash Cuts and Long Takes in Le bonheur
THURSDAY, JULY 22
One of the most provocative films by the great Agnès Varda, Le bonheur interrogates our ideals of marriage, fidelity, and happiness through the sun-dappled tale of a young husband and father (Jean-Claude Drouot) who begins an affair with an attractive postal worker. In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Jeff Smith considers the way that Varda experiments with long takes and quick cutting in this film. The unpredictable rhythms of Varda’s editing choices build tension, contributing to her unsettling exploration of the contradictions hidden beneath the brightness of the film’s visual palette.
Three by Mani Ratnam
THURSDAY, JULY 8
One of the most renowned directors working in India’s Tamil-language cinema, Mani Ratnam combines explorations of hot-button social and political issues with vivid human stories to create films that are at once thought-provoking, moving, and immensely entertaining. This sampler of his extensive and acclaimed body of work features three of his finest: Nayakan, a masterful crime epic inspired by The Godfather; Bombay, a groundbreaking and controversial tale of an interfaith Muslim-Hindu romance; and Kannathil muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek), a powerful look at the Sri Lankan Civil War through the eyes of a young girl.
FEATURING: Nayakan (1987), Bombay (1995), Kannathil muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek) (2002)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 14
Parker Posey, Lisa Kudrow, Toni Collette, and Alanna Ubach star in Jill Sprecher’s lost indie gem, a deadpan satire of the soul-draining, muzak-set absurdity of 1990s corporate culture.
Beyond the Visible — Hilma af Klint
WEDNESDAY, JULY 21
Discover the fascinating life and colorful, sensual art of the recently rediscovered mystic and pioneer of abstract painting.
The Grand Bizarre
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28
The dazzling debut feature from experimental animator Jodie Mack is an eye-popping and ear-pleasing study of textile patterns around the world that unfolds as a colorfully kinetic collage of design, tourism, language, and music.
More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming: Persepolis (2007), Swimmer (2012), Aya of Yop City (2013), Rocks in My Pockets (2014), Practice (2017), This Magnificent Cake! (2018), Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (2020)
A Bigger Splash
MONDAY, JULY 5
Jack Hazan’s intimate, daring narrative-nonfiction hybrid captures the agonized end of the lingering affair between painter David Hockney and his muse, Peter Schlesinger, and stands as a tender portrait of gay male romance in the 1970s.
A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China
MONDAY, JULY 5
David Hockney takes viewers on a journey through seventeenth-century China via a magnificent, seventy-two-foot-long scroll painting in this captivating art-history lesson.
Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer
MONDAY, JULY 5
The life, art, and inner world of Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky is revealed in this appropriately hushed, reverent tribute from the filmmaker’s son.
Two Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
MONDAY, JULY 12
Visionary documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter explores humankind’s place on Earth via the indelible impact we have had on its landscapes in a pair of mesmerizingly dystopian works of real-life science fiction.
FEATURING: Homo Sapiens (2016), Earth (2019)
The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975
MONDAY, JULY 12
Drawn from a treasure trove of 16 mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the U.S. to seek out stories of unrest and revolt, this landmark documentary offers an exhilarating, unprecedented account of an American revolution.
MONDAY, JULY 19
It takes a village to make a movie—but what happens when that village is Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin? This cult-favorite documentary captures one DIY filmmaker’s bizarre, comical, and poignant quest to make his movie, his way.
Film and Notfilm
MONDAY, JULY 26
Witness the legendary, controversial collaboration between Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton and discover the story of how this singular, once-in-a-generation meeting of two artistic giants came about.
Postcards from the Future: Four Films by Chris Marker
THURSDAY, JULY 29
Described by Alain Resnais as “the prototype of the twenty-first-century man,” French cine-essayist and multimedia visionary Chris Marker always seemed prophetically ahead of his time—so much so that even now, one hundred years after his birth, his playful, philosophical, and deeply personal ruminations on time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet still feel bracingly modern, full of secrets and surprises remaining to be discovered and deciphered. This centenary celebration brings together two formative early works, the typically idiosyncratic travelogues Sunday in Peking and Letter from Siberia, alongside his twin masterpieces: La Jetée, a radical tale of time travel told through still images, and Sans Soleil, a mind-bending free-form travelogue that journeys from Africa to Japan.
FEATURING: Sunday in Peking (1956), Letter from Siberia (1957), La Jetée (1963), Sans Soleil (1983)
More documentaries featured in this month’s programming: Hoop Dreams (1994), Waltz with Bashir (2008), The Wanted 18 (2014), Tower (2016), Beyond the Visible — Hilma af Klint (2019)
Ernest & Celestine**
SATURDAY, JULY 3
An unlikely bond between a bear and a mouse blossoms in this joyful, playfully kinetic ode to friendship and the limitless possibilities of animated storytelling.
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes
SATURDAY, JULY 10
Edward G. Robinson and Margaret O’Brien star in this lovely evocation of rural American life, as seen through the eyes of the young daughter of a Norwegian immigrant family.
SATURDAY, JULY 17
This visually sumptuous, wryly inventive animated parable about the inhabitants of a work of art is a feast for both the eyes and the imagination.
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
SATURDAY, JULY 24
James Stewart is the aggravated everyman who needs a vacation from his vacation in this high-spirited family comedy.
SATURDAY, JULY 31
This visually stunning, wildly inventive fantasy explores the mystery of the night in a sweeping nocturnal adventure full of Alice in Wonderland–like characters and moody, dream-inspired landscapes.
Double Feature: Road Rage
Thelma & Louise and The Living End
FRIDAY, JULY 2
Ride along as a pair of defiantly unconventional road movies take detours into lawless abandon.
Double Feature: Candid Cameras
Living in Oblivion and Delirious
FRIDAY, JULY 9
Tom DiCillo and Steve Buscemi take hilarious, caustic aim at the absurdities of the entertainment industry in a pair of whip-smart showbiz satires that pull back the curtain to reveal the inflated egos and relentless hustle behind the glamorous facade.
Double Feature: Trials and Error
Knock on Any Door and Anatomy of a Murder
FRIDAY, JULY 16
Surprise witnesses, explosive revelations, and life-or-death stakes: the high drama of a jury trial is on display in a pair of noir-tinged courtroom procedurals built around commanding performances from Humphrey Bogart and James Stewart.
Double Feature: Musante Mayhem
The Incident and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
FRIDAY, JULY 23
Tony Musante gets mixed up in something sinister in a terrifying exercise in nerve-shredding suspense and a landmark Italian giallo.
Double Feature: Felonious Femmes
Too Late for Tears and The Last Seduction
FRIDAY, JULY 30
Femmes fatales of ’49 and ’94: Lizabeth Scott and Linda Fiorentino are diabolical delights as unforgettably ruthless women involved in high-stakes robbery and dangerous double crosses.
Short + Feature: Faces in the Crowd
Practice and Sans Soleil
TUESDAY, JULY 6
Iyabo Kwayana and Chris Marker meditate on the relationship between the group and the individual in a portrait of students practicing martial arts and a captivating poetic travelogue.
Short + Feature: Circles of Life
This Magnificent Cake! and La ronde
TUESDAY, JULY 13
A rotating cast of characters traverse from one vignette to the next in a brilliant and unsettling stop-motion marvel and an enchanting romantic roundelay.
TUESDAY, JULY 20
Stunning monochrome cinematography and impressionistic sound design turn a young man’s aquatic odyssey into a ravishing sensory experience in this short film made to commemorate the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Short + Feature: Respect Your Elders
The Backseat and Thank You and Good Night
TUESDAY, JULY 27
Multigenerational Jewish families squabble while lending one another a hand in a sharply observed short and a brilliant docu-fantasy.
Now Playing in 30 Years of The Film Foundation:
Drums Along the Mohawk
In November, we kicked off our thirtieth-anniversary celebration for film-preservation powerhouse The Film Foundation, founded by Martin Scorsese in 1990. This month’s spotlighted restoration is one of John Ford’s richest evocations of American history and its myths—a glorious Technicolor epic set during the Revolutionary War.