Cinema Rediscovered 2022

Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Barrat, and Nat Pendleton in Alfred E. Green’s Baby Face (1933)

On Monday, we announced that we’ll be adding six titles to the collection in October, including Lost Highway (1997). Starring Patricia Arquette and Bill Pullman, David Lynch’s seventh feature “may be the director’s purest exercise of style,” suggests the New Yorker’s Richard Brody, “yet it’s nonetheless a highly personal entry in his canon.” The new 4K restoration currently screening in North American theaters will see its UK premiere today as the opening film of this year’s Cinema Rediscovered, an annual showcase of restorations and rare prints from around the world.

The sixth edition, taking place in theaters in and around Bristol as well as online, will run through Sunday and close with the 4K restoration of Kinuyo Tanaka’s Forever a Woman (1955). Three of the festival’s programs will then tour the UK and Ireland from August through September. When Europe Made Hollywood: From Sunrise to High Noon will open with F. W. Murnau’s silent wonder from 1927, close with Fred Zinnemann’s classic 1952 western, and feature Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express (1932) with Marlene Dietrich, Rouben Mamoulian’s Queen Christina (1933) with Greta Garbo, and Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944) with Barbara Stanwyck.

Stanwyck stars in what’s sure to be one of the main draws of Pre-code Hollywood: Rules are Made to be Broken. In Alfred E. Green’s Baby Face (1933), she plays Lily Powers, who breaks away from her abusive father and sets out for New York, where she begins sleeping her way up the corporate ladder. Previewing the program for the Guardian, Pamela Hutchinson notes that Baby Face “was considered by many to be the final straw for pre-Code laxity.”

Stanwyck “has this underlying quality that makes us believe she’s lived it and seen it all,” Natasha Lyonne told Hillary Weston in 2019. “What’s so extreme about all these pre-Code movies are the male-female dynamics and the concept of what a woman should or should not be . . . Our concept of history would have it that women didn’t really have an independent spirit prior to the sixties, but these films help us understand that nothing could be further from the truth. In pre-Code cinema, there were these fully embodied, fully realized independent women who were saying: I want to live, damn it, I don’t care what it takes. It’s either life under someone’s thumb or it’s me with just a dollar in my pocket, a cigarette, and a fur stole.”

Among the highlights of Women’s Stories from the Global South (& To Whom They Belong) are Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga (1972), a landmark of anticolonist cinema, and Cuban director Sara Gómez’s only feature, One Way or Another (1974). Blending fiction and nonfiction, Gómez tells the story of Yolanda and Mario, a schoolteacher and a mechanic who have fallen in love. “Part historical testimony, part timeless romantic drama,” writes Clara Miranda Scherffig at Screen Slate, “One Way or Another may cause viewers to empathize (or despair) that the gender, race, and class conflicts challenging Yolanda and Mario's relationship and ascribed to Cuba’s communist mission aren’t far from those we blame on contemporary capitalism.”

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