At the end of her vaudeville career, Barbara Stanwyck’s no-longer-young chorine Naomi returns to the Wisconsin town she’d left behind a decade before—and the husband and three children that she abandoned along with it.
For the grand occasion of his 300th film role star Kazuo Hasegawa revisited material that had been a hit for him back in 1935’s Yukinojō henge, here playing both Yamitaro, a cynical thief who provides a running commentary on the events of the film, and Yukitarō, a onnagata (female impersonator) in the Kabuki theater who coolly plots his revenge on the men responsible for his parents’ deaths.
Atlas’s fauxumentary follows Scottish dance maestro Clark and his company through a fictionalized day and night of preparations for a performance of Clark’s 1984 work New Puritans, which makes extensive use of the music of the Manchester post-punk act The Fall.
Rising J-pop star Mima has quit singing to pursue a career as an actress and model, but her fans aren’t ready to see her go, and when she takes on a recurring role on a popular TV show, her handlers and collaborators suddenly begin turning up murdered.
“It’s showtime, folks!” Playing the chain-smoking, Dexedrine-and-Alka-Seltzer-popping, serially womanizing workaholic choreographer/filmmaker Joe Gideon, a perpetually black-clad Roy Scheider is the thinly-disguised alter-ego of director Fosse, whose musical film-a-clef dramatizes a bout of manic work in the mid-‘70s that nearly killed him.
Opening with the jubilant jackpot fantasy of “We’re in the Money” and concluding with the torch song “Remember My Forgotten Man” (which contains the looming lyrical threat “You put a rifle in his hand”), LeRoy’s musical extravaganza embodies all of the hope and dejection of the Great Depression.
Bengali star Uttam Kumar draws upon his own experience of celebrity playing the role of Arindam, a well-known film actor who, unable to find a seat on a flight to Delhi where he is expected to collect an award, finds himself pinned down on the Delhi-Calcutta train by Adita (Ray favorite Sharmila Tagore), an initially hostile, sharp-tongued young journalist who, in the course of their journey and an exhaustive interview exclusive, begins to soften towards this insecurity-plagued screen idol.
In 2010, as Kelley’s homestead was slated to travel back and forth between downtown and suburbs on a circuit Michigan Avenue, he produced a trilogy of documentaries charting this intended course, documenting the economically and ethnically diverse neighborhoods and residents encountered along the route.
After an ex-girlfriend comes to him with an eyewitness report on the assassination of a sitting U.S. senator at the Seattle Space Needle that contravenes the official story, anti-authoritarian investigative reporter Warren Beatty follows a thread that leads him to the shadowy Parallax Corporation, a sinister, secret right-wing organization specializing in agitprop brainwashing and political hits who will stop at nothing to retain a grip on the levers of power.
The deep well of personal pain that was the wellspring of Pryor’s comedy is explicitly explored and exorcised in his self-reflective, warts-and-all autobiographical directorial debut, in which comedian Jo Jo Dancer (Pryor) looks back over his life from a hospital bed while recovering, as Pryor had some years before, from third-degree burns received while freebasing cocaine.
As a general rule Ernst Lubitsch was an artist whose conception of politics began and ended in the boudoir, and To Be or Not to Be is no exception, though this fleet comedy about a Warsaw theatre troupe led by Carole Lombard and Jack Benny using their chops to fluster occupying Nazi high command is also a deeply moral protest picture.
Rossini, Wagner, and Tchaikovsky become the soundtrack to murder and suicide in Sturges’ darkly comic recital, which has symphony conductor Rex Harrison, in a role modeled on English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, driven to elaborate musical fantasies of reproach and revenge by obsessive thoughts of wife Linda Darnell’s supposed extramarital activities.
“One of the most brilliant satires of the Japanese family system,” according to scholar Joan Mellen, Mizoguchi’s masterpiece, his first film for Shochiku Studios, lays its scene in Meiji-era Tokyo, where fumbling actor Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayagi) breaks with his Kabuki star father to take up with low-born servant Otoku (Kakuko Mori), the only person honest with him about his artistic shortcomings.
Dancer Moira Shearer must make up her mind between domestic contentment and the vicissitudes of pursuing artistic excellence in Powell and Pressburger's brilliant backstage drama, with her "suitors" represented by young, dating composer Marius Goring and imperious impresario Anton Walbrook.
Varda’s always unexpected, inspired, and capering “imaginary biopic” of Jane Birkin, the British-born chanteuse, actress, model, and frequent Serge Gainsbourg collaborator, inspired by Birkin’s confession to the filmmaker of anxieties pertaining to her imminent 40th birthday.
Wallowing in everything that Nashville publicists preferred to keep off the record—the drinking, the womanizing, the fake smiles, the cheap motels, the record station payola—Payday just might be the realest movie about country music ever made.
Prosper Mérimée’s play about a commedia dell’arte troupe touring Peru at the end of the 18th century becomes, in Renoir’s hands, a Technicolor celebration of the delicious deceits of theatrical artifice, appropriately enough, shot far from South America in Rome’s Cinecitta studios.
The eponymous Brown, a hyper-charismatic classically trained singer with a barrelhouse blues voice who wowed audiences from Off-Broadway to gay bathhouses, finds her ideal chronicler in the person of groundbreaking queer documentarian von Praunheim.
DIRECTOR: CHRIS SHELLEN & JEFF MALMBERG 2017 / 91min / DCP
All the world’s a play in the little Italian hill town of Monticchiello, tucked away in an obscure corner of Tuscany, where every summer for some fifty years the residents have come together in the piazza to play themselves in the Teatro Povero (“Poor Theater”) di Monticchiello.
Penélope Cruz leads a remarkable ensemble cast—the six main actresses shared a Best Actress award at Cannes in 2006—in Almodóvar’s comic drama, set in the Madrid suburbs and in the filmmaker’s native La Mancha region.
he first film by a Sub-Saharan African filmmaker to gain an international reputation, writer-turned-filmmaker Sembène’s feature debut gives voice to the silent suffering of Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop), a black African nanny who has followed her white French employers from her nativ Senegal to the Riviera.
Amy Tan’s bestselling novel, tracking the intergenerational passage of aspirations and expectations between four immigrant Chinese women and their American daughters, found its ideal interpreter in Wang, who lent the material an emotional grandeur, allowing every member of his peerless ensemble cast to shine in turn.
The Wind stars Lillian Gish as a delicate Virginia lass who, upon going off to live on a cousin’s isolated ranch in barely civilized Sweetwater, Texas, finds herself buffeted about by the unfamiliar, tempestuous passions that the ceaseless gales and cyclones crossing the plains stir within her.
With her feature debut Hansen-Løve has already found her great subject: the passage of time and how it moves differently for different people, here at work in a strikingly original, deeply empathetic family drama that sidesteps all clichéd sentimentality on the way to achieving quietly devastating results.
An unsentimental portrayal of life on the fringes in the United States, following down-on-her-luck Wendy (a sublimely stoic Michelle Williams, often carrying the film alone), her pet dog, and her haggard Honda on an aimless road trip from Indiana to the Alaskan frontier.
Raising a daughter conceived during a brief but unforgettable fling 5 years earlier, hairdresser Félicie (Charlotte Véry) vacillates between two suitors while really loving neither, keeping a candle quietly burning for the father of her child.
A sprawling and intimate evocation of the Taiwan of Yang’s teenage years: the outset of the 1960s, a period defined by street gang activity, the political repression of the Kuomintang military government, and the ubiquity of American pop culture.