It’s become a common complaint of many a film critic that movies “aren’t as good as they used to be,” that “film culture is dead,” and that things just haven’t been the same since the heyday of Bergman. To be blunt, that’s simply not true, as anyone who’s bothered to look beyond the mainstream and out into the world of foreign and independent film can tell you. Filmmakers as diverse as Cristi Puiu, Claire Denis, Nuri Bilge-Ceylan, Béla Tarr, Jia Zhangke, and Pedro Costa—just to name a few—have delivered many a game-changing masterpiece over the last decade or so, and it’s thanks to the efforts of smaller, risk-taking companies like Cinema Guild (who distribute works by all six of the filmmakers cited above) that stateside audiences are able to see these films. Founded in 1968 by Philip and Mary-Ann Hobel, who later went on to produce the acclaimed Robert Duvall film Tender Mercies, Cinema Guild has consistently taken on quality films that other distributors might deem “uncommercial” and turned them into critical and commercial successes. With films like The Turin Horse and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, they’ve been on quite a roll, and when we realized that almost every new release we hoped to screen for this calendar was part of their catalog, we decided to make it formal and offer a brief tribute showcasing the company’s most recent acquisitions. Special thanks to Ryan Krivoshey and Graham Swindoll of Cinema Guild.
Wednesday, March 6, 8 p.m.
(Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, US 2012, 87 min., Blu-ray)
Wednesday, March 13, 8 p.m.
The Last Time I Saw Macao
(A última vez que vi Macau, João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata, Portugal/France 2012, 85 min., Portuguese w/subtitles, Blu-ray)
Wednesday, March 20, 8 p.m.
(O som ao redor, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil 2012, 131 min., Portuguese, English, and Mandarin w/subtitles, Blu-ray)
Wednesday, March 27, 8 p.m.
Planet of Snail
(Dalpaengiui Byeol, Yi Seung-jin, Finland/Japan/South Korea 2011, 88 min., Korean w/subtitles, Blu-ray)
In an age when “everything” is available on home video or on demand, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there are thousands of films, stars, and directors scattered throughout cinema history whose talent (and sometimes genius) makes their obscurity a mystery. That’s the case with the films of French comic, clown, illustrator, and director Pierre Étaix, whose complete filmography was only recently made available in the United States. A physical comedian whose grace compares favorably to that of Chaplin, and whose visual sensibility blends the lyricism of the silent cinema with the formal innovations of the New Wave, Étaix is indeed “the funniest filmmaker you’ve never heard of” (The Los Angeles Times).
A circus-loving child who literally left home to become a clown and in-demand cabaret performer, Étaix soon found himself working for the legendary comic filmmaker Jacques Tati, serving as a gagman and assistant during the making of Mon Oncle. Venturing out on his own, he teamed up with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and produced a brief run of five features and three shorts from 1961 to 1971, all of which we’ll be showing in newly restored 35mm prints. From the Keaton-esque situation comedy of The Suitor (1962) to the loving circus homage Yoyo (1965) and the surreal gags of As Long As You’re Healthy (1966), Étaix’s films—praised by directors as diverse as Truffaut, Bresson, Godard, and David Lynch—offer an unprecedented opportunity to discover a neglected master of comic filmmaking. Special thanks to Brian Belovarac of Janus Films.
Tuesday, April 2, 8 p.m.
(Le soupirant, Pierre Étaix, France 1962, 82 min., French w/subtitles)
Tuesday, April 9, 8 p.m.
(Pierre Étaix, France 1965, 96 min., French w/subtitles)
Tuesday, April 16, 8 p.m.
As Long As You’re Healthy
(Tant qu’on a la santé, Pierre Étaix, France 1966, 65 min., French w/subtitles)
Tuesday, April 23, 8 p.m.
Le Grand Amour
(Pierre Étaix, France 1969, 87 min., French w/subtitles)
Tuesday, April 30, 8 p.m.
Land of Milk and Honey
(Pays de cocagne, Pierre Étaix, France 1971, 74 min., French w/subtitles)
The expansion of the film frame beyond its traditional, square 1.37 aspect ratio only really got going in the 1950s, when studios needed a new post-3D gimmick to draw audiences away from their television sets. 20th Century Fox led the way with CinemaScope and other studios soon followed suit. The 2.35:1 aspect ratio became one of the glories of cinema: a wide, rectangular shape that gave filmmakers a stunning new canvas to better capture the vastness of a landscape, the intensity of an action sequence, the detail of a crowd, or the claustrophobia of a character in crisis. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the widescreen image, and to highlight our newly revamped theatre, we’ll be hosting a special series of Scope classics.
Friday, March 8, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 10, 2 p.m.
Lady and the Tramp
(Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, US 1955, 75 min.)
Friday, March 15, 8 p.m.
East of Eden
(Elia Kazan, US 1955, 115 min.)
Saturday, March 16, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 17, 2 p.m.
The Sound of Music
(Robert Wise, US 1965, 174 min.)
Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
(Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Sergio Leone, Italy/Spain/West Germany 1966, 179 min.)
Friday, March 29, 8 p.m.
(Robert Altman, US 1975, 159 min.)
Friday, April 5, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 7, 2 p.m.
(William Wyler, US 1959, 212 min.)
Friday, April 19, 8 p.m.
2001: A Space Odyssey
(Stanley Kubrick, US/UK 1968, 142 min.)
A big part of the Dryden’s renovation was the installation of a new set of seats, and to celebrate, we’ve compiled a series of some of our favorite suspense classics. Why? Well, unlike horror films and comedies, which cause us to jump out of our chairs and roll in the aisles, respectively, a good suspense film should keep us in our seats, gradually pushing us closer and closer to the edge until an exciting conclusion or twist ending pushes us back with a gasp. So sit back, get comfortable, and meet our plush new friends by way of a scary old one.
Thursday, March 7, 8 p.m.
Touch of Evil
(Orson Welles, US 1958, 111 min.)
Saturday, March 9, 8 p.m.
(Alfred Hitchcock, US 1954, 112 min.)
Thursday, March 14, 8 p.m.
(Rob Reiner, US 1990, 107 min.)
Thursday, March 21, 8 p.m.
High and Low
(Tengoku to jigoku, Akira Kurosawa, Japan 1963, 143 min., Japanese w/subtitles)
Thursday, March 28, 8 p.m.
Secret Beyond the Door
(Fritz Lang, US 1948, 99 min.)
Thursday, April 4, 8 p.m.
(Spoorloos, George Sluizer, Netherlands/France 1988, 107 min., French and Dutch w/subtitles)
Thursday, April 11, 8 p.m.
Sorry, Wrong Number
(Anatole Litvak, US 1948, 89 min.)
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” For no one is this more true than James Ivory. In 1963, Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala formed a partnership, best known for adaptations, that remains unequaled in film history, not only for its long-lasting nature, but also for the passion of the three individuals involved. Under the banner of Merchant Ivory Productions, Ivory directed more than 30 films that exercised his deep love for storytelling and his passion for the collaborative process. In 2010, these films entered the collection at George Eastman House, and now we are proud to welcome their maker for an appearance. Please join us on April 6, as we welcome James Ivory back to the Dryden for a salute to his work and career with a special screening of Jefferson in Paris, one of his personal favorites.
Wednesday, April 3, 8 p.m.
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge
(James Ivory, US 1990, 126 min.)
Saturday, April 6, 8 p.m.
James Ivory in Person! Jefferson in Paris
(James Ivory, France/US 1995, 139 min., English and French w/subtitles)
Wednesday, April 10, 8 p.m.
(James Ivory, US 1977, 104 min.)
Wednesday, April 17, 8 p.m.
(James Ivory, UK 1987, 140 min.)
Wednesday, April 24, 8 p.m.
(James Ivory, India 1963, 101 min.)
Mel Brooks is not just a filmmaker, he is a cinephile. Nearly every film he has directed (not to mention a little television series called Get Smart) has been grounded in some aspect of Hollywood’s legacy. And even though his manic wit and rapidfire gags have led to some of the greatest film satires in history, they also demonstrate a deep love and understanding of what makes the originals great. Created in a style that Brooks himself describes as “calculated chaos,” these films still have us roaring in the aisles.
Friday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m.
(Mel Brooks, US 1974, 105 min.)
Friday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m.
(Mel Brooks, US 1976, 86 min.)
Friday, Dec. 28, 8 p.m.
(Mel Brooks, US 1987, 96 min.)
Publishing his first novel in the 1830s, Charles Dickens has become widely recognized as the greatest English novelist of all time. Although he didn’t live to see the advent of cinema, his unforgettable characters, his fondness for realism, and his universal appeal have inspired more than 300 film adaptations. This holiday season, to celebrate the bicentennial of Dickens’s birth and his tremendous influence on cinematic history, the Dryden will be screening four films adapted from his body of work.
Thursday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m.
(George Cukor, US 1935, 130 min.)
Thursday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m.
(David Lean, UK 1946, 113 min.)
Thursday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.
(Richard Donner, US 1988, 101 min.)
Thursday, Dec. 27, 8 p.m.
(David Lean, UK 1948, 105 min.)
In anticipation of the Dryden Theatre’s renovations in January and February 2013, we will be screening five films that celebrate the movie house not only as a source of entertainment, but as a meeting place, community center, and source of cultural and spiritual enlightenment. From Texas to Taipei, these films walk us down the aisle and remind us of the romance and artistry of the classical movie-going experience. Join Jersey housewife Mia Farrow as she seeks safety in a beloved film during the Great Depression in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo. In Anarene, TX, the closing of the town movie theater signals a change in life for a band of teenagers in Peter Bogdanovich’s masterpiece, The Last Picture Show. Buster Keaton’s intelligence, wit, and directorial skill is on full display as a dreamy projectionist in his masterpiece, Sherlock, Jr. We also journey across the globe to visit movie houses in Taiwan (Goodbye, Dragon Inn) and Italy (Cinema Paradiso) to pay homage to the universality of the medium.
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
The Purple Rose of Cairo
(Woody Allen, US 1985, 82 min.)
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 8 p.m.
The Last Picture Show
(Peter Bogdanovich, US 1971, 118 min.)
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 8 p.m.
(Buster Keaton, US 1924, 44 min.)
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 8 p.m.
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
(Bu San, Ming-Lian Tsai, Taiwan 2003, 82 min., Mandarin w/subtitles)
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 8 p.m.
(Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, Guiseppe Tornatore, Italy 1988, 155 min., Italian w/subtitles)
“Based on a true story.” Hollywood has made that claim many a time, and while truth is usually the enemy of entertainment, the many successful films that have taken their inspiration from real-life crimes, robberies, and mysteries are the exceptions that defy the rule. After all, these are stories that literally write themselves, with pre-existing plots, charismatic villains, and puzzles to be solved. This November, we’ll be screening four such films, all landmark classics that show that truth can be stranger than fiction.
We’ll begin with the granddaddy of True Crime films, Richard Brooks’s adaptation of Truman Capote’s landmark In Cold Blood. As powerful on its 45th anniversary as it was upon release, Brooks’s film benefits greatly from its detailed, B&W location shooting and a haunting lead performance by Robert Blake. Released in the same year and set in the same location — the rural Midwest — Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde took a pair of Depression-era bank robbers and turned them into countercultural icons, foreshadowing the American New Wave and igniting a fierce controversy about violence in film. Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon, meanwhile, tells the story of a very different kind of bank robbery, as Al Pacino holds up a Manhattan bank to raise money for his partner’s sex-reassignment surgery. The acknowledged king of New York location-shooting, Lumet meets his match with none other than Alfred Hitchcock, who took to the streets of NYC to film The Wrong Man, the apotheosis of the master’s mistaken identity thrillers — and all the more terrifying for being, you guessed it, based on a true story.
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m.
In Cold Blood
(Richard Brooks, US 1967, 134 min.)
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8 p.m.
Dog Day Afternoon
(Sidney Lumet, US 1975, 125 min.)
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m.
Bonnie and Clyde
(Arthur Penn, US 1967, 111 min.)
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 8 p.m.
The Wrong Man
(Alfred Hitchcock, US 1956, 105 min.)
Studio Ghibli, founded in Tokyo in 1985 by animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, is one of the most successful and well-respected animation studios in the world. Cultivating a creative force of talented directors, animators, and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films have been praised for their originality, dazzling animation, and epic storytelling. The films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture and have garnered worldwide acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, perhaps the best known of the studio’s features in the United States, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002. In 2005 Miyazaki was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”
All films dubbed in English.
Friday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m.
Castle in the Sky
(Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 1986, 124 min. )
Friday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
(Kaze no Tani no Naushika, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 1984, 116 min.)
Friday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.
My Neighbor Totoro
(Tonari no Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 1988, 86 min.)
Friday, Nov. 23, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 25, 2 p.m.
(Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 2002, 125 min.)
Sunday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec 2, 2 p.m.
(Mononoke-hime, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 1997, 134 min.)