While photographs and motion pictures can be used to recreate memories, only films can do so in real time, allowing directors to relive memories and audiences to explore the lives of perfect strangers through a most intimate point of view. This March, we’ll screen five films that exemplify and explore the idea of movie-as-memoir.
We begin with Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, screening in collaboration with Writers & Books as a companion to this year’s “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book” selection, Debra Dean’s Madonnas of Leningrad. One of the director’s most evocative works, The Mirror constructs itself in a poetic, dreamlike fashion around the achronological memories of a character whose life and search for meaning strongly suggest Tarkovsky’s own.
From another legendary director comes Fellini’s Intervista, a playful puzzlebox of a movie that finds the maestro leading a Japanese TV crew on a tour of Italy’s Cinecitta studio (and, in flashback, his early filmmaking career) while preparing to mount a highly problematic adaptation of Kafka’s Amerika. Then, the most New York of New York filmmakers — Spike Lee and Woody Allen — revisit their childhoods in Crooklyn and Radio Days, respectively, before we conclude with Hirokazu Koreeda’s imaginative After Life. Set in a gentle purgatory in which the newly deceased have their happiest memory filmed for all eternity, and based around nostalgic interviews with non-professional actors, After Life is one of the best films ever made about life, memory, and the power of the movies, and a fitting end to a series about the same. — L.D.
Wednesday, March 1, 8 p.m.
(Zerkalo, Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR 1975, 107 min., Russian w/subtitles)
Wednesday, March 8, 8 p.m. Members Movie Night!
(Spike Lee, US 1994, 115 min.)
Wednesday, March 15, 8 p.m.
(Federico Fellini, Italy 1987, 105 min.)
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m.
(Woody Allen, US 1987, 85 min.)
Wednesday, March 29, 8 p.m.
(Wandâfuru raifu, Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan 1998, 118 min., Japanese w/subtitles)