Another week, another smattering of great movies gleaned from across time and space. The week ends with a swashbuckling hero taking on the powers that be in revolutionary France and begins with the heroic work of a latter-day revolutionary in present-day Iran. You’ll be treated to self-portraits by two diminutive visionaries, one of whom happens to be one of the most compelling protagonists to appear onscreen in the last couple of years and another who happens to be Prince. Meanwhile, the Latin American series continues its trip around the Western hemisphere with a stop in Mexico City. The time to visit the film series is always, and this week is no exception.
2011. Iran. Dir. Jafar Panahi. Documentary. 75 min. Wednesday, Sept. 26., 8 p.m., $5.
Or is it? One of the best film stories of the new decade also turns out to be one of its best films. Arrested in 2009 for the production of subversive films, Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi “(The White Balloon, Offside)”was put on house arrest and banned from writing or directing new films. But with a little help from his friends and, an iPhone, among other things, he created this “effort,” which was in turn smuggled out of the country on a flash drive hidden in a birthday cake, just in time to take last ear’s Cannes Film Festival by storm. Remarkably, it’s one of the great protest films of recent years. Drawing on all the fluid narrative ingenuity that’s made the Iranian New Wave an international phenomenon from the 1990s to the present day (see: Kiaristami, Abbas), Panahi’s film morphs from a playful study in the boredom of oppression into a sweeping allegory for political action. A lot has been risked to bring you one of our decades’s definitive statements of media and power, so don’t, don’t, don’t miss out. If you’re somehow still unconvinced, Panahi has a pet iguana that gives the dog from “The Artist” a run for its bacon bits.
2011. Mexico. Dir. Iria Gomez Conchiero. With Gabino Rodriguez. 107 min. Thursday, Sept. 27., 8 p.m., FREE.
Oh, the teenage years! With all those hormones, that boredom, and so much time, what’s a youth to do? In this neorealist-inflected drama, director Conchiero supplies the answer, which may or may not have something to do with armed robbery. Taking a page from the likes of John Huston’s “The Asphalt Jungle” and Michael Mann’s “Heat,” Conchiero understands that the key to a good heist film is strong characters and relationships. You might be majoring in econ now, but remember, it’s never too late to relive your criminal youth.
1984. USA. Dir. Albert Magnoli. With Prince, The Revolution, Appolonia Kotero. 111 min. Friday, Sept. 28., 8 p.m., $5.
This Friday, take an exotic trip to wild, wonderful Minneapolis to meet Prince: composer, multi-instrumentalist, and five feet two inches of raw sex. Have you heard of him? He’s like Willy Wonka with more guitar and far less asexuality. Prepare to enjoy the melodramatic machinations of stardom, concert footage of the very highest order, and a soundtrack that still stands as one of the great albums of the 1980s. Don’t, don’t, don’t miss this opportunity to experience the Artist Formerly Known as Prince back when he was Currently Known as Prince.
1952. USA. Dir. George Sidney. With Stewart Granger, Janet Leigh. 115 min. Saturday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m., FREE.
Sometimes the time comes to vicariously hop around elaborate sets and poke things with swords. That time is this Saturday. Stewart Granger, the Errol Flynn of the 1950s, will take you on an adventure around 18th-century Hollywood “France.” Based on a novel by adventure standby and Hollywood goldmine Rafael Sabatini (“Captain Blood,” “The Sea Hawk”), this promises to be a swashbuckler that truly earns the title.