Welcome to October at the Film Series! We’re starting off the month with surrealist neo-noir, jazzy Spanish animation, and DINOSAURS, followed by Saturday’s Soviet crime drama, about which fellow film-boarder Danny Witkin has taken up all of my space to write. Apparently he knows things about film and Russia, so you should listen to him.
2001. USA. Dir. David Lynch. With Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts. 147 min.
Wednesday, Oct. 3. 8 p.m. $5
Widely considered to be among Lynch’s greatest works, this psychological thriller tells the seemingly well-known story of the aspiring actress moving to Los Angeles, but quickly takes a turn for the weird. Lynch weaves a murky trail through a neo-noir realization of LA, toying with time, narrative, and the nature of dreams.
2010. Spain/UK. Dir. Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal, Tono Errando. Animated. 94 min.
Thursday, Oct. 4. 8 p.m. FREE
A music-filled tribute to a vibrant time in the history of both Cuba and jazz, this Oscar-nominated love story narrates the epic romance of a dashing piano player and an enchanting Havana nightclub singer as they travel through famous international stages of the 1940s and 50s. An amazing soundtrack features the music of jazz legends performed by a range of contemporary singers. Presented as part of The Spanish Film Club series with the support of Pragda, the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with U.S. Universities.
1993. USA. Dir. Steven Spielberg. With Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum. 127 min.
Friday, Oct. 5. 8 p.m. $5
The story of an amusement park full of dinosaurs and why electrified fences should never be deactivated. Plus, you can never have too many reminders that Velociraptors are really, really scary.
1986. USSR. Dir. Aleksei Guerman. With Andrei Boltnev. 100 min.
Saturday, Oct. 6. 8 p.m. FREE
The historical film is a tricky beast. Underneath every anachronistic costume and behind every lush period set squirm multitudinous problems and pitfalls. The past is no easy direction in which to point a camera, so the elegance with which the great Russian auteur Aleksei Guerman handles questions of authenticity, memory, experience, and representation is nothing short of remarkable, especially considering the weight of his subject matter. Guerman has not just made a film that grapples honestly with the Stalin years—he’s made a knock-out. Somehow both oblique and unnervingly immediate, “My Friend Ivan Lapshin” chucks the viewer headlong into a chilly world of communal apartments and vodka-bolstered comradeship. Guerman gives as much time to quotidian material deprivation and awkward dalliances as he does to the cult of personality, but something is definitely coming…
And I haven’t yet mentioned Guerman’s rather brilliant framing device: the pervasive fog and mud that lend the film a visual grandeur at once spectral and earthbound. Guerman’s masterpiece is a film of burning inner tension, between the humane and the grotesque, the everyday and the earthshaking, the past and the present. Hailed as one of the greatest living filmmakers by a passionate few (including, full disclosure, this writer), Guerman’s work was buried for too long by Soviet censures. His recent discovery—the first ever North American retrospective of his work occurred last spring—is a revelation, the belated appearance of a fully formed perspective as distinct as that of Eisenstein or Tarkovsky, the latter of whom called “Ivan Lapshin” the greatest Russian film of all time. Now that the Red clergy is out of your way, see it.