Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Donkey Skin movie Jacques Demy Catherine Deneuve
Donkey Skin (1970)
Directed by Jacques Demy
Tired of The Room? Missing ABBA? Then come ye to Peau d'Âne, Demy’s musical version of “Donkey Skin,” a Perrault fairy tale that never blew up in the States because Disney couldn’t build theme park rides simulating incest. The king, goes the story, wanted to marry a woman as beautiful as his departed queen—so, naturally, he settles on his daughter, played, naturally, by Catherine Deneuve. A modern-minded fairy godmom (Delphine Seyrig) sends the princess, wrapped in the aforementioned peau, into hiding. Lots of people are painted blue, costumes are indeed worthy of ABBA at their peak, and the king plots while astride a giant dashboard kitten—camp enough for the whole family. Elina Mishuris (Oct 13-14 at Film Forum, part of its Jacques Demy series)

Eight Deadly Shots Mikko Niskanen
Eight Deadly Shots (1972)
Directed by Mikko Niskanen
“I think that Eight Deadly Shots’ powerful effect comes from its immediacy,” Peter von Bagh, director of The Story of Mikko Niskanen, tells us by email about this Finnish television miniseries, screening digitally in its uncut version for a six-day New York premiere run. “It arose from a true event in which a small farmer killed four policemen, and which quite understandably shocked everyone and made a devil out of him. Then came Niskanen—writing, directing, and himself playing the farmer—with a will to understand rather than judge. And suddenly there was a wonderful humanistic rendering of the man’s circumstances, and of the effects of the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. The film is a case history, but at the same time it’s the finest rendering I know of the enormous social change then taking place, a chain of events more savage than in anywhere else in Europe. Eight Deadly Shots is a strange thing in Finnish film history, something never seen in cinemas in its complete version, and yet still regarded by many as our greatest film.” Aaron Cutler (Oct 15-20 at MoMA, part of its To Save and Project)

Every Man for Himself movie Jean-Luc Godard
Every Man for Himself (1980)
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Sauve qui peut (la vie), Godard’s self-described “second first film,” announced the reclusive auteur’s long-anticipated return to narrative filmmaking following more than a decade’s sojourn into the trenches of the political avant-garde. The result was reinvigorating, a heady blend of aesthetic experimentation and deeply felt autocritique. The encroaching hard-left didacticism of his output through the 70s—much of it substantive, all of it alienating—had been duly tempered for the arrival of the 80s, the unofficial beginning of his "late" period, when Godard would surpass his more popular nouvelle vague achievements of the 60s to produce the richest and most sophisticated work of his career. Calum Marsh (Oct 14 at Lincoln Center, part of its Jean-Luc Godard series)

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