(Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin & Ray Ashley, 1953) · With a crew of three and a miniscule budget, The Little Fugitive paved the way for independent film. Filmed on location at Coney Island, it chronicles 7-year-old Joey's adventures as he flees from an imagined crime. In order to shoot unobtrusively in public, Engel designed a portable 35mm camera, which a young Stanley Kubrick later asked to rent. Truffaut would credit the film, which inspired The 400 Blows, with the birth of the French New Wave.
runtime: 80 min format: 35mm
(Elliott Nugent, 1939) · An old dark house, a group of heirs gathered for the reading of a will, and...Bob Hope? Ol' Ski-Nose takes one of his earliest starring roles in this adaptation of John Willard's play, adding some levity to a potentially grim storyline. The greedy relatives of a dead millionaire gather in the Louisiana bayous to divide up his estate, and things turn deadly. Is a homicidal maniac, escaped from the local asylum, to blame, or is the culprit closer to home?
runtime: 72 min format: 35mm
(Akira Kurosawa, 1962) · This sequel to Yojimbo, which outgrossed even its well-loved predecessor, was originally just going to be an adaptation of a Shuguro Yamamoto short story. But following Mifune's wildly popular turn as the ronin anti-hero in that prior film, Kurosawa rewrote the script to include the character, this time giving him a name: "Sanjuro." Come for the tour-de-force that is Mifune; stay for the final duel and cinema's first arcing blood explosion.
runtime: 96 min format: 35mm
(Errol Morris, 1981 & 1978) · Originally setting out to make a film called Nub City about the notorious Vernon residents who cut off their own limbs for the insurance money, Morris turned his eyes to the town's population at large after one of the so-called "nubbies" tried to run over cinematographer Ned Burgess with a truck. / Famously reviewed by Siskel and Ebert three times on their show, Gates of Heaven launched Errol Morris' career. While its subject is certainly compelling, more interesting is Morris' approach to it, which works as a complex examination of love.
runtime: 55 + 85 min format: DVD
(Ulrich Edel, 1981) · Based upon a non-fiction book of the same name by Ulrich Edel, Christiane F. tells the story of the drug world of West Berlin in the 1970s as seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl. Christiane's obsession with David Bowie inspired Bowie to not only appear in the film but also to compose the soundtrack. The film's near-immediate elevation to cult status helped to bring conversations about heroin to the forefront in Western Europe.
runtime: 138 min format: 35mm
(Howard Deutch, 1986) · Molly Ringwald is Andie, the cool girl from the wrong side of the tracks who has to choose between the BMW-driving Blane ("That's a major appliance, that's not a name!") and the dorky "Duckie" (played by Jon Cryer in indelible fashion). Popularity and class complicate this iteration of screenwriter Hughes' love triangle, but Pretty in Pink is not your conventional Cinderella story. Ringwald is compelling, but it is Cryer who steals our hearts.
runtime: 96 min format: 35mm
(Tsai Ming-Liang, 2014) · Put simply, Stray Dogs is director Tsai Ming-Liang's attempt to depict a family that is forced to live without any money. Pervaded with melancholy, harsh emotional consequences follow the family wherever they go (usually wherever they can find refuge long enough to sleep through the night). The matriarch is depicted by three different actors, but the father (longtime collaborator Lee Kang-shen) steals the show with a devastating performance.
runtime: 138 min format: DCP
(Maurice Schwartz, 1939) · Before there was Topol, before there was Zero Mostel, there was Maurice Schwartz. In this precursor to Fiddler on the Roof, thought lost until miraculously rediscovered in the '70s, Schwartz stars as Tevye, the philosophizing patriarch of Sholem Aleichem's classic novel Tevye the Dairyman. Filmed in Long Island as the Nazi army was invading Poland, the film fortuitously explores interfaith relationships in a time of struggle with pathos and trepidation.
runtime: 93 min format: 35mm